Marrakech is a secure city with a strong police presence. However, like with anything, remaining aware of your surroundings and adopting normal safety measures is always a good idea.
While violent crime is seldom a serious issue, thefts sometimes occur. Secure and conceal your money, and avoid poorly lit streets and alleyways at night.
Local tourism authorities require that guides who provide their services show an official credential.
Morocco is being threatened by international terrorism. When you’re out, be attentive and notify police if you spot anything odd.
Take extra precautions to avoid being drugged, particularly if you are traveling alone. GHB, a popular and easy-to-make drug, has a three-hour half-life and becomes undetectable in the body after seven hours, so if you are assaulted, take fast action.
If you are traveling alone, use caution when ordering room service, since even elderly ladies might become targets of robbery. Do not request that the waiter visit your room.
Allow one of the merchants to outfit you in a berber style scarf; it will conceal your face (leaving just room for your eyes) and you will stay unnoticed and unharmed by the shopkeepers; but, one or two beggars may notice that you are still a tourist due to your attire, so keep that in mind.
Marrakech’s tap water is good for bathing. While natives consume it without issue, outsiders often have difficulty digesting it. To be on the safe side, get bottled mineral water from one of the countless marketplace kiosks and food booths. Ascertain that the cap seal is intact, since merchants are known to save money by refilling plastic bottles from the tap. Request beverages without ice at restaurants, which are often produced with tap water.
If you seem to be a tourist, it is usual for individuals to volunteer to assist you with directions or even take you to your destination. Although it may not be obvious at first, these individuals demand to be compensated and will often take you in circles in order to raise the amount. Additionally, folks may claim that the location you’re searching for is closed, but they’ll direct you to a more suitable location. Almost invariably, this is a fabrication. The ideal individuals to ask for directions are those behind counters, since they are unable to guide you due to their aversion of leaving their stall. If you are really lost, hiring a guide is a possibility, but you should always agree on a fee in advance (MAD10 to MAD20 are reasonable).
Without a license, Moroccans are not able to act as guides for tourists. Typically, police officers (undercover) patrol to apprehend Moroccans who annoy visitors or attempt to earn money.
In Djemaa El-Fna, there are often vendors giving henna tattoos, which are popular with both residents and visitors. However, amid the many real merchants, there are one or two con artists. They look to be very lovely and trustworthy when you are selecting a design, but will subsequently deceive you by diverting your attention. Without realizing it, you’ve created the beginnings of a really bad henna tattoo. Even if you are not interested in a design, keep your hands away from them as they will grab your hand and begin one. Later on, the con artist would demand enormous sums in whatever cash you own (dirhams or not). After emptying your pockets, they will demand that you visit a nearby ATM if they believe you can pay more. Always settle on a fixed pricing prior to beginning work. If you are unable to do so, insist on the operator immediately ceasing work and then transferring your design to another (hopefully more dependable) operator. If they claim it’s free up front or while they’re doing it, they’ll always charge you afterwards. If this occurs to you, you may walk away without paying; however, they will continue to harass you for a short period of time before giving up and moving on to another tourist. Additionally, there have been reports of these con artists mixing henna with harmful chemicals such as PPD (this is often done to give the tattoos a black appearance), which may result in skin damage or serious allergic responses.
Some tourists come across an elderly lady selling henna in the main square – she welcomes you to her stall and then summons her friends (who usually arrive on motorbikes) to provide you with very attractive tattoos – but beware – they will not agree on a price upfront and will charge exorbitant amounts – for example, a 50Dh tattoo will cost 450Dh – or they will promise you free tattoos and then charge equally exorbitant amounts. They will shout at you if you argue the value – so remain cool, give them what you believe the item is worth, and go away. If they attempt to stop you, draw attention to yourself – but avoid physical aggression, since these artists operate in gangs and you will soon find yourself surrounded by other con artists.
Because the majority of Moroccans are tourist-friendly and non-aggressive, raising a scene in public may occasionally draw unwelcome attention to a scam artist and humiliate them into backing down.