Solo Female Travel in Morocco: What to Expect & Why It's Totally Worth It
What to Expect When Traveling Alone as a Woman in Morocco
On any trip to Morocco, there are certain things you can expect. You will take a lot of photos of cats, for example. You will try and fail at haggling. You will drink a lot of mint tea. You will be offered hashish at least once. And if you’re a woman, you can also expect to hear comments along the lines of:
Hey lady, want a mint tea? No? How about a husband?
You will fall in love with Morocco, but probably be glad to leave. Morocco is one of the most confusing places you’ll ever visit.
On one hand, it’s stunning, fascinating, exciting and cheap. On the other, it is tiring, difficult and a constant struggle to travel. Having your guard up at all times, and dealing with men ogling you, trying to catch your attention, and sometimes even openly following you, is downright exhausting.
Solo female travelers shouldn’t be deterred by the possibility of verbal harassment, though. Armed with the knowledge of what to expect, and a few strategies for how to deal with it, it is entirely possible for women to travel through Morocco alone and leave loving this country.
What to Expect Traveling Solo in Morocco
For starters, you’ll get stared at. A lot.
There is really no way around this. No matter how much you try to blend in, you will always stand out.
You will get some muttered and some not-so-muttered comments as you wander around. Some men will just direct their unwanted stares and remarks your way, others will approach you directly and try to engage you in conversation.
They will ask you the standard questions: Where are you from? Do you like Morocco? If you don’t want to talk to them they can turn nasty, labeling you unfriendly and rude.
If you’re unlucky, they might even follow you. You can expect to be exhausted. It is exhausting, repeatedly dealing with this kind of harassment, while you are merely trying to enjoy your surroundings.
The good news is, you can have all of this thrown your way and still enjoy Morocco. You may need to develop a few extra layers of skin, but with a cool head and the right attitude, the pestering of opportunistic locals will roll off you like water.
Dealing With Harassment
The best way to deal with any non-physical harassment in Morocco is to just ignore it. Acting confident and self-assured (even if you’re not) is key. In addition to this, there are a few other things it is good to know.
For starters, one of the most significant ways to deflect attention is to dress conservatively. Strict social constraints govern interactions between Moroccan men and women, and foreigners are perceived as being outside of these restrictions. Fair game, shall we say.
Internet pornography can also take some of the credit for Moroccan men having the misguided notion that Western women are overtly sexual and “easy.”
As infuriating as it may be (the clothes you choose to wear should NEVER be considered an invitation of any kind) there are times when you just have to accept that covering up can save you a lot of pain. Respecting their cultural norms is always a good idea, anyway.
You will still get noticed in long sleeves and jeans though, so try tying your hair back and investing in a good pair of dark sunglasses. Avoiding eye contact is a good way to dodge attention, or pretend you haven’t heard anything if you do receive any.
If you feel comfortable doing so, you can also try covering your hair with a scarf. Even uncovered hair is a bit racy to most Moroccan men.
Once you are on the ground in Morocco, if you don’t want to travel around the country alone, you don’t necessarily have to. A lot of Morocco’s sights, such as the Sahara, are easily seen through convenient and affordable group tours.
This takes a lot of the effort out of organizing your trip and means you will get to travel with a group of (hopefully) awesome fellow travelers.
Also, hostels win over hotels. Even if it means sacrificing your privacy and, most of the time, your sleep, hostels will be your best choice if you’re traveling alone.
A great place to meet people, hostels will allow you to team up and explore/eat/travel with others. Even just walking around with one other person can make harassment more bearable.
Every now and then though, you should treat yourself, and book a nice place to stay. A peaceful hotel room can be the retreat you need to recover from the exhaustion of walking around all day, and the best way to recharge before hitting the streets again.
You should know nightlife is not a thing. According to some sources, the only local women spotted in bars or clubs are prostitutes.
If you do want to go out for a drink, go in a group (preferably a male-dominated group) and prepare to be the only woman in the bar. Basically, don’t go to Morocco expecting to get drunk and party (it is a Muslim country after all). Instead, embrace calm evenings on rooftop terraces.
Finally, the most important thing you should know is that at the end of the day, any lewd remarks or leers you may receive are more of an annoyance than a danger. Most of the time it will never go past the comments and catcalls, so just keep your head high and hang in there. It’ll be worth it.