If you are actually interested to see how leather is tanned, then it might be worth going. Otherwise, beware of this GROWING TOURIST TRAP.
We were actually heading to the Ben Youssef and Museum, when we got a bit lost in the souk. We were asking one of the store owners for direction when a bypassing teen insisted to take us there. He was in fact leading us to the Tanneries, saying that its the "Festival of Colours" when only that day we can see this special day. After walking for 10 mins with complete lost of our sense of direction, we realised he took us to the entrance to a Tannery. We politely said we were not interested but want to go to the museum. Once he led us to the museum, he demanded money. When we said no, he became verbally aggressive, so I threatened to call the police and he left.
The second time we visited there, we got lead by a 20 yr old boy to the tannery, who seemed quite genuine and said he does not want any money at all. He claims that he was from the Berber village and his mother works at that tannery. He didnt ask for any money, but when we got to the tannery entrance. There was a older man at the doorway, welcomed us, gave us mint and told us to go with him. Even if you say no, he will persist and get on his business telling you things about the tannery. After going to the Berber tannery, he led us to another street which is the Arab tannery, we knew he would charge us, so we didnt go in. He said then at least go to the leather shop which he led us to. After reading some tripadvisor reviews before I knew they would pressure us into buying something, so I said to the leather shopkeeper that we do not want to buy any leather. He asked us to have a look only so we did. The shopkeeper was quite friendly and did not persist when we said at the end that we do not want to buy anything.
When we got out, the tannery "guide" was waiting outside and immediately asked us to pay him 200 dh for the tour. At that point, the kid that guided us to the tannery was there too asking us how it was. I told them this sort of money he asked for was ludicrous. As he persisted, I had to threaten to call the police. I gave him 20 dh and left the area pretty promptly. (only going through the closest exit and finding ourselves out of the city wall and having to walk 30 mins in the scorching sun to find another entrance to the medina all..)
It was good seeing the tannery but the whole experience was just not very enjoyable. My advice
1) only ask for directions from guards, police, (some) store owners.
2) don't let anyone who isnt an official tourist guide to lead you somewhere
3) If they insist on taking you there out of good heart, you should thank them but mention that you will not pay them before walking with them.
4) If you really want to see the Tanneries, always ask them how much first and bargain a price before being shown around. (It is unlikely that you will be able to walk around the Tanneries on your own without being followed or "guided")
5) travel in bigger groups, or join other tourists
5) if anyone is intimidating you, say you will call the police (tel: 19) or tourist police.
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