Of course, a travel itinerary is not over without a trip to the souvenir shops. And this Morocco series will end with just that: the top five souvenirs from the country that your families and friends will be delighted to receive. Because seriously, in this age and time, a mug or a keychain is not cutting it anymore (although yes, I bought myself a key chain still, haha). Unless the mug is a collectible Starbucks edition which most of you are probably collecting. Sometimes I don’t understand the need to give someone a keychain or ref magnet or anything that has the name of the country that I went to because technically, I was the one who went to that country: it’s not my relative or friend so why would they want something that has the name of a place they’ve never set foot in? For what’s it worth, a travel souvenir is a thing that we keep to remind us of our trip so why give it away to someone who didn’t go to the same country? IHaha! But I guess that’s not how we look at “souvenirs”. We look at as souvenirs as a gesture of sharing what we have experienced to our loved ones. Also, souvenirs can also be things that doesn’t have to have the name of the country in it. They can also be things that best describes the country or items that is popular in the country.
Here are Morocco’s best items to keep and give:
1. Moroccan Argan Oil
There were A LOT of people wanted us to buy Moroccan argan oil for them. I can’t blame them; I wanted to buy myself a gallon too! Haha! Argan oil is considered to be a “liquid gold” because of its many benefits to the body. When it first became popular, argan oil was really expensive and I wasn’t really keen on buying it. But argan oil has become more accessible and less expensive in the long run because a lot of cosmetic brands have been using it in their mainstream products. Argan oil is a plant oil from the small, round fruit of the argan tree. The hard-shelled nut of the fruit contains one to three oil-rich argan kernels which yields 30% to 50% oil depending on the extraction method. Most argan oil are still processed with the traditional methods by first air drying the fruit and removing the fleshy pulp. They then obtain the argan kernels by cracking the nut and this is done by hand. This time-consuming and labour intensive process is mostly done by the Berber women making this truly precious. They let the kernels cool and grind and press them to produce pure argan oil. This is what we came for in Morocco. Haha!
There are two kinds of argain oil: culinary and cosmetic. The first one need the kernels to be roasted. This oil is used to cook food and also can be used as is for bread dipping. The cosmetic one doesn’t need the kernels to be roasted so that it won’t smell of nut too much. This can be used for the skin and hair. This wonder oil is highly-moisturizing and nourishing. Most skincare and hair care products are now infused with argan oil and they’re extremely popular. So popular that we traveled to Morocco to obtain the purest argain oil. Only the best! Lol.
Anyway, we were at an herboristerie in Marrakesh when we finally got out hands on some bottles of argan oil. There was an explanation first, which honestly we didn’t need because we were sold from the get go! Five huge bottles please! Haha! Okay, so prices depend on the bottles of course. 50 Moroccan dirhams up, you guys. Just make sure you leave money to buy lots of argan oil because you need a lifetime supply of this amazing liquid gold. We won’t divulge how many bottles we took home but let’s just say our families are also happy to have it. We also took home some products that have argan oil in it like day and night creams and herbal remedies for acne and eczema. They have a lot of products that target different skin diseases and illnesses. They also gave us rose water for free!
2. Black Soap
Morocco has been a great destination for us now that we’re in our 30s because now that we’re *cough* older *cough*, we learned to take care of our skin more and we’re into that phase in our lives where we’re into anti-aging, whitening, plumping, nourishing, etc regimen. And so Morocco with its argan oil and valuable hammam products is the perfect place to get more items that will help us in our quest to find
the fountain youth lol worthy skincare products that work. One of said products is the black soap. I first heard it from the Kuwaiti friends in our tour group when they asked the herbal guy if they have it. They didn’t have it in the herboristerie so I had time to Google what it was and if it’s also worthy to take it home as a wonderful souvenir from Morocco.
I thought it was a bar of soap but it turned out it’s a tub of blask-ish, brownish, and dark green gel-like substance that is made of olive oil, vegetable soda, and essential oils. It is a popular part of a traditional hammam ritual where it’s placed on the body then scrubbed with a kessa glove afterwards. It’s used for deep cleansing and purifying the body from dirt and dead skin (a-ha, this is the reason for the ultimate scrubbing I had at the hotel hammam, haha!). It nourishes, exfoliates, and moisturizes the skin leaving it smooth and silky and glowing! So yes, this is a must for my bath, and yours too if you ever get one.
