Africa,  Essaouira,  Morocco,  TDM,  Travel Journal

Discovery of the traditional Ghita hammam in Essaouira (Morocco)

After Hungary, Japan, South Korea and Turkey, we continue our world tour of public baths in Morocco. It is in Essaouira, a few minutes walk from our accommodation that we go to the Ghita Hammam.

This Hammam is far away from the tourist areas of the city, so get ready for a truly popular experience. The place isn’t used to welcome tourists and the staff doesn’t necessarily speak French very well, so here are a few indications so that you aren’t too lost like us the first time šŸ™‚

1/ Come with your equipment

Unlike the tourist spas where you can come with your hands in your pockets, this is a traditional hammam where Moroccans come every week to wash themselves. There is no steam like the hammam you can see in France. Here, the floors and walls are heated, that’s all.

It’s fun to see the Moroccans coming with all their equipment. The hammam does not sell any products, it’s up to you to manage.

The good news is that a small store, just in front of the hammam offers everything you need.

At the very least you will need :

  • A towel to dry you
  • A bag to store your stuff
  • A swimsuit (or a change of underwear)
  • An exfoliating glove
  • Black soap (we systematically buy it in the store opposite. For 1dh, you have a small portion that can be used for one or two sessions)
  • Shampoo
  • A solid soap like Marseille soap

Flip-flops can also be useful for a little more hygiene and to avoid slipping on wet floors.

2/ Buy your ticket

Go to the ticket office to buy your ticket.

The rates are as follows:

  • Entrance : 13 dh
  • Washing / Scrubbing: 50 dh
  • Massage : 50 dh

Most Moroccans take only the entrance and wash themselves (or each other).

On our side, we prefer to also take care of the wash / scrub in order to be taken care of and to benefit from an energetic and efficient scrub.

We have tested the massage that we do not recommend, it is really symbolic.

Once you have taken your ticket, you can enter. The men’s entrance is on the left, the women’s on the right.

3/ The locker room

Once you have entered the place, you will find yourself directly in the locker room.

Put on your swimsuit and all your things in the bag you have planned. Give it to the employee who will put it on the shelf in exchange for your ticket (and sometimes 1dh more)

Take a bucket in which you will put your glove, shampoo and soaps

Inform the employee if you have taken the scrubbing option (information does not circulate between the wicket and the checkroom ^^) and wait for someone to pick you up.

4/ The hammam session

Once you have been picked up (or directly if you have not taken care of yourself), enter the hammam.

In the first room, you can hang your towel.

Then enter the wet room.

If you are supported, the operations will be as follows:

  • The employee will rinse you and apply the black soap
  • You will lie down (on the floor) for about ten minutes to let yourself sweat (this is a heated floor)
  • The employee will come back to give you a very energetic scrub.
  • Rinse, apply the solid soap and rinse again.
  • The employee will then give you a shampoo

And it’s over!

If you prefer to do everything by yourself, do the different operations in a similar way. The somewhat complicated task will be water management. You can take several buckets and fetch some from the back of the room where there is a kind of drinking trough with a hot and a cold tap. I didn’t quite understand why, but it seems that you have to fill the bucket in the water trough and then transfer the water into your buckets (and not fill them directly). I didn’t understand why.

In any case, let yourself go and agree not to understand everything and let go. Even if lying on the floor can be surprising and generate some doubts about hygiene, I assure you that you are clean as a new penny when you leave the hammam, it feels good!

In any case we are convinced and we go back every week!

Drying / Re-coating

Pick up your towel and dry yourself, collect your things and get dressed.

In all, you will have spent about 45 minutes on site.

If you are satisfied, don’t hesitate to leave a few coins to the person who took care of you and the one who kept your things (5 dh per person is fine).

NB: Important point to know for women, it is very badly seen to go out in the street with wet hair after leaving the hammam. Put on a hood or cover it with a scarf

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