15 essential tips for visiting Marrakesh  

Landing in Marrakech can be a shock and you are likely to feel somehow intimidated…. for many reasons. If you don’t know what to expect and how to get prepared you might see your experience ruined.

And the truth is Marrakech is a wonderful and fascinating city that you can enjoy fully despite the hustle and bustle, noise, traffic, heat, crowds, pollution, constant harassment, rubbish everywhere, and animal exploitation… 

It’s normal to feel overwhelmed in the first few minutes, but you will find out that this is all part of Marrakech charm.

Here are my best 15 tips for Marrakech, as well as advice that I consider important to know before landing here.

15 tips for Marrakech
  1. If you don’t wish to buy anything, don’t answer. Simply keep walking and smile.
  2. Hustlers and touts are part of the medina experience, ignore it.
  3. Respect the culture and dress appropriately (to avoid unwanted attention)
  4. The App Maps Me works better than google maps when offline…and you can also download the free Marrakech Riad Travel Guide app to use as an offline GPS but still expect to get lost.
  5. Stay alert. Be aware of pickpocketers and scams (around photos, fossils, carpets, leather goods and the most common one is the “follow me” scam where a young guy says he can lead you to your hotel/destination and then he wants an insane amount of money for leading you) Always be vigilant! Don´t keep your money or important documents in places of easy access.
  6. If you want to buy something try to know the prices and bargain hard.. but politely. 
  7. Don’t trust anyone that offers advice without being asked, and ignore anyone saying that the road/place you are going is closed, just walk.
  8. Don’t explore the medina at night by yourself, unless you know your way around it really well.
  9. Avoid the hottest months (July, August) and Ramadan
  10. Use a water bottle with a filter to avoid buying plastic bottles. 
  11. Avoid the tanneries.
  12. Have cash with you, it’s cash, not the card that reigns supreme. But its relatively easy to find an ATMs (to get an idea of how much things cost in Morocco, take a look at this post).  Carrying small notes is also helpful, it’s common to hear them saying that they don’t have change.
  13. The officially spoken language of Marrakech is Arabic. But French is widespread so work on your french. Also knowing two simple Arabic words can get you a long way: La= No, Choukran=thank you. 
  14. Eat, where locals do, because they know where to get the best food from. 
  15. The vast majority of hotels/riads have internet. But if you’re interested in having internet all the time buy a SIM card at the airport. I paid €10 for 7GB unlimited calls and texts.

Tourist scams are far too common in Marrakesh, there will always be people who see tourists as easy cash-laden targets to be taken advantage of. So just learn about the scams to avoid them.

So, now you should be well prepared for your Marrakech trip!

Find here the full travel guide to Marrakech.

Do you have any other tips or questions? Have you been to Marrakech? What other tips would you add? Simply leave a comment, I would love to hear from you 🙂

photography – all rights reserved – Ana Rocha

Vegan in Namibia

Namibia is a stunning country in Southern Africa. Well known for the Namib Desert, the Atlantic Ocean coast and the diverse wildlife.

To travel around Namibia you can take an organized tour or rent a jeep and drive on your own. Public transports are nearly non-existent and are not a solution for travellers.

Namibia’s food scene

It’s not easy to travel as a vegan in Namibia. For most Namibians, the idea of vegetarianism or veganism is slightly bizarre, to say the least. So expect the following at restaurants, “Do you have any vegetarian/vegan options?” or “are there any dishes without meat?” Staff: “We have Chicken and the fish is good” and when you say you don’t eat either, there will be a shocked look followed by a hummmm.. 🙂

Namibia is a ‘meat-eating-country’ with lots of restaurants selling game like oryx and kudu. Some places even offer you to hunt your own meat, there’s also a big market for fur and leather products.
Meals in Namibia tend to be heavy on meat with no avoidance of animal products.

How to Eat vegan in Namibia

If you chose a tour, you need to make sure they will cater adequately to your needs, and you will not need to worry about it for the rest of your trip.

On the other hand, if you travel independently, you need to have a few things in consideration.

Namibia’s capital, Windhoek, is a cosmopolitan place where it’s wise to stop at the supermarket to stock up on supplies.

Windhoek also has a couple of Vegan & Vegetarian-friendly Restaurants, but definitely nothing like a big vegan scene with loads of alternative restaurants.

Larger towns will have at least some restaurants that will be able to adapt something to suit your needs, but not always with the same understanding as you about butter, milk, honey etc. Namibians are kind and generous and will work to accommodate you as possible.

In Windhoek and other larger towns, you can find most things you have at home like cereals, soy milk, fruit, peanut butter, jams, baked beans, fresh vegetables, pasta, rice, chickpeas, dried fruit and nuts, olives, bread, granola, chips, rice cakes, etc..

If you can cook your own meals from larger town supermarkets then the choice is pretty decent. So cooking your own meals is probably the best option you have.

I would go even far and say if you want to eat well…and keep costs low, your best option is to head to the grocery store and cook your own meal.

On the street and open markets you can sometimes find people selling tomatoes, carrots, oranges, fat cakes (fried dough, usually vegan), ice pops, and Oshikundu.

Oshikundu or Ontaku is a local drink made from fermented millet. Both alcoholic and non-alcoholic varieties exist.

Vegan awareness Namibia

Travelling vegan in Namibia is far from ideal, but the country is starting to open to the concept of a vegan lifestyle. VAN’s (vegan awareness Namibia) is a non-profit organisation creating awareness about cruelty-free living in Namibia.

Responsible tourism in Namibia

Although the food may not be the highlight of your trip, remember that you will be surrounded by animals and nature on its best.

Namibia has vast areas of wilderness and an extraordinary variety of unique landscapes and ecosystems. As a traveller you should support conservation projects and the communities.
Refusing to take part in any activity that goes against the protection and wellbeing of the animals and ecosystems.

Namibia has dug deep to protect its outstanding natural heritage, making it easy for travellers to choose sustainable ways to travel around the country.

photography – all rights reserved – Ana Rocha

Self-driving in Africa – Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe

Self-driving in Africa through Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe

We landed in Windhoek, Namibia’s capital, prepared for everything knowing that we would have 5000 km in front of us and we would cross 3 countries in Southern Africa, Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe.

We rented a  4X4 with rooftop tents for our journey and despite all the trouble we get into with the car, I don’t regret the option, because gives you enormous independence, it’s very versatile, and allows you to travel independently and discover with time these magnificent countries.

Visit these countries is not cheap but you can save the money for the room by camping. There are many campsites and some lodges also have campsites. The price of a 4×4 with rooftop tents depends on the time of the year you travel, and which borders you are going to cross.

Self-driving throughout the wilderness in Africa was one of the most exciting, adventurous and rewarding things I did so far – you just disconnect entirely and emerge yourself into one of the most beautiful natural sceneries on earth.

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4×4 self drive adventures

Now you are asking about what kind of troubles I got into.. some are obvious and you are probably guessing it right.. but just to give some excuses first  .. 🙂 we did some challenging routes and drove miles and miles through isolated areas 🙂

So here it comes.. during our journey our 4×4 broke down and got stuck a couple of times (sand, mud, water), we got a window broke and some values stolen…  and there is more.. one of the tents broke… we got fined and towed twice.. so I can say it it was an eventful journey.

To do a trip like this you need to have a sense of adventure, and be prepared to have busy days and to change your plans constantly.

be safe 🙂

photography – all rights reserved – Ana Rocha 

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