What the guide book doesn’t tell you about Morocco!

After spending four weeks around southern Morocco, we’ve collated a collection of questions our kids asked while we there!

What the guide book doesn’t tell you about Southern Morocco is everything the guide books won’t tell you about the areas from Agadir down to Sidi Ifni and from Marrakech down to Zagora.

Morocco

Why does it smell so bad?

It could be raw sewage, it could be blocked drains, it could be stagnant water, who knows, but frequently the smell was stomach churning. I never got used to it and it never got any better.

Morocco

A rubbish dump of a river in Marrakech

“moroccan breakfasts are so yummy!”

They are indeed delicious. Square pancakes made with durum wheat and my favourite was almond butter mixed with Argan oil.  The orange juice is frequently watered down but still drinkable and we always asked for our mint tea with no sugar. Nice way to start the day.

Morocco

Moroccan wheat pancakes

He said what?

“He said that women can’t drive!”

“He said women are stupid.”

You get the idea. Sexism is very prevalent.

“What was that rolling on the floor?”

Yes that was a chicken’s head! ‘Did you touch it?’

We were already vegan before going to Morocco but seeing a live chicken have its head cut off and then roll on the floor was enough to traumatise the kids forever!

“This is a really nice hotel, can we stay here?”

Our experience of nice in Morocco equated to VERY expensive.  A room for £100 a night for two people isn’t expensive…but add in the separate room for the three kids as well as breakfasts and it all adds up. I would never pay £250 a night for a Moroccan hotel which is why we opted for AirBNB – although that came with it’s own problems.

You very much get what you pay for in Morocco but prices were frequently up there with London prices.  They definitely exploit the tourists.

“I can see that man’s bum. Is he….”

Yes he’s having a dump by the side of the road. Just avert your eyes….

Too often we saw men squatting and shitting by the side of the road, the side of the river, the side of anywhere! Quite disgusting.

“Oh that poor donkey!”

The state of the donkeys is terrible. Their abuse is awful to witness and not something I’d want to see ever again. Our kids were distraught at the way the horses and donkeys were treated.

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A poor working donkey

“Look at all the pretty stones Mum”

As we were driving down into the desert locals were selling rocks by the side of the road.  Of course we bought huge rocks and had to buy more luggage allowance but I’m sure we fed a local family for quite a while too.

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Buying precious stones in the desert

“That man is beating the horse with a piece of wood!”

And that’s why we NEVER ride horses or camels on the beach. A hard lesson for our kids to watch but one they won’t forget any time soon.

“Can I drink the water?”

Best not to. It gave us very bad diarrhea for four weeks and wiped us out with sickness for a good three days. The kids lost a lot of weight in a very short amount of time.

There’s a dead cat in the bin

There were plenty of dead cats everywhere – even just plopped on the top of bins! I guess when human rights are still developing, animal rights will be a way behind.

Why does everyone tell us the road is blocked?

Our time in Marrakech was fraught with being constantly told that we couldn’t go this way, that the road was blocked, that we were going the wrong way or that tourists were banned from this area. It was very tiring!

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Marrakech’s main square – where tourists are welcomed!

“Is this a pharmacy?”

You can buy just about any medication in Morocco without a prescription.  It’s much more expensive than the UK but helpful to know you can pop in and buy pretty much anything you want!

He just turned into a monster when he got into the car!

Our meek and mild male tour guide turn into a raving loony on the roads and worse when it got dark. He overtook on blind corners, ran bikes off the road and generally terrified us all.  Be prepared for tail-gating and slamming brakes.

Could I please just have chips?

Being vegan in Morocco wasn’t hard it was just very boring. Sure, every restaurant we went to served vegetable tagine or vegetable couscous but eating it for every meal was torturous! I am writing this three months after our visit to Morocco and I still have yet to eat any couscous. The very thought of it makes me feel queezy.

These are the best avocados I’ve ever tasted!

Buying avocados from the stalls in and around Marrackech was a delight. Pick your own, otherwise the stall holder will try and pass off over-ripe ones though.

Mum, I have an itchy circle on my shoulder

That would be ring worm; a fungal condition probably passed on by touching the stray cats or donkeys!

Can we go somewhere else now?

About ten days in, to our month stay, we were all very fed up and the kids were desperate to leave. Their biggest problems were the very dirty beaches, the dirt everywhere and lack of interesting food. From about the two week mark they asked frequently when we could leave.