Essaouira's Local Markets

If you don’t mind getting up early to catch the action, your hotel or a local tour operator will be happy to arrange a visit to a local market (although all are also accessible by local bus or grand taxi). The highlight is Had Draa on a Sunday, where the earliest risers are rewarded with a view of camel trading. Cattle, donkeys, horses, sheep, and goats are also traded, the latter often taking a direct route to the on-site abattoir. This is a farmers’ market in the true sense; it’s unlikely you’ll find many souvenirs to buy between the animal feed, fresh vegetables, cobblers, and vendors of plastic sheeting, but it is a fascinating insight into rural Moroccan life. Other smaller markets are on Wednesday (Ida Ougourd), Thursday (Meskala), Saturday (Akermoud), and Sunday (Smimou). Rural Moroccans are often conservative, so please dress accordingly and cover thighs and shoulders to avoid unwanted attention. The markets are very picturesque, but local people may be offended if you photograph them without asking and may say no if you do.

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