Abandoned Sea Cable Car – Sidi Ifni, Morocco - Atlas Obscura

Abandoned Sea Cable Car

Sidi Ifni, Morocco

The forgotten remnants of a land-to-sea cable car that was once unique in the world. 


Walking along the beach in the Moroccan city of Sidi Ifni, toward the port at the southern end of town, you may spot a huge concrete structure a little ways off the shore, looking lonely in the middle of the sea.

This concrete curiosity is an abandoned remnant of a unique midcentury cable car system built toward the end of the Spanish colonial occupation of Sidi Ifni. In its heyday, this piece of infrastructure was one of the only sea cable car systems of its kind in the world, and a point of local pride.

Because the water near the coast of Sidi Infni was too shallow for a regular harbor, an innovative crane and pulley system was created in the 1960s to ferry passengers and cargo between the land and the ships at sea. The concrete block off the beach was once a loading dock where ships coming into port would load and unload their cargo.

These goods and people were then carried to land in self-propelled carts supported by giant pylons towering over the port at the shore. These, too, can still be seen today, though the cables connecting them are long gone.

The line continued on a few miles inland to an end station in the cliffs in town. Nowadays, this defunct hill station looks like a giant crumbling concrete bunker. Rusty remnants of this transport system can still be seen here, including some old rail cars and abandoned cargo.

Know Before You Go

The old loading dock can be seen from the southern tip of the Sidi Ifni beach. On the shore at the Port de Sidi Ifni you can see the huge abandoned pylons (labeled as the "Ancienne gare funiculaire" or "Old funicular station" on Google Maps). The abandoned hill station is further inland toward the cliffs. 

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August 13, 2019

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