Morocco: Tipping & Etiquette

1.   Visiting The Medina

A popular place to explore in Morocco, The Medina is somewhere you can easily get lost, making it a perfect spot for local “guides” to try and make some money. If you stop for more than a minute, you will likely be approached and offered the services of a guide to find your way around. Whilst most will do the job for just a few dirhams, you may be well served to simply hire a guide for the day instead. This will warn off other guides and leave you to just explore. It will often be far cheaper that way as well.

Even if you turn down the advances of all the guides, some may latch on anyway and expect payment. Just try to be clear straight away that you are not interested. Most are friendly enough and are simply trying to earn a living.

2.   Dining & Services

There is no general rule for the amount you should tip a waiter or bartender. Some Moroccans will only add a tip of a few dirhams on a bill of over one hundred. For many restaurants and bars that are regular tourist spots, a ten percent service charge is often added into the bill. A small tip of five to ten dirhams on top will make you a valued customer.

 For taxi fares, it is fine to simply round up to the nearest five dirhams, whilst a helpful hotel employee who carries all your heavy luggage would expect ten dirhams for his trouble.

3.   Dealing With Beggars

You will certainly encounter beggars in Morocco, so it is important to understand the culture towards them whilst you are there. Giving help to beggars is seen as something that will bring a blessing from God, known as “baraka” to Moroccans.

As such, a small donation of one to five dirhams will be seen as a generous act. Beggars are not permitted to harass you, so even if you would rather not pay, a simple smile or the phrase “Allah yasahel” (may God improve your situation) should see them move on to the next person.

4.   Respect The Cultural Climate

Morocco is a Muslim country and therefore has certain things which should be highly respected. Public displays of affection are frowned upon, so avoid even a small kiss if you can resist it. Modest clothing should also be worn at all times.

 There are plenty of online guides where you can see some examples. Public consumption of alcohol or other intoxicants is also behaviour deemed unacceptable. In the privacy of your suite you can be as drunk and as undressed as you please, but don’t act the fool in public.

5.   Go The Extra Mile

To be warmly embraced by the locals in Morocco, learn a few phrases and greetings in the native tongue. A simple “hello” in Moroccan Arabic will immediately show a level of respect towards your hosts.

If you are greeted by a Moroccan, a simple way to show you have done a little bit of homework is to place your right hand over your heart when you respond. This small gesture of sincerity and friendship will set anyone you meet at ease.

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