How to haggle in Morocco

There is nothing is more tantalising than the vibrant markets of Morocco. The colourful displays make the most mundane items pleasing to the eye and spark endless amounts of joy.

In Arabic, these markets are called souks or souqs. Souks exist across Africa as an ancient trade, but has particular significance in Morocco. In Morocco, huge souks full of alleys and lanes with merchants selling just about anything. Night and day, you will find anything from herbal remedies, mechanics, spices, slippers to lanterns. A myriad of traditional and locally made Moroccan items are sold at souks. For the centuries these souks have existed, haggling has been part of the market’s natural ecosystem.

What is haggling?

You might be wondering what haggling is. Whilst haggling etiquette varies region to region, the general premise relates to bargaining. At a souk you never pay what is first offered; the goal is to get the price down as much as possible. Once you start, the giddy grapple for a great bargain can be addictive. Here are our top bargaining tips so you can master haggling in Morocco.

1. Never appear too eager

If you find something at a souk that sparks joy, do not show it. Appearing too eager will cause the merchant to be firm on a high price. If you maintain an excellent poker face, you will be afforded you an excellent price after some haggling.

2. Don’t give up

You will be surprised how far tenacity takes you. During the back and forth it can be easy to give up and accept whatever you are offered. However, the more you push the better price you get.

3. The first price is never the final offer

The first offer can be four times what you end up paying after a quality haggle. You should never accept the first price and always aim to lower it as much as possible.

4. Know when to walk away

When the going gets tough, sometimes it’s right to walk away. A dramatic walk off will likely encourage the merchant to offer a lower and more reasonable price. A sale is always preferred over winning a haggle, so know when to walk away.

5. Buy in bulk

If there are multiple items on sale that catch your fancy, then buying in bulk can score you some great deals.

6. Do not fall for theatrics

Haggling is indeed a performance art and one the merchant will know very well. When you attempt to bargain a lower price, an Oscar worthy performance will likely follow. Once it has reached its climax, make sure to keep a cool head and stay firm on the price.

7. Be aware of the currency exchange

It’s easy to get lost in numbers when you aren’t well versed with the local currency. Haggling is a quick exchange that keeps you on your toes. The merchant is well aware of this and will be throwing numbers that might cause confusion. Keep in mind that in Morocco, a dollar equals about 9 dirhams.

The markets of Morocco are experience within itself. It’s no surprise souks are a popular tourist destination with trinkets to take home for everyone. If you want to try haggling in Morocco, check out our Morocco tours here.

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