Tag Archives: FAQs Marrakesh

It’s hot in Marrakesh

riad with pool Riad Sapphire and Spa Marrakech

 

On those hot days in Marrakesh cool down in our lovely riad pool, a larger than average riad pool. Relax  in any of our two courtyards

small patio fountain Riad Sapphire and Spa Marrakech

 

or on the roof terrace

roof terrace riad in Marrakech Riad Sapphire and Spa

 

Book directly from our secure official website [www.riadsapphire.com] for the best deals.

Restaurant in souks of Marrakech

Un déjeuner à Marrakech

roof terrace at Marrakech restaurant un dejeuner a marrakech

Rather a long name for a restaurant, it has nevertheless earned a good reputation by providing excellent and beautifully presented meals and delicious desserts. Excellent value for money.. There are several floors with a roof terrace about three floors up—if you still have energy to mount the stairs.

It’s north along the road that leads from the Bahia Palace, keep walking until you reach a small square. If you look right, you’ll see the Jamade store offering Heritage Berbère perfumes and accessories. Looking straight ahead is the store Nina l’Étrangère selling felt hats and very reasonably-priced clothing and next to that another café. Opposite this café is Un déjeuner à Marrakech. It has just been refurbished with tasteful Moroccan tiles up the stairs and a cleaner more modern look.

2-4 Angle Rue Kennaria et Douar Graoua

Marrakech medina

Tel. 05 24 37 83 87

Cell: 06 11 27 89 19

Email: dejeuneramarrakech@yahoo.fr

Tips for travellers to Marrakech

We’re often asked for advice on how best to enjoy Marrakech. So we’ve compiled a small guide letting you know:

Best place to go to see the real Marrakech
Best place to buy souvenirs
Average cost of a meal
What you should not miss
What tourists should absolutely not do
Full text on this link: http://riadsapphire.com/things-to-do-in-marrakech/

For more information, tips for a pleasant, FAQs about Marrakesh, health-related, good time of year to go to Marrakesh, look at our blog posts:

http://chic-riads-marrakech.com/category/faqs/

Marrakech_water seller_short film on Marrakech_Suki Mokcoussin-berberes sissimorocco marrakesh

 

Bird watching trips from Marrakech

bridwatchers'guide marrakech

Home to coasts, islands, wadis, plains, forests, mountains and deserts – with such terrain it’s no surprise that Morocco is a bird-watchers paradise. You can easily travel to see birds on a day trip, or else overnight if more time is required.

You could start by heading out towards the Oukaimeden valley where a world of bird watching opens up. Resident and migrant species exist in abundance in this valley. Grab a pair of binoculars and a good bird watching book and look out for Woodchat Shrike, Common Crossbill, Hawfinch, Brambling, House, Rock and Cirl Buntings.

In amongst the rocky slopes, if you’re lucky, you may spot Blue Rock Thrush and the Levaillant’s Woodpecker.

Up at the ski resort at Oukaimeden (80km from Marrakech), it is sometimes possible to spot the Crimson-winged Finch (November to May), or the elusive Rock Sparrow, Water Pipit and Horned Lark.

Further afield, around the Tizi-n-Tichka pass, you might see the Tristram’s Warbler, raptors and Short-toed Snake Eagles. Ouarzazate is the place to head to for the chance to view the Ruddy Shelduck, and Long-billed Crested Lark, Eurasian Spoonbill and a selection of waders.

A decent book for bird-watching in Morocco is: http://www.nhbs.com/a_birdwatchers_guide_to_morocco_tefno_4859.html

Enhanced by Zemanta

Shopping, Haggling, Anti-Hassle Tips for Marrakech

Street scene in Marrakesh

Marrakech can be a culture shock for some – the almost medieval hustle and bustle of Marrakech is so completely different from what most travellers know that they often find themselves in situations to which they have no idea how to react. Here are a few tips:

Shopping in Marrakech

Shopping in Marrakech is an exceptionally unique experience. There are many beautiful items to be found: exotic Moroccan carpets, spices, textiles & yarn, metal ware, jewellery, woodwork and much more.


If you cannot face the bargaining experience, then please ask the riad for the name of an “Aladdin’s Cave” style shop, where there is no bargaining but loads of typical Moroccan trinkets and plenty of choice. It is vast, so expect to spend several hours there!

