Women travelling in Morocco

edited March 2009 in - North Africa
My daughter is planning to go to Morocco with a friend for a two week holiday. I have heard Morocco is amazing but have also heard that young women are hassled and made to feel very uncomfortable and unsafe by Moroccan men. It would be usful to read feedback from women who have travelled to Morocco recently. Many thanks, J.
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Comments

  • edited 12:09PM
    I am a woman and have travelled to Morocco alone and had a fantastic time with no harassment or hassles whatsoever. People were very welcoming and friendly and as long as you reciprocate in the same way you won't have any problems. If approached by people selling things etc and you don't want anything just politely say no, smile and walk on - I had no problems using this strategy.
  • edited 12:09PM
    I travelled to Morocco alone twice in 2008. Men in the souks (market shops) hassle everyone, as Babs said, smile and walk on. There were always a lot of people in the streets beyond the souks and while I did have men follow me and want to talk with me and give me their phone numbers I never felt unsafe. Uncomfortable yes, unsafe no. Take the usual precautions about being out alone after dark, and dress respectfully for a Muslim country - my guide book said a woman should cover her knees and shoulders, though I saw plenty of women who didn't and they didn't seem to get harrassed in Marrakech, Rabat or Casablanca where I travelled - I've heard less touristic places may be a lot more traditional and a lot less tolerant of inappropriate dress. In general I found Moroccans very helpful and eager to please.
  • edited 12:09PM
    My Daughter is an American at school in Paris and also wants to go to Morroco for her spring break. I am very reticent to let her go as she is 21, going with a bunch of co-students, and without the guidance of her overseas program. I don't know where they would be staying, where they would be going and if they even know what proper Muslim womens culture observes. Also if she does inadvertantly get into trouble there is very little I can do to help her. Not worth the risk? or am I being overly paranoid.

    thanks for the advice....
  • edited 12:09PM
    Your daughter and her friends ought to register with the US Department of State before traveling to Morocco - https://travelregistration.state.gov/ibrs/ui/ - and note that the closest consular officer to assist them in case of need would be coming from Consulate General Casablanca (our embassy in Rabat doesn't have a consular section).
  • edited 12:09PM
    I am a college student interning in Morocco this summer. As part of my pre-departure process, I am trying to take some safety measures such as researching the nearest hospitals and rape centers (just in case) in the Quartier Hassan. Does anyone have any knowledge on rape centers in the area?

    Thank you in advance.
  • edited 12:09PM
    Excuse me, I forgot to clarify that the Quartier Hassan is in Rabat, Morocco.

    Thanks.
  • edited 12:09PM
    Morocco in general is not necessarely about how you dress but how you behave. Some Moroccan girls make European girls look like Nuns! Young men in Morocco tend to try it on (hit on) every female that comes across them regardless of origin or dress. There are those who are after money and those after what's called papers - a visa or just a bit of "fun". These can be dealt with in more or less the same manner. If approched by anyone be firm (with a small smile) and say no, thank you and keep walking. "Laa, Shokran".

    If visiting Casablanca avoid the local beach (Ain Diab). Basically if you see no women at the beach do not go in! Ain Diab is female unfriendly unless accompanied by a male gang! It used to be a family friendly in the 70s and early 80s but somehow it became a magnet for all the desperados in Casablanca. Still the seaside offers great views (bars,cafes, swimming pools etc) If you want to go to the beach you need to travel a bit further for some good beaches. Also Casablanca has some 6 or 8 good swimming pools. They all seem good and very safe. Use common sense and enjoy it. Todaysdish@yahoo.com
  • edited 12:09PM
    Hello i would like to know how to start a new life at Morocco, i fell in love with a man from there, and we alway want to getting married and be together! Unforunaltey i am worry bec i am Deaf, i wonder do have any job for me so i could love to move to Morocco to start a new life.

    Hope to hear from you

    Thank x
  • edited 12:09PM
    I wonder why some women ask if it's safe to travel alone in Morocco. It's the same thing everywhere in the world. It would be better to have a fellow. It's true some moroccan boys think that all western women are ready...Evrything depends on the situations you put yourself...Where you are staying, where you are going and how you go...
  • edited 12:09PM
    I agree with BerberMan - it can be unsafe for a lone female in the USA!!! Always respect the culture of the country you are in, dress modestly or as you see the local women and always be aware of your surroundings. This is general advice. I am an Australian girl who has travelled extensively in North Africa and the Middle East, I am now married to a Tunisian man and living in Tunisia. I have been hassled but hey, I've been hassled in the US, Australia and lots of other places.

