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NomadChef 07-22-2006 02:07 PM

Headed to Morocco from Madrid Monday night and was wondering if anyone had any tips on picking up reputable guides in Marrakesh and Fez areas. I REALLY don't want to just show up and pick out some guy hanging out around the train station. Any suggestions?

florencia9699 07-22-2006 05:17 PM

I've no idea, but can you do me a favour though? On your return, tell me if you think it's safe for a girl travelling solo, going to Marrakech and Casablanca. Or maybe just Marrakech... My travel bug suddenly wants to go to Morocco and have a bit of a taste of the Arabic life... I kindda miss it (specially the food!!).

Thanx!! and hope someone can answer your question!

NomadChef 07-23-2006 06:40 AM

Definately. Those are the places I plan on going anyways. How soon are you planning on going? Either way, if you want to go, you should. From what I hear its a beautiful, not something to be missed.

patchouli Lover 07-23-2006 01:34 PM

I agree with florencia9699! After I get back from my time in Europe my next choice of destination in the Middle East and North Africa or Indai. When and if I go to the Peace Corp I want to be stationed in the middle East. I've taken a ton of geography classes on the Middle East and have found out sooo much stuff! It also helps to break the sterotypes Americans take on the middle east!

Sorry I know this didn't answer your question! But good luck!

tumblezweedz 07-23-2006 11:51 PM

As far as a guide, if you really want someone reputable, I would suggest getting in touch with the Tourism office (email them or call since you don't have much time), because otherwise, you will only have to hope for the best when you get to town. Another option would be to drop in to the snazziest hotel you can find, and either ask the concierge or check out the flyers they have in the lobby - any guides they recommend would be reputable.

We got "picked up" by two different guides on two different exits from the port in Tangier (on the same day), it's not so much a question of you choosing them, more of them glomming on to you. We did eventually shed both of ours, but it was unpleasant. But Tangier is about the scuzziest part of Morocco, so hopefully your experience won't be as trying. We loved Morocco (spent a week with a local family in Casa some years back), it's definitely worth the odd hassle.

And Flo, though I travelled with a guy, and stayed with a family there, we met plenty of girls travelling solo there, and they didn't have any more problems than anyone else. I wouldn't walk around in a bikini in the souq, but if you're respectful of the local customs, I don't think you'll have any problems. Only if you don't want a "guide", then definitely be very firm in your resistance and learn lots of French (in the end, I had to yell at the guy that was hassling us, and I chose French so people around could understand the conversation). It's ugly to have to shout, but when someone is aggressive, it does draw attention to the situation and other people will step in.


Echo Of Reason 07-24-2006 03:41 AM

I got went to Morocco a month or so ago and I would say it is doable to go there by yourself but if you can find a partner you might feel a bit more comfortable. I went to Marrakech while on my trip and found that the place was very safe (other than pick pockets). We did meet 2 american girls there who hung out with us for the next few days because they were sick of getting "dirty looks" from the locals. One of them did say that some old lady kicked her in the leg for some unknown reason...

Overall, it was pretty safe but the unofficial guides are the ones that are trouble. We did the trip without a guide for the most part and saw pretty much everything. However, a positive of having a guide is that most likely he/she will keep the other guides away and thus make the experience more enjoyable.

florencia9699 07-24-2006 10:00 AM

I've thought of something to tell those annoying guides:

"I'm looking for Ali, my husband, and if he sees you talking to me he'll get real mad"...

Muahahahahaha :torch:

tumblezweedz 07-24-2006 12:51 PM

:lol: Very nice.


urOZm8 07-25-2006 03:43 AM

Knowing who to trust and choose as a guide is a real hit and miss affair in Morocco. We stayed at the YHA affiliated hostel in Fes and organised a guide to go into the medina with the hostel operator. Being a YHA hostel I though it would be a pretty good bet but our guide still took us to the carpet shops and tanneries where you could tell he was going to obtain a commission.

On the other hand we caught a bus out to the Atlas Mountains planning to do some trekking by ourselves. When we got off the bus we were adamant we were not going to have a guide. After some negotiation we got a really good deal and were lead to a small village. Here we lived with a traditional berber family for a few days. This ended up being one of the most enriching experiences of my trip.

I guess you can only trust your gut instincts and hope for the best.


NomadChef 08-03-2006 04:26 PM

Made it to Morocco and Im lovin it. Things did go a little sketchy the first day or two, but on the most part I havent had any problems. Tips so far; Make sure you get a set price on anything, taxis to toilets. Always look as if you know where youre going, even if you have no clue. Smile a lot, but be assertive if you dont want to buy anything. And most definately, get used to mint tea. Its everywhere.

patchouli Lover 08-03-2006 07:01 PM

Great Advice! Hope your having a great time! And keep us updated! :D

petalbear 08-04-2006 06:52 AM

Hola! I have just come back from a summer in Morocco. I enjoyed my time there although I didn't really travel solo. There were 4 females including myself. It is safe however the guys stare at women. I found that annoying but I guess they do that whether you're Moroccan/ foreigner. Otherwise it is safe in terms of pickpockets (I carried a slingbag with me all the time) If you feel unsafe when walking in the medina:easy solution- walk into a shop. I went to Rabat, Casablanca, Agadir this time so I'm not sure about Fes/Marrakesh.
Moroccans are very hospitable and are always willing to help. Everytime we were lost/ bad directions someone would be there to help. Do be careful about the "guides" or "cheap tickets" at bus stations especially.
There is a great tendency for foreigners to ripped off, I did a couple of times. I had a wonderful fun time (even in the heat!) from my time in petit taxis to the many degrees of miscommunication (French helps:P) I Hope the information was helpful. Have a great time there.

mbo108 08-08-2006 11:41 AM

If anyone's still looking on good, up-to-the-minute advice on Morocco, check out Brookers posts Morocco Thread

Hope this helps

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