 

tassels in Marrakech, suqs, marketsbabouche slippers in Marrakesh market

 

Before hitting the souks read these few practical tips:

Haggling in Marrakech

Souks are a way of life in Morocco and you usually won’t have to go far to find one. You can get some great bargains, but you can also get ripped off! Remember that the Moroccans have a lot more experience than you when it comes to haggling. Carpet sellers or any souk holder, come to that, can be a total pain and you need to understand the rules to turn haggling into an enjoyable experience.

First, make sure you are in the right mood for some friendly haggling. If you’re not feeling energetic and positive, I’d leave it for another time. Best to do it when you’re fresh and can keep it fun. You don’t want to be growling at the end of the day when yet another merchant invites you into his store and you just want to be left alone.

Shopkeepers will normally set the initial asking price for an item several times higher to its potential selling price and you are expected to bargain every bit as hard as the shopkeeper! Otherwise, you will pay more than necessary and possibly purchase an item you don’t even want!

Be clear in your mind how much you would be prepared to pay – divide by 10 to quickly calculate the price in € and ask yourself if you would pay that amount in Europe for the item.

 

hats in place des epices, Marrakesh market

Do not point or show great enthusiasm (sometimes difficult!) but rather demonstrate indifference whether you buy or not. As a rule of thumb, offer at the most 1/3 of his price as your opening bid. If you end up paying half the original asking price, that’s about right. We have had clients who started off offering 10% of the initial asking price and ended up paying about a third – and got a great deal. They had been to India before and so had prior experience in what I’m told is a lot more rigorous market!

Stick to your gut instinct, be patient and pay only what you think is fair. Don’t be afraid to walk away if you feel you have reached your limit! This is, in fact, a great tactic as they usually come running after you and drop the price yet again!

You can mention that there are other places you want to check out before making a decision.

carpet market, rugs for sale in MarrakeshTea glasses for sale, Marrakesh markets

 

The trick is to treat the shopkeepers firmly but politely – here are a few useful phrases:

Useful Arabic phrases when haggling:

  • La! = No!
  • La, shukran! = No, thank you.
  • Mish eise hagga. = I don’t want anything.
  • If you’re getting on well with a Moroccan say “Al hamdu lillah” when either of you mentions something positive – which means “Praise God”.
  • Say “Inshallah” when referring to the future. You will find that this word is used in virtually every conversation.

Most merchants though can easily converse in several languages and call out to you as you pass in what they think is your language. And if you think you can converse in a language other than English to agree on negotiating tactics with your travelling partner, don’t be surprised if they start talking to you in that language!

Anti-hassle tips

 – Unless you are dying for a cup of tea while shopping or really want to buy something, turn down any offers of a cup of tea – this is the opening ritual for some tough bargaining and they have you as a captive audience. Westerners usually feel guilty if they don’t buy anything after having accepted some mint tea – so don’t fall into the trap to begin with!

Pastries in Marrakesh

– Don’t trust what young men on the street tell you and don’t tell them where you are staying. They sometimes deliberately tell you the wrong way!

– If they say they are the husband/wife/cousin/brother/sister of someone who works in the riad you’re staying in, don’t believe them and move on your way

– Be very clear and firm about your needs. If you show any indecision or vagueness they put on the pressure. All kinds of tricks are used to involve you in conversation – e.g. where are you from? Are you English, German, French etc…..

–  Best to remain polite, friendly but firm and walk on as if you know where you are going, even if you don’t.

 

sacks dried herbs, Marrakechmk3

Spices in Marrakech markets

 

10 must places to see in Marrakech

1. Place Jemaa el Fna’ – main square of Marrakesh
2. Ali ben Youssef Medersa (Madrassa) and Mosque
3. Musée de Marrakech
4. Koubba el Badiyyin
5. El Bahia Palace
6. Markets – the suqs
7. Majorelle Gardens and the Museum of Islamic Art
8. Saadian Tombs
9. Ramparts of Marrakesh
10. Palais Dar Si Said (Museum of Moroccan Arts)

1. Place Jemaa el Fna’ – the main square in Marrakesh

The Place Jemaa el Fna’ (or as transliterated from French Djemma el Fna) is really the heart of Marrakech. It is a large central square in the old city (Medina) and during the day it’s a perfect place to grab a freshly-squeezed orange juice and a handful of dates. At the end of the afternoon the Jemaa el Fna’ transforms into an entertainers paradise — if you’re into snake charming, juggling, music and that sort of thing. Snack stalls are replaced with stalls offering more substantial fare and the square comes alive with entertainment that hasn’t changed much since medieval times.

