Before I got to Marrakech it was describe to me in many different ways by my friends. One example is “It’s like a bomb was dropped there.” I’ve never visited Africa before and I decided that this would be my first stop on the continent.
I went towards the end of May and even then the place was hot as fuck so I don’t want to image going in the middle of summer. I’m from Jamaica so I can’t say that much scares me when I travel. I was told to be careful of pick pocketers and I’m careful of that in my hometown. I was told the people there are very aggressive – somewhat true. Regardless I had to go see for myself.
After landing and clearing customs they found my drone and took it from stating that its prohibited there. They said I could pick it up when I was leaving. Not a great way to start my Marrakech vacation but I had no choice. Although I was still bitter from them taking my drone on our way to our riad that feeling quickly disappeared as I was filled with excitement from all the different imagery that filled my brain. Seeing an entire family fit on a motorcycle is not the norm for me so I was really excited and just being in a different place and seeing a different way of life was enough to get me excited. We then stopped in the middle of a square and was told we’re here. I’m like wtf! Here where lol. I saw nothing that looked like somewhere I would stay. We were then greeted Muhamed and two men with oversized wheel barrows to escort us to our riad – El Kenz. The journey to our riad was definitely exciting and one I won’t forget lol.
Once at our Riad – El Kenz, we were greeted by Burcin the manager and she was awesome. I couldn’t ask more of her. I could always reach out to her for suggestions and her suggestions were on point and the staff at Riad El Kenz was awesome. Ricardo made the best tea for us (that tea should be free) and Rasheed did the best he could even though he hardly spoke English. The place is nice and quiet but close enough to most of the attractions if you don’t mind walking for about 15min.
At our Riad, Burcin gave us a map and even told us how to get where we were going. Go out the door then you make a left, then another left, walk straight until you see the double arch then stay to the right and then you will see get to the main square. LOL needless to say we thought we followed that but still got lost a bit. We did figure it out after our short moment of being lost. There will always be someone to tell you how to get where you’re going the issue is if we had listen to them we would have been worse off. Basically it seemed like they told us the opposite of what we should be doing. So if we were to go left they told us right. So be careful who you take directions from. They tell you that so you can get lost then charge you to bring you where you are suppose to be going. Don’t even try google maps because it gets lost here also. Getting lost is not a bad thing because you will stumble upon places you wouldn’t have found if you never got lost and eventually you will figure out how to get back to where you are going.
You will find damn near everything in the souks. From spices to oils you name it. They are a bit aggressive when trying to get you to buy items from them because this is their main source of income. If you tell them that you will buy it tomorrow hoping they don’t recognize you tomorrow if you pass there again you will be wrong. They will remember lol. Just be polite for the most part and you will be good. Learn how to say no and mean it. One no may not do the trick and you might have to say no nine more times before they get the point. Learn how to bargain. If they tell you 500dirham chances are you can get it for 300dirham depending on how well you can bargain. I never bought anything at the first given price. One of the main square – Jemaa El Fna, there you can find a different variety of food stalls, souvenirs, and do some shopping. This place is a different place when night comes around. I suggest you see it both in the day and at night. If you take pictures of the snake charmers they will want money. How much? I don’t know but I’m sure you can negotiate your own price. We did take pics with the monkey and the monkey handler and he did want to charge what I thought was an outrageous price but we met at a middle ground and we were both happy. Many locals their don’t want their pictures taken so be careful how you use your camera and just get a zoom lens. Even the kids don’t want you to take their pictures. Is it safe their? I felt completely safe there even though I did see some of the locals get beat up and box up by their own, but nothing I haven’t seen else where lol. Be careful of the taxi drivers – know what the average price is so you don’t get ripped off and agree on a price before you get in the taxi. One time we had 3 taxi drivers arguing over who will take us then another taxi driver pulled up not knowing what is going on and then we hopped in his taxi while the others were arguing and when they saw what we were doing they tried to take the keys from our taxi driver smdh lol and I had to stop them from taking his keys (poor guy lol) I don’t suggest you try that shit if you ever in that situation. But honestly at no point did I feel unsafe there.
Places to Visit
Majorelle Garden – nice garden and nice place for Instagram photos. An hour here and you’re good if you ask me. I’ve seen better gardens. Ben Youssef Madrasa – Great place for pics and if you’re into architecture you will love this place. Bahia Palace – 10DH entry fee and another beautiful place for capturing amazing pics. If you’re into mosaic titles you will love this place. Palais Jad Mahal – A nice atmosphere. They have fire breathers, belly dancers, and human chandeliers. When it came to the food though I wasn’t really impressed. Les Bains De Marrakech – great place to get a hammam. I booked the hammam, scrub, and massage and didn’t know what to expect at first. Overall a great experience. If they are a bit soft with the massage just tell them to add more pressure. Entire process could take about 3hrs. This place is beautifully decorated and invites you to relax. It cost me about $70 and if you look around Im sure you could find other places that does it cheaper. Be sure to make an appointment. They are that busy.