Updated: August 2019
Let me start by saying that I absolutely love Morocco. From the charming quaint villages of the Atlas Mountains to the vibrant city markets, this is one North African country that should be on your travel bucket list.
With that said, people often ask me if Morocco is a safe destination for women. The simple answer is: yes. I traveled all over the country and I never felt in danger. However, there’s a lot more to safety and traveling as a solo female, and a lot of it has to do with cultural differences.
Moroccan culture may take some adjusting to if you haven’t experienced anything like it.
Here are my thoughts on traveling Morocco safely as a woman.
Is Morocco Safe for Female Travelers?
In short, YES! Morocco is a safe country to visit for female travelers. As with all destinations, my best advice is to remain vigilant. The main crimes you need to watch out for are pickpockets and scams.
As a female traveler, you’ll need to have your guard up a bit more as the unwanted attention from men in Morocco can get exhausting.
Another question that I get asked quite a lot is if Morocco is safe for Americans. I never experienced any discrimination in the country because of my nationality or felt threatened.
While you’re unlikely to be in real physical danger, petty crime and harassment can happen. Use common sense, your best judgment, and follow my safety tips for Morocco below and you’ll be able to avoid any real problems.
Set Boundaries in Morocco
As soon as you hit the streets, you’ll likely attract the attention of a few men. Whether they are shop-owners trying to get a sale or locals trying to get a reaction out of you, the unwanted attention gets stale very quickly.
I would say that from personal experience, and feedback from friends, the most painful part of a trip to Morocco is unwanted attention from men. It’s not that I felt unsafe, just extremely uncomfortable with so much attention and name-calling. I won’t sugar coat it. I heard expletives of all kinds shouted at me, from “you’re a [email protected]!” to “suck my d!ck, Miley Cyrus!”.
Unfortunately, even for local Moroccan women, sexual harassment is an ongoing issue.
I found it easiest to deal with when I covered my head in crowded areas. I would walk close to other tourists — specifically men. That might sound crazy, but when my friend Jessica and I walked closely behind male tourists, the cat-calling stopped completely.
The best advice I can offer you is to simply ignore it. Don’t feel obligated to respond to everyone who talks to you and get comfortable with having their words go in one ear and out the other.
The male harassment can start to feel overwhelming, but it’s worse if you let yourself get worked up. I was frequently tempted to scream back at the men equally expletive things. But, know that it is not worth it. Morocco is a different country, with different laws, and, unfortunately, the law might not always be just or in our favor.
Again, it’s not that I felt unsafe in Morocco, but the leering could be uncomfortable at times. So long as you don’t stop and engage with every man that looks your way on the street, you’ll find that it gets easier to ignore.
Dress Appropriately in Morocco
Finding the right clothes to wear in Morocco is very much a large consideration. Ultimately, the less you wear, the more attention you are going to get.
This is an issue made tricky by the fact that it can get incredibly hot in the country. Temperatures exceed 100 degrees in the Sahara Desert in the summer so staying cool is an actual necessity.
Your best options are lightweight full-coverage looks. Think scarves and maxi skirts! Before you go, be sure to check out my post on what to wear in Morocco as a female traveler for inspiration on comfortable outfits for conservative destinations.
Solo Travel in Morocco as a Woman
Of course, you all know that I find solo travel to be an incredibly empowering experience. There are so many amazing destinations perfect for visiting on your own.
So is it safe to travel to Morocco alone? I think so, but at the same time, I feel that Morocco is a destination best enjoyed with friends. I would never say you need a man along to have a good time, but you will get less unwanted attention when you’re with others (especially those of the male variety).
I’ve even heard of female travelers who wear faux wedding rings to keep men at bay.
Though, from my experience, the local men started calling at me before I was close enough for them to see my fingers.
You can have a great time in Morocco with your girls, too. I traveled with my friend Jessica. It was definitely annoying for us walking around together at times but, the few times we went into the city alone, we were far more overwhelmed. Traveling in a group will definitely make you feel less singled out by cat-callers.
If you do want to experience Morocco alone, consider joining an organized tour group. There are incredible options all over Morocco that are worth checking out. Otherwise, grow a thick skin and always use common sense!
If you do want to experience Morocco alone, consider joining an organized tour group. I’m even hosting my own TBA Escapes All-Female Tour in Morocco! If you’d still prefer to travel to Morocco alone, grow some thick skin and always use common sense to stay safe!
Research Morocco’s Culture
Morocco is a predominantly Islamic country, which means that women dress very conservatively (though, in tourist hotspots like Marrakech, you’ll see all kinds of fashion).
Most local women don’t smoke or drink in public and, in many Moroccan cities, it’s a common belief that only prostitutes do these things. You often won’t see women out by themselves, and storefronts are usually hangouts for men only.
It is also worth noting that only Muslims are allowed into some mosques. However, there are a few open to tourists. Keep in mind you’ll need to be covered past your knees and over your shoulders to enter.
Watch Out for Scams in Morocco
One of the big things you need to watch out for in Morocco is the scams. Whether you’re visiting Marrakech or Fes, you’ll find people trying to entice you into their shops.
It usually starts with a local inviting you in for tea or someone wanting you to read or write a letter to their cousin. Don’t fall for it!
It’s a scam to get you into the store so they can wear you down and eventually get you to buy something. The vendors are relentless, so save yourself the headache and firmly say “no thank you,” or say nothing, and walk away. Don’t worry about hurting people’s feelings.
Tips for Staying Safe in Morocco
Avoid Wandering in Alleys Alone: The key to staying safe in Morocco often means not venturing too far away from the crowds. The quiet back alleys are often where thieves hang out.
Remember, you don’t know the streets as well as the locals. You could easily walk down an alley that leads to a dead-end and put yourself in a risky situation.
That being said, the most populated touristy areas are also where most thieves hang out. They’re looking for an easy opportunity, so keep your belongings in sight and be aware of your surroundings.
Leave Your Valuables at the Riad or Hotel: Morocco is not the place to show off your wealth. It will only attract more attention. So, leave your flashy designer bags and jewelry at home. Don’t forget to leave your passport in your hotel room safe as well (this goes for nearly every travel destination!).
Don’t Look Lost: No matter where you are in the world, you don’t want to look lost while exploring a city. Scammers will spot you from a mile away! If you need to look at your phone for directions, make sure the maps are preloaded and try to look at your device as inconspicuously as possible.
Try to memorize it as much as possible, so you don’t need to be constantly glancing down.
You want to always walk with purpose and keep your eyes forward. It will help you avoid sticking out and looking like a damsel in distress.
Don’t Walk Around Morocco Alone at Night: If you must, make sure you’re in a group and listen to your gut! If something doesn’t feel right, rather pay for a taxi and get to your hotel or destination safely.
Get Travel Insurance for Morocco
Trust me. You don’t want to go to Morocco without travel insurance. If your bag is stolen with your new DSLR camera, you’ll want to have the peace of mind that it’s covered.
I’ve been using World Nomads travel insurance for years, and I’ve never had a problem when I’ve needed to submit a claim.
I wanted to share my personal experience (the good, the bad, and the ugly) so that you can have realistic expectations before visiting. Travel is not always butterflies and rainbows. Aside from the unwanted attention, I truly had an amazing trip. Morocco is a beautiful country and most people I met were absolutely wonderful.