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.
That being said, Moroccan culture may take some adjusting to if you haven’t experienced anything like it. So, below, I’ll tell you what it’s like traveling as a woman in morocco!
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 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 best when I covered my head in crowded areas and would walk closely 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.
While you can go to Morocco alone and be perfectly safe, I think this is a place best enjoyed with friends. I would never say you need a man along to have a good time, but you will get less 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 thick skin and always use common sense!
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.
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.