Marrakech: Prepare to get lost

Djemaa El-Farna Square

GETTING lost in Marrakech is pretty much guaranteed.

Road signs are limited, signposts to attractions aren’t always correct and every map you look at is different.

From the outset our first day was destined for failure when our hotel gave us a handrawn map.
On leaving the riad we soon discovered it was the most pointless map ever. Directions were given in relation to arches but we didn’t find any arches.
One wrong turn led to several wrong turns and we became stuck in the souk minefield following incorrect signs until we eventually gave up and bought another map.

Even the locals try to confuse or distract you by telling you the road is closed or giving you wrong directions. There are some brash young boys who will try to be helpful and show you the way and then ask for money.
Everything in Marrakech comes at a price whether it is for directions, taking a photo or looking at a snake charmer. A market seller was even willing to pay an impressive two million camels for my friend.

After spending three hours lost, going round in circles we soon realised; ignore the friendly helpers and don’t bother asking policemen for help either as they’ll give you wrong information too.
Trust no-one!

The chaos, confusing souks and getting lost in the narrow streets is part of the attraction of Marrakech’s Old City.

But it is also it’s downfall.

As tourists you won’t make a single journey without getting hassled. People will try take you the wrong way, you’ll get shouted at, some ladies will even grab your arm to give you a henna tattoo but you just need to learn to say “no”.

We certainly learnt our lesson on day one. Yes we were lost for hours but at least we have some funny stories to tell about our experience.

Where we stayed: Riad Ariha – Not so helpful with drawing maps but they gave us recommendations on restaurants and also arranged a cookery class for us one day which included a trip to the local market one day to buy vegetables for our tagines

What we did: All the typical tourist stuff in the city – Visit the Bahia Palace, sit and people watch in the Jema El-Fna square especially at night when the market is on, visit the souks, see the Koutoubia Mosque (but you will only be allowed inside if you are Muslim)

A must do in Marrakech: Visit the Jardin Majorelle and take a tour of the Atlas Mountains

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