Weekly Photo: Scammed at the Tanneries – Marrakech, Morocco

You know scams happen to the best of us.  I wandered down to the Tanneries in Marrakech, Morocco and of course they said it is free to walk around.  You know you are going to have to pay something, it is definitely obvious.  They let you inside and I realized there was another group walking around but this one with a local tour guide.  I of course showed up alone.  They do their best to funnel you the way you want to go, and that you can take photos.  And of course they make sure that you go to the place to go buy over priced leather goods.  I will have to say though, beyond the smell of the place, I did enjoy getting the chance to see it and take some great photographs.  When you exit though, they make sure that they get some more money out of you however.  They quickly surrounded me upon exit and wouldn’t let me leave.  They demanded “payment” for seeing the tanneries, even though it was “free” to go in, it was a required tip I guess.  I didn’t mind tipping but the price they expected was ridiculous even by western standards.  But it is definitely nerve wracking, and they were taking aggressive stances, and it gets difficult to explain how much money you actually do have (which wasn’t a lot with me) when you have an expensive camera with you.  I stood my ground and I paid a more reasonable price (but still higher than it was worth).  And in an almost unbelievable move, one of the guys surrounding me asked for another tip for him for introducing me to the person who ripped me off!  I told him to get his cut from the rest of them and moved on.  I’ll credit his gumption there though!  So if you do go to the Tanneries, do know that they will try to take as much money as they can off you.

I do however like the photos I got though, and nothing bad did happen.  So in the end, still a win.

Tanneries - Marrakech, Morocco

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  1. says

    I haven’t been to Morocco yet but I’ve heard about these famous Tanneries in Marrakech and it would be great to see them one day.
    Lovely photo! If you liek photography we would like to invite you to participate in the next edition of our Travel Photography Competition. Every week we publish 3 winning shots on our website and write a nice bio with a link to the photographers’ websites/FB/Flickr pages.
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    • says

      Thanks! Sorry it seems that my blog stripped the webaddress. if you could email me the link that would be awesome. I liked the tanneries but it does leave a sour taste in your mouth when things like that happens. Its expected sadly and I understand why it occurs. But it really does make visitors feel unwelcome.

    • says

      I didn’t hear about it either until I stumbled on it walking around. I loved wandering through the souks of Marrakech, it was amazing. I dont think if you were on a tour the same thing would happen, but who knows. I mean depends on where you got the guide from if he’d side w/ you or the tannery folks.

    • says

      I’m happy with photos I got at least. I didn’t mind giving a tip, I was planning to anyway, but the approach really bothered me.

    • says

      Wow! That is amazing. Yeah sometimes they can be very aggressive. It really makes it hard for most tourists to feel comfortable in those situations. But I can also understand their need to sell as it is their survival too. I just always end up buying more from places that make me feel happy than intimidated though.

    • says

      I think having a guide would have made it easier, because the guide would have known the situation and could have diffused it better than I could have. I will have to check out the ones in Fez someday soon.

    • says

      Yeah, but I’ll remember the photo longer than i’ll remember the money, so in the end it is a win. How are you doing Andrew?

  2. says

    I Actually got to see the tanneries from the second or third floor inside a store where I did not purchase anything. My pictures are from above. The whole experience in Fez was about everybody wanting you to purchase something very overpriced that you did not need or want. I left earlier than planned due to this.

    • says

      So just avoid the ones in Fez then? I would love to see your photos too, sounds like a nice vantage point. Yeah I was planning on giving a tip and I had money out but they were not so satisfied by all that.

    • says

      Do you still like the bag that you got? I haven’t gotten into too many issues traveling, so I really can’t complain about the little ones… But it’s good to know what you are getting yourself into if others are planning to visit.

    • says

      The products look OK, for the most part. BUT they are really expensive, and not something I really cared to want when I was visiting Morocco.

  3. says

    Hi A, I can relate.The visit to the tanneries also left a bad taste in our mouth. We viewed the tanneries from one of the leather store that surrounded it. One of the store staff gave us the “free” tour after which he showed us the finished leather products. The gentle guide turned into an aggressive, abrasive salesman. We took interest in one product until we realized how exorbitant the price was. We tried to haggle but the staff wouldn’t bulk. When we decided to leave without any purchase, the salesperson screamed at us and told us how we wasted his time. After we walked out, he ran after us and gave us the product at the price we wanted. It was he himself who wasted his time and energy. And yes, we had also many experience of the scamming attempts like you had.
    Marisol@TravelingSolemates´s last blog post ..Mt. Everest Experience: A Scenic Mountain Flight in Nepal

    • says

      I didn’t really feel scammed in most places. I think part of the benefit was that people didn’t really know where I was from (unless I was wandering w/ my backpack & camera). I had a generally great experience in Marrakech besides the Tanneries. had another strange experience where someone told me to F&#k off…because I didn’t want his help.

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