Curious about Morocco's travel as a woman? It’s a question that often comes with a mix of excitement and apprehension.
offers a kaleidoscope of experiences, from bustling souks to serene deserts. We believe that travel to this fascinating destination should not be limited by your gender. Unfortunately, the conservative culture of Morrocan people does mean that, as a woman, there are some social obstacles to navigate that do not apply to men, at least not to the same degree.
We often get asked whether solo female travel to Morocco
is a good idea. The answer is that it can be but there are a few things you need to know and be prepared for. Here’s everything you must know about exploring Morocco as a woman.
Moroccan Culture: What to Expect as a Woman
Understanding the cultural landscape is the first step to a fulfilling and safe journey in Morocco.
Societal & Cultural Norms
As a predominantly Islamic country, Morocco has a set of social norms and expectations that can be quite different from Western cultures. For women travellers, this means a heightened awareness of dress code and behaviour is often necessary.
The Islamic culture deeply influences daily life, including the roles and expectations of women.
While Morocco is considered one of the more liberal countries in the Arab world, it’s still conservative by Western standards. For instance, public displays of affection are frowned upon, especially for women.
During the holy month of Ramadan, these norms are even more strictly observed.
The general attitude towards women varies across regions. In cosmopolitan cities like when you visit Marrakech or Casablanca
, you’ll find a more relaxed approach, especially in tourist-heavy areas.
However, traditional views are more prevalent in rural areas like the villages in the Atlas Mountains.
It’s not uncommon for women to receive more attention, both wanted and unwanted, so it’s essential to be cautious and respectful of local customs.
Did you know?
Morocco is home to the world’s oldest university, the University of Al Quaraouiyine in Fez, founded by a woman named Fatima al-Fihri
in 859 AD. If you’re looking for things to do in Fes,
the university is a must!
Dress Code: Blend In, Don’t Stand Out
Importance of Dressing Conservatively
When it comes to travel in Morocco, blending in is more than a fashion statement; it’s a safety measure for women.
Dressing conservatively is a sign of respect for the local culture and a way to avoid unwanted attention. While Morocco is more liberal than some of its neighbours, being mindful of your attire is still crucial.
In Morocco, modesty is highly valued, especially for women. Wearing revealing clothes can draw unwanted stares and be considered disrespectful.
It’s advisable to cover your shoulders, cleavage, and knees. Loose-fitting clothes made of breathable fabrics like cotton or linen are ideal, especially in the hot Moroccan climate.
Tips on What to Wear and What to Avoid
This list will come in handy when you are deciding what to pack for your visit to Morocco.
Maxi Dresses and Long Skirts: These are perfect for comfort and modesty. Pair them with a light scarf to cover your shoulders when needed.
Tunics and Leggings: A long tunic that covers your hips paired with leggings can be both stylish and appropriate.
Closed-Toe Shoes: While sandals are tempting, closed-toe shoes are more practical for uneven streets and can also protect you from unwanted attention.
Sleeveless Tops and Short Skirts: These are generally frowned upon and attract unnecessary stares.
High-heeled shoes: Pretty but not very practical for trekking in the Morocco desert or walking around sightseeing on the city streets.
Edgy Designs: Morocco is not the place to try to make a fashion statement. If it's a style or design that would stand out, even in your own country, chances are it's not suitable for Morocco.
Hats and Sunglasses Indoors: By all means pack these for sun protection when you go camel trekking in Morocco, your visit to the Todra Gorge and other outdoor activities, but remove them when entering religious sites or someone’s home.
Remember, the key is to balance comfort with cultural sensitivity. When in doubt, observe what local women are wearing and follow suit.
Exploring Morocco’s bustling markets and ancient medinas is an experience like no other.
However, for women travellers, navigating public spaces can sometimes be challenging. Here’s how to handle unwanted attention and walk confidently in crowded places.
Be Firm with the 'No, Thank You'
Unwanted attention is, unfortunately, a common experience for many women travellers in Morocco. The best approach is to ignore catcalls or persistent vendors.
