Moroccan Game of Thrones Beach Trip!

All I needed to hear was that Essaouira was a Game of Thrones filming location, and I was sold.  Add to that that there were goats involved?  I’m so in.  So, I decided to take a day trip to Essaouira.

I opted to use the I Go Morocco day trip because I didn’t feel like figuring out the details to get there, it was only $28, and I already had my 3 day tour in the Sahara booked with them.  For my full budget for my Morocco trip, check this out!

It seems a little ridiculous that I pretty much only wanted to go to Essaouira to see another Game of Thrones location, but I’m so glad that I did.  My biggest regret was that I only went for a little bit!  While the Sahara was magical and mystical, Essaouira had a whole different vibe, and I wish I had spent more time there! 

On the way there!

I’m not sure if you’ve ever heard of the goats in the Argan Trees, but I assure you… it’s a thing.  Those goats have to have done it naturally because it’s too odd of a thing to teach a goat, isn’t it?

Goats in tree morocco

Our van pulled off to the side of the road, and there were two massive Argan trees with a few laughing tourists.  Off to the other side was a man urinating. OK.  When he was done, he scooped up a baby goat, walked up to a girl about my age and shoved the (adorable…. But previously held by a peeing guy, and I’m pretty sure he didn’t wipe his hands…) baby goat in her hands. And then demanded payment.  I didn’t hold the goat for obvious reasons, but I was also demanded payment just to take a picture of the trees.  I gave him the equivalent of about a dollar and he backed off.  Definitely worth it to see these cuties.

Honestly, that was a daily struggle. People demanded payment for things that you wouldn’t have to pay for at home. Restroom, taking pictures of something in the wild, holding a goat he put in your hands that you didn’t ask for, holding your hands to cross a river even though you said no.   Up to you how you want to handle it.  It was strange to me. But I digress.

Back to goats.

The stop was only a few minutes long. At the time, I wished that we could have stayed longer, but I enjoyed my time in Essaouira so much, that I’m glad we didn’t.

Next Stop… feminism!

After we saw the goats chilling in the trees, we were taken to a women’s cooperative that uses the Argan nut to make various products.  The women’s cooperative is a place for women to work for themselves in a safe environment.  I love stuff like that 🙂

We had an English speaking tour guide that took us through the whole process.

She showed the women that were working at each stage from cracking the nuts, to grinding them, to mashing out the oil, and the final products!

I ended up buying a few products there as gifts for my family.  They were much more expensive than in Essaouira by almost double, but I didn’t mind too much because at least I knew where my money is going.  If you’re more concerned with the price tag, I suggest you at least buy 1 item there and the rest in Essaouira.

They had both food and beauty products to buy.  The argan oil has a different taste to it, but it’s not bad at all (and I’m a pretty picky eater).

Then finally off to Essaouira.

The walls were magnificently maintained.  Strolling the ramparts, I felt just like Khaleesi.  Below is a 360 pic, so scroll around!

The canons were battened down pretty securely, so rather than removing them for the shots, they placed small platforms over them for the Walk of Punishment.  In case you don’t recognize this city, it’s Astapor!  It’s the setting of one my favorite scenes with Khaleesi and how she handles the slave traders.

game of thrones set morocco astapor
Top is a pic from the HBO show, and below is my pic showing you what it looks like normally!

Even if you’re not a Game of Thrones fan (we all make mistakes), the city still has much to offer beyond its stunning architecture.

The City Itself

I ate lunch right by the main square and had a completely filling meal for less than $6.  I had expected it to be a huge price hike for the tourists, but that’s not so!  Since I ate outside, I had a lot of people watching to do.  I loved listening to the symphony of languages all around me.  And to entertain us were some rather dashing street performers who did some pretty harrowing acrobatic tricks!  

After lunch, I decided to do a little shopping.  I’m pretty bad at haggling because in general I feel like they could use the money more than I could, so I usually hardly haggle at all.  However, my boyfriend wanted some leather poofs, so I was on the hunt.  I actually wandered all through the city and only found 1 store that had them, so I didn’t have as much haggling power as you’d have with the cloth poofs or any of the other products that are all over the place.  I eventually got on wifi and let my boyfriend haggle over Facebook messenger for two leather poofs that look lovely in his living room.  He got him down from about $110 to about $60.  

How to Haggle:

From people who like to haggle, here are some suggestions to not pay asking price.

