If you are going to Morocco or even interested in going some day here are just some things to remember.
1. Be Aware of Scams!
My friend got scammed by the black henna ladies. She grabbed her arm and then stole 100dh from her. As you can see she was not very happy about it.
This almost doesn’t have to be said but the variety of scams out there is amazing. I could make a top 10 of scams by themselves but I’ll just list a few here. Trust noone! Not even the hostel as we found out the hard way. Be wary of guides and where they are taking you make sure they are not taking you anywhere you can’t find your way back. Don’t take pictures of people before negotiating the price. People walk around with monkeys and snakes as well and if they place one on you they will want you to pay whether you wanted it or not. Don’t let the black henna ladies get hold of your hand. Again they’ll tell you it’s free, then charge you and finally Don’t leave money in pockets that are easy to access. Again seems obvious, but children in particular are trained to be pickpockets and there tiny fingers can reach into a pocket undetected.
2. Haggle EVERYTHING!
That’s right you can haggle pretty much anything, from presents, to taxis, street food and even the price of guides. Guides are about 10dh and if they ask for more don’t give it to them unless they have taken you somewhere particularly far off. They probably think you don’t understand what is reasonable. The rule of thumb is that stalls ask 5x what they are willing to accept. You probably won’t reduce it to this amount but you can get it way down to at least below half. If they aren’t happy with what you are offering walk off and they will more often than not call you back and accept your price. You don’t have to raise your price much more often than not they’ll come down to it. The slippers they sell everywhere the best offer we could find was 200dh for two until suddenly we found a stall selling them for 60dh each. So wander about and see what you can find.
3. Ask for the change before handing over the bigger note.
This is another scam that they run in Morocco. My friend in Marrakesh had one of the henna ladies screw the money up in her hand and refused to give her change, then she couldn’t get the note back either. After this story we always asked for the change before handing over the bigger note which most people didn’t seem to mind. One guy however out and out refused and we walked away. I’m pretty sure if I hadn’t stuck to that rule I would have been scammed again.
4. Go during December
We went the 10th-15th of December and as you can see the weather was glorious! It was about 15 degrees everyday so we didn’t feel too hot walking around all day and we weren’t tiring too quickly. Less tourists as well meant a good choice of hostels and things weren’t too expensive. Also it was perfect for all those last minute Christmas gifts (not that I’m the sort of person who leaves it til the last minute hmmm.)
5. Be careful with the water!
Firstly, Keep hydrated. It easy to forget this especially near the coast with the sea breeze but it is hot. Not drinking water from the tap is an obvious one I know, but many people get tricked with things they don’t think about. A big one is ice in your drinks which we forgot about when we bought some drinks at McDonalds. I was fine after that but I did also have a salad which Emily had warned me against (as they wash the salad in you guessed it … tap water) and I wasn’t feeling too great after that. I have also been warned to check the bottoms of bottles for strange marks and sometimes they empty bottles and fill them with tap water keeping the good water for themselves. You have been warned.
Have you been to Morocco? Do you have any tips of your own which you would like to share?