If someone becomes overly intrusive, a firm “La, shukran” (No, thank you) in Arabic usually does the trick. Carrying a whistle or personal alarm can also provide an extra layer of security.
Be Aware of your Eye Contact and Body Language
In Moroccan culture, eye contact can be a double-edged sword. While it’s essential for establishing trust and credibility, it can sometimes be misinterpreted, especially by men.
A good rule of thumb is to maintain brief, non-inviting eye contact. Keep your body language neutral to avoid giving the wrong impression.
Tips for Walking in Crowded Places Like Souks and Medinas
Always be aware of your surroundings. Keep your belongings close, and consider using a money belt. If a particular street or area seems unsafe or is too quiet, trust your gut and move to somewhere with other tourists.
Move confidently and avoid looking lost, even if you are. This can deter potential harassers. Also, avoid having your eyes on your phone while you walk the streets. It makes you an obvious target for pickpockets when you are clearly distracted
3. Stick to Well-Lit Areas
It seems like common sense but sometimes that dark, narrow alley can look intriguing! Especially during the evening, it’s safer to stay in areas that are well-lit and populated. More eyes around means more safety.
4. Hire Local Guides (Legit Ones)
Hiring a local guide can enrich your experience and provide an added layer of security. Just be cautious, you are likely to encounter a lot of people offering their guiding services. Make sure you check for a legitimate website and decent reviews.
You also usually get what you pay for so don't be surprised if the cheapest tour turns out to have cut a few corners.
works with an excellent, tried and trusted local operator in Morocco. We have sent multiple solo and groups of women travellers their way who have returned with an unforgettable experience
Did you know? The word “souk” is derived from the Arabic word “sūq,” which means “market.” These markets are a labyrinth of culture, colours, and chaos—truly a must-see!
Choosing Accommodation: Safety First
Choosing suitable accommodation can make or break your travel experience, especially regarding safety. For women travellers in Morocco, a little research goes a long way in ensuring a comfortable and secure stay.
Do Your Research and Read Reviews
Before booking any accommodation, it’s crucial to read reviews from other travellers, particularly women who have travelled solo.
Reviews can give you a sense of the place’s safety, cleanliness, and how female-friendly it is. Pay attention to comments about the neighbourhood, staff behaviour, and security measures.
Tips for Securing Your Room
These small steps go a long way in feeling safe in your overnight accommodation in Morocco
Double Locks: Always use all available locks on your door. Some travellers even recommend carrying a portable door lock for added security.
Keep Valuables Safe: Use the room safe for your passport, money, and other valuables. If there’s no safe, keep them in a lockable suitcase. If you are staying in a hostel dorm room, you can usually leave valuables in the reception safe.
Know the Exits: Familiarize yourself with the nearest fire exits and emergency routes.
Share Your Details: Let someone you trust know where you’re staying and check in with them regularly.
Do Not Disturb: Consider leaving the “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door when you go out to give the impression that the room is occupied.
Did you know?
Riads, traditional Moroccan houses turned into guesthouses, offer a unique and often more intimate experience than hotels. This is a particularly popular accommodation option in the Atlas Mountains
. They’re a great way to immerse yourself in Moroccan architecture and hospitality!
Local Customs and Interactions
Navigating social interactions in Morocco can be a fascinating yet complex experience. Here’s what women travellers should know about interacting with locals.
Greetings: A simple nod or a smile is usually sufficient for women when greeting Moroccan men. Physical contact, like shaking hands, is best avoided unless the man initiates it.
Public Behavior: Public displays of affection are frowned upon, especially for women. Even holding hands can attract unwanted attention.
Photography: Always ask for permission before taking photos of people, especially women and children.
Religious Sites: Women are often not allowed to enter mosques unless they are Muslim. Always check before entering any sacred site.
Tipping: It’s customary to tip for services in Morocco, but be discreet when doing so to avoid drawing attention.
