Visiting Morroco’s capital city for the first time can be a little daunting, but with a little preparation, it can be an incredible experience. If you plan to explore the traditional market-place, keep these survival tips in mind on your trip.
Once you enter the Souks, be prepared for an array of sights, sounds, and smells. Although the area is divided into sections, the hustle and bustle can be overwhelming and it is easy to get lost. You will be approached by many locals offering to guide you to the best places. They will charge you and may take you somewhere that is not safe. Always firmly refuse their services and use google maps to find your way through the maze of streets.
If you find something that you want to buy, it is very important not to accept the first price you are offered. The stallholders expect you to negotiate and start at ludicrously high prices. It is customary to walk away from the deal in order to get a better one.
Learn the Language
Stallholders make their living by selling to tourists. So don’t be surprised if they understand everything you are saying, regardless of the language you are speaking. If you think you can confer with your friends or family, assume they will understand. Nothing is private. Working out a simple code with your fellow travelers in advance can really help.
Phones, Snakes, and Henna
The most aggressive sellers are those camped around the stallholders. There may be a group of women that grab your hand and start marking you with henna tattoos before you have even noticed. Snake charmers will put a snake around your neck and you will be inundated with mobile phones, designer sunglasses, and watches. All these encounters will cost you money unless you firmly refuse.
There is a lot of petty crime and pick-pocketers in Marrakech. Make sure you stay alert by not wearing headphones; not going out alone at night; not wearing expensive jewelry; keeping valuables in a zipped up bag, and staying confident. Women – don’t forget to cover up your legs and shoulders as well.