Souk Experience | Wild Safari Guide

Souk Experience in North Africa

Add another element to an African journey by including a souk experience to the itinerary. The term souk refers to a marketplace, bazaar or street where goods and services are exchanged or sold, and where haggling is still a very important part of the trade.

It is thought that souks initially developed outside city walls where they acted as roadside inns where travellers could rest and recover from the day’s journey. As towns and cities became more populous, the souks moved into the city centre and over time formed a network of trading centres.

A souk experience usually forms part of travellers journeying to especially the north of Africa. At the same time, shopping at a souk remains a central feature of daily life in many cities and towns where they tend to be found in the old quarters. Several souk districts have been listed as World Heritage sites due to their historical and architectural significance.

There are a few unique destinations in Africa where visitors can have a souk experience and get a glimpse of how the trade of yesteryear was conducted.

Popular Destinations for a Souk Experience


The souks of the country’s capital, Tunis, are a set of shops and boutiques, with most of them built in the 13th century and where visitors can enjoy an authentic souk experience. They are organised in several streets and alleys. El Grana is located in the district of Bab Souika where linens, silks, fabrics, garments and handicrafts are sold. El Trouk was originally dedicated to Turkish craftsmen but is now the place where items from flea markets and antiques are sold.


One of the largest souks in Marrakesh is Semmarine, which sells everything from brightly coloured bejewelled sandals and slippers and leather pouffes to jewellery and kaftans. Souk Ableuh contains stalls which specialise in lemons, chilis, capers, pickles, green, red, and black olives, and mint, a common ingredient of Moroccan cuisine and tea. Souk Siyyaghin is known for its jewellery, and Cherratine specialises in leather-ware.


Khan el-Khalili is a famous souk in the historic centre of the capital city of Cairo. It is a way for many Egyptian artisans to display their handiwork with shops typically selling souvenirs, antiques and jewellery. In addition to shops, there are several traditional coffeehouses, restaurants and street food vendors distributed throughout the market. In addition to the Mosque and shrine of al-Hussein, Al-Azhar University and, with it, the Al-Azhar Mosque, are also nearby. The monumental area of Bayn al-Qasrayn is also just northwest of the district.

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