The Djemma el Fna is surrounded by cafe’s overlooking the square so you can just relax and watch the world go by if you’re tired of jostling the crowds below. Be prepared to be asked for money when you take photos of the performers and stop to watch the entertainment.

marrakech-1 mk2
mk3 m4

2. Ali ben Youssef Madrassa (Medersa) and Mosque

The Madrassa (or Medersa as transliterated from French) was a Koranic school (the university of the day) built in the 16th century by the Saadians and could house up to 900 religious students. The architecture is beautifully preserved and you can explore the tiny rooms where the students used to live. The mosque is adjacent to the Madrassa.

benyoussef

 

3. Musée de Marrakech

A visit to the Madrassa ben Youssef can be combined with a trip to the museum, which is in a palace built in the late 19th century for Mehdi Mnebbi, a former Moroccan defense minister and ambassador to Britain. Post-independence, the palace was taken over by the state and gradually fell into disrepair before being privately restored and reopening in 1997 as the museum. The former palace now houses temporary contemporary art exhibitions (some pieces are for sale) in what were the palace kitchens, as well as permanent displays of traditional arts and crafts in what were the main hall and the now-restored hammam. The building’s centerpiece is a peaceful covered inner courtyard with a towering brass chandelier hung above a central fountain. There is a small cafe and a bookshop in the entrance courtyard.

chandelier-in-marrakech-museum-marrakech musee-de-marrakech

4. Koubba el Badiyyin

Across the square in front of the Ali ben Youssef mosque is the Koubba el Badiyyin, the sole surviving structure of the city’s Almoravid founders other than the mudbrick city walls.

A combined ticket gives same-day access to the Medersa, Museum, and Koubba el Badiyyin.

The Medersa, Musée de Marrakech and the Kouba el Badiyin is a 1-minute walk from Riad Chi-Chi.

koubba-el-baridiyin-marrakechalmoravides-dome-marrakech

5. El Bahia Palace

This palace is a wonderful example of the best of Moroccan architecture. There’s lots of detail, arches, light, engravings and what’s more it was built as a harem’s residence, which makes it even more interesting. The palace is open daily with a break for lunch although it is closed when the royal family visits.

bahia

6. The markets – the suqs

The suqs (or souqs) are basically undercover markets that sell everything from chickens to high-quality crafts. The suqs of Marrakech are considered to be among the best in Morocco, so if you like shopping and bargaining you’ll enjoy yourself tremendously. Even if you don’t like shopping, the souqs are a cultural experience you wouldn’t want to miss. Souqs are divided into small areas that specialize in a certain good or trade. The metal workers all have their little shops clustered together, as do the tailors, butchers, jewellers, wool dyers, spice merchants, carpet salesmen and so on.

The suqs are situated north of the Jemaa el Fna’ and finding your way around the narrow alleyways can be a bit tricky. Guides are plentiful in Marrakech, so you can always use those services, but getting lost in the chaos is also part of the fun. It’s often more interesting to peek in to souqs where local wares are being produced, than to be taken to yet another carpet shop by your guide. If you get lost, just ask for directions back to the Jemma el Fna’.

1215-3colourful-tassels1215-1

7. Majorelle Gardens and the Musuem of Islamic Art

In the 1920’s, French artists Jacques and Louis Majorelle created a stunning garden in the middle of Marrakech’s new town. The Majorelle gardens are filled with color, plants of all shapes and sizes, flowers, fish ponds and perhaps the most pleasing aspect, tranquility. The designer Yves Saint Laurent now owns the gardens and has also built himself a house on the property. The building that gets most of the attention however is the bright blue and yellow building the Marjorelles used as their studio and which now houses the Museum of Islamic Art. This small museum includes some good examples of Moroccan tribal art, carpets, jeweler, and pottery.

