While those unknown streets, haggling shopkeepers, and dubious characters can be off-putting, the Medinas and souks of Casablanca are magnificent places to explore and shop from. Check out the following tips for staying safe and well in the city.
Souk, Medina & Quartier:
The Medina is the old significant part of the city with high walls of stone (like you will see in Fes and Marrakesh) and is split into Quartiers. Every quartier has a Masjid, a communal bread oven, a hammam (bathhouse), a water fountain, and a madrasa (educational organization), which all serve the community there. Souks are the conventional markets and are frequently divided into parts for the different trades. You will see spice sellers, herbalists, tanners, metal workers, and food souks congregated on the trade-particular streets. Souks are a labyrinth of narrow streets and alleys, and it is simple to get lost. Watch out for the landmarks, like an arch or a steps flight, so if you have to revisit after dark, they can simply be picked out.
It is not a great idea to roam around all alone after dark in Tangier or Casablanca. Rabat, Marrakesh, and Fes are safer places, but it is excellent to stick to the well-lit sightseer areas after getting dark. The major hazard in the souks is the mopeds that dash around at high speed. That, coupled with wagons and mule carts, can make sauntering a bit of a challenge. The unwritten rule in Morocco, but not Fes, is to roam on the street’s right side. Keep that in mind when you see an approaching moped, stick to the right, and evade any unexpected movements.
Take the earphones out, and pass on the audio trip, as you won’t listen to anything or anybody approaching you from your back. In the Fes medina, individuals saunter more on the left, if they obey any rule at all. The busy Medina of Fes junctions are chaos because everybody just pushes their way through. A note on earpieces, though, we found them astonishingly effective as a way for warding off touts! Frequently worn without sound, for security purposes, but sellers would not bother you beyond making a bit dance motion and pointing at your ears when having them on.
Etiquette of the Souk:
Being photographed isn’t something the society likes, mainly ladies. It is great to ask earlier for avoiding having the cam damaged, or upsetting the locals. Tipping is anticipated for providing a service in Casablanca, so if somebody guides you, or assists you, they’ll be expecting a few coins in return. It is a tradition there to haggle for stuff in the shops, and it is contemplated best not to ask the cost unless you absolutely desire to purchase. Walking off from a deal halfway through is one method for getting a delayed haggle moving in the favor, but just if you actually intend to purchase. But if you begin a deal, walking off is contemplated rude and is likely to reason distress.
Agree on shake hands and a cost, and above all, treat it as an understanding and not a fight. A few tourists have said that sellers in the well-liked traveler souks are beginning at the astronomical costs, waiting for you to haggle the way down to a price that’s still way over the chances. Understand that much of the silver utilized in jewelry is now really imported, as sellers try to keep pace with traveler demand. Do some research, and try to decide a fair cost for what you desire to purchase.
In the west, the cost of anything is based on the charges to produce, transport, and vend it. In places where haggling is practiced, the cost is based more on the value the purchaser places on the creation. Decide the max cost you would be eager to disburse for a product and negotiate accordingly. A vendor will never vend at a (net) loss.
A few personal safety instructions:
Losing your way in the marketplace is not good. And if you have not had an official tour guide, you can be taken anywhere you do not desire to be. If you’re lost, saunter into a restaurant or shop and ask for the way, the vendor will be more than pleased to assist. The majority of hostels have maps of the markets, and it assists in getting the staff to spot and write the site for you.
Attitude is key; if you enter a souk or medina with low expectations, you will almost certainly have an unhelpful experience. Try to enjoy it; saunter with a sense of reason, with an optimistic attitude, and you actually will get more out of the occasion. Most locals are welcoming and are not out to get you.
Casablanca is an extremely conservative place, so dressing accordingly (covering knees, shoulders, and everything in between; shirt not too tight and long shirt covering the butt) assists in minimizing the undesired attention, and the locals will value it. If you feel you are getting a lot of attention, take a scarf over the hair, and you will be treated more like a local lady, i.e., respected or ignored.