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?
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.
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.
- Don’t look too interested
- Be prepared to walk away and DO walk away!
- Cut their original offer by half as a starting point.
- They can always go lower
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 🙂
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.