How To Avoid The Scams in Marrakesh

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How To Avoid The Scams in Marrakesh

Marrakesh in Morocco is a beautiful city. It attracts man tourists but this also draws in those who may wish to take advantage of you. Be aware of the following scams in Marrakesh.

Jemaa el-Fnaa Square

Jemma el-Fnaa Square is one of the most famous squares in Africa. It is full of stalls selling food and merchandise. As well as snake charmers, monkeys and henna drawers. However this hive of activity brings out some of the more less desirables keen to part you from your money. Here are some of the scams in Marrakesh to be aware of.

The Restaurant Scam

When you arrive at a restaurant you may be presented with an old menu with cheap prices. Great, you think. You start ordering and eating. However when you get the bill the prices just don’t match up. These new prices match the prices on their new menu. The waiter apologises profusely but the menu you looked at was the old one, not the new one. The bill stands, you have to pay.

Free Guide

Another little money earner is the free guide. He says that he will help you when you get lost in the souk. After all the lanes are narrow and the network can be confusing. Especially if you don’t know them. He will say you don’t have to pay. It is free. Then low and behold at the end, the free guide will demand 30 to 50 dirhams. When you refuse to pay they use the “cause a scandal” technique. He will start to shout and abuse you, calling out to his friends how the tourist has betrayed him. The idea of course is to embarrass you into paying him.

The Animal Tamers

Those with animals will be keen to place the animal on you and allow you to take a photo. They then demand 100 to 200 dirhams from you. The animal tamer has provided you with a service, you have taken advantage of that, so it is only right in his eyes that you pay him. As with anything all over the world make sure you negotiate beforehand before accepting absolutely anything.

The Henna Scam

That little old lady grabs your hand and starts to draw on your hand. The drawing is likely to be of poor quality. After completing her drawing, this previously pious old woman asks 100 to 200 dirhams from you. You have allowed someone to provide a service for you, whether you wanted it or not. Avoid being taken advantage of, say no and don’t let them draw on you. There are many places for henna drawings, who can do this at a fair price. You won’t find them in Jemaa el-Fnaa Square though.

Extra Food Scam

So you have chosen your food stall, and start to eat. Apart from what you have ordered, the waiter will bring you extra food saying it is complimentary. When the bill comes it includes the cost of the complimentary food.

The Carpet Sellers

Similarly one of the scams in Marrakesh practised by the rugs or antique sellers is to invite you in for tea. If you leave the shop empty handed, they then charge you 20 to 30 dirhams for the tea. Simple rule. Avoid any invitations for a tea from sellers of carpets and antiques.

These pointers should increase your awareness of how to manage yourself to avoid some of the most common scams in Marrakesh.  Don’t accept anything no matter what unless you know the price first.

Avoid the Scams in Marrakesh – Hire A Gay Friendly Holiday Houseboy

Of course the best way to enjoy Jemaa el-Fnaa Square is to go with a local guide. Tourists travelling n their own are more likely to be gullible. Those that go with a guide will be protected. Our Holiday Houseboys, gay friendly tour guides, are there to look after your safety and welfare. Take advantage of their service by selecting your guide at the Marrakesh destination page. Keep safe.

Further information on Morocco is available at


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