Stay safe

Scams

Aside from the usual scams listed on the Morocco page, watch out for tourist touts that offer to take you to the medieval dye pits which, unlike the popular dye pits in Fez, are not worth the visit. Note that the touts work in pairs. The first takes you to the dye pit (which you could probably manage with a map) and then introduces you to his “friend” to guide you round the pits. They both expect to be paid, and are prepared to follow you incessantly for a very long time if you do not give them enough money.

There are often people in Djemma El Fna offering henna tattoos, which are popular with locals and tourists alike. But among the many genuine traders are one or two scam artists. They appear very charming and trustworthy while you choose a design, but will then cleverly divert your attention. Before you know it, you’ve got the beginnings of a rather poor henna tattoo, and a sudden thought that you haven’t agreed on a price yet. The scam artist later demands massive payments, in whatever currency you have (Dirhams or not). After emptying your pockets, if they consider you can afford more, they will demand that you visit a nearby ATM. Always agree a firm price before work starts. If you can’t do this, insist that the operator stops immediately – then go to another (hopefully more reliable) operator to get your design completed.

Most Moroccans are tourist-friendly, so sometimes making a fuss in public can generate unwanted attention for a scam artist, and shame them into backing off.

HOWEVER, be especially careful about being drugged, especially as a solo traveler. The common and easy-to-make drug GHB only lasts 3 hours and is undetectable in the body after 7 hours, so if you are attacked take action immediately. Do not trust room service if you are a solo traveler — even older women are targets for robbery if not rape.

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