    She should go and enjoy marvellous Morocco!!
  • edited 12:09PM
    I am a man and visited Marrakech last year. I did find the hassling by children, beggars and vendors annoying, and it reminded me how much more relaxed a time I have visiting countries like Spain and Greece where this happens so much less. So as a woman you'd have this on top of unwanted male attention, and it all depends how thick your skin is but I agree it is more of an irritation than a danger. Regarding dress, most of the girls in the French school near I was staying wore short skirts and I saw plenty with sleeveless tops, so I think the dress thing is less critacal than in other muslim countries.
  • edited 12:09PM
    I have not been to Morroco yet, but I've been to Senegal, Kenya, Egypt, all over S.E. Asia, lived in China for 1 year and 2 years in Bangkok, Thailand as a single female albeit not a "young" female. I agree with BerberMan. It is all about how you show respect for the culture. "When in Rome, do as the Romans do." The appropriate Thai clothing for a "respectable female," especially one regarded so highly as a teacher (we are up there almost with the monks) is the same as in Morroco. Cover the upper part of your arms, no low cut blouses, longer skirts, show appropriate respect in temples, ask to take pictures of people (sometimes they want $$ or at least a look at the picture) and demonstrate your interest in their lives. Finally, DON'T LOOK FOR TROUBLE. Having learned enough Thai to tell taxis where I lived (giving directions in Thai) and that I was a music teacher instantly gave me respect. In two years, I only had 1 taxi driver suggest I meet his brother.

    The ONE AND ONLY place I realized that I had better cover my white face up with a woolen scarf and keep my down parka hood as tight as possible around my face was in a remote train station of Mongolia, heading for the Siberian border. The Mongolian men were huge, and mainly drunk on vodka. The female Mongolian teachers I traveled with were careful and extremely cautious of having me be seen . . . and I watched and listened to their cues. In the middle of the night, in the middle of "nowhere" and totally freezing cold, the name of the game is take your cue from the locals.
  • edited 12:09PM
    For English women travelling alone in Marrakech......... maybe a good idea is to contact Dawn Boys-Stones of Riad and Villas Fawakay. Dawn offers shopping trips and helps clients get an understanding, not only of the Marrakech souks... but also local taboos and sensible dress code etc.
    Arriving in Marrakech can be a daunting experience and one shouldn't understate the advantage of local knowledge from a fellow Brit !

    An article featuring Dawn Boys-Stones can be found at; http://www.marrakech.uk.com/#/fawakay/4534023248
    and also a contact form for her.
    I hope that helps.
  • edited 12:09PM
    I have been to Morocco recently and experienced a hassle free holiday. There was no such issue about clothing and unwanted attention. It is not a typical muslim country with strict regulation etc. I saw many local women in western clothes like jeans and tee shirts but not in short skirts. However there were many tourists and many white women wearing short skirts in the souks and bikinis at the water fall. So as I even read a lot about moroccan men before going there I found a very warm and welcoming atmosphere. People are very helpful but ask for money if they take you to a place or negotiate on your behalf in souks etc. which I think is acceptable. Yes there was a bit of hassle in the souks, especially in the evenings but simply smiling and walking away worked the best for me in all situations.
  • edited 12:09PM
    I forgot to mention that I'm a women and visited Marrakech for 2 weeks and stayed near Jamal El Fana in Medina.
  • edited 12:09PM
    I went to Morocco in April 2009, what a wonderful country, the safest I have every visited nothing like what I have to deal with here in North America. Like all countries of course there are areas that are not safe, but as a young woman traveling alone never did I feel unsafe. Sure there were many men who asked for my number to none I gave, a polite no was all it took. I did find the worst dressed were tourist, they seem to have no respect that Morocco is a Muslim country. For women dress respectfully and stop showing so much flesh, who needs to see your ass cheeks hanging out your shorts and your cleavage showing for all to see? Dress appropriately. Morocco is a wonderful place, too bad the government does not do more for the poor.
  • edited 12:09PM
    I want to travel to Morocco with my boyfriend but I have a few reservations, mainly whether it's ok for an unmarried couple to stay in the same room? I can't seem to find the info anywhere. Thanks! :)
  • edited 12:09PM
    Iggy - Just to recap, yes you can provided neither of you holds a Moroccan passport.
  • edited 12:09PM
    I have just come back from a holiday in Marrakesh and unfortunately while we were there we had our bag stolen, got separated and my friend was raped. There is little or no victim support/ rape centres and you will not receive the same treatment as you would in the west. However the police were efficient and one man was caught within days.
    Marrakesh is a wonderful place, just make sure that you don't walk around the medina late at night and don't trust anyone, despite how helpful they may be. We dressed appropriately and even wore headscarves, we were just in the wrong place at the wrong time
  • edited 12:09PM
    i did a trip this year with my boyfriend for one week in Morocco. we came from Lausane to Casablanca then we took the train for Fes after one night there we had CTM bus to Rissani then Merzouga desert .we didn,t book a place before or did a tour with travel agency. so by the chance we went to the desert and we did 3 days trip with a very nice people.it is a good adress that i recommend to everybody want visit the country.we enjoyed really our time a lot!!!
    if that interesting you ;this is thier web : http://www.maisondusud.fr.gd

