The souks of Morocco are chock full of the perfect gifts for your special someone. Whether you’re looking for something small for a stocking stuffer or something a bit larger to toss into Santa’s sleigh, the likelihood of you making a big holiday splash with unique, often handmade gifts is assured.
And if you’re really in the season for giving, check out our list of favorite non-profits we support, at the end of this Morocco gift guide. Your gift to any of these NGOs makes an impact that will last far longer than the holiday season. Even the smallest of donations can go a very, very long way.
Of course, if you have already enjoyed traveling Morocco with us, you could always consider gifting a customized tour (forgive the plug!) for your loved ones. Giving the trip of a lifetime aside, here is our list of gift ideas from Morocco:
Happy Holidays from the team at Journey Beyond Travel!
Morocco Gift Guide: For the Bath
- Black Soap (Savon Bildi) – This olive-based, all-natural soap is a great gift for those who like to really pamper themselves. This is the soap most associated with Morocco and is a 100% organic, all-natural cleansing solution that leaves the skin slippery soft. Easily found for less than 20 dirhams. Consider adding essentials oils, such as eucalyptus.
- Clay (rhassoul) – The clay used in the hammams (public baths) of Morocco really firms up your skin. It’s a treatment generally done after the black soap to tighten the skin. You’ll be able to get a good quantity for 10 dirhams.
- Soap Dish – The potters of Morocco do a fantastic job of hand-painting their work, making for an arty touch to any salle de bain. Also consider small bottles to hold shampoos and conditioners. Around 50 dirhams.
- Scrubbing Glove (kis) – Easily found in the medinas at most shops catering for spa and hammam goods. Great for a really deep, cleaning scrub, but not for the faint hearted or thin skinned! 5 – 10 dirhams.
- Rose Water – Produced in Kalaat M’gouna near the Dades Valley, the rose water of Morocco is famed throughout the Mediterranean. Tone up skin after a facial, remove make-up or use it to clean your face. Rose water is also used in compresses for fevers. A biologically-friendly stocking stuffer found for 15 dirhams or so.
- Argan Oil – The un-roasted version of moisturizing argan oil is indigenous to Morocco and is a long-kept beauty secret. Use in your hair for a brilliant shine and on your skin to lessen imperfections. Small bottles run around 50 dirhams.
- Prickly Pear Oil – Not quite as well known as Its cousin the Argan Oil, Prickly Pear Oil made from the seeds of this inhospitable fruit, is becoming increasingly known for its anti-aging properties – and that is always a gift to be appreciated!
Morocco Gift Guide: For the Home
- Carpets – It’s hard not to be enchanted by handwoven Moroccan rugs. If you really want to get that rug that ties the room together, be prepared to spend an hour or two, and anywhere from 500 dirhams on up. Most standard Moroccan carpets measure 2m x 3m (or about 6ft x 8 ft) and will set you back anywhere from 800 – 2,500 dirhams. However, prices vary as much as the designs on offer, with a Boucherouite (boosh-er -weet) style rag rug on the one end of the scale and a vintage black and white Beni Ourain (benni wa-rain) tipping the balance on the other. Instead of the sellers in the medina, consider purchasing from a woman’s cooperative or local market.
- Cushions – For a smaller, more budget-friendly (and easier to pack) Moroccan touches, consider shopping for cushion covers, floor cushions and pouffes instead. These are equally decorative and generally cost 200 dirhams or less.
- Painted Furniture – You might first encounter intricately painted furniture in a riad or possibly a restaurant. They feature geometric designs with color combinations for any palette. You can find anything from a wardrobe down to a trinket box easily in any medina.
- Wicker Baskets – Wicker baskets and furniture, in general, are making a big splash in Morocco. Small hand-woven baskets can make a great, eco-friendly gift package to wrap your other goodies (think: Moroccan gift baskets for your aunts and uncles!) while larger baskets might be considered for a shabby-chic laundry basket. 10 dirhams for a little basket while larger baskets will likely run you around 100 dirhams.
- Art – Whether it’s in the artsy digs of Asilah or in the artisan cooperative in Ouarzazate, you’ll find paintings and sculptures for all tastes and all budgets. Small sculptures and paintings can be had for 50 dirhams (or sometimes less). While larger pieces might cost a few thousand dirhams.
Morocco Gift Guide: For the Kitchen
- Spices – For the cooks or budding chefs in your life, consider packing some of the incredible spices from Morocco. The cost varies with type and quality. Good saffron from Taliouine can be had for less than 10 dirhams a gram. For nearly all spices, it’s best to say how much you want in dirhams. Order 5 dirhams of one spice or 10 dirhams of another. Often, you will be surprised by the quantity.
- Tajines – Tajines are large, conic clay pots. They are identified around the world with Moroccan cuisine. You should pay around 25-40 dirhams for a plain clay tajine, depending on the size. The decorative glazed tajines cost more, but are meant only for decoration. As they may contain lead, they should not be used to prepare or serve food. You can also find two- or three-piece tiny tajine sets, perfect for serving salt, pepper and cumin (20-30 dirhams).
