In every direction you look in the Jemaa El Fna , and at every time of day, you can guarantee you will spot ladies waiting to adorn your hands and feet with their henna pattern. If you want my opinion , stay clear of them, a lot of them (not every, but almost all I saw) use black henna, which in some cases can cause nasty allergic reactions, and have a tendency to overcharge you, hoping you are new to Marrakech and having got into the sing of things yet, or you are just plain stupid and willing to spend £45 on something which is likely to have washed off by the following evening. Be firm when these ladies approach you, and don’t stick around if you’re not interested (even if you are just trying to enjoy your orange juice and mind your own business like I was). One lady was actually quite aggressive towards me, even though I firmly told her I wasn’t interested, and to my horror, grabbed my arm and started drawing on me. She eventually got the message that the last thing I wanted was a “pretty little flower” even if it was “for free for free”, and wiped the henna off me leaving my with an unsightly smudge in an unfortunate colour right across my hand which stayed there for the next 48 hours.
Of course, not all of these women are out to rob you, but if you want to be sure of a guaranteed price, and know where your money is going then I suggest taking the short walk from the Jemaa to the Henna Café. Henna Café is a social enterprise, where all profit from the café on the roof (which serves food just as beautiful as the patterns they paint on your hands), go to the local community and to the school underneath, teaching young women English, and a vocation in henna. Tourists are welcome to attend the henna workshops too, for a suggested donation of 200dh They even give you after care guidance, a sugar and lemon juice seal and a little mitten to protect your artwork for the first night in bed.
A little hard to find at first (we relied heavily on our map), but worth the trip, as my boyfriend actually managed to enjoy himself as well as he sat using the free wifi and drinking copious amounts of mint tea. And there was a lovely tortoise to keep him company whilst my hand was painted.
Henna is priced between 50-500dh
93 Rue Arset Aouzal