The gardens and museum are open daily with a 2 hour lunch break from 12-2pm.

marjorelle-gardenjardin

8. Saadian Tombs

The Saadian dynasty ruled much of southern Morocco during the 16th and 17th centuries. Sultan Ahmed al-Mansour created these tombs for himself and his family in the late 16th century, 66 of them are buried here. The tombs were sealed up rather than destroyed in the 17th century and were only re-discovered in 1917. Consequently they are beautifully preserved and the intricate mosaic is stunning. Despite being situated in the heart of the somewhat hectic old town (medina) the tombs are surrounded by a nice peaceful garden.

The tombs are open daily except Tuesday. It’s advisable to get there early and avoid the tour groups.

saadian-tombs-archsaadian-tombs-tileworkplasterwork-saadian-tombs

9. The Ramparts of Marrakech

The walls of the medina have been standing since the 13th century and make for a wonderful early morning stroll. Each gate is a work of art in themselves and the walls run for twelve miles. The Bab ed-Debbagh gate is the entry point for the tanneries and provides an excellent photo opportunity full of vivid colors from the dyes used. It is a little smelly though.

A great way to see the ramparts is to take a horse and carriage ride.  Late afternoon when you still want to see things but are tired, hire a carriage and ride in state around the ramparts.

marrakech-turreted-wallsmarrakech-city-wallsmarrakech-city-gate

10. Palais Dar Si Said (Museum of Moroccan Arts)

A palace and museum in one and well worth a visit. The palace is opulent and beautiful in itself with a lovely courtyard where you can relax and take some pictures. The museum’s displays are well laid out and include jewelery, costumes, ceramics, daggers and other artifacts. The museum is open daily with a couple of hours break for lunch.

musee-dar-si-said-marrakechdoorway-dar-si-saidbhou-dar-si-said-museum-marrakech

What is a good time of year to go to Morocco?

Marrakech weather is sunny most of the time, making Marrakech an ideal year-round city break destination.

Most visitors and residents consider spring, early summer and autumn to be the best time to visit Marrakech. March to June and September and October have some of the best weather in Marrakech, avoiding the extremes while being warm enough for hotel swimming pools. It can rain between November and March. Average temperatures in Marrakech vary widely between night and day. Winter weather in Marrakech is mild and generally sunny by day but prepare for the winter nights, which can be very cold.

Palm trees in Marrakesh

Source: www.bbc.co.uk/weather

Are you wondering if Marrakech is worth a visit?

Marrakech city walls, the rampartsMorocco is a fascinating mix of Islamic, Arab, African and Berber cultures with the added dash of French culture. The people are very friendly and extremely hospitable. Throw in some pleasant cities, eye-boggling landscapes, colourful people, excellent beaches, good trekking, plenty of interesting shopping and there’s something for everyone.

Marrakech is a uniquely exotic short holiday destination offering an astonishing sensual profusion of colours, aromas, sounds, sights and sensations in a medieval atmosphere. Explore the souks, watch fire eaters and snake charmers in Jemaa-el-Fna, sample incredible food, dine on romantic rooftop restaurants, sip mint tea in elegant colonial-style cafes and generally soak up the atmosphere. Staying in a riad, the traditional Moroccan home with an inner courtyard, is the ideal way to experience the authentic Moroccan way of life without having to give up your creature comforts.

carpet market, rugs for sale in Marrakesh

You just have to experience the fantastic atmosphere in “La Place” Jemaa-el-Fna’, a world heritage site, with its vast array of food stalls offering you everything from freshly-pressed orange juice to freshly-cooked brochettes (skewered meat), quite apart from the snake charmers, storytellers, dancers, acrobats, fire-eaters and fortune-tellers. It attracts tourist and locals alike. As dusk falls, over 100 food stalls are set up and clouds of smoke drift over the square as the evening wears on. Wander around until you see something you like, then squeeze onto one of the benches. Bread and fingers are used instead of cutlery and orange juice is brought from one of the many juice stalls.

water carrier Marrakech Place Jemaa el Fna'

Surrounding “La Place” are also several restaurants and cafés, some with roof terraces overlooking the goings-on in the square.

