Kasbah is a tourist trap I think There is no need to enter is not alot to see inside BE CAREFUL at Bab Oudaia, the entrance to the Kasbah.There are Henna woman do not trust them and avoid them They can steal and rip you off also guides who will try to take money from you and be friendly..
WHen you arrive at chelleah castle you wil see some men waiting for you and try to guide you and be friendly DO NOT trust them.
They want money and they try to be your tour guide etc.
also when you get in on your own they wil some people in who try to guide you out if you are lost do not trust them,when I was there one boy told me to follow him to the exit because he knew I did not trust them and instead I followed a couple who were also a tourist and got out and realised that the boy was guiding me to the wrong destination.
Thanks god I did not trust him...
Well inside the challeh is bit like amaze so you can get lost..
It is very common for a tourist to approach a local stranger in case he needs to ask for some directions, etc.
This is a tourist approaching a local stranger. But when a local stranger approaches you first in Morocco, especially in Rabat, be vary cautious.
One local guy, around 35-40 years old approached me while I was in Medina looking for a restaurant to grab lunch. Said he wants to tour me around the Medina which he is sure I have not visited yet. He seems nice and weak to do anything bad (cannot walk straight because of his left foot injury), so I walked with him around.
We walked for minutes and entered in many very narrow alleys and he is correct, I have never been on those spots inside the Medina. After about 30 to 45 minutes of walking, we stopped at one stall selling different spices. Then, he asked me which spice I need to buy.
When I said I am not buying any, he quickly uttered that he thought I want to buy some spices that is why he accompanied me to his stall. Yes, you read it correctly. The stall is owned by the guy and we walked toward his stall and kept saying that I need to buy something. Repeatedly I said nothing I need from what he sells (all spices for cooking), that is when some of his helpers from the store came out and here is nothing I can do but to buy some dried peppers for 10 MAD and left.
Good thing, nothing happened bad though. Until then, I never entertain someone I do not know who approaches me first.
Never never let someone make you Henna, it's a new scam of pickpockets, if you are single you can have problem, while the girl make you henna on the two hands for example another one can be doing his job with your bag and other valuable you left close you, having your attention attracted by the speech of the Henna's girl.
Be sure to drink only bottled water that has the seal unbroken. The water is likely to give you stomach upsets. Also beware of being given drinks with ice cubes. Orange juice is also likely to be watered down and of course anything like salads and raw vegetables will have been washed in water.
The only place in Rabat where we encountered any Faux Guides was at Bab Oudaia, the entrance to the Kasbah. We were harrassed somewhat by a guy claiming that entrance to the Kasbah was forbidden for foreigners and he refused to leave us alone.
Eventually he became quite intimidating, having a go at me for speaking too fast (I'd basically had enough of him by this point) and making comments about foreigners. He also wanted to steer us down a side street away from the single main street which made me rather uncomfortable because there really isn't anything to see down there.
You do not need a guide to take you through the Kasbah. It's small enough to negotiate on your own and at any rate there aren't really any major sights to have pointed out.
When a girl in Oudaia Kasbah asks you to show how nice of Henna ... just a small flower ... she would say that but she will make henna all your hand then ask for money even you try to say no...no...no! My friend let her made a small flower ,she asked for 100 Dirham! Finally it's end up at 20 Dirham. It is the way how she make money from tourist. When we walked out Oudaia Kasbah I saw her talked with a man ( guess he is her boss ) and pointed at us ... then that man came to ask for more money. What did we do? We ran to our taxi ... the driver tried to negotiate ... it didnt work ... I told him I will call the police and shut the door ... told the driver ''Go Go GO''
I hired a taxi to take me round the sites of Rabat.
He took me to the palace and turned into an archway. We were stopped by the security and I was made to get out of the taxi and enter a building. I was told to wait on a bench ouside a small office, and then taken in to face two uniformed policemen who demanded to know what I was doing there. Now, my French is rather rusty, but I said I was on a taxi tour round the town.
- where is the taxi?
They fetched the driver and a conversation ensued with the driver shouting and waving his ID about..
The police then again asked why I wanted to enter the palace. I said I didn't, and that the driver had driven me there.
In the end they took my name, passport number , and then we drove through the palace grounds.
I'm still not sure what it's all about except that the driver says the security are wary of foreigners.
Actually there was little to see, and I avoided taking any photos if a uniformed person was in sight!
A few warnings for Rabat's medina:
1. do not drive a car there unless you want to drive backwards on narrow streets when another car drive onwards; well, driving there is allowed and there are no one-way streets but the streets are often too narrow for cars and local traffic is ruled by not written law made by and for locals - that's why I could see one-way traffic on streets with no signs about it.
