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  • Writer's pictureNative Morocco

Unique Souvenirs Found in Morocco

Shopping in Morocco is a fascinating experience for everyone who visits. Wandering through the souks surrounded by vibrant colors and smells, being spun in every direction hearing the shouts from the vendors attempting to lure you into their shop - all while navigating narrow pathways filled with pedestrians, scooters, donkeys with carts and stray animals. The experience on its own is memorable, and the merchandise you find is as unique as the buyer that selects it. Popular Moroccan souvenirs are usually rugs, baskets, leather goods, and lanterns - yet there are so many unique souvenirs that you can only find in Morocco, and this article will assist you in discovering interesting items to keep an eye out for and add to your shopping list.


Solid Perfume Bar

In both cosmetic and spice shops, you’ll come across these little colorful cubes which are

actually perfumes in solid form. They may look like soaps, but it is actually perfume!

Bars of what appears to be soap , but is perfume bars, in assorted colors in ceramic bowls.  #Morocco #perfume #luxury
Assorted perfume bars.

Moroccan perfume bars are handmade and include natural fragrances such as sandalwood and musk. It’s free from any alcohol or chemicals, so it’s completely safe and all natural for those with sensitive skin. Simply rub the cube against your wrist, neck, or behind the ear to get the scent on you and can easily become a part of your daily care routine.


Pure Perfume Oil

Glass bottles of essential oils labeled in English and Arabic, LAVENDAR, PATCHOULI, CITRUS, VANILLA. #perfume #morocco #essential oils
Essential oils used in perfumes.

Another form of perfume you can buy in Morocco is perfume oil. You’ll come across many shops selling these little bottles. These are scented oils that have no alcohol in them unlike your average perfume. The scent lasts for a much longer period of time as any eau de parfum does versus an eau de toilette would. Perfume oils are used both on the body and within the home in a diffuser to freshen up any room.

Moroccan Wedding Blanket

White woven blanket with silver sequins.  #morocco #weddingblanket #handwoven
Moroccan wedding blanket.

Although you may be able to find Moroccan wedding blankets online for purchase, oftentimes they are not authentic (mass produced in a factory) and the prices can be quite exorbitant. Traditional wedding blankets are always white and have hand sewn sparkling adornments and fringes on one end. These are given as gifts to women to celebrate the day of their wedding and are often worn as a robe on the wedding day before being transferred to use on the bed. Although items are always cheaper in the souks than other places, these items may still be on the higher end of costs due to the amount of time placed on creating these beautiful gifts.

Berber Basket

colorful woven Berber baskets in a pile for sale  #handcrafted #artisan #traditional
Berber baskets.

You’ll find plenty of market baskets for sale when visiting the souks, but a Berber Basket is a unique souvenir option as they originate from the Sahara desert. Known for their colorful designs and combination of sizes, they’ve recently grown more popular at restaurants to serve dishes as well as accessories for home décor.


Aker fassi (Berber lipstick)

woman holding small clay disc with red pigment on her fingertips #lipstick #Berber #beautyproducts
Aker fassi demonstration.

Aker fassi is a powder made from poppy flowers and dried pomegranate rinds placed into a small clay disc in dried form, and is a wonderful lipstick and blush alternative. The color comes from the poppies used to grind into the powder and offers a warm red hue. To use this product, soak your lipstick brush or finger into water then rub the clay disc lightly and apply to your lips or cheeks and blend in as needed.


bins of colorful spices with scoops in them for bulk sale
Ras el hanout (rass el hanout) spice sold in the markets.

Ras el Hanout Spice

This is a blend of some of the most commonly used Moroccan spices which often includes ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, peppers, cumin, and many others. Ras el hanout can have more than 20 spices blended in depending on where the shop you purchase it from. Ras el hanout can vary widely, so it’s best to purchase small amounts from various shops since each blend will be different.

This blend is mainly used for tagines, but it can also be used as a meat rub and the traditional chicken dish rfissa.


Thuya Wood Handcrafted Goods

When visiting the souks, you may come across hand crafted wooden trinkets in a rich brown marbled wood that is highly polished in the form of bowls, boxes and in more rare instances small furniture items. These items are made out of the exotic thuya wood

indigenous to and exclusively grown in Morocco.

wood box shiny handcrafted and polished smoothe onion shaped
Box made from thuya wood.

Thuya trees can be found near the port city of Essaouira, known specifically for their wood craftsmanship. Thuya wood items are one of the most unique souvenirs to purchase on your visit to Morocco, so make sure you keep an eye out for these amazing items in the souks.



