The Rabat souk is huge.
Spanning almost the length of the town, it’s a maze of clothes, food & trinkets.
As you walk in you find yourself enveloped by a cloud of smells & sounds unlike anything you could have imagined. Wafts of fresh bread, sweet dates & figs mix with those from hot spices & warm leather.
Locals & tourists haggle along side each other while traders shout their wares in a dizzying blend of French & Arabic.
It’s easy to get swept up in the momentum and lose yourself in the depths of the market. What I found so unusual about the Rabat market was way the salesmen behaved. In so many markets you find yourself surrounded by bickering traders who swarm like flies at the sight of a milky white tourist. Here, we were left totally alone. Free to browse & play until we wanted help. Then a man would miraculously appear, seemingly from nowhere, ready to strike a deal.
You’ll find everything you could ever need in the souk.
Crates of tiny turtles, waiting patiently to be taken to good homes. As pets, not food.
You know I have a stripe fetish. I bought a set of these cups and a huge serving bowl for my mum.
The market runs all afternoon, every day. When the sun cools, men sit & play in the street while their wives chat over sweet mint tea & prepare supper.
If you find yourself in Rabat, go to the market.
Cover up, no bare shoulders or legs here. Don’t take valuables and keep a light hand on the pocket with your wallet in. I found people were more than happy to let me take photos. I left my big SLR at home and took the Lumix GF5 which was very easy to hide away & whip out at a moments notice.
With haggling, as always… start at half the price. If they don’t come down to what you want to pay, walk away. They’ll probably come after you and come down a bit and if not, someone else will be selling something similar.
On the other hand, if bustling markets & cities aren’t really your thing I have one more suggestion that might tickle your pickle.
Mazagan spa & golf resort, on the coast.
No markets, no monuments, no people at all really. Just you, a pool, cocktails, spa treatments & a stonking great golf course.
The closest thing you’ll get to culture here is the farm on the edge of the grounds. You can go for a bbq on the lawn, dip your toes in the spring, pick your own Moroccan mint & snuggle some bunnies.
I wasn’t joking about the bunnies… but they are a bit camera shy.
This is a place for people who like their holidays hot, relaxed and golfy. There are even meadows filled with little pink flowers for you to frolic in…
And a killer spa.
If you plump for a massage, you’ll be left to relax by one of the many rose filled fountains while your therapist gets ready.
Then you’ll be led to your room where you can choose if you’d like the curtains open (over looking the sea) or closed.
You’ll be asked to choose your scented argan oil.
Smoothed, rubbed & smothered within an inch of your life for an hour. Left to slowly come out of your coma. And finally lead to the relaxation room for tea.
Here, you’ll be wrapped in a huge, soft blanket & left to enjoy the view.
Two very different sides of Morocco.
Both wonderful in their own way.
Which would you prefer?