6 mins

Making friends in Marrakech

Renata Roge gives the lowdown getting to know the locals

Get involved (Craig Howe)

Moroccans are an extremely friendly and open bunch, which can feel a bit odd for tourists at first.

Greetings can take several minutes, in which Moroccans ask each other about their lives, jobs and families,  and it's common to invite someone they've just met into their home for a meal.

These customs might be a little off-putting for some tourists, given our penchant for privacy in the western world. But don't be one of them; being aloof only keeps you from enjoying one of Morocco's top highlights - its people.

When shopping in the souks, you'll notice that many of the shopkeepers will want to make conversation with you, asking questions and telling you about their lives. Many will invite you to have a cup of mint tea with them.

It's understandable to be cautious, especially if you are a woman, but don't be too afraid. Many simply want to talk and have a joke, sometimes at your expense, but laugh along and you'll have nothing to fear.

If you feel threatened in any way you obviously shouldn't stick around; just don't let fear get too much in your way. It's all about using your common sense, and having the courage to step out of your comfort zone will allow you to not only to see the country, but also to experience it from within.

If you really want to get to know the locals, it pays to learn some Moroccan Arabic or French before you go, since a lot Moroccans' knowledge of English goes as far as trying to sell you a carpet. With a glass of mint tea thrown in, of course.

Renata Roge travelled to Marrakech with Wanderlust Journeys

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