Snake charmers, main square Marrakesh, Place Jemaa el Fna'

Other places to see include the Marjorelle Gardens, Jardin Menara, Jardin Agdal, Bahia Palace, El Badi Palace, Saadian Tombs, the Musée de Marrakech, Medersa Ben Youssef (Koranic School) and Museum Dar Si Said.

FAQs Riad-related (Riad Sapphire and Spa in Marrakech)

 

loggia and arcade_riad in Marrakesh_riad sapphire and spa
upper floor arcade in Riad Sapphire, Marrakesh

 

Please scroll down for the answers.

What are check-in and check-out times in the riad?
How far is Marrakech airport from the riad?
Can friends stay over in a riad in Marrakech?
Can I do laundry in the riad?
Should I tip the riad staff?
Can I smoke in the riad?

What are check-in and check-out times in the riad?

We are very flexible about the times for checking-in and checking-out as we realize this is most often directly related to your flight times. You may access your room likely just after noon or perhaps earlier if the previous guests left early.

Check out time is 11 a.m. on your departure day. If you have a late flight and the room is not required, arrangements may be made for a later check out. If that is not the case, then you may leave your luggage in the riad while you either do some last-minute shopping or just want to relax in the riad.

There is no extra charge for this.

How far is Marrakech airport from the riad?

The drive from the airport is approximately 15 minutes. Our driver drops you at the parking area at Sidi ben Slimane. From there you can take a porter to help with your luggage (20dh). It is approximately 5-minute walk and the porter will know the way.

We strongly recommend that guests use our airport transfer service priced at 150dh each way for two people booked in advance. Our driver will meet you at airport arrivals and will call ahead to notify the riad of your arrival.

You can download from our website the directions to the riad from the parking area at Sidi ben Slimane in a pdf file under the Directions tab. There are photos included to orient you a bit showing you the way from the parking next to the Nasser mosque to the riad and back. Best to print them out and have them handy in your hand luggage on arrival and during your stay in Marrakech.

Can friends stay over in a riad in Marrakech?

It is forbidden by law for resident Moroccans to stay over in a licensed Maison d’Hôte with a non- Moroccan.

Can I do laundry in the riad?

If you wish laundry to be done, we will take it for you to a local laundry, ‘blanchisserie’, in the medina. They are not expensive. If you require items to be ironed, then for a small charge this can be done in the riad for you.

Should I tip the riad staff?

Tipping is at your discretion if you feel the staff has given you great service. Since the level of customer service is due to a team effort by the manager, assistant manager, cleaning lady and the cook, the staff mostly share the tips. It is up to you if you wish to tip one particular member of the staff who has been particularly helpful beyond the norm.

The amount of the tip is entirely up to you. Often we are asked how much is reasonable, and would suggest that for a three-night stay 100 dirhams for the staff would be suitable.

Can I smoke in the riad?

We ask that guests who wish to smoke do so on the roof terrace so as not to disturb other guests. We thank you for your consideration.

FAQs about Marrakech

Marrakech turreted walls, ramparts

 

Please scroll down for the answers.

Can I get alcohol in Marrakech?
Where can I smoke?
What languages are useful in Morocco?
How much should I tip in restaurants?
Should I tip a taxi driver?
What guidebook do you recommend?
Can I use my own mobile phone in Marrakech?
What is the best way to travel within Marrakech?
What is the best way to travel outside of Marrakech?
What is a shared taxi?
What’s the difference between a ‘petit’ and a ‘grand’ taxi?
How much do taxis cost?
Is it safe in the medina of Marrakech?
What if I’m approached by someone who says they work for the riad?
Will I get lost in the Medina?
I’d like to see more but I’m tired, what do I do?

Can I get alcohol in Marrakech?

Yes, alcohol is served in many restaurants, hotels and bars. There is no alcohol available in the cafés around the main square, but you will find more expensive restaurants that have an alcohol license and can serve alcohol.

In the new town of Guèliz there are several European style bars as well as a vibrant night club scene. Alcohol is also served indoors in some cafés like Café de La Poste.

Local Moroccan wines can be excellent and are much less expensive than those imported from France.

Where can I smoke?

Generally, restaurants and cafés all allow smoking. Some bars and restaurants may have smoking and non-smoking areas.

The only caveat is not to smoke in public during the month of Ramadan when the locals do not smoke during daylight hours.