  1. Don’t look too interested
  2. Be prepared to walk away and DO walk away!
  3. Cut their original offer by half as a starting point.  
  4. They can always go lower
You should show as much interest as this cat <3

I accidentally did a good job at haggling the prices down for my decorative spoon hunt.  I couldn’t find one that I wanted (I like it to say the country name on them if possible.  They just had small spoons), so I kept leaving the store and looking.  One very persistent merchant insisted that I wouldn’t be able to find that sort of spoon anywhere, and he kept dropping the price as I was trying to exit.  I assured him if I couldn’t, that I’d come back.  Luckily for me, I found exactly what I was looking for and for cheaper 🙂

I should have chilled here for days

Back to Marrakech

Everyone met up at the meeting spot within 10 minutes of the departure time, and we were off!  It was pretty much a straight drive back to Marrakech with one snack stop.  I had about an hour to get ready, and then I was picked up for the Chez Ali Dinner Fantasia Show.

All in all, I had a lovely time in Essaouira.  I wish I had been able to stay a little longer than just the few hours that I had!  I suggest longer than a day trip!  You can shop, chill on the beach, get a massage, and haggle to your hearts content! It’s a much cleaner, brighter, and chiller city than Marrakech.



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24 thoughts on “Moroccan Game of Thrones Beach Trip!

  1. Nicole Anderson | Camping for Women says:

    Really enjoyable and interesting post. Most people who are interested in North Africa and Morocco would know of Marrakech but much fewer would know anything about Essaouira. I would definitely love to visit from reading this and seeing your photos. Have to see the famous goats in trees too! Very cool.

  2. Raymond Carroll says:

    Essaouira looks great – I’ve never been to Morocco but would love to visit one day – I was in Malaga, Spain last month and was tempted to go on a day trip to Morocco (Tangier) but I ran out of time. Good tips on haggling – it’s not as easy as some people think, so well done! Nice post. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Lien says:

    I also bought argan oil when I was in Morocco 😉 I love to wander in the souks! Thanks for bringing all those memories back

  4. Kim says:

    Woah, goats in a tree? Never seen/heard of that before! Did they all belong to that man? I wonder if he trained them or if they’ve always just climbed trees. Seems like a great trip to Essaouira, aside from having to pay for everything. I love GoT and would totally make a trip here!

  5. Rachelle says:

    Haha those goats are totally awesome! I’d for sure fall out if I tried to get up where they were. And bravo for going to a location because you were interested in GoT filming locations. It’s always fun to see where some of our favorite shows are filmed. Sounds like you had a blast!

  6. Zainab says:

    This is really interesting – I’m rubbish at haggling so some good points. As a GOT fan, it all sounds great except the paying for everything bit at the start.. Thanks!

  7. James says:

    Essaouira is one of the few places I’ve not yet visited in Morocco but really want to visit. I didn’t know about it’s Game of Thrones connection but I’ve seen lots of Instagrammable images of the blue Essaouira. Those goats in the tree on the way there are fascinating, I’d love to see those!

    • Carly Wayward says:

      I didn’t make it to the Blue City 🙁 but the Game of Thrones Locations were awesome! I’m watching Gladiator right now and saw Ait Ben Haddou from the other tour I took!

  8. Indrani says:

    Really? They charged you for taking pic of the tree?!!!
    The world is made of all kinds of people! But then I would pay too for that priceless picture!!! 😛 🙂
    Great tour!

    • Carly Wayward says:

      Some people said that they didn’t pay the man, but it was only a buck.. I figure he needed it more than I did!

  9. Cat says:

    I didn’t know that Essaouira is a GOT filming location! It is such a beautiful place to photograph! I love your haggle tips – good to know that you can go as low as half price!

  10. Haggling stories reminded me of India so much! But I have used these haggling skills at home now too, getting discounts anywhere from clothing stores to building materials depos. So practice is good 🙂

  11. Kelly says:

    I admit I have never seen Game of Thrones but I can see why they used this city as a filming location. And $28 is a steal. Guess yiu can use that to pay for allthe photos you took of the goats. Lol. Also lived the cooperative and so nice to see female empowerment.

  12. Jemille Williams says:

    This is amazing! I love how you break down everything from tips on haggling to getting a massage in the hotel.

    And the goats in the trees are enhanced by your tiny planet camera!

  13. Tasha says:

    Being a huge GOT fan I’m ashamed to say I didn’t recognise the city! It looks like there’s a lot to do there too, the street performers during your lunch sounded fun.

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