pashmina scarfWhenever a family member returns to Morocco from abroad, it’s a good bet that half of their luggage is made up of gifts. While Moroccans have access to almost all of the same conveniences as those in the United States, Canada or Europe, the quality is often inferior. Moroccans are well known for their hospitality and generosity and would never act rude or upset if they were not presented with a gift. However, traveling with small items to be given as gifts can show your host(s) a little gratitude for their efforts. And, with the trips to Morocco we at Journey Beyond Travel put together, you’ll have plenty of opportunities for local connections (and meals in homes) where gifts will be welcome.

What items can be taken to Morocco?

While some gifts can be picked up in Morocco, there are some items that always go over well that you can bring from home. When considering gifts to bring, try to not resort on bringing sweets. This is two-fold. Moroccan taste buds don’t tend to like American sweets that much. We have amazing chocolate in Morocco (mostly from Europe) and Hershey’s isn’t popular here. Additionally, we would rather travelers bring other items that would benefit the women of the household of the kids if at all possible. So, when thinking of gifts, think about bringing something nice for the women and something educational or useful for the kids.

Some of those items include:

  • Sweet-smelling floral soaps or creams
  • Good-quality scarves or wraps
  • Soft pencil or pen cases
  • Unique items from your state – even food items (maple syrup, hats, t-shirts, postcards)
  • Story books, coloring books, colored pencils, crayons
  • Soccer balls
  • Puzzles, planes, blocks, games

If you’re staying with a family or are invited for dinner in Morocco, it is customary to bring a gift. As mentioned, you will not be treated differently if you don’t, but it is a welcome gesture. If you decide to take items from outside Morocco, make sure that food items do not contain alcohol (as is the case with some chocolates) or gelatin, which is often made with pork.

If there are children in the family, gifts for the children, as opposed to for the adults, are always happily accepted. Soccer balls, which can be deflated before flying and pumped up once you’ve arrived, are a welcome gift for any boy. If you are visiting a family as a couple (husband and wife/ boyfriend and girlfriend), it is acceptable to bring perfume and cologne. However, single women visiting a family should not give cologne as a gift. Perfume for your hostess, however, is okay.

Having small gifts in the ready is a great way to break the ice and start a new friendship on the right foot. If you’ve forgotten all of these suggestions and find yourself a guest at someone’s home, there’s one key question to ask: What would you like to receive? Moroccans are the same as everyone else and any gesture put forth will be met with thanks.

Written by Amanda Mouttaki.

Photo by Mike Legend.