The Souk el Ahad market is a great place for the Agadir tourist to visit. The souk is the third biggest market in North Africa, after Fez and Cairo medinas and stocks a vast range of essential items for local people and has large amounts of fresh fruit and vegetables on sale, along with large mounds of fragrant herbs and spices, along with the standard tourist fare of babouches, leatherware etc that tourists may consider to buy.
The Souk is surprisingly clean and although you do get the usual encouragement to come into shops it’s not too intense, unlike, for example, the Khan al Khalili souk in Cairo.
Many of the stalls have lovely ranges of Moroccan lamps, silverware and wooden hard-carved items which you can buy and there are a lot of genuine artisan goods like beautiful ceramics and traditionally-produced goods.
Souk Al Ahad is an essential place to visit, as it gives the visitor a real flavour of the country, and allows one to interact with the local people.
Upon arrival a guide may attach himself to you, which can be useful, but on the other hand, he may have arrangements in place with certain sellers which may mean that you may end up paying more for an item than if you would have gone on your own. This “guide” commission system is universal in souks, with a mark up of anything up to around 300%. If you have a degree of confidence, you don’t need a guide at all. By going alone, it will give you the opportunity to hone your bargaining skills and get the satisfaction that YOU did it – you bought the item at a reasonable price!
Whenever going to the souk, flag down a petit taxi, say “Salam al Akoum” and the driver should then put the meter on. If he does not, point to it, if he refuses, you can get out and try another taxi. Tell the taxi driver “Bab Hamsa” which means Gate 5 in Arabic. The entrance at Gate 5 will bring you into the souk at the bottom end, where all of the spice and vegetable sellers are. You can then weave your way up to the top of the souk, alley by alley, until you arrive at the top end, which will be Gates 8, 9 or 10.
All in all would strongly recommend Souk El Had as a great place to visit for a couple of hours, well worth visiting.
Visited in early Jan 2013. The above comments are accurate. Now this is a great place for photo opportunities but be discreet othewise you will be charged for every photo you take. The presentation of some stalls is beautiful and rival any shop front in Oxford Street London. Particularly enjoy the herb and spice stalls. Their presentation is a work of art..
Now something is missing from the Souk. There is a downmarket cafe but it would deter tourists. Tourists like to sit and people watch. so a more appealing cafe so the tourist can sip afternoon tea and eating lovely moroccan pastries o would be good. Tourist need to be protected migrant street vendors (not the stall holders). In a separate cafe the tourist could relax and watch the world go buy. Would the municipality please note that most european tours gives an hour in the market and most tourists need only 30 minutes to walk around it. Therefore tourists would spend 30 minutes inside a cafe with a glass front watching locals going about their daily life. The cafe location must be inside a busy part of the soulk with good views.
God Bless The Souk manager and may he think about this proposal. By the way most european tours start at gate 9 for obvious reasons asthe hunt is for souvenirs notbegetables.