Exploring the Souks of Marrakech with a Personal Shopper at Your Side
To the uninitiated, a visit to the souks of Marrakech in Morocco can be quite an overwhelming experience. Myriads of alleyways lead would-be shoppers past a mind-boggling selection of goods, while merchants call out, anxious to assure you that they have exactly what you are looking for (even if you’re not sure yourself) – and at a very good price too!
The souks of Morocco, of which Marrakech is arguably the most famous, offer shoppers an opportunity to pick up some authentic Moroccan wares to take home, while at the same time offering insight into a fascinating aspect of Moroccan commercial culture – that of bartering, or haggling. Many travelers return time and again to enjoy the unique sights, sounds and aromas of the Moroccan souks, and some have developed the art of bargaining to such an extent that they are able to offer their services as a “personal shopper” to newcomers. Moreover, a number of tour operators offer this service to their clients.
Personal shoppers will either accompany visitors around the market, stepping in once the buyer has chosen an item to assist in the bargaining process and check that the item is authentic, or the personal shopper will guide buyers through the network of alleyways to find specified items on their shopping lists at the many specialist stores. Which option visitors make use of often depends on how much time they want to spend in the market, but either way it is best to set an entire day, if not more, aside to explore the souks of Marrakech.
Even if your budget is limited and your shopping list is short, the souks offer fascinating insight into the culture and daily lives of Moroccans. For example, shops specializing in kitchenware stock a multitude of items that are commonly found in Moroccan kitchens, such as tagines (ceramic containers used to cook the popular Moroccan dish called tagine), delicate sets of tea glasses for serving mint tea which Moroccans enjoy at any time of the day, decorated ceramic containers in all shapes and sizes, couscous strainers, spices and spice containers and much more.
Food vendors, traditional crafts, cosmetics, perfumes, clothing, shoes, jewelry, basket-ware, leather items of all descriptions and, of course, carpets, carpets and more carpets are just some of the features of a Moroccan souk, but often it is the incredibly vibrant atmosphere that keeps shoppers coming back for more. Certainly a visit to exotic Morocco would not be complete without exploring a traditional souk – with or without a personal shopper at your side.