The world’s most exciting town square, Djmaa el Fna reminds you you’re in Africa. In the heart of the old city of Marrakech, Morocco, snake-charmers, henna-painters, story-tellers, date-sellers and orange juice vendors set up their stalls in the sleepy heat of the afternoon.
As night falls, the vendors are joined by tribal drummers, ladyboy dancers and mobile restaurateurs selling delicious grilled meats, bread and salad as the smoke rises above their stalls till past midnight.
If you come to Marrakech, then eating at the Night Market is really something you should commit to doing at least once. Not doing so would be like going to Paris and not taking a look at the Eifel Tower, or going to London and not visiting the palace. Travelling somewhere new is all about experiences, even ones that distinctly mark you out as a tourist!
Djmaa El Fna is busy enough during the day but at night it becomes a chaotic whirl of of sounds, smells and lights as the street food vendors grab their patches and hassle anyone and everyone into sitting at their trestle tables for a bite of cheap food. And it is *very* cheap; two bottles of water and about six dishes later and the two people can still easily be covered by just over a tenner! The problem comes in picking the right place amongst all the ones on offer. It’s apparent that standards of hygiene start at appalling and rise to the dizzy heights of just about adequate. Unless you really want to gamble then it is probably wise to get some steer from wherever you are staying as to which stall you should choose.
The chatter and banter of those that try to bully you to their stall is amusing and well meant, and not something you should be getting annoyed by. And if you do get annoyed, then you’re probably too thin-skinned to be roaming Marrakech at night! You can’t help but chuckle when someone yells “We are cheaper than Primark!” and even the sobering honesty of “We guarantee, no diahorrea” has a certain charm to it. Chances are good that the guarantee is as worthwhile as any other you’ll get while in Marrakech.While you eat you will enjoy music from unrecognizable instruments just beyond. Several men pushing very large white carts walk past you while you are eating to sell you desert, but while shopping and enjoying the different delicacies the stores you visit must be carefully vetted because of poor hygiene conditions of the market so as to avoid food poisoning thereby spoiling your entire trip. The square is a lot of fun if you know what you’re going for. It’s a tourist trap, snake charmers, henna artists, pushy restaurants, juice stands and stands selling any thing you could want to buy.
To enjoy your trip to this market you need to be careful as the market is filled with snake charmers and also to enjoy the market extensively one should be open minded and not take offense to the aggressive manner the vendors advertise their goods. In the market one gets to experience different delicious delicacies, different smells and entertainment (through the songs and music from unrecognizable instruments) while different activities take place in the market to make the market all the more interesting.
This article was written by Teniola Anipole
Pictures are not ours unless stated.