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“Usual scamming” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Tanneries

outside Bab Debbagh, Marrakech, Morocco
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Ranked #490 of 570 Activities in Marrakech
Type: Factory tours, Neighborhoods, Sightseeing Tours, Other
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Attraction details
Fee: No
Recommended length of visit: <1 hour
Owner description: Leather tanning is the major industry in the city. It’s definitely worth a walk through this neighborhood.
Walsall, England, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
4 attraction reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Usual scamming”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 29, 2013

You need a strong stomach, but mint sprigs are provided to help with the noxious smell. Interesting place, but not for the faint-hearted. Tannery tour guide expected a tip even though he clearly was there to lead us to a leather goods shop. Given we spent £60 in the shop I wasn't inclined to give him anything. He started getting aggressive as we left the shop - threatening to go back into the shop and complain to the shop manager eventually made him go away.

Visited August 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Liverpool, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
57 reviews 57 reviews
38 attraction reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
85 helpful votes 85 helpful votes
“Try & go it alone”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 28, 2013

The tanneries were on our to-do list long before visiting Morocco & on our second day we walked to the area. The gate is sign-posted from the main square so with that and/or a map it's quite easy to find.

Whilst approaching the gate, we noticed we were being followed by a few men but we continued on our way. There were a number of open doors to some different tanneries but we knew one of the biggest was by the gate so continued walking. When we got there, a few people tried to coax us in - one suggesting it was his family who owned it.

We already knew (thanks to these reviews) that it was free to explore the tanneries & with this in mind we tried to shake him off. He offered to let us view the site from a terrace on a nearby building but when we tried to agree a price he just kept saying "as you want" so we didn't go up.

We wondered into the tannery behind him & of course he was following us, trying to coax us into looking at every vat. It was quite intimidating & we repeated several times that we wanted to have five minutes on our own to have a look for ourselves.

We then made our escape but not before a demand for money so we gave him literally 1dh to shut him up. If anything, this seemed to insult him & another man came over siding with him. The 1dh coin was given back to us & we went on our way. Looking back, the smell wasn't as bad as anyone on here is making out (some of the streets/souks smell much worse) but we should of paid a bit more & seen a bit more. He did nothing to warrant any cash so we have no regrets with the 1dh offer.

It's a place which is worth a visit, but you just have to be confident & stand your ground. Be warned that the people around the area are not officials guides whatsoever & that they appeared to work in groups.

Visited August 2013
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Vancouver, Canada
Top Contributor
102 reviews 102 reviews
64 attraction reviews
Reviews in 42 cities Reviews in 42 cities
58 helpful votes 58 helpful votes
“A truly horrible experience”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed August 22, 2013

We were approached in the souk by a very convincing young man to see the tanneries, "No pressure, no smell". After reluctantly listening to his sales pitch and agreeing to have a look, we walked through a labyrinth of back streets with him chatting pleasantly. He handed us over the "manager" of the tannery, who gave us a handful of mint leaves to mask the smell and led us around a series of disgusting pools filled with pigeon poop. 30 seconds of information, and then we walked around the pools. The place was utterly filthy with horse poop and garbage littering the path. Once we reached the far side of the tannery, the smell became absolutely unbearable, and we were gagging by the time we managed to get outside. We were then escorted by several young men to a showroom where a high pressure sales pitch commenced. We walked out, and were followed down the road by the "manager" of the tannery and our first guide who demanded money for the tour. My husband refused to pay anything, and they became more aggressive and started to step closer with raised voices, even blocking our path. In the end, just to be able to leave safely, I handed over 100 dirham. My advice - don't go!!

Visited August 2013
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11 reviews 11 reviews
7 attraction reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Fairly interesting to see but you leave feeling stressed and endangered”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed August 19, 2013

As soon as we were in the Tannery area, there were people claiming not be guides coming out of every corner to guide you to the tannery whether you like it or not. We were handed over to a worker in the tannery who gave us mint leaf 'gas masks', although the smell is bearable, and showed us around a little bit. As is usually the case we were led to a shop, and expected to buy leather goods. We politely refused and the shop owners impolitely showed us the door, because the previous guide and 'non-guide' demanded 100 dhirams for their 10 minutes work. I handed 20 and said they were getting any more, and was consequently threatened ("tu cherches une probleme?!") before I walked off. The first guide followed and asked for a euro at least, but he wasn't getting tuppence and became irate before storming off.

Visited August 2013
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Senior Contributor
32 reviews 32 reviews
10 attraction reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
“Intimidating and pressurizing - nothing worth seeing!”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed August 12, 2013

We were taken here as part of a taxi tour. We were showed round by a 'guide' - to be honest nothing there really needs guiding but we didn't have much choice in the matter. The smell isn't that bad, it's just pigeon poo and leather! It takes about 40 seconds to walk in, have a look and walk out, and we were then escorted by the 'guide' to the tannery shop. The guide did nothing that we couldn't have seen for ourselves and his explanation of the tanning process took about 20 seconds. He was very friendly and all smiles until it got to the end and he started demanding money for a tip. He got aggressive and over bearing when he thought the tip was not enough (we paid 20dh each - I've noticed that other reviewers paid the same price here!!). He took us to the tannery shop even though we stated we didn't want to buy anything. Inside the shop we were shown around and told to 'help the poor families' by buying the goods. When we said we were just looking the owner quite pressurizing for us to buy. Luckily we escaped without buying anything! Eventually the taxi driver for our tour had to tell the 'guide' to leave us alone as he was so intimidating. The whole thing was just a nasty experience.

Visited July 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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