Brave yourself for the souks of Marrakech; you need nerves of steel and a thick skin! We were led round some of the souk areas by a local which means you are less likely to be bothered by salesmen and more informed about the area…it really is worth the money to learn so much in a 2 hour guided tour. Our guide was provided by Riad Kniza and I can not recommend the services of this guide enough, he was really informative and excellent company.
Our guide showed us around some of the artisan areas where metals were being shaped into pots and pans, wool and cotton dyed all colours of the rainbow and where herbivoristes cure all kinds of conditions from impotence to eczema!
We enjoyed a visit to one such purveyor of medicinal goods, where we had a shoulder massage and an introduction to herbs and spices and their medicinal benefits. Since visiting Marrakech I am a complete convert to argan oil and now buy it from Simply Argan I use it as a facial moisturiser, body lotion and conditioner for hair and nails, it really is versatile and so nice to use.
The herbivoristes are decorated with coloured pot pouri in massive vats and baskets and it really does intoxicate you, especially inviting when outside is hot and frantic.
Salesmen at leather and silk stalls are desperate and sometimes over pushy to make you look their way, they offer scarves and bags in every colour until you are brave enough to back off or give in and purchase. Some people like the banter, others find this shop ’til you drop hard sell over bearing, either way it’s an experience.
If you have room in your suitcase there are carpets galore, baskets, coloured glass lights and much more. There is plenty to spend your cash on if you are wanting.
The souks lead down to Jemaa el Fna, a square that is excellent for people watching especially at dusk from a bar with an outdoor terrace. Here you are safe to watch the antics of bangle bartering, where ladies offer bangles or henna tattoos, snakes are charmed and oranges squeezed. Beware the bangle ladies, tattooists and snake owners, they charm you to have photos taken then want your money. Smoke from fires cooking goat or heating chestnuts rises over the myriad of stalls and the stall holders shout and heckle the passers by filtering the locals from the tourists or vice versa. So go if you dare and try not to get lost like I did!