How to Stay Safe as a Woman Traveling in Morocco

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With a bad reputation for misogyny and reports of sexual harassment, how unsafe is it for women to travel in Morocco? What you need to know before you go.


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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.

Conservative dress is best

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.

Trouble spots to avoid 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-Fnna in Marrakesh at dusk is fascinating, and many locals are out and about enjoying the cool evening. Stick to places where the families are, and you should feel safe in the surrounding streets until about 11pm.  The biggest risk here is having someone put a monkey on your shoulder and demand money for a photo.

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 on safe places to stay, especially where you can lock the door to your room securely. Travel with a simple door stop which is handy to prevent access from an intruder and takes up very little room in your luggage.

Meeting local women in Morocco

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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  • Rachel said

    Hi! I travelled there as a teenager with my mum and sister. We did get hasselled but we were prepared, so it did not ruin our trip. It was overall a really lovely experience.

    My sister returned after graduating from University to go travelling with one of her female friends. They had enough of being bothered so wore outfits like the local women and they said it completely transformed their experience. They loved their adventure and travelled around Morrocco for a whole month.

  • Natasha said

    I just returned from there yesterday and am disappointed to report that I don't believe most women should be traveling there alone or at a young age. This was my 34th country visited, many of them pretty rough spots, and this was in the top 3 for ongoing harassment and a general roll of the dice on whether that turns to outright danger, REGARDLESS of what you wear. For instance, one night when I knew exactly where I was going to get to my riad, and was fully covered head to toe, I turned the last corner, and the porch light was off. In the 3 seconds it took to turn on the flashlight app on my phone to see the keyhole, I had a large man upon me, molesting me forcefully and had to hit him and push him. Could this happen anywhere? Of course. But it's way more apt to happen in a place where they disrespect and harass women, which sets the stage.

    In places like this, it's just pure chance whether you land in the 50% who don't have bad things happen or the 50% that do, so NO young or inexperienced lone female travelers, please. It's not worth it.

    In addition, in the large cities, basically no one will ever do anything just to be helpful or nice (your hotel proprietor or tour operator do not count). People expect to get paid for saying you're near a landmark, or even saying you should go to a landmark you're already heading to and/or standing in front of already. Normal conversation:
    "Do you know where I can buy water?"
    "Across the street there. Give me some money for helping you. Yes!!! Give me money. You're not giving me money? You're a whore. I wasted my precious time telling you the water was there."

    When things like this are in play, I measure a country by whether the sights you see or spirituality you experience are worth the trade-off. Sadly, Morocco does not make the cut.

    2 thumbs down.

  • Tachael said

    I visited and was fortunate enough to have a friend's family I could stay with.

    I am female and was 26 or so at the time. Due to my very pale redhead complexion, it was not possible for me to blend in. I had a male escort (my friend) everywhere I wanted to go. The only place I ever went alone was to the corner shop at mid day. I tried to take the same trip after dark and that was a mistake. I immediately had two young man following me and making harassing sounds.

    The family I stayed with was kind and courteous and cooked me meals every day. The father was warm and welcoming. They were very kind.

    The worst I know of: The youngest of the siblings was a 16-year-old girl, and she had been robbed twice at knife point on her way to school by some young neighborhood thug wannabes.

    The best: there is a beautiful and warm custom in this country that if a stranger is traveling and they're thirsty, they can stop anywhere and ask for a drink of water. One day, I went downstairs because the bell was buzzing and two ladies were at the door, asking for drinks of water. I think it speaks of a very warm and hospital place where this is a traditional custom.

    Bottom line – no, I would not go there as a young female by myself, especially if you're not able to blend in. But you should be able to hire a guide for not too much to travel around with you - just pick an honest one from a good family.

    Just think of Morocco like you know some good people who live in the tourist part of town with a few opportunist crooks ( there are perfectly safe, beautiful areas of Morocco with good people all over – please don't get me wrong. But this is your safety we're talking about so it pays to be careful) Don't do anything you would not do at home in a bad neighborhood.

    And the women yes are usually very kind and supportive of each other. Other women watched out for me everywhere I went even though they didn't know me. They are a wonderful people.

  • Anas said

    Morocco, we can not judge it from a situation did happen to someone, guys i have been working with touristes 10 years ago, those crazy expériences are getting less everyday!

    Girls or womens they should not be worry to plan for a holiday in Morocco, what i have advice with is to have a plan where you want to go, avoid those bis cities like Casabanca, Rabat... Marrakesh is really enough for a half day because most of the locals are more to sell and money but if you ignore them, they will give you your peace and they may follow you to try to sell you something but is not at all dangerous.

    Essaouira is a small and windy place, most of the people are chilled and open-minded, some of those locals they may try to sel you in them shops/souvenirs...but if the price is not showed in a cart, try to ask for a good friendly price!! ;)

    i'm from Morocco and i have bee living in many places worldwide and i feel sorry about what some people think about Morocco!

    Travel and enjoy it, Morocco has a big braight side <3


  • Morocco Trips said


    Its an excellent post, thank you so much for sharing with us. I hope you keep sharing this types of informative posts.

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