Traveling alone as a woman in Morocco: the Do's and Don'ts
Morocco is one of the most dazzling travel destinations in North Africa and the Arab world in that is suitable for all kind of travellers and all types of travel whether it is a luxury retreat, a family trip, a romantic escape or backpacking and camping.
Being a Muslim country but globally tolerant (due to there being other religious communities living in Morocco too, such as Jewish and Christian), where interactions between men and women are regulated by law, makes it a challenging environment for both Moroccan and foreigner female travellers. This is the reason why travelling to Morocco should be planned beforehand but not over-planned so as to allow for new discoveries, unexpected adventures and encounters.
Moroccan women are careful when they travel alone and so should foreigners, especially in big cities or when travelling in the mountains, on empty beaches or in the desert.
What to do
Try to dress modestly... most of the time!
As previously mentioned Morocco is a Muslim country with a more or less conservative tendency. Dressing humbly always helps blending amongst the local population. You still can wear shorts and sleeveless tops in some chic places in Casablanca, Agadir, Marrakech, Rabat and Essaouira which are more touristy.
Travel using the train and CTM bus company
While in Morocco, most of the big cities are well connected by train and long distance buses. You can check the ONCF website to plan your tour ahead of time as well as buying your tickets online. The same goes for CTM buses - these facilities are well equipped, safe and there is always a security agent on board. Even though, try to always travel with someone unless if your travel style is to travel solo.
While in Morocco... get in touch with local people
Getting in touch with local people is always a great way to get a deep insight into the Moroccan culture, which varies from city to city and from village to village. Being culturally and ethnically rich, gives rise to the opportunity for great discoveries and also the occasion to meet incredible people that will add so much spice to your travel experience. From traditional weddings and celebrations to the hammam ritual, there is so much to discover and live out.
Try to vary your destinations and accordingly the activities you are willing to try.
What to avoid doing?
Do not respond to your offender
Women in Morocco tend to get a lot of attention from men, whether they are covered or not, meaning that you can put on a hijab and still get attention and cat-callings in the street. Some female friends of mine once told me that no matter how do you look, you still get attention as long as you have an attractive body. This might sound appealing and might seem as a self-confidence booster to some, but it is verbal harassment at the end of the day. We, Moroccan women, do not respond to it and immediately ignore it and if it is necessary, we can make a fuss and let others gather around the offender and deal with them. So just act as you do not hear or see a thing!
Avoid wandering in big cities at night...alone!
M'am, you have got it! Big cities such as Casablanca can be extremely dangerous at night for women no matter their nationality . Moroccan women tend to avoid going out alone unless they are with a male friend, sibling, husband or parent. Always try to make Moroccan male friends when you get to Morocco so you can discover the charming sights some places in Morocco have to offer by night. After all, you are visiting, and you should be enjoying your time to the fullest, so try to make sure to get to know some trusted Moroccan male friends!
Try to not hitch-hike alone!
Yes, we know, hitch-hiking can add a lot to the sense of adventure of some female travellers. I myself tried hitch-hiking in Morocco many many times, and all went so well. As a female traveller, you will get a lot of attention, but also lots of help. People tend to want to help women and to ask if you ever need anything. Just follow your intuition if you are alone and do not hesitate to say no to a ride, clearly and firmly.
If you still want to hitch-hike, try to be in a group of maximum 3 people. People will always have a place for all of the group and enough space for their luggage. If you end up accepting the ride, do not fall asleep, and try to always keep the attention of the person busy by engaging in interesting conversations about his/her life, your life, general topics, Morocco, where can he/she recommend you to go... these kind of details help put you and the person in a comfortable situation and to quickly build trust and respect.
For a first time... do not camp alone!
Camping can be an exhilarating experience as well as being potentially dangerous for the female traveller. Try to organize outdoor activity (hiking, camping...) with a group of Moroccan hikers who have already done this kind of activities.
Going with a group is extremely important if you are doing this for the first time. The Rif mountains can be an extremely risky place mainly because of drug trafficking.
Overall, Morocco remains an extraordinary destination for all kind of passions: food, hiking, surfing...everything! Just grab your backpack or suitcase my fellow femaile traveller and get ready to have an exhilarating life-changing trip in Morocco! Happy and safe travels!
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