The Black Soap, also known as Savon Noir, has a texture of butter and in Morocco, you can get them in the souks piled up looking like a pyramid of black-ish honey. I got my black soap in a modern souk inside the Morocco Mall, which is a mall you need to visit too. I mean, if you just have some spare time before you head to the airport. I cannot scrub my skin like the heavy-duty scrubber in the hammam of Zalagh Kasbah but I try to give as much effort as I can muster every time I use my black soap and kessa glove once a week at home. After all, I’m the one into this anti-aging, nourishing, moisturizing, etc. ritual right? Haha! A tub is around 50-100 Moroccan dirhams.
If you worry that you’ll just break your ceramics on the way home, then think again. These vendors have it all covered… with foam. Haha! While at Art Naji, we were so engrossed into how the ceramics, pots, and mosaics were made. After that, we were ushered to a store where they sell their products. An hour is not enough to go through all the products and to deal with our indecisiveness. What to choose? What to buy? Aghhhhh! I told myself I’m not getting anything bigger than my face because it will be hard to pack them in my luggage so I settled for small ones. They packed my choices nicely in foam, string, and plastic. I’m happy to report that they all survived the journey to Riyadh.
4. Leather Goods
It’s a must that you buy leather products especially in Fes where the tanneries are located. Leather goods are a-plenty but make sure you buy the genuine ones. How do you spot the real ones?
Well, I’m not sure either because I rarely buy leather stuff but no leather is ever perfect so if the surface of the leather is irregular and has little pebbles and pores, then it’s probably real. Real leather, as said by a website, might have scratches, creases, and wrinkles because animal skin is as random and unique as the animal it came from. Real leather also have that musky smell so steer away from those with plastic/commercial smell. However, there are leather that stinks so don’t get those too. As I mentioned in one of our Morocco entries, I got a bunch of leather wallets from a tout in the medina and I had to throw them away because they stink so bad and the color stains every where! Also, remember that real leather is expensive and if they’re offering you the product for a cheap price then that is too good to be true.
5. Berber Jewellery
Actually, we have these kinds of jewellery in Saudi Arabia. If you venture into the accessories section of Dirah then you’ll see these types of silver and natural stones jewelries. But there’s nothing like knowing that what you’re wearing is genuinely from Morocco, the home of the Berbers who were the ones who started wearing these striking accessories. The Berbers, Morocco’s indigenous people, had really hefty and intense pieces of jewellery that they use as symbolic decorations or parts of their clothing. There are also significant messages in each piece that they create. An essay by writer Cynthia Becker described these body adornments as “not only masterpieces of Berber identity, but also reveal the strength of women within their tribal worlds. There is a fierceness to the pieces, with their bright, beaten silver contrasting with colorful stones, each with a particular meaning.”
Of course, the “Berber jewellery” that we see in the souks of Morocco are more for decorative purposes and can be worn every day or for special occasions. I am mostly enthralled by how simple yet colorful the pieces are. They’re far from being elegant and posh but they have a vintage vibe to them that makes them more appealing to my eyes. They’re very fashionable and easy to wear. The combination of silver and various stones make them beautiful, artsy and indie in a way. Your fashionista friends will love these!
And so that’s it. I was supposed to mention carpets and rugs but if you’re the ordinary tourist like us who have limited budget then you’ll probably not bring these home.
It’s not only their weight that is hefty but also their price tag. Kaching! Of course, they’re worth it because these carpets are done by hand by the best weavers! However, we can’t afford this! So anyway, thank you for reading our Morocco entries! Can you guess where we are headed next? Uhmn, I can’t because we don’t know yet. Haha! ‘Til next travel adventure, Riyadhizens!
If you didn’t catch all of our Moroccan adventures, read all of our Morocco entries here:
Planning For Morocco
Mesmerizing Morocco: Five Cities 1/2
Mesmerizing Morocco: Five Cities 2/2
Mesmerizing Morocco: Top 5 Unforgettable Experiences
Mesmerizing Morocco: Top 5 Must-Dos