Tourist picture rip-off

tourist-picture-rip-offIn a well-known tourist scam in Marrakesh, groups or solo traveling tourists walking down the busy streets or squares are constantly approached by locals that have a live animal with them, for example a monkey or a snake, and without asking permission first, they put the snake around the tourist’s neck or the monkey on their shoulders and encourage someone else from the group to take a picture with their camera. Once the picture has been taken, the local will ask for a tip, and he won’t accept anything less than an extravagant amount of cash. Some are even audacious enough to demand as much as € 50,- to take a picture with their snake around your neck, but of course they won’t start asking for money until the picture already has been taken. They don’t care if the tourist never asked for a picture with the animal or even tried to refuse the animal being brought close. In case the tourists don’t want to tip or want to give less than demanded, the locals can become very obtrusive and intimidating, as others join in the argument to persuade you to pay up.

Also read: Scary and very expensive picture with captive and mistreated monkey

Sometimes a similar game is played with “authentic” Moroccan costumes instead of animals. A local Moroccan wearing a traditional costume will then approach a group of tourists in an amicable and enthusiastic manner and put a Fez (traditional Moroccan hat) on the head of one of them, he will then encourages the rest of the group to take a picture of them together dressed up. As soon as one of them has taken a photo, the local will start demanding an extravagant tip and could become aggressive when this is refused or when the amount paid is too low in their opinion.

If you are approached by someone like this, either with a live animal or trying to have a photo taken together, kindly but persistently decline their offer and continue walking. Whatever you do, don’t take photographs. Once a picture is taken, you’re duty-bound to pay a tip and they’re not likely to agree with some pocket cash.

Find experiences from real victims or post your own story in our Marrakesh and Morocco Tourist Scams Forum.


  1. Well, they do this to Moroccan tourists too!!! It happened to me this summer when I went to marrakech to visit my cousins. I wasnt even planning to take a picture with that monkey, but the guy was like come on, hold it hold it, then ly cousin took a picture, then he asked for 10DH, I was like why? it was my damn camera! anyway I will not be fooled again!

  2. Keith oconnell says:

    On a trip to marrakesh recently…we had a hire car and started our trip out of the city .when out of the blue a young man on a motor scooter ran straight into us…he came from nowhere fact I didn’t have any sense of him until we collided at very low speed .There was no serious damage at all to the car and in fact not a mark on him but he just look stunned and I honestly felt that maybe I just didn’t see him and it was all my fault.within seconds a second man arrived on the scene and in broken English was pointing out the minor marks on the scooter…he then asked for money….I just felt it easier to hand over 20 pound equivalent than to get involved with an accident report… but he insisted on more money…at this point I insisted on calling the police….interestingly he then quickly accepted my money and left….I then knew that this was a scam….a very clever but dangerous one

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