- Teapots – Perhaps more famous than the tajine, Moroccan mint-tea is also known the world over. Traditional Moroccan teapots are all-metal, decorative pots that can withstand the heat of a direct flame. Teapots run from 100 – 300 dirhams, depending on the size. Scouring the shops in the median might turn up a pretty vintage one if you prefer the more battered, less shiny things in life. Consider gifting your teapot with a bundle of fresh-picked mint, as well.
- Wood Spoons – A fantastic stocking stuffer for cooks of any level, these spoons and spatulas will help protect any precious pan or pot. Hand-carved from local woods, these can be had in any souk for 5 – 10 dirhams.
- Ceramics – Decorative plates and bowls, typically from Fez and Safi, will cost anywhere from 40 dirhams (small plate or bowl) to 250 dirhams (large plate or bowl). Some bowls from Fez, distinguished by the heavier white clay and blue-and-green flower motifs, can cost 400 dirhams or more.
- Argan Oil – Not to be confused with the argan oil to be used on the skin, the roasted version of argan oil is meant to be used with fruits, salads and for creative chefs to add a particular nutty flavor to their dishes. Try to purchase from a women’s coop around Essaouira for the best quality. A small bottle will generally cost around 50 dirhams.
- Amlou – A delicious blend argan nuts and almonds (or sometimes peanuts) and occasionally mixed with honey, amlou is Morocco’s answer to peanut butter. A great spread for a special Moroccan touch to your breakfast. Small bottles run 80 dirhams or so.
Moroccan Gift Guide: For the Kids
- Wood Toys – Hand-crafted by artisans in the Middle and High Atlas, wood toys are a Moroccan staple. Whether you’re looking for a motorcycle, car or a train, the chances are you’ll find it in any of the souks. 50 – 150 dirhams.
- Hand-crafted Games – Die, Dominoes and Chess dominate the hand-crafted games found in the medinas. Carved from cedar and citrus or sculpted from stone, these games are easily found in the old medinas. A set of 5 die in a wood box can be found for 25 dirhams or so, while a stone chess set will run around 200-250 dirhams.
- Fossils – Once upon a time, Morocco was a seabed. The receding ice of the last Ice Age carved out some of its valleys and revealed fossil-rich soil below. These fossils can be found along roads and in many villages east of the mountains. 5 dirhams or more for a great, educational stocking stuffer.
Moroccan Gift Guide: For the Kids at Heart
- Moroccan Slippers (belghas or babouches) – The perfect “around the house” slipper with that Moroccan touch. Slippers are usually around 50 dirhams for indoor and 100 dirhams for outdoor versions with rubber soles. Beware of paper-soled slippers, which will quickly wear out. The more ornate embroidered slippers from Tafraoute generally cost around 150 dirhams.
- Silver Jewelry – Tiznit is the city most associated with silver, though you’ll be able to find jewelry stores in almost every medina in Morocco. There are modern styles, though for a touch of traditional Morocco, consider the chunky Berber fibules, earrings, bracelets and necklaces. Silver jewelry is sold in Morocco by the gram. 25-30 dirhams per gram is reasonable. Sterling silver will be stamped with the number 925. All other silver is of mixed quality and should be substantially less.
- Leather Bags – The leatherworkers in Fez have been plying their trade for over a thousand years. Over the years, the styles have changed with the times. Great for fashion forward fashionistas and fusion-friendly fellas. Leather bags can be found in various sizes, for him or for her, for 200 dirhams on up while laptop bags run 400 dirhams or more.
Moroccan Gift Guide: For Big Hearts
- Azrou Center for Community Development – This center contributes to the empowerment of the people in the Azrou region by providing socio-educational, professional, and medical services through non-formal education for school age children, adult literacy classes, vocational and professional training certification, medical visits, and sustainable community development awareness programs. It’s an awesome place that’s doing a lot of local good. Contact them directly about donating here:
- Educational For All – This is a steller NGO that focuses on rural education for girls throughout the High Atlas. You can choose to start your own fundraiser, donate a little bit every month or think about one-time donation. For just 1,300 USD, you can support the complete education of one girl for an entire year. Read all about Education For All here: https://www.efamorocco.org.
- Morocco Library Project – A joint project between former Silicon Valley techie and California-based Barb Mackraz and a small, dedicated team of Moroccans, the Morocco Library Project is building libraries around the country. There aim is to make literature available in smaller, oft forgotten towns and villages. You can donate to the project here: https://www.moroccolibraries.org/donate
- Animal Sanctuary of Tangier – Lovers of furry creatures could consider donating to the amazing Animal Sanctuary of Tangier. With an estimated 30,000 stray dogs on the streets of Tangier, and an estimated 3 million in Morocco as a whole, Salima, the founder of the sanctuary, knew that the only way to both care and protect animals was to introduce TNVT (Treat, Neuter, Vaccinate & Tag). Now a home to over 500 strays, including 15 disabled dogs and numerous other cats and dogs missing limbs, this is a place doing important animal rights awareness in Morocco. Donate one-time or monthly here: https://www.sftmorocco.org/produit/donation/
About the Author
Text and photos by award-winning writer and Morocco expert, Lucas Peters. After spending years traveling to the distant corners of Morocco and writing about his adventures, he penned the best-selling guidebook Moon Morocco. He is now based in Paris, where he lives with his wife and son.