Musical instruments

There are two different types of musical instruments in Morocco, the indigenous inspired instruments and the Arab instruments. Handcrafted musical instruments are easy to find in Morocco, and Gnaoua instruments offer a regionally specific souvenir.

moroccan oud, guitar, gimbri and grageb sold in stores
Traditional instruments for sale.

This style of traditional Moroccan music is mostly found in southern Morocco, and the annual Gnaoua World Music Festival takes place in Essaouira and offers curious travelers an insight to traditional music performance. The gimbri (camel hide and goat intestine string instrument), qraqeb (krakeb), and tbel (drum) are three common instruments that you can easily find in souks and music shops throughout Morocco.

Alum Stones

white alum stones looking like crystals in wooden spoon with lemons
Small alum stones.

Alum stones are chunky white stones that resemble crystals often found in spice shops. Alum stones are used as a natural deodorant because the stone contains properties that hinder the growth of bacteria on the skin’s surface that causes body odor. It's a salt-potassium mineral that naturally occurs in volcanic areas. It’s odor free, and can be used as an aftershave, and some also use it to tighten the skin. This unique cosmetic product is very practical and can last you for years with proper care.


Black Soap

pile of waxy brown soap that looks like caramel in a ceramic dish with wooden spoon
Black soap sold in the souks.

If you’re wanting to travel around with minimal souvenirs but you still want something unique and practical from Morocco, then black soap is the perfect souvenir for you. Black soap is a part of the hammam bathing experience. The black soap is made from a mix of olive oil, sometimes argan oil, and macerated olives. The soap is gel-like consistency, unlike your typical African black soap which is usually in solid bar form. It’s excellent for exfoliating leaving radiant skin.


Pure Rose Oil

rose buds in mortar and pestle alongside a vial of pink rose oil
Rose oil is highly sought after in the souks of Morocco.

The areas of Dades Gorges and the M’Goun Valley are known for their fragrant pink roses used to produce rose oil, with an annual harvest festival that usually follows around the end of May (festival is dependent on weather and blooming season). Pure rose oil is difficult to find outside of Morocco, and local souks, cosmetic shops, and pharmacies sell rose oil in all areas of the country. Prices will vary depending whether or not the rose oil is pure. Keep in mind that it takes 10,000 roses just to make 5ml of oil, so while rose oil will be expensive it’s far more affordable to purchase it while in Morocco. Rosewater is also readily available as a cheaper alternative.

Fossils

fossils piled up for sale
Ammonite fossils found in Morocco.

While fossils are a common souvenir in Morocco, the small Sahara city of Erfoud is known for their fossils. Over 380 million years ago the Moroccan Sahara desert was the floor to a prehistoric ocean, and where Erfoud lays is a rich source of fossils due to it being a fossilized ancient coral reef. Trilobites and ammonites are the most prevalent fossils in the region, and you can either purchase fossils in stone or as souvenirs incorporating the fossils in their design. Visit the Museum of Fossils and Minerals if you are in the region to learn more of the geological history of Morocco and to see excavation first hand.

Tagines

brightly colored clay cooking vessels
Colorful tagines for sale in the souks.

The word tagine can refer to both the Moroccan style meal, as well as the pot in which the food is cooked and served in. You can easily find tagines of all colors and styles for sale on every street corner, although if you’re wanting a more authentic tagine that every Moroccan family uses then you’ll want to buy the red or earthy-clay tagine. The tagines aimed towards tourists usually come in a variety of different colors and patterns.

Pair your new souvenir with a cooking class and get ready to entertain guests with your culinary knowledge!


Pure Argan Oil

argan oil hand mill
Argan kernels being ground into oil.

Argan oil is a very popular product worldwide more formally known for its cosmetic purposes, but the oil can also be used as a culinary oil as well. You will often find women sitting in front of cosmetic shops doing demonstrations of churning argan tree nut kernels by hand to form a paste. You can purchase soaps, lotions, shampoos, and other argan cosmetics from these shops though we highly suggest you purchase at least one container of argan oil for use as skin and hair care.

Culinary argan oil is more expensive but tastes incredible drizzled on bread, salads, and couscous. Both forms are widely available in souks, just make sure you know which use the oil is intended for (beauty or edible) and be careful as some shops will mix it with sunflower oil.

When it comes to souvenirs and shopping experiences, different cities will carry different treasures, you may not always find the same item twice. This is absolutely true regarding antique jewelry and home décor items. If you see something you like, we highly encourage you to buy it. You may regret passing it by later on during your travels - and get ready to haggle for the right price!


Photo credits:

Black soap: www.Solostocks.ma

All others: Shutterstock


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