I'm going to Morocco for the second time in April.
Doing some research about visiting The Draa region and trekking in Erg Chegaga, I run into three people from different places who have warned me that people in Mhamid are agressive.
I could ignore one of them since she's running a riad in Tamegroute and is obviously interested in keeping me there.
But another one is an acquaintance who is original from Ouarzazate and runs a riad in Marrakech where I'm staying at the end of the trip, and the other is a tour guide I consider reliable. Both say about 30% of people there are agressive and recommended me to hire a local guide.
Does anyone know why Mhamid people would be agressive while inhabitants in the near Oulay Edriss are not? I mean, traveling alone, is there in that region anything different from the rest of Morocco I have to consider in terms of safety ?? Of course I'm not planning to approach the frontier or crossing the desert alone. I'm talking about going alone and visiting the town and taking a grand taxi, that sort of things.
Thanks for any comments.
That may be just a translation, doesn't actually mean aggressive in the sense of brutality or harming you, more in the sense of being perhaps a bit pushy. There are so many hotels and camel rides around there that these people are trying to make a living from, that they may come across as pests, but I seriously don't think that the people are "aggressive" in the way you make it come across.
I've never seen aggression in M'hamid el Ghizlane, but times have been hard their for the self employed local guides and they can get rather competitive. What I have seen, throughout Morocco, is persistent pestering elicit a rude response from tourists, which is followed by an equally rude response from the faux guide - and it's easy for both tired tourists and desperate guides to get carried away... My advice is either a) take an official guide - the hecklers just melt away, or b) decline with humour and a smile.
yes thats what i imagine too - pushy and touting rather than aggressive - oulay idriss they will tend to have their own things to do and a lot of rural villages where ive been around Morocco the people tend to be quite laid back and minding their own business. unless they have something that involves getting customers or tourists.
whereas in Mhamid theres more competition and joustling to be the one to get the business
Thanks Angie and Mark.
I had a succesfull solo trip in September during 14 days including Mersouga, Fes, Marrakesh, Dades, Essaouira, all without any guide except my private taxi from Mersouga to Marrakesh. I was approached by men almost everyday (offering me to have tea, walk together, attend wedding party, exchange mails/FB and also baldly for more intimacy) and talked to men for all the travel issues (there is hardly any woman on business) but the only two ocasions I was afraid were at the very pushy tannery in Fes and a taxi in Marrakesh, where I managed to get away anyway.
I am aware they try to make their business succed by charging as much as they can most of the time, and men ask for intimacy directly, but apart from that, I found Morocco a friendly country for solo traveler with most of people willing to help and take care of one. I've been traveling alone for decades and I've liked Morocco so much that I am going back soon.
That's why I was surprised about this warning about PHYSICALLY agressive behavior in Mhamid from 3 different people, just spontaneously (I didn't ask any thing about it).
Since I've started this question, I'd like to post here another mesage I've got yesterday night from the lady who runs an auberge in Tamegroute, just as her point of view on this issue. (I note she is kind of traditional lady...)
[ I can't tell you, why people in M'Hamid are more aggressive, but I have this impression and I not staying alone with this. Perhaps because it is a little the "end of the world". M'Hamid is a military town, Ouled-Driss is an old little and quite charming village, Zagora is the head of the province and Tamegroute is again different, it is a very important pilgrims town and at the same time it is "blad", this means it is country-side and quite traditional - people don't change here easily their customs!!
I give you some little advices which are good to know :
Traveling alone as a woman is not good looked at in Muslim countries. It is accepted, when you do it not for your pleasure but for work. Tell that you are looking for good places or restaurants or what ever, because you want to bring clients to Morocco. And never look a man into his eyes, when talking to him! If you do, you give him a signal, that you want something from him! And he will interpret, that you want to have sex with him.
Same thing, if a man invites you to come to his home]
After all these exchange, I think it is not that bad and it's a matter of common sense and taking usual precautions.
Regards from South America
I just want to report that my stay in Mhamid was excellent.
Even though the town itself doesn't look friendly or beautiful, I've stayed in a camp 2 km away from town, at Bivouac Lmawnak, where Hassan, Abidin and his brother gave me lots more than I could imagine in such a place without electricity, running water and so many basic comfort we are used to have.
I stayed 4 nights there, and I felt so grateful that wanted to tip them but they refused it telling me I was like part of the family.
Today morning I've arrived home in Argentina, and the first call I've received was from the camp, asking me if I'd arrived safe.
It was real desert, with very simple people who didn't go to school, but a great experience of life.
That's great, thanks for the feedback. Perhaps you'd like to add a review about the place, now you have a profile on VT.
Actually, I usually write in other forums and I owe a lot of reviews from this 26 days trip I really want to post, lol. After finish all of them, I'd try to come back and write here too.
Yes it's great to read you've had a satsifting insightful time in Morocco.and agree with Paul about putting these reviews into your own pages..look forward to seeing them ..that's how my first solo venture off to the desert after leaving Moroccan friends in Fez who id been invited to go to Morocco with for the first time, was ..exciting, beautiful, so photogenic etc. That I got more and more involved and had about 50 trips between 2003 and 2013 gettinģ before getting a round the world ticket and then afterwards having18months in China and then other places are Asia and Australasia.a nice break from Morocco.
Some are written up in my pages here..probably a lot aren't