    Anela
  • edited 12:09PM
    I have been to morocco twice..the first time in July of 08 for a month and the second time for two weeks in Feb of 09..i didnt experience any negative things in fact I got married there in Aug of 08..I have been to many countries..I did find that i got stared at alot.i wish i had spoken with someone before the first time i went ..if you wanna talk my email is helluvahairaiser@yahoo.com..good luck and remember life is for living..live it well
  • edited 12:09PM
    Just back from Agadir Morocco 23/1/10 found the people lovely, as two middle aged married ladies travelling alone for a bit of rest and relaxation and to get away from the snow at home, we took the advise of the guide at our hotel and dressed appropriatly in a muslim country we visited souks and men did hassle us to go into their shops, my friend did get a bit annoyed at their persistence, but a polite no thank you and a smile meant they stopped hassling you, it was explained that bartering is part of the culture and expect to pay half what they ask you, they pull up a chair for you and haggling over the price is part of their culture just accept it, stay in a good humour if you can't stay at home, you have to respect other countries cultures. Found the country and people absolutely lovely and hope to return again and again God willing
  • edited 12:09PM
    I just returned from Morocco and felt extremely comfortable there. The people were friendly and polite - men often moved out of the way when passing (unlike many folks in NYC) or actively steered clear when I was taking photographs. I wore long sleeves for most the time because it was cold in some places, but when I moved to short sleeves (not straps) in Marrakesh, I saw maybe only a slight difference in response and then it was just that I would be looked at more often. I found the younger men to be charming and clearly unable to judge age, but they were very polite and as soon as I wanted to be off from a souk or conversation, I had no problem moving on. It is a lovely beautiful country and worth anyone's visit. Just use common sense as you would anywhere. Another Christi
  • edited 12:09PM
    Margie, thanks for your lovely feedback. Glad you had a great holiday. Just shows that humour and respect can take you a long way when travelling abroad.
  • edited 12:09PM
    Having been to Luxor and Cairo in Egypt I was intimidated by the desperate attempts to sell stuff to you.If Morocco is similar I would prefer to go somewhere where I would feel more comfortable. Because of the outstanding cultural sites in Egypt it was just worth the hassle but not truly a relaxing holiday. I would be much more likely to buy if I was left alone to choose since I enjoy shopping.
  • edited 12:09PM
    medicinemeg - ok, I need to explain something here............firstly, negotiation and hard sell is part of our lives in the ME and North Africa. Secondly, these traders rely on tourists to pay their rent, feed their children etc. They do not make lots of money and usually they are family businesses which support more than one family. Morocco is much more serene than Egypt but you will still be spoken to in the souks, markets etc. If you want to be left alone to choose something then express this to the shop owner. Tell him that you would like to buy something, but that you would like to do it in a calm way. Most will respect your wishes. But use humour, have a laugh and there will be no more hassle. But I have to tell you that I like nothing more than being in one of the vast carpet shops, being served over the top sweet mint tea while having all those wonderful magic carpets unfurled with such theatre in front of me. I can spend all day in there chatting, laughing and then finally haggling. If you approach this as an entertainment then you will start to relax and enjoy this. It's theatre and it's worth it.
  • edited 12:09PM
    I'd like to travel to Marrakech in mid-June. But for a pale, red-haired person would this be utterly unbearable? Could someone please give some advice whether or not this is a good time to go?
  • edited 12:09PM
    Gem - it's going to be hot, hot and hot. So if you don't like the hot weather consider going around September/October when it is a lot milder but still warm and very pleasant.
  • edited 12:09PM
    Hi everyone,
    We are 2 - 30something women going to Morocco for the first time in May. I have done a lot of research online and found I'm am even more nervous about being harrassed than I was before I knew anything. We are quite adventurous and if any other women have some tips for us that would be amazing. tuneinturner@gmail.com
  • edited April 2010
    Hi! Morocco is very nice place to visit for the tourist especially for women . Women do not need to worry while traveling in Morocco . Morocco is very safe place to visit for women. people of the morocco are very friendly and you do not need to worry about them at all .If you are planning to go there and looking forcheap flights to casablancathen you need to search for relevant site . hope you will enjoy there

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