Although Morocco is safe for women travelers, here’s some helpful advice and useful tips to help you avoid any unpleasant situations that may arise. Being aware and informed can make your travels more enjoyable.
Morocco is a safe country for women travelers, traveling alone, or with other women. However, like every country, it has its own set of cultural norms so it’s important to familiarize yourself with the basics to avoid any unpleasant situations or show any disrespect.
The culture of Morocco is quite different compared to Western countries so it’s important to familiarize yourself with the country’s customs before you travel. Learn some facts about Morocco culture so you can avoid awkward or uncomfortable situations.
You will also need to be aware of Morocco travel vaccinations as there are some requirements before entering the country. It’s good to be aware and take safety precautions not just as a woman traveler, but as a culturally conscious traveler.
Here are some tips and advice that will hopefully make your journey a safe and positive experience.
For most western travelers, smiling at someone is considered a friendly or polite gesture. To not smile is considered rude! Smiling in Morocco is just not a good idea as it may give someone the wrong impression.
Although you may have nothing but good intentions or just happen to smile because you usually do back home, it’s good to be conscious and try to avoid smiling or keep it to a minimum to save yourself from unwanted attention.
A smile from a woman to a male stranger in Moroccan culture is generally considered an invitation to strike up a conversation or it may suggest something more.
What to Wear
While women travelers can choose what to wear in Morocco, it’s a good idea to be conscious of how you dress to avoid any unwanted attention. Keep in mind that Morocco is a Muslim country and that means the majority of women dress more on the conservative side.
The reality is that in an Islamic society, the majority of women wear more clothing and a basic rule is to cover your shoulders, chest, and knees. A modest dress is best. Wear ankle length long skirts and dresses or loose-fitting pants.
Women travelers are not required to wear a headscarf, but it’s a good idea to have one handy. Many women who travel in Morocco chose to wear dark sunglasses to avoid eye contact and it makes you look less approachable.
What Not to Wear
Although women travelers can wear what they want, there are some articles of clothing that would be wise to avoid wearing altogether to save you from getting harassed. The less skin you choose to bare, the better your experience will be.
Expect to attract more unwanted attention if you choose to wear short skirts/shorts or low-cut skimpy tops, crop tops, or tops with spaghetti straps. Unfortunately, this kind of attire will only encourage men to bother you.
Any type of tight clothing is also not recommended as it is considered too revealing. Heels are not a good idea either as the majority of women tend not to wear them. Comfortable shoes like sandals or walking shoes are your best option as you will likely be exploring places on foot.
Many hotels have swimming pools and are often a mix of female-male so while it is ok to wear a bikini, it’s also a good idea to wear a cover-up when hanging around the pool area. The same goes for private and public beaches.
Unfortunately, sexual harassment is common and a big problem in Moroccan culture. Even native Moroccan women have unpleasant experiences with men who give catcalls or try to cop a feel in crowded public places like in the souks or on public transportation.
The best way to try and keep harassment at a minimum is to dress appropriately and avoid making eye contact with men. Apparently, the best way to handle sexual harassment is to ignore it. As difficult as that may be, it’s in your best interest to avoid reacting as it could escalate into an even more unpleasant confrontation.
Should a situation arise, you can always go to the police as tourist harassment is something they take seriously. Usually, you will find police officers in highly concentrated tourist areas should you need to report a crime. While it may feel frustrating and annoying to experience this kind of behavior, not reacting could be your best retaliation.
A couple of options for avoiding harassment are to hire a local tour guide or join a tour group. You can find a Morocco package tour that caters specifically to women if you feel this may be a more comfortable option.
Generally, if you are seen wandering around with a male companion, it’s likely people will assume you are a couple and leave you alone. If you are a single woman, wearing a wedding ring and telling people you meet that you are married is another way to keep the harassment at bay.
Say you become lost or have a question, the best option is to ask a woman. Though many women work in the home, there are plenty of women who work in the souks or restaurants.
What to Bring for Women Travelers
Pack comfortable and lightweight clothing as temperatures here are hot especially when traveling during summer or to the desert in Morocco. Shirts that cover your shoulders and do not have a low neckline or show cleavage are recommended.
Think long tunic tops or shirts with ¾ length sleeves. Maxi skirts (long skirts that fall just above the ankle) or long dresses are suitable and easy to move around in. Pants or jeans that cover the knees are also proper attire. Flowy or linen pants are the most comfortable as they are light and airy plus fun to wear!
If you use tampons, bring some with you especially if you are on your period or expecting to get it while on holiday. Tampons are very difficult to find here as most women use maxi pads.
A scarf is always a good accessory to have handy as it can also double as a shawl or to cover your behind if necessary. Pack a couple just in case you need a back-up. Remember to keep the shoulders covered. It’s a good idea to keep one in your bag or purse just in case.
Wrap-around bag or purse
Sadly, theft is pretty common here, especially in large cities like Casablanca or Marrakech, so carrying a bag or purse with a strap that wraps around your torso will help keep your valuables intact.
Comfortable to wander the winding streets of any Moroccan city and best when paired with a shorter skirt. Not recommended to wear on their own as they are tight-fitting and will definitely cause a stir with the male crowd.
Morocco is an endlessly enchanting country full of incredibly warm and hospitable people who want to share their culture with you so try not to let possible unpleasantries dissuade you from visiting. Being vigilant and aware of cultural norms will help to make your visit to Morocco a remarkable and memorable trip.