* Always carry some smaller banknotes: taxi drivers or shop owners don’t have change, or at least say they don’t have.
* Even better have a handful of coins to ‘pay’ for your photography, shoeshine boys or any other ‘helpful’ people.
* Have a coffee in one of the local cafés; people like it and you will like the people.
* Find/buy a good map and you will not get lost in the medina.
* Be aware Marrakech doesn’t have too many tourist sights:
- in the southern medina: Dar Si Said, Maison Tiskiwin, El Badi Palace, Saadian Tombs and Bahia Palace. All these sights are closed during lunch time (around 11.45am – 2.30pm).
- in the northern medina: Marrakech Museum, Ben Youssef Medersa, Almovarid Koubba and a very interesting literary cafe Dar Cherifa; these are open all day
- in the Ville Nouvelle: the Majorelle Garden, open all day.
* Travel books mention a lot of sights which are not open for non-Muslims.
* Don’t believe ‘helpful’ people telling a Berber market is ‘only open today’; there are lots of them all over Marrakech and they are open every day.
* You ‘always’ pay too much, even after bargaining. That is part of a Marrakech holiday.
Au Minaret de Mouassine:Owner Hassan Errijaji is English-speaking and has years of experience. Unless you have plenty of floor space to cover, it’s a good idea to have a clear idea about what you really want before you start a session in a hot carpet bazaar. Souk Semmarine has some big carpet emporia. Try several to get an idea of the goods and the prices. A good dealer will be able to arrange for shipping of larger items. Be sure to check about customs arrangements at your end.
More about Jemaa-al-Fnaa dining
It seemed like a good idea to look around for the stalls occupied with a lot of elderly Moroccan men. I figured these guys would know who had the best food. That strategy worked pretty well.
Nearly all of Jemaa-al-Fnaa's food stalls have little stools to sit at. You sit in a row with other diners, pointing at what you want to eat. Watch out that you don't get loaded up with food you didn't ask for--although even if you do, it won't cost you too much. You pay at the end--no tips necessary. In general, the prices are extremely low. I ate fried fish, grilled vegetables, kebabs, lentil soup, and tea (at four different stalls) for under USD 8.
Here's our intrepid dining team awaiting our first course!
Marrakech desert trip 3.
The next morning we awoke rather too early for vacation and were trundling along, again at full speed, by seven forty-five. With more driving came more rain, but we reasoned it couldn't possibly be raining in the desert.
By noon, we reached yet another gorge - the more famous Todra Gorge - and ordered lunch before setting out for a half an hour stroll through the gorge in the rain. The Todra is a massive fault in the plateau dividing the High Atlas from the Jbel Saghro, and, at its narrowest, the gorge rises to three hundred meters high. It sits at the end of a valley thick with stunning palm groves and berber villages, and we hear the gorge is also a welcome relief from the heat in the summer; a crystal-clear river runs through it in which one can stand knee deep to cool off. But the thought of putting our feet in the freezing stream didn't appeal while standing in driving rain, so we retired instead to lunch - greasy, salty French fries with coffee and mint tea. It is probably fair to say we were a bit tired of tajine.
Again we piled into the truck and set out for our final push to the Sahara. We amused ourselves during the drive by laughing - quietly - at two Japanese guys in our group who had initially showed up wearing traditional jellabas, which was absurd enough. Somewhere along the way, they also picked up matching scarves and fashioned them into turbans, berber style, which provoked some private ridicule, as well (although, in their defense, from the back one couldn't discern their nationality and the outfit could have been deemed authentic). Finally, though, they got cold from the rain and the wind, and, refusing to remove their jellabas, they simply piled their winter coats over the flowing gowns - the straw that broke the camel's back, so to speak, particularly because their hoods were adorned with a furry trim, and the back of their coats were emblazoned with puffy appliqués of bucking horses.
The medina (center of the city) is surrounded by pink walls of 19 km crossed by nine monumental doors of Hispanic-morisco style. One of the most wonderfuls is Bab Agnaou, at the south of the city ... Its a lovely walk the one that takes you from the Koutoubia to this door ... or you can take a horse cab ...
I made it walking and took me more than an hour ... as you walk ... you have the fabolous view of the snowed Atlas ... just like SirRichard's wall watercolor of his travel diary
I think is better take a cab or a taxi because the outside of the wall is surrounded by good roads ... and you will have to walk many inside the walls where no taxi or cab can go in many of the little narrowed streets.