Solo Female Travel in Morocco: Yay or Nay?
When people ask me if a place is safe or not, it’s almost impossible to answer. The world isn’t a safe place these days. But that doesn’t mean you should sit home in your little bubble. There’s so much to explore and it would be a shame to succumb to the mainstream media scare tactics.
Let me start by saying Morocco is INTENSE. That’s the one word that comes to mind when describing Morocco.
I’ve done a lot of solo travel, and quite frankly I prefer it. But I’m not going to lie, traveling Morocco solo was a challenge. It took a lot more energy and thicker skin to travel alone as a female in Morocco, but it is doable if you’re up for the challenge.
So to sum it up, I went to Morocco solo and I didn’t die or get raped. Does that mean it’s safe? I can’t answer that and I don’t think anyone else can either.
But I never felt like my life was in danger, not once. I did, however, feel more uncomfortable traveling Morocco solo than any other place I had ever been. I will say that Morocco was the most difficult place that I’ve traveled to. But in the end I had an overall great time. It just took some getting used to.
Would I go back and do it again? Probably not.
For more on my emotionally charged love/hate relationship with Morocco, check out my article: Why I Have a Love/Hate Relationship with Morocco: Highlights & Lowlights
Morocco was a shock to the senses and such a different experience. A few times I felt a little uncomfortable with the guys harassing me, but I never felt like my life was in danger. It just took some extra vigilance and more awareness of my surroundings on my end.
My parents would have killed me if I told them I was traveling to Morocco solo. And thats why I didn’t tell them beforehand. Luckily, I travel so much that they stopped asking where I’m going! Sorry mom and dad! They don’t read my blog, so I think I’ll be okay. Muhahaha (evil voice).
Here are my top tips for traveling Morocco solo as a female:
Dress conservative: this should be a given, but some people may not know. Morocco is a Muslim county and it’s always nice to respect the culture. Not only that, you WILL get unwanted attention if you don’t dress appropriately. Cover up from your elbows up and from your knees up. I actually covered more just to be safe.
Cover your hair: as a tourist you don’ have to, but I would recommend it, especially if you are blonde. But blondes have more fun, right? Not in this case. Blondes stick out and you become an easy target as a tourist. Moroccan girls don’t have blonde hair, so it’s a dead giveaway.
DO NOT go out after dark: one of my favorite things to do is catch the sunset from a cool look-out spot. But I didn’t do this in Morocco. I didn’t want to have to walk home after dark. And this was the smartest decision I could have made.
I cut it close one night after talking to a restaurant owner for a bit. It got dark super quick and I got lost trying to find my Airbnb inside the maze-like medina. I had a young guy asking me if I need help and then was following me. I thought I shook him off but then he found me right in the dark alley of my Airbnb. I was a little scared because I felt trapped and he was being a bit aggressive. But then my host opened the door and asked me if I was ok and the guy left. Not before he asked me to dinner of course. No you creep, I don’t want to be hunted down in a dark alley and asked to dinner. I’ll pass!
Don’t flash all your expensive travel gear: the only place I took out my expensive camera when I was alone was Chefchaouen. Otherwise I felt uncomfortable and left it behind in my riad. My iPhone 6 and Gopro take pretty good pics so I settled for that. It’s not worth it. Don’t scream “tourist”, or you may be a target.
Wear a cross body purse/bag and keep it in front of you: petty crime is common in Morocco so make an extra effort to keep your stuff where you can see it. The medinas are very crowded and the perfect spot to get pick pocketed. Don’t let your guard down, not even for a second.
Guys will bother you (i.e. “harass the shit out of you”): you will get cat called and harassed. Get used to it. This became normal and I started to not even notice because it was so common.
Don’t smile at a man/don’t make eye contact: a smile can be viewed as an open invitation. Just don’t do it. Naturally I smile when I make eye contact with someone passing by. I can’t help it. I did it unconsciously in Morocco until I realized what I was doing. That quickly stopped and I noticed a big difference.
Practice resting bitch face (RBF) and walk on by…
Guys will ask you if you’re alone-I was surprised that so many guys asked me that. Of course, never tell them the truth. Tell them your friends are around the corner, or better yet, your husband! I didn’t have a fake ring with me so that didn’t work so much.
Get a SIM card: they are super cheap and can be found easily. The worst thing is getting lost in a foreign country when you’re alone. The medinas are confusing and you will get lost. Google Maps was my saviour and the SIM was worth it alone for that. It also helped me easily get to my Airbnbs. Don’t be cheap on this one.
Maroc Telecom seemed to be the one I saw everywhere and thats the one I went with. It says 4G but I only got 3G coverage. The cost of the SIM was 25 dirham (about $2.50) and then you have to load the data onto it. I put 100 dirham on mine and it gave me 10G. Google Maps eats up your data so I would recommend 3-4 Gigs for every week you are there, and if you surf the web a lot, even more.
Tip for iPhone users: make sure you open the SIM card and see if it’s a nano SIM. Mine was not a nano SIM so they had to cut it down for me. I’m glad I checked before I left.
Take the tourist busses (CTM and SupraTours)-these are the “tourist” busses in Morocco and were the most comfy way to travel during my time in the country. The tickets are cheap and the busses are fairly clean. You will also have many English speaking travelers on there which is a nice change.
Tip: Set up a taxi from/to the airport with your hosts in Morocco. Taxis are SUPER cheap in Morocco. Most the hosts I stayed with could prearrange a taxi from the airport easily so don’t hesitate to ask! It’s much better than trying to use local transportation from the airport to your accommodation.
Language barrier: there was more of a language barrier in Morocco than I expected. Not many people spoke any English. I had a hard time with communication so I used my Google Translate a bunch. Most people I met spoke French so learning a few common words will go along way! Wi Wi?
I have no problems traveling alone and have done mostly solo travel in the past year. But that was mostly in Europe. This was my first solo trip outside of the USA or Europe and it was a different experience. I cried, I was a little scared at times, I was frustrated, but it ended up being all good!
Morocco is like an acquired taste. It took some getting used to but after a few days, I enjoyed it!
Would I tell a female traveler who has never traveled solo to travel to Morocco first? Probably not. But for those that are used to traveling solo, I say go for it! Just be prepared.
It takes a bit thicker skin to travel to Morocco solo but don’t let that scare you off. It’s a completely different experience and it made me feel stronger afterwards!
After a few days, my best friend and her boyfriend showed up and I was no longer solo. I definitely felt safer with them there, that’s for sure. I’m glad I got to see the country both ways though. It was definitely an experience I’ll never forget!
Have You Traveled to Morocco Solo? How Was Your Experience?
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