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trip planned for end of Aug, how will Ramadam effect my stay

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Norfolk
posts: 1
trip planned for end of Aug, how will Ramadam effect my stay

Hi all

i have my first visit to Marrakech planned at the end of August this year and have just noticed that this will be Ramadam. Just wondered if this will make any difference to our experience, eg will there be places closed, less atmosphere during the day, complete lack of alcohol??

thanks

MH

Marrakech
Destination Expert
for Marrakech
posts: 3,393
1. Re: trip planned for end of Aug, how will Ramadam effect my stay

Hello Hubbos, I suggest you look at previous threads on the forum because there have been several threads on this topic over the last week or two and this might answer all of your questions!

All of the monuments will be open, however they may close at approx, 1630. Some cafes close during Ramadan, however a number of cafes and restaurants in both the medina and Gueliz stay open. From 1630 onwards businesses will begin to close and at sunset the streets will be deserted as people are at home having the breakfast meal. Being out in the city at this time really is something different, as it is the only time of year when you will see the streets empty! If you want to travel around the city by taxi, don't expect to find a taxi around sunset time.

Once people have had the breakfast meal the evening socialising begins. You are likely to find that the medina and the restaurants will be busy and vibrant and socialising will continue into the early hours of the morning - lots of atmosphere!

You will find that businesses will sell alcohol to tourists. Hotels will operate as normal. Some restaurants choose not to serve alochol during Ramadan, other restaurants will serve alcohol but you will have to sit at the back so that it isn't seen from the street. If you try to buy alcohol from the supermarket you may be asked to provide id.

I hope this answers your questions. Ramadan is a great time of year!

Lunenburg, Canada
Destination Expert
for Saint John, Foz do Iguacu, Iguazu National Park
posts: 2,818
reviews: 7
2. Re: trip planned for end of Aug, how will Ramadam effect my stay

Hi Norfolk!

Yes, Ramadan will affect your trip. For the better!

You'll find that Ramadan is the very best possible time to visit the Moslem world. Ramadan is a magical time, like Lent all day and Christmas all night, only carried through with a sincerity that you’ll never see in Europe or North America.

We tried to respect those who were keeping the fast, and only ate in discreet locations. We usually kept in our car provisions bought at the supermarket and held picnics in sheltered spots. By day, all the shops, especially those where a tourist might visit, will be open normal hours. Some offices might close early, but this is unlikely to affect you.

At night, of course, it’s the complete opposite. In mid-afternoon, the streets are thronged with people, including office workers taking the afternoons off if they can. As sundown gets closer, the milling crowds grow thinner and thinner, as one-by-one people drift home to get ready for supper. In the last few minutes before the sun disappears, the streets are deserted.

Promptly at the moment of sundown, the air raid sirens sound. This is the signal for virtually every Moroccan to chow down. Passing people’s homes, you’ll see them at table breaking the fast.

One evening, we strolled by a tavern. The host saw us and beckoned to come in. He gave us each bowls of the traditional harira soup, which I found myself developing a taste for. Then he refused to let us pay! For a Moroccan during Ramadan, seeing someone out on the street at supper time with no meal is like in England finding a poor man with no Christmas dinner.

After supper, Moroccan towns come alive with nighttime activity. We saw street parades, happy people out and about, and everyone generally making merry.

Except on tourist resorts and big international hotels, liquor is difficult to come by in Ramadan, although not impossible. The bars are all open in the evening, but they’re dry! The Koran prohibits alcohol and, although lots of people cheat the rest of the year, most take it more seriously in Ramadan. You’ll find lots of night life, but fueled with 7-Up, Canada Dry and milk!

At a small village inn in a hamlet called El Ksiba, we settled down for a sumptuous evening meal (as a ridiculously low price!). One of us asked for wine. The host glanced furtively from side to side and offered to see what he could do. Almost twenty minutes later, he returned with what must have been the only bottle in town. No doubt in a bigger center with lots of tourists, booze would have been easier to come by, but our host was able to find it even in a mountain village.

Although we were always careful to be discreet about eating and drinking by day, remember that you are not required to observe the fast if you aren’t a Moslem. (Likewise, young children and people with medical conditions like diabetes are exempt.) If you look like a European, you’ll be assumed to be a non-Moslem tourist.

Not only can you legally eat, but people will ply you with hospitality. In carpet shops and private homes it happened repeatedly to us. The hosts offered us mint tea, sweets, and sometimes lunch, all the while watching enviously and a few openly salivating. It wasn’t our idea, and we never asked for the food and drink! It’s recognized that non-Moslems do not have to fast, so people offer hospitality, all the while declining to partake themselves. No one will think ill of a tourist for taking refreshments when offered.

Throughout the Moslem world, Ramadan is considered a season of peace, when even those who might be nasty at other times go out of their way to be nice for twenty-nine days. God ordered the fast, don’t forget, so that the high and mighty might humble themselves to find out what it’s like to be poor.

Our Moroccan trip during Ramadan was one of the happiest I ever took. Everybody was kind to us. Everybody, with special mention to the tavern keeper who gave free soup!

By the way, we traveled on our own in a rental car. We had no guide, no pre-planned itinerary, and no association with any other western tourists. Perhaps that’s why we enjoyed it so much. We got to see the real Moroccans, unfiltered by guides and resorts, and to us they were fabulous!

Happy travels, and let me know if I can help further!

David

capetien10@gmail.com

Spain
posts: 159
reviews: 3
3. Re: trip planned for end of Aug, how will Ramadam effect my stay

There have been many discussions on this topic , look back at 26 & 28 May " Rammadan " and read.In my opinion visiting Marrakech during Ramadan and living here during Ramadan are 2 very different things , hence the "magical " write up from David Capetien !.

Erg Chebbi, Morocco
posts: 402
reviews: 2
4. Re: trip planned for end of Aug, how will Ramadam effect my stay

I personaly won't advise on doing such a trip during Ramadan, The thing is : when you wakp up at your Hotel and you pack for the next destination, you won't see the real life (daily life,Culture;traditions...etc) the mornings are really misrabable , but the nights are alive and poeple stay a wake till the early morning.

lot of places will be open, but not all of them!!

whenever you go, "Good luck"

Stockholm, Sweden
posts: 3,280
reviews: 45
5. Re: trip planned for end of Aug, how will Ramadam effect my stay

Hi,

I was in Morocco during Ramadan and it was OK, it was interesting to see how the people celebrate it. To see the people and theirs life in this time, it was nice in my eyes. People were out, not inside, it was not empty in the street and road. The people were sitting outside talking, selling on the market and so. At evening about 6 o´clock the people were running at home to mosque, to eat and suddenly the streets was completely empty. But it was empty not so long time, about one two hours or so it was full of people again. It is worth experience, to learn us also it is important to understand other countries.

6. Re: trip planned for end of Aug, how will Ramadam effect my stay

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