In Riad Sapphire guests may smoke on the roof terrace. We ask guests to be respectful of the wishes of other guests.

How much should I tip in restaurants?

Tipping is common and expected for most services. A gratuity of 10% to 15% in restaurants is the norm for good service.

Should I tip a taxi driver?

If the driver has put on his meter, and it is say 9.80 dirhams, round up the fare to 10 dirhams. If he has not put on the meter, instead asking for a flat rate, there is no need to tip.

What guidebook do you recommend?

There are many excellent guides in print, amongst them:

guide – Morocco

Lonely Planet Marrakech Encounter

Sawday’s Special Places to Stay – Morocco

Time Out “Morocco – Perfect places to stay, eat & explore”

Footprint Africa “Marrakech, High Atlas & Essaouira” with popout map

Rough Guide – which has the best street map we’ve seen of the Marrakesh medina.

Another good one with street maps – not heavy to carry and with enough useful information is “Marrakesh Everyman CityMap Guides”.

Can I use my own mobile phone in Marrakesh?

You can use your own phone if it meets the following specs…

Uses GSM (AT&T, T-Mobile, purchased abroad, etc.)world-capable (quad-band, or dual band international)”unlocked” to accept any sim card from any carrier.

For more information on this, please try this site: http://www.rangeroamer.com/countries/Morocco.aspx

Another solution is to purchase a local SIM card which is not expensive. To find out more, try this site: http://www.telestial.com/view_product.php?ID=LSIM-MA01

Tip: The riad offers local pay-as-you-go cell phones to its guests so they can contact us if they need help. They are excellent for local calls. We charge a refundable deposit of 100dh for this service. Top-ups can be bought at any téléboutique for 20, 50 or 100 Dirhams. Téléboutiques are found all over the medina – they have blue and white signs so are easily recognizable.

What is the best way to travel within Marrakesh?

The best way of getting around Marrakech is on foot, especially in the Medina and the souks, where it is the only sensible option. However you will need transport to visit more distant Marrakech sights and to shuttle between the Medina and the new part of town. The best options are normally taxis, many of which can be shared.

taxis are plentiful, cheap and normally the most convenient way to visit Marrakech attractions outside the Medina.

What is the best way to travel outside of Marrakesh?

There are train connections to many cities in Morocco, e.g. Casablanca, Rabat, Tangiers. Where there is no rail connection, then SNCF (the state railway company) operates comfortable, air conditioned buses. This would apply to places like Essaouira and Agadir.

You can check the times of trains/buses on the website http://www.oncf.ma/ It is only in French and it is not currently possible to book online, but I think they’re working on it.

If you are travelling to small villages around Marrakech, then you have the option of private taxis, tour companies, shared taxis, local buses.

What is a shared taxi?

This is usually a grand old Mercedes with seating for 5 people. There are a couple of spots in Marrakech where they wait for passengers. Depending on the destination they are at:

Doukkala (for destinations outside of Marrakech including Asfi, Essaouira, Chechaoua, Al Jadida, Beni Mallal)

el Rab (also for destinations outside of Marrakech including Tahanoute, Imlil, Oukaimaiden, Moulay Ibrahim)

el M’aash towards the mellah, just south of the main square Jenaa el Fna’ (for within Marrakech).

The idea is for the driver to fill up his taxi and divide the fare amongst the 5 passengers. Once the taxi is full, you leave. If you don’t want to keep waiting, then you can pay for the remaining empty spots and off you go.

What’s a “petit” and a “grand” taxi?

There are two types of Marrakech taxis. Grand taxis are usually old Mercedes cars carrying up to six people for a fixed fare on specific routes and are allowed to go beyond the city limits. Many grand taxis start from Marrakech bus station, the Place Jemaa el Fna’ and the post office in the new town.

taxis can be hailed down, are smaller and can take up to 3 passengers.

Private taxis can be hired for city tours and excursions but would be more expensive.

How much do taxis cost?

Taxi drivers are supposed to put on their meters. Sometimes they don’t and just ask for a flat rate, 20 dirhams. Again, some have got lucky in the past, such that they sometimes increase this amount to 40 dirhams or even more, whatever they can get away with.

Taxis can charge 50% more at night.

