Solo Female Travel in Morocco: The Good & The Bad
During my Morocco travel series, I received a lot of questions about the safety of traveling in Morocco as a woman. While my friend and I felt safe in Morocco, I recognize that the time we spent exploring by ourselves were limited. We spent the majority of our vacation exploring with a private guide who was really protective of us. In hopes of providing a balanced view of visiting Morocco, I asked my friend Rino to write about her solo travel trip to Morocco. Here’s a recap of her experience highlighting the good and the bad:
I spent the first few days of my trip to Morocco in Essaouira. It is known for its beaches and seafood. It definitely has a different atmosphere from the rest of Morocco because of its mix of locals and foreigners.
Attending the Gnaoua Festival
I chose to visit Essaouira not only for those features, but also for the Gnaoua Festival, