© Aussies In Morocco Tours™
When you visit Morocco, you will inevitably end up in a situation that will require you to queue for something. Things like waiting to purchase tickets to a historical site, changing cash at a money exchange or waiting for a table at a popular restaurant, can all lead to an uncomfortable feeling of being unsure how to navigate the situation.
There are a few general scenarios that we set out below. With a little guidance from us, you can hopefully feel more confident about dealing with each of them.
Queueing at Tourist Sites
If you’re at a tourist site, chances are you will see queues in the traditional sense of the word. People will make a line until it is their turn. Of course, with a wide variety of cultures and styles represented this tends to change. You might find for example that Spanish tourists are pushier, that English tourists hold back and that French tourists complain more. Yes, yes stereotypes galore. However, in our experience, true. Be prepared for these cultural differences with a healthy dose of patience and acceptance, lest you give yourself unnecessary stress in a situation you can’t change.
It is helpful in managing your expectations if you note that you shouldn’t expect those overseeing the queue to step in and/or provide direction for how the situation should be managed. They won’t.
Queueing in Majority Moroccan Spaces
When we say “Moroccan spaces” we’re referring to those places that are mostly Moroccans waiting. This could be things like local restaurants or banks. It is in these places that you may find yourself confused and a bit like a sardine in a tin can. It will most likely feel that there is no sense of queueing or order.
In some cases, there simply isn’t.
However, most of the time there is a method to what happens. While you may not see a queue in the traditional sense, people do keep track of who was there before them. So, scan when you arrive and keep an eye on who is there. They will go up after the last person they recognise as being there. They may acknowledge you (if they arrived later) and ask, but in truth most people just watch and go when they feel it is their turn.
Of course, it doesn’t always work out this way.
It does happen that the mob “blob” takes over and it’s every man and woman for him or herself. This is less than ideal but, in these instances, your best bet is truly to follow the crowd if you want to get things done. It can feel very abnormal if you’re not used to the practice but if it’s the only way to get things done. You just have to embrace the cultural difference.
Avoiding a Queue Completely
Is it really possible? In some cases, yes! There are some places that do allow, for example, you to purchase tickets in advance, including online and then skip the queue. For example, check out the official website of Le Jardin Majorelle in Marrakech. Often if you have hired a guide, they can bypass the queue as well. This may cost you a little more for convenience but if you are someone that really hates the idea of waiting or trying to navigate the system in a foreign country it could be worth the cost.
Aussies In Morocco Tours™ has access to local city guides who can arrange for you to jump queues legitimately in major city locations such as Marrakech and Fez. We will be releasing details about this after borders reopen.
Some Final Thoughts on Crowds and Time in General
Obviously too, there are better times of the day (this is particularly true of the Ouzoud waterfalls) and of the year, to avoid crowds in general. For example Easter is peak tourist season for Morocco when queues and crowds in general are also likely to be at their peak. Conversely, choosing out-of-the-way locales, as we suggest in our “Morocco 2.0” blog post for those returning to Morocco (here), are also likely to lead to less crowds and thus less queuing, albeit with possibly more travel time to get to – and return from – a particular locale.
For example, in our Tours One (1) here and Five (5) here we suggest as an optional extra on the drive from Fez to Marrakech, a side-trip to Boujad, which is near-ish Béni Mellal and circa 260km from Fez. It is a picturesque artisan’s town rarely visited by tourists. You could stay for lunch and a look at the wares for sale. During springtime in this part of the world you will drive past fields of wildflowers including daisies and large patches of wild lavender. It would however add at least an hour’s driving onto your trip and an extra couple of hours to have lunch and look around; making for a very long day for you and your driver. Then again it is likely to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity ~ and no queues!
With limited time and every day costing you money, and, in addition, with the possibility that you may never be back, time management of your holiday is really important. Let us at Aussies In Morocco Tours™ help you with this in relation to queues but also more generally. Please bear in mind about having realistic expectations on your management of your time in Morocco, which we deal with at least in part in our blog post here under the subheading “Length of your holiday”. Because sometimes you will need to do a balancing of quality vs quantity of experience. Obviously there is only so much you can see and do in an entire country in, for example, two weeks, particularly one as unknown and beguiling as Morocco.
Indeed, you might just have to come back after all.
Published 1 April 2021