If they have not put their meter on, then you can ask them to. Either they will do that (fares start at 1.70 dirhams during the day and 2.50 dirhams at night), or they will state simply that it does not work. At that point you have a choice to either agree on a fare or get another taxi—depends on if you’re in a hurry and if there are plenty of other empty taxis around and perhaps how hot you are!

Another tactic is to let the taxi driver take you to your destination, get out of the taxi and give him what you think is the correct fare. You need to have a fairly good idea of taxi fares to do this confidently. As a guideline, the taxi fare from the Medina to Guéliz is between 10 dirhams and 15 dirhams during the day. Add on 50% more at night. Compared to European taxi fares Moroccan taxis are really good value, so there is no need to haggle over 5 dirhams.

Around noon and late afternoon it is harder to find a taxi because either they are changing shift and are not interested in taking new fares, or because they are really busy. If you’re standing by the side of the road trying to flag down a taxi, they may stop and ask where you’re headed – if it’s in a direction they don’t want to go, they will say they can’t do it – especially if they already have a passenger in the car going somewhere else. So if they don’t stop, it’s not because they are being picky or don’t like tourists – in general they do, because they pay more! It’s because they are heading somewhere else or are going off shift.

Remember that, at the end of the day, a taxi driver may take home between 50 and 100 dirhams, as he has to pay the holder of the license, and the owner of the taxi if he doesn’t own it, and most don’t seem to own their own taxis. In addition, he has to pay for gas and repairs.

It is not required to tip taxi drivers, but if you’re paying according to the meter, it is nice to round up the amount.

If you take a taxi for a day’s excursion, again it is not really required to pay a tip in addition to the rate for the day. It’s entirely up to you.

Is it safe in the medina of Marrakech?

The medina (old city) is generally very safe, probably safer than many European cities. As the small alleyways can be confusing, we recommend that you ask our gardien to accompany you until you know the way yourself—one time is usually enough for you to orient yourself.

From the Place (main square Jemaa al Fna’) at night, we recommend that you get a taxi back and then you have just a short walk back to the riad.

To prevent problems the City of Marrakech has a Brigade touristique with a main office in the square, Jemaa el Fna’.

What if I’m approached by someone saying they work for you?

We would not allow anyone to do this – so you can be sure if it happens that it is not true. It is a ploy to get you to go with them and thereby earn some money. Good idea to take a photo of them if you have a camera on you, so we can identify them and take action.

Will I get lost in the medina?

Very probably, but that is part of the fun. Everyone finds their way back. The best way to orient yourself is to have a map – we provide you with a city map upon your arrival and give you a small orientation session – and then you memorize where one area is in relation to another. There is no point in trying to follow street names – there are too many, often they are not signed and if they are, they may be in Arabic only, not even the locals know all the street names.

For instance, if you are going to the main square, Place Jemaa el Fna’, you will see that it is south of us, so you keep going in a southerly direction. There will be a couple of zig-zags along the way because of the lay of the buildings, but you resume your southerly path and you eventually come to the square. I would warn you though that your attention will be constantly diverted with all the wares on offer in the small stores.

If you think you’re lost, a good rule-of-thumb is to follow where most people are going as they will likely be searching for a main thoroughfare. Once you get there, you can re-orient yourself.

If you need to ask directions, we always advise guests to ask either a lady or a shopkeeper as they will unlikely be inclined to follow you and ask for some ‘tip’ for having shown the way. It’s not always a great idea to stand in the middle of the street studying a street map because you will be quickly met with several offers to ‘help’ you.

Pedestrians generally use the right-hand side of the small street, so that bikes, mopeds use the centre.

If you have time, and you’re on holiday so hopefully you do, then just wander – that’s part of the charm of the medina.

I’d like to see more but I’m tired, what do I do?

You can take a tour by horse and carriage, known by the French word ‘calèche’. It’s a great way to leisurely look at the surroundings without getting tired. You can tell the driver where you would like to go – the ramparts (recommended), the various parks (jardins), the Menara garden [the driver will wait for you as you go to look at the summer house and the gardens], the new town of Guèliz, even the Palmeraie.

You can find the calèches at the main square, Place Jemaa el Fna’, or near big hotels in the new town, outside the Majorelle gardens and various other places around the square and Guèliz.