Many people have asked me if Morocco is really safe for female travel or solo travel. Each time I have been to Morocco I have felt very safe. Dealing with a little hassle from men and salesmen is a small price to pay for the amazing sights, sounds, and smells of this beautiful country. In this blog, I discuss the common misconceptions about Morocco and also share my Morocco travel tips for female solo travelers.
Is Morocco safe from Terrorism?
Several people questioned my trip to Morocco this summer. ‘North Africa is dangerous at the moment’ and ‘there is a terrorist threat in North Africa, are you should be going?’ were the first negative comments that I heard, particularly in the light of a recent shooting in Tunisia.
First of all, Morocco is not Tunisia. Just because there is a terrorist threat in one country, doesn’t mean that the whole of North Africa is dangerous. North Africa is a very big place! 😉 In fact, at the time that I left for Morocco, the terrorist threat for Morocco was low, but the terrorist threat for the UK was high, according to the UK Foreign Office!
Just check the Foreign Office website for Morocco travel advice before you go.
Getting a Local Guide is a great idea – meet my friend Hassan who took me around Marrakesh on his moped!
Is Morocco Safe for Female Travellers?
The second question I was asked by friends is ‘are you sure it’s safe for girls?!?’
Yes, Morocco is very safe for female travelers – provided that you are sensible and follow certain precautions.
This is my second trip to Morocco, and during both trips, I have felt quite safe. I have not felt any threat to my personal safety or had anything stolen while I have been in Morocco. The worst that I have heard of was a piece of hand luggage being stolen.
Sometimes, as a female traveler, you do have to deal with hassle from men, and you just have to learn how to cope with that.
Marrakesh can feel a little overwhelming for female travelers who are not prepared or used to traveling in Africa, but at the time of writing this blog, it was not dangerous. In the Atlas Mountains and off the beaten track you feel even safer than in the cities.
Berber people (nomadic tribes of the Atlas Mountains) are some of the most welcoming and generous people that I have ever met.
Morocco Travel Advice – Tips for female solo travelers in Morocco
- Plan your route before you go anywhere and ask for particular landmarks to look out for.
- Learn your bearings early in the morning when it is light and fewer con-artists are around.
- Don’t walk around alone after dark in areas you don’t know.
- Always carry water to avoid heatstroke and dehydration. Try to avoid the heat of midday (11 am-3 pm is the hottest time and you probably don’t want to be walking around too much in this).
- Keep your money in a money belt inside your trousers so that people can’t see it, and just have 10 or 20 Dirhams ready in a deep pocket ready for water or a taxi should you need it.
- Have the number of your guesthouse in your smartphone – when I got lost, I contacted my host on What’s App in a place where I found free WIFI!
- Dress modestly – showing a lot of flesh can attract unwelcome attention.
- Walk on the right-hand side of the road and listen out for fast approaching mopeds (don’t walk down the middle of the street you could get run over!!!)
- Don’t get a map out on the street – go into a cafe, ask a shop keeper for directions and plan your route.
- Wear a headscarf and sunglasses to avoid eye contact.
- Expect shopping to be a long affair – the rest of the family will often come out and show you even more products. When the mint tea comes out, you know you will be there for a few hours!!! Either go with it and accept it or don’t sit down in shops or go deep to the back of the shop to avoid it.
Best Morocco Travel Advice…
NO TALKING TO BOYS ON THE STREET!
- Don’t speak to boys or men on the street – they will pretend to be helping you with directions, but take you the long way round, take you to unwanted places (such as tanneries) and then ask for money or a ‘present!’
- Men on the street sometimes swear at you when they don’t get what they want, so it’s best not to engage in any conversation at all from the start.
- Unwanted men do follow you, you can simply hold up your hand in a ‘stop’ like fashion and say ‘La Chokran’ (no thank you).
- In case a man touches you, you can shout a little louder in busy places, and this will probably attract the attention of the tourist police!
- If men are following you, go into the nearest shop and have a look – the shop keeper will then shoe them away for you.
- Locals who are shouting directions from their house or shop tend to be the ones telling the truth and you can usually listen to them.
Morocco Travel Tips – A Note about Moroccan Law
It is illegal for a Moroccan to spend the night in the same room as a Westerner without a marriage certificate. It is also illegal to be a ‘fake guide’ – only guides with official certificates may take you places and accompany you.
For this reason, friends may walk separately from you in the streets or apprehensive about meeting you socially – be aware that they could end up in jail. Better to stick to meeting at the Riads (hotels) to avoiding putting genuine friends in difficult positions.
A Summary of Morocco Travel Advice
My main piece of overall Morocco travel advice is don’t let unwanted attention or salesmen stress you out. Just show no emotion and act like a local. You can even buy Moroccan clothing if you really want to blend in! Exploring and getting lost in the Souks is all part of the adventure in Morocco. Go with the flow, chill out and you will enjoy it much more.
Morocco Travel Tips – Travelling Between Cities
If you would like to book bus tickets to other Moroccan cities from Marrakesh, you can get help from Hassan and Peter through www.marrakechtickets.co.uk. Hassan will even deliver your tickets to your hostel or Riad!
If you would like a private driver, book Abdullah Hamouch on +212 668215861. He drove me to both Ouarzazate and Essaouira, as well as to and from the airport. Abdullah is a very good driver and has a comfortable air-conditioned vehicle.
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