2. parking a car in the medina reminds me some... Italian or Greek towns and cities - 10 cm from the wall of a house (fold your external mirror first). But even... it's more complicated to find out a car in the Rabat's medina than in any Italian/Greek city. Some streets have no names and there are no exact maps.
3. do not walk alone off the beaten path tiny streets and generally do not walk there at night (and what for to do it?) but... I was told that it's safe as well haha.
1. Do not expect any direction signs to tourist facilities and attractions and any public info on points of toursist interest in Rabat - just one exception on my picture. A map and good travel guide to Rabat (Morocco) is highly recommended.
2. Public restrooms/toilets - I didn't find any, I used touristy or local restaurants - usually not sterile, but clean, once or twice I couldn't use them... too dirty and stinking badly.
3. Safety and pickpocketing: I've heard it's a problem but I didn't meet any victim. Just think about it before you start to walk around and be careful, especially watch your valuables all the time. I was warned not to walk at night in the medina but I was told that it's safe as well. I parked my car on a gas/petrol station for a night ($2).
4. Opening hours: the Archeological Museum was closed the day I wanted to visit it, hmm... the other days it was open 9.00 am - 12.00 am and 2.30 pm - 5 pm.
There are white, goblet-shaped flowers growing on some trees in the gardens of Chellah. There is an information sign (in Arabic and French only) which says that they are poisonous. OK, who would eat flowers, but... better do not touch them.
Local guides call the trees with these flowers - the trees of mother - in - law. Well, the bad opinion on mothers - in - law is common in various cultures, I see. I personally, wonder why :-).
I was weary of the printed pamphlets, better off easying your mind by going to the train station and checking the departure times (go to the window, sometimes the times posted on the board change at last minute's notice).
We went to a restaurant in the medina. Nice place, with a balcony that overlooks the main road of the Medina.
When we were finished dining, most shops were closed and there was a complete other atmosphere than on our way in. It looked beautiful but not all the people looked that nice.
After dinner the innkeeper guided us back to the gate. Just to be safe he sad.
Don't wander through the medina at night after closing time.
BEWARE of pickpockets and scam artists!
Here are some preventive measures that I've drawn up (see list below). I hope it'd be of some use to you too.
This is especially for the lady traveler: Please avoid becoming a prime target for thieves. Try and choose your travel wardrobe wisely, eliminating too obvious designer dresses (like having a Versace 'Medusa' logo stamped all over your blouse. It's a sure way of telling the thieves to 'COME ROB ME!') and too fancy jewelry. A savvy female world traveler would want to remain as inconspicuous as possible.... without looking dowdy!
If you can, do try and carry a bright scarf in your bag. It's perfect for tying your camera case to your luggage cart. Hey, just imagine a thief's surprise when he tries to 'snatch and run'!
If you can, strap your handbag across your body with the purse in front. And rest your hand on your bag at ALL times. But don't do it too conspicuously though.... Just act as nonchalently as possible and the thieves/ pickpockets won't suspect a thing.
However, IF someone tries to mug you, avoid harm by giving your purse up immediately... BECAUSE...
you'll be carrying your real valuables i.e. your extra cash, credit cards and ATM cards under your clothes, next to your body in a cotton money belt or you would have already stashed them deep inside your jeans pocket! Right? :-))
And back at the hotel, bring your purse/ money and your watch into the bathroom when you're
showering. This way you'll know they'd be safe. Better be safe than sorry.
Remember this important rule of thumb when you're out partying or dining or looking for a holiday
romance: 99% of the people who offer a female traveler food or drink are simply being kind and want to get to know you better. BUT, be very wary of the remaing 1%. Drugging is always a possibility and you could wake up to find all your money and credit cards gone. I'm serious, ladies.
Never, NEVER count your money in public!!. This is an open invitation to be robbed!
Are you really interested to fool these scam artists and pickpockets completely? Once you reach Rabat, try and buy something at the local grocers/ shops. Then use one of their plastic bags to carry your purse and your camera. No one will ever guess that you're toting money and an expensive Nikon camera.... They'd think you are just buying some fruit juice and/ or mineral water!
Be extra careful when you're walking inside the souk/ Medina where crowds of people will push against you.
It never hurts to be pickpocket savvy, does it? Enjoy your vacation.
Photo Below: The Mausoleum of King Mohamed V found here in Rabat.
Modern Rabat is clean and open,
perhaps a bit too hot during
the summer .
But around it, there are both
old Muslim quarters as well
as beautiful remains from
all periods of Moroccan history.