Laurie and I recently got back from Marrakech, Morroco, and whilst it was a lovely trip I just wish there were a few things people would have made us aware of when travelling to the Medina. Please don’t let any of these things scare you away, even if we were scammed a few times I would still go back in a heartbeat.
- Beggar children in the Medina
If you stay in the medina for a couple days you will see children dressed scruffily running around begging for money. Laurie and I’s first experience with this took place when we were eating in KFC looking out at the Medina (don’t judge us) and children were standing in front of us begging for money. It was quite offputting, but what was worst when you see them run back to their mother every now and again. It just seemed like a weird system of child exploitation, I wasn’t sure if they were getting money for their mother or themselves.
2. Henna women in the Medina
The Henna women in the Medina captured our attention because we knew we wanted henna. The woman seemed lovely and we were looking through the book to find out what beautiful pattern we wanted, then out of no where the lady started drawing on my hand… I knew this wouldn’t go well, especially since she hasn’t let me pick my own pattern. But she was insisting I stay still, and that the henna would get me a husband….no, I am not seeking marriage. In the end, she tried to ask for £80…obviously that wasn’t going to work, but I was still ripped off. Keep your hands hidden when around the henna ladies.
3. Disabled beggars
Now, these ones really break my heart. We actually saw one lady who was in every tourist location throughout the city. But you can never be sure of whether it’s an act or real which really hits an emotional spot. But at one point when sitting on a bench we had two old men nearly screaming at us with their hands outstretched for money. We didn’t give any but there were also blind men with sticks walking around with their hands outstretched for money. I kept thinking if there really was some issue wouldn’t there be outreach teams.
4. The taxi prices from the airport
When we exited the airport upon departure we were stunned by how empty it was but quickly found the Taxi rank. Because it was late we accepted the first taxi price and didn’t haggle at all. We later found that the price we paid 300dirhams, was three times the average, 100dirhams. Save your money for the medina, and don’t be afraid to turn down an offer, the taxi driver will probably come back with a lower one.
5. People giving you directions
When walking around people will be friendly, saying hi, and also giving you directions. But when someone offers to take you somewhere, unfortunately, it tends to be so you can pay them when you get to the destination. This applies even if you walk down the road. You can not pay the person, this is what we did with the guy who showed us the way to our Riad. But then when we didn’t pay him for giving us directions, he came back to the Riad twice the next day, then ambushed us when we were walking through the medina one day… Knowing this guy was just turning up at the Riad made us feel slightly uneasy.
If you are going to Marrakech soon enjoy your visit but be weary of these few things pointed out in this article. If you have any tips to make people’s trips easier put them in the comments 🙂