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Morocco is a fascinatingly diverse country, with a range of landscapes, customs and attitudes. Morocco is a Muslim country and Islamic laws and customs are followed. Don't cause offense through your actions or dress, especially during the holy month of Ramadan or when visiting religious areas. Morocco is a safe country for women travelers, however, those traveling alone should exercise caution as they could be vulnerable to unwanted attention or harassment by men. Always be wary of any relationships initiated online as there have been incidents of marriage fraud and extortion attempts against foreign nationals.
If you'd like to avoid being an object of curiosity, traveling with a man or kids will help, as will wearing a wedding ring (fake if necessary). Or you can just say you are married. Many women travelers say wearing sunglasses can also help avoid eye contact.
If you're hassled, walk into a shop or restaurant and ask for help. If you're groped, or you're receiving unwanted persistent attention, make a fuss and show your disgust, locals (especially women) will come to your aid.
Note that marriage proposals are very frequent in Morocco, but they are almost always a throwaway line, kind of the equivalent of “you look nice in that outfit” in the west. A smile and “no thanks” are almost always received with a corresponding smile.
Avoid public displays of affection, particularly away from the main tourist areas and near religious places.
Sex outside marriage is punishable by law. Staff at hotels may ask couples to show evidence of marriage at check-in, and if such evidence is not available, insist on separate rooms.
Homosexuality is a criminal offense in Morocco. Complaints can lead to prosecution.
Attitudes towards women are improving, but it pays to stay aware and use some common sense. Here are our top tips for women traveling through Morocco.
Morocco is still a very conservative country, and many women walk around with their hair covered. It's a good idea to dress in loose-fitting clothes which cover your arms, legs and chest – skimpy tops, shorts and revealing clothing will not be appreciated by the locals. Always carry a scarf to cover your head at religious sites and to help you blend in and avoid unwanted attention.
When it comes to swimwear, bikinis are OK on private beaches and be led by what others are wearing in hotel pools. Sunbathing topless on the beach or by the pool is never appropriate in Morocco.
Morocco has many historic sights and fascinating souks. Plan your day before you go out, and do your best to get a sense of direction. Keep an eye on landmarks rather than shops which change in appearance markedly when they close the doors at night. Regardless of where you are traveling, always walk with a sense of purpose. If you look lost, you're more likely to be a target for being hassled or crime.
Just as you would in any other big city or remote area, be aware of your surroundings at all times. Don't accept drinks from strangers, and never leave your drink unattended.
Visiting the Jemaa el-
If traveling on public transport, sit with other women or families. Avoid remote and mountainous areas which remain dangerous, especially for women traveling alone.
Research and check reviews from other women travelers
Traveling alone brings many benefits, and one of them is meeting local women who will provide a glimpse into their daily lives. But, most local women remain in the family home, and it can be difficult to make contact.
Taking a cooking class that includes a trip to the markets to shop for ingredients, and cooking alongside a traditional Moroccan dada (women cooks who share their culinary know-how, from generation to generation) is an excellent way to experience local culture and meet local women.
Search for women guides in the main towns who can take you around the souks and medinas and explain a little more about their way of life.
Visit a hammam or traditional bath on ladies' day. You'll see a whole other side to daily life in Morocco. Note, while the women may go naked, men never do.
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Morocco's markets are a labyrinth of alleys, shops and craftspeople. Here's how to avoid the dodgy areas and see it all safely.
Listen to this episode of the World Nomads Podcast on Morocco for tips on capturing great photos, surf culture and travel on a budget.
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