The networking etiquette in Marrakech

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Updated 2022-07-11 14:02

As an expat in Marrakech, there are some rules of etiquette that you should follow. Without them, your stay in Marrakech would not be as enjoyable as it could be. To help you make a good impression on the locals, here is a non-exhaustive list of things to do and avoid in your daily life as per the local tradition.

What are the do's in Marrakech?

In everyday life

  • When somebody offers you tea, you must accept. It is extremely rude to reject. Even if you do not enjoy tea or are not thirsty, try to accept.
  • Bargaining is very traditional in Morocco. Thus, you should not hesitate to bargain on prices and negotiate with the merchants. Be careful not to fall into the arrogant foreigner trap, as this should be done out of mutual respect.
  • Before you take a picture of a person, you absolutely have to ask for their consent, as this is more appropriate given that integrity is very important in Morocco.
  • If you are a woman, you must be careful about what you wear. It is important to avoid clothes that are too revealing and exposing. Try to wear dresses that do not reveal your body in public, without being overdressed, of course.
  • Before you walk into a room, it is mandatory to take off your shoes if there are any at the entrance. This is also considered a sign of politeness and courtesy.
  • During various prayers, some steps should be followed. You should be quiet and discreet during the prayers, which involves speaking in low tones to avoid disturbing people. Similarly, you must be careful when passing by a cemetery or a mosque. During Ramadan, you should be cautious about drinking, eating and smoking. Try to avoid doing so in public during that period.
  • Try to learn Arabic politeness words like "Salam Alaykum" to greet and "Chokran" to thank. If you decide to rent a villa in Marrakech, try to be as courteous and kind as possible.
  • If a foreigner marries a Moroccan of the Muslim religion, it is important to respect Islamic customs and practices as well as Moroccan laws.
  • Tipping is a strong cultural matter and differs from country to country. In Morocco, it is optional. It is usually based on your satisfaction with the quality of the services you have received throughout your stay.

When invited to a house

  • If you are invited to a friend's house, you ought to be even more careful in your behavior and actions. Your goal is to learn the local traditions and habits to make a good first impression.
  • When you arrive, it is customary to take a small gift, flowers, or pastries with you. In the same way as in public places, take your shoes off if the guests are doing the same.
  • When you sit at the table, you should always wait for the host to say "Bismillah", which means "in the name of God", and announce the start of the meal. While eating, do not be afraid to try everything, regardless of whether you will like it or not. If somebody asks you intrusive questions, do not look at it negatively but rather as a sign of curiosity, and reply without hesitation. Also, while eating, you should use your right hand, as the left hand is regarded as "unclean".

Things you should avoid in Marrakech

In Morocco, it is highly sensitive to discuss religion or the country's authority, especially when it is negative. Therefore, you have to pay close attention and weigh your words. For example, it is wrong to question the country's reigning family. Even if a Moroccan asks you about it, you should carefully consider the words being used. Regarding religion, the subject is even more delicate and should be approached with caution. Similarly, Muslim sites of worship are taken very seriously.

In day-to-day life, you have to control your attitude to avoid ending up in trouble. Similar to what was previously mentioned about things to do, it is very problematic to wear clothes that are too revealing. If you are a man, try to wear something long rather than shorts and t-shirts. If you are a woman, you should opt for long dresses rather than mini-skirts.

It is also very bad to get drunk in public. In many places, you will not be able to bring your own alcohol, as it is monitored or not permitted.

Be careful with your waste disposal, and put papers, bags and wrappings in the appropriate places. Likewise, be mindful of your daily waste and do not leave cigarettes, straws or other small consumables in the open air.

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.