How to Bargain Like a Local in the Markets of Morocco

The price is always right when you know how to haggle on Morocco tours.

The main bazaar in Marrakech

The souks of Morocco are definitely one of the biggest attractions for people visiting this amazing country, with their vast array of goods on sale, their colourful and oftentimes exuberant sellers and the general air of excitement and wonder that pervades these traditional open-air marketplaces that have been thriving for centuries.

As you peruse the wealth of products on offer — anything from a kaleidoscopic lantern that would look great in your hall to rugs, carpets, souvenirs and trinkets, mountains of spices and practically everything else under the sun — you may well be slightly intimidated at the thought of enquiring about prices and even trying to haggle to get the one you want. As most people know, it’s all an act: a clumsy verbal dance designed to get you to part with your cash, and as much of it as possible.

People in most Western countries are mostly unable to bargain or haggle because it’s generally not part of the culture or the shopping experience — try to ask for a lower price or a discount and you’ll likely be met with very strange looks indeed. And so finding yourself in the midst of the maelstrom of a vibrant souk while on Morocco tours and trying to get your hands on something you like can present something of a seemingly insurmountable challenge. Just how do you bargain like a local?

Haggling Tips When on Morocco Desert Tours

The first thing to keep in mind when you’re attempting to purchase an item at a souk in Marrakesh, Fez, Casablanca or elsewhere in Morocco — even if you happen to stop off at a market along the way from Marrakech to the Ouzoud Falls or on Atlas mountain tours, popular tourist routes — is never, ever, accept the first price the seller gives you. Anyone who has never haggled and is perhaps intimidated by everything at a traditional marketplace might just cave in immediately and take the first amount they hear, but it’s likely to be laughably high, as vendors will start with a steep price and then hope to work their way down with you as the bargaining ballet ensues.

So even though you might think it’s a fair price based on the exchange rate and what you might pay for something similar back home, don’t give up but tell the seller what you’re prepared to pay. This almost certainly will be met with a quick-fire succession of theatrics, with exaggerated expressions displaying anything from surprise or anger to offence or sadness — it’s all fake and designed to put you off your haggling game, getting you to feel sorry for the seller and give them the amount they’re trying to get. Stay resolute and calm, as well as polite, and slowly raise your price and see what the reaction is.

If after a few minutes of to-and-fro price-battling, you’re getting nowhere, as the vendor won’t accept what you’re happy to pay, just say thanks and slowly start to walk away. They won’t want to lose the sale and will usually call out with a lower price or walk after you and hurriedly try to seal the deal. Some people love the thrill of bargaining, while others may find it pointless and somewhat exhausting, as you end up in the price region you were going to pay anyway — but this is life in the Moroccan souks and it’s an indelible feature of the unique and ancient culture.

Extra Tips for Bargaining on Morocco Tours

If you find that the price you’re going to pay for an item is slightly higher than you’re comfortable with but you’re prepared to pay it anyway, ask the seller to throw in something else you’ve had your eye on as a bonus. They’ll often do this, and it will certainly help to take the sting out of a slightly expensive item. And remember that you’ll most likely be charged more than locals would anyway because you’re a tourist and you’re “rich”.

Be friendly towards the seller and don’t automatically assume they’re just out to rip you off. Ask them about their business and how it’s going, their family and if they have any advice on things to see in the area. Building up a relationship with a vendor will help to ensure you get a fair deal, and they’ll be more likely to treat you well and give you a discount or the price you want.

And with your newfound haggling success, you can confidently stride through the great souks of Morocco and get the bargains you’re after.

For unforgettable Morocco tours to the best and most exciting places in the country, including all the amazing souks where you can try your hand at haggling, contact Desert Majesty today and soon you could be jetting off on the holiday of a lifetime.

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