I’ve been to Morocco many times, and I fall even more in love with it every single time.
From the beaches in the north in Kenitra, to camping in the Sahara Desert, I heart Morocco. But if there’s one thing I’d have to warn to any first time female traveler to Marrakech, it is: PLEASE BE CAREFUL! I’m screaming that from the top of my lungs. Girls, hear me! Pay attention!!
To be fair, I don’t think these men yelling obscene verbiage are out to actually steal. But some men really have zero idea the intimidation and fear they convey, and what it truly feels like to be harassed as a human being. It is scary and invasive. Most locals will say: oh, they won’t do anything. Even if that’s true, being spoken to in a sexually demeaning way isn’t my idea of a fun vacation. When one can’t do anything about what others do, one can only learn how to protect and defend before s*** goes down.
Safety is always a big concern for anyone traveling to a foreign country, especially alone. Needless to say, if you’re a female and you’re a soloist…this article is tailored for you. Read on, and be prepared. If you were to ask me whether you should travel to Marrakech by yourself, I would tell you: NO. If you wanted to do it anyway, follow this guide and stay alert!
1. Use online answers only as a reference, but not a guarantee.
If you’re Google-ing whether Marrakech is safe for female travelers, most sites are probably telling you: YES. For many reason, it is. But once you get there, you’ll most likely experience heckling, verbal sexual innuendos. Even for someone like me: a French speaker, fully covered up in my attire, an avid traveler with street smarts…I felt unsafe. So even if online websites are telling you Morocco is safe for female solo travelers, I would double check that for your own good. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. After all, you’re not a local.
2. Dress appropriately = Cover up, top and bottom! Literally.
Even if you’re there in scorching hot summer, it’s still smarter to be covered up as you walk through the medina and on public streets. Don’t show your cleavage, don’t show skin above your knees. Arms are okay. When covered up completely though, we heard whispers all day and night, “Nice tits, nice ass, come home with me.” This happened at least five times a day. It wasn’t fun.
3. Don’t run, but don’t lag either.
There were times when I was scared for my life, trying to return to our riad at 8p.m. Once, a man even touched my body. When locals say men only verbalize but they don’t touch, it’s not true! Someone definitely grabbed my butt. But don’t show that you’re scared either, just don’t wander and drag your feet.
4. Stay connected on Google maps.
The best thing about T-Mobile is the free international roaming feature, which I adore. In Marrakech’s medina, however, my T-mobile international data stopped working. “Zero service” showed up anytime I was about to traverse through the maze-like streets that don’t have signs while every single corner looked identical. Asking around only invited more attention. So I highly advise any solo traveler to have international data that actually works in Marrakech. I did see other foreign travelers looking down at their phones following Google map, as I wished I could have done if I had service.
5. When someone tells you to follow them, don’t do it.
You’ll hear that a lot. As soon as you step foot inside the medina, there will be random men asking you to follow them. DO NOT RESPOND, and do not make eye contact. They want to lead you to their shops, definitely not to your hotel or wherever you’re going. Even if they do end up leading you to your hotel, they’ll ask for a tip later. To fend yourself from the hassle, simply don’t follow anyone and stay in your own course.