How best use private guide in Marrakech?

Old Aug 11th, 2022, 04:26 AM
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How best use private guide in Marrakech?

We'll be in Marrarkech for 4 nights in late September and I'd like to employ a private guide for a half day tour to help get our bearings and make us feel more comfortable dealing with the chaos. We'll be staying near Bab Doukala at Riad Kniza and have him/her meet us there for the afternoon we arrive.
Do you think its better to have them lead us through the northern part of the medina, Koutoubia, Medersa Ben Youssef, the Souks, Marrakech Museum, Jemaa el Fna or take us south to the Saadian Tombs, the Mellah and Badii and Bahia Palace? The northern part is closer to our riad and may help us see the souks with less hassle, although I don't plan to buy anything there. But, the southern attractions probably have more history that could use the insights of a guide. I don't like to take a lot of tours since I want time for photos and to absorb the surroundings. Thank you for your thoughts on this.
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Old Aug 12th, 2022, 12:49 PM
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The tourist office can provide local guides who speak your language. You could also discuss what you want to see with them. I do not think that you need a guide for Jemaa el Fna which is an open air market outside the souk, not for the el Badi palace which would be only too glad to provide their own guide. We were locked into the el Badi palace during their lunch hour. We did not notice any lunch hour closing time, nor were we warned about it. I do not think that they tried too hard to find us because we had declined to be guided on the grounds. Our lunch consistent of the citrus that we picked off the trees. That was a long time ago, and opening hours may have changed.

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Old Aug 12th, 2022, 12:53 PM
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Michael, Locked in?!!! How frustrating! We would use a guide provided by the riad and I think I mostly would like to be taken through the souks which sounds like the most challenging...I don't even really want to see Jemaa el Fan...not going to eat there and don't want any snakes or monkeys getting too close. Thank you for your comments.
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Old Aug 12th, 2022, 02:46 PM
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Don't rule out anything until you see it for yourself. I've spent quite a lot of time in Marrakech over the years & from how you've expressed your wants & not-wants it leads me to believe you've bought into stories that aren't necessarily true, or at least aren't true for everyone. Regarding eating in the Jemaa el Fna, for instance, once you're there you'll see the food stands aren't just for tourists, lots of locals include eating in the square on their evenings out & it can be great fun, personable vendors & good food for not a lot of money. And it's OUTSIDE, not a bad thing in these times. As for snakes & monkeys, not many & you can give them a wide berth if it bothers you (as it does me, too).

The medina isn't an enormous area & you may wonder, after getting your bearings, whi you bothered with a guide. My 1st trip there 25 years ago I was on a small group tour through the country & realized along the way that I could just have well done it on my own. But I was grateful for the introduction and since have always gone alone or with a friend where I became the guide. So guide or no guide, they can be useful but not essential so I'd recommend not locking yourself into a lot of guided time. The medina is a joy to stroll & even get lost in & as mentioned, not so big & you'll find your way even lost.

If you like gardens I recommend the Majorelle, a short walk from the Bab Doukkala: https://majorelle-gardens.com.



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Old Aug 13th, 2022, 03:09 AM
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Thank you Mme Perdue for your reassurances. I always am conflicted when it comes to going with a guide but probably it will be helpful mostly to hear their perspectives. The gardens are definitely on my list, as well as hitting a few shops in Gueliz.
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Old Aug 17th, 2022, 08:33 AM
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I just returned home from Morocco on Saturday and Marrakech was our last stop. We were with a Moroccan family member and he took us to Jemaa el Fna at night and it was well worth going as I don't think we've ever quite experienced anything like it. There were no monkeys or snakes much to our daughter in law's dismay and we were told they are only there during the day time. It was very crowded, quite dark and full of circles of people playing and listening to drums and other Berber instruments, singing, dancing, throwing glow balls up into the air,it was super fun. We didn't eat but we did get huge glasses of delicious fresh squeezed watermelon and strawberry juice from one fruit stand, they give everyone a sample first. They were hilarious and highly skilled salesmen competing loudly with all the other fruit stands.
It was worth going to for the experience. Yes there are some beggars, quite a few stray dogs running around and yes you should stick together and watch your bag/wallet just like you would in any very crowded place.
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Old Aug 18th, 2022, 03:44 AM
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Thank you raincitygirl, that does sound like a lot of fun and you were lucky to go with a family member to experience it. If I were sure we could find our way back in the dark, maybe I would attempt it. But I think our Riad is a good 20 minute walk from there so itís doubtful.
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Old Aug 19th, 2022, 06:44 AM
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We were lucky indeed. I think if you wanted to do it you could arrange a taxi or take a caleche back to your Riad.
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Old Aug 19th, 2022, 09:02 AM
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Again, I’ll say don’t decide how things will be until you’re there & see how they really are. I never had any trouble getting back after dark. There are these things called streetlights.

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