How to Interact with Local Men and Women
Interacting with local men in Morocco
Maintain a respectful distance and avoid prolonged eye contact. A firm “no” is usually effective if a man is overly persistent. If you are a solo female traveller, it's better to avoid situations where you would be alone with men. It's not that every Moroccan man is dangerous but it's better to err on the side of caution.
Interacting with Moroccan Women
Moroccan women can be reserved, especially in rural areas. A respectful approach and a friendly smile can go a long way. Women will often be more comfortable interacting with foreign women than men.
Did you know? The traditional Moroccan greeting is a handshake followed by touching your heart, symbolizing that you’re greeting someone from the heart. Isn’t that beautiful?
Travelling Alone vs With Company
The decision to travel alone or in a group can significantly impact your experience in Morocco. While solo travel offers unparalleled freedom, travelling in a group can provide an added layer of security and ease. Here’s a breakdown to help you make an informed choice.
Pros and Cons of Traveling Alone
Freedom: You’re the master of your itinerary.
Personal Growth: Solo travel can be a transformative experience, teaching you to be more independent.
Flexibility: Change plans on a whim without having to consult anyone.
Safety Concerns: Women travelling alone may attract more unwanted attention.
Loneliness: The lack of company can sometimes be isolating.
Cost: Without someone to share expenses, solo travel can be pricier.
While solo travel has its perks, we suggest considering the benefits of group travel, especially in a culturally complex country like Morocco.
Tips for Those Who Prefer Solo Travel
Stay Connected: Always let someone know your itinerary and check in regularly.
Join Group Activities: Consider joining group tours or activities to meet other travellers.
Trust Your Instincts: If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. Always trust your gut.
Local SIM Card: Having a working phone can be a lifesaver in tricky situations.
Did you know?
Morocco has a rich tradition of storytelling. If you’re looking for things to do in Marrakech
, head to the famous Jemaa el-Fnaa square. Here, you’ll find storytellers captivating crowds with ancient tales. A beautiful way to connect with the local culture, don’t you think?
While the country is generally safe and welcoming, some specific laws and regulations can affect women differently than men.
Public Behavior: Acts of public affection, like kissing, are illegal and can result in fines or imprisonment. This is particularly important for unmarried couples.
Cohabitation: Unmarried couples cannot share a hotel room by law, although this is rarely enforced in tourist areas.
Alcohol Consumption: While alcohol is available in Morocco, public drunkenness is illegal and frowned upon, especially for women.
Dress Code: There’s no legal requirement for women to wear a headscarf, but dressing modestly is advised to respect local customs and avoid unwanted attention.
Photography: Taking pictures of government buildings, military installations, or ports is illegal and can result in the confiscation of your camera or even arrest.
Top Tips for a Safe Journey
Embarking on a Moroccan adventure is an enriching experience, but being prepared is essential. Here are some top tips to ensure a safe and enjoyable journey:
Learn Basic Arabic Phrases: Knowing simple phrases like “La, shukran” (No, thank you) can be incredibly helpful.
Carry a Scarf: A versatile accessory, it can cover your shoulders, act as a makeshift bag, or even provide shade.
Stay Hydrated: The Moroccan heat can be intense, so always carry a reusable water bottle.
Local SIM Card: A working phone is invaluable for navigation and emergencies.
Travel Insurance for Morocco: Never travel without comprehensive travel insurance that covers health, theft, and cancellations.
Be Cautious at Night: Limit outdoor activities to well-lit and populated areas after dark.
Respect Local Customs: When in Morocco, do as the Moroccans do. Respect for local customs and traditions goes a long way in ensuring a positive experience.
Did you know? The Moroccan Dirham is a closed currency, meaning you can only obtain it within Morocco. So make sure to have some cash on hand for those bustling souks!
Embarking on a Morocco adventure
is a journey into a land of rich culture, stunning landscapes, and unforgettable experiences. However, preparation and awareness are essential for women travellers to thoroughly enjoy this North African gem. So arm yourself with knowledge and respect local customs, and you’re set for the adventure of a lifetime.
Excellent Trip Options For Women Travellers in Morocco