Relaxing in a Moroccan Hammam
While traveling in Morocco will enable you to experience numerous new sights and sounds, it can get very hot and dusty. Indeed, the desert dust seems to find its way into every nook and cranny and the heat just makes you tired and wary by the end of the day. You could return to your hotel for a cold shower – or you could make the most of your visit by enjoying a trip to a local hammam.
There are a number of hammams in Morocco and you will find them in virtually every city. Hammams are traditional Moroccan bath houses, which are descended from the Roman and Turkish baths found in other countries. The places are used to not only revitalize the body, but also tp socialize and engage in gossip. There is plenty of very hot, running water and not too much steam. The real adventure would be to visit a public Hamman in the city’s medina. Locals generally use these at least once a week and while the buildings and facilities themselves are relatively simplistic, the experience and customs at these hammans are the real deal. Public hammams such as these usually feature three rooms. The first one is for bathing and has very little steam. The second and third rooms are far hotter and steamier and are used for lounging and massage. A small fee will provide you with a little hole for your belongings and two or three black rubber buckets which you can use to access all the hot water you could possibly want. However, it is best to leave your more valuable possessions back at your hotel and it is also good to remember to use the water somewhat sparingly as Morocco is a desert country. A teyba (washing person) can be hired for an extra fee if you don’t want to bath yourself. The atmosphere is usually friendly and it is good to keep an open mind and be friendly yourself. It is also wise to remember that most hammams are segregated, while others may have special hours set aside for men and for women.
If the idea of getting a little more personal with the locals at a hammam in Morocco is not your cup of tea, you can always try a private hammam. You’ll usually find these at hotels and riads and they are much more luxurious and private, but they are also much more expensive. Only guests at the hotels or riads can usually gain access to these hammams, which means you likely won’t see too many other users while you’re enjoying your bath. Regardless of which type you visit, it is good to purchase a few extras for your trip to the hammam. You might want to take a small rubber mat to sit on or a plastic stool if you don’t want to sit on the ground, a small plastic bowl for pouring water over yourself, and a scuffing mitt known as a kese. You can also take towels and toiletries – much as you normally would if you were going to shower or bath at home. Visiting a hammam in Morocco can be a truly eye-opening experience that you should not miss out on!