THE roar of the engine makes even my seat shudder as I press down on the throttle.
My quad bike kicks into gear and the speed dial shoots from zero to 40mph, sending me hurtling across the golden sand like Lara Croft in an action movie.
It’s only my third time on a quad — and first riding one on a beach — but my instructor is cheering me on as though I’m a professional rider in a race.
As the wind whips through my hair and the morning sun beats down, I begin to appreciate just how vast the four-and-a-half miles of pristine coastline is ahead of me.
In the distance, I clock the zipwire I’ll be tackling this afternoon, and the fitness studio for tomorrow’s yoga — before catching a glimpse of the paddock where I’ll pick up my horse for tonight’s sunset ride.
It sounds like I’m at a kids’ summer camp, giddily jumping from one adventure to the next, but I’m at the five-star Mazagan Beach & Golf Resort in north-west Morocco, which spreads across 2.5 square kilometres with activities galore.
My morning is spent ploughing my quad bike through the shallow Atlantic surf and venturing into the woods for off-road fun before refuelling with lunch at one of the hotel’s 13 bars and restaurants.
I’m careful not to scoff too much tagine, though, because I know the zipwire is waiting — and the holidaymakers below probably won’t thank me if it resurfaces.
At more than 600ft long, the ride is enough to get any adult thrillseeker’s adrenaline pump-ing, but it’s suitable for ages eight and up.
If hurtling along on it toward the sea seems like too much excitement after gorging on that tagine — or fresh seafood, barbecued meats and a buffet of authentic mezzes and traditional grub — leisurely horse rides along the beach may fit the bill.
My stallion is a black beauty and, despite having not ridden for probably 20 years, it doesn’t take me long to get into the groove, feeling like Aladdin’s Princess Jasmine as I trot off across the sand.
It’s hard to believe that at this very moment the same sun is setting back home in the UK.
That’s one of the many welcome treats about a trip here — there’s no faffing with resetting your watch or adjusting your sleep, as the region shares the same time zone as Britain.
There aren’t many places you can fly to in autumn in just three hours and step off the plane into 25C heat, without changing time zones.
But Mazagan, in the Casablanca-Settat region, ticks those boxes — and more.
It is soaked in sun for ten months a year and yet, even in peak season, feels beautifully peaceful.
ARGAN OIL MASSAGE
Tourist crowds head for the souks of Marrakech, and port city of Essaouira, but Morocco’s north-west coast is far less visited.
On top of the adventure activities — which also include a climbing wall, jet-skis and a go-kart track — Mazagan boasts a mega-pool, spa, a complimentary kids’ club for little ones as young as three months, and an 18-hole golf course designed by South African former champ Gary Player.
There’s so much to do, many guests never step off-site — trying every cocktail, ice-cream flavour and sunbathing spot.
But there is plenty to explore. Just 20 minutes’ drive away, the city of El Jadida is a 16th-century Portuguese port which still retains its old citadel walls and is now a Unesco World Heritage Site.
My guide Laarbi tells me it has a population of 200,000 but this doubles during summer when Moroccans visit to escape the heat of Marrakech and international tourists come for the climate, cuisine and sea breeze.
Slightly farther afield is the fabled city of Casablanca.
Its many charms include the fabulous Hassan II mosque — one of the world’s largest with capacity for 105,000 worshippers.
After a busy day exploring, a yoga class back at the resort is the perfect way to unwind.
Or luxuriate at the spa, with many an indulgent treatment to choose from.
I opt for a full-body massage with Moroccan favourite argan oil — which is also used in everything from almond butter to shampoo.
I emerge from the room 45 minutes later feeling like a new woman.
But it’s not just the massage that has re-energised me — a whole week of soaking up culture in one of the most picturesque spots in Europe is enough to soothe anyone’s stresses.
The fact that it’s only three hours away is just the icing on the cake.
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