Updated Jun/2021: Morocco is reopening to international travelers on June 15th, 2021. Not all travelers are allowed to visit the country at this first moment and there are safety protocols to follow before and during the trip. All details about who can and how to travel to Morocco are on their official website, click here to read.
Summertime, mosquito bites and an odyssey to find allergy medicines in Marrakech.
Welcome to my first mosquito nightmare! And before you call me a fool, let´s clarify that I bought insect repellent before traveling to Morocco. I even researched on google: “Mosquito in Morocco?”, but the answers I got were: mosquito bites are not a big problem there.
Now let’s tell the truth: THERE ARE MOSQUITOES IN MOROCCO and they are PRETTY BADASSES!
In just one day 20 mosquito bites, is that enough for you??
Thank God I feel better now. Allergic people like me have a serious problem when traveling. For most people, it can be just a mosquito bite, for us, it can be a life-threatening moment. That´s why I’m writing this post.
We arrived in Marrakech on a Friday morning, in my backpack: a spray repellent and an electric repellent. I thought I was protected, in most of the countries I visited (Europe and South America) those two items were more than enough to avoid mosquito bites. But for the Moroccan mosquitoes, they were nothing.
On Saturday morning I already had some bites on my back and on my legs. My first thought was: Fuck!! There are bedbugs in this Riad!!!!
We looked at the bed, sheets, pillows and nothing. I was itching but we decided to go for walk and sightseeing. I wore long clothes and applied mosquito repellent just to make sure nothing would happen. I was so naive, mosquitoes in Morocco are from a higher level!
By the end of the day I had more than 20 mosquito bites all over my body. I think the insects got under my skirt and literally ate my legs. Ahhhhhhhh… Come on!!??? How do they do it???
To figure out what was happening we sought help from our friend Google and discovered that I got bitten by Sandflies, and only DEET repellent can avoid them. The normal natural repellents are nothing for those horrifying insects.
They are tiny flies. You don’t see them, but they land on your skin, suck your blood and leave damn painful itching swelling bumps.
I needed medicine! We checked all the pharmacies around the Riad and Jemaa el-Fnaa Square and all of them were closed for the weekend. 🙁 The guy from the Riad tried to help us, but even him (a local person) couldn’t figure out which shop should be opened that weekend. They have a kind of rotation schedule for weekends and holidays.
I could do nothing! I went back to our room and cried… Feeling awful, that was the first time I wished to be at home. Back to my comfort and safe zone.
Sunday was another allergic horrible day! The Lady who clean the Riad realized that I was having an allergic reaction and she made a natural mix (salt + herbs + oil) to cover my mosquito bites. It helped the itching problem, but the allergy symptoms were still there.
By now you are thinking: Why didn’t she go to the hospital?
I didn’t go to the hospital because I was afraid. Because I had a big cultural shock when I arrived in Morocco and I didn’t want to go to a strange place, also we don’t speak Arabic or French.
Monday morning finally arrived, I got dressed and we ran to the “big pharmacy” where supposedly someone would speak English. Before leaving the Riad, we looked at Google translate how to explain my problem in french, just in case no one speaks English.
The pharmacy was open and the pharmacist was at the door smoking a cigarette. I got inside and started talking with a girl, I showed her my arms and back covered with mosquito bites. She replied something in French and the guy at the front door called me.
He was still at the door and still smoking when he looked at my bites. He said something like: “Moroccan mosquito bites, bad allergy!” and the girl gave me a box of antihistamine tablets and an ointment. We paid around 21€, immediately returned to the Riad for one more shower and to apply the medicines.
Rob went shopping, trying to find some DEET Repellent. He found a really strong one to spray around the room. Better than nothing!
To sum up, after three days I was better, and to avoid new bites I was using the DEET Room Repellent over my clothes and legs. Everything was fine till we travel to the desert… More bites, fleas, and a brand new nightmare…
Do you have any insect allergies? Have you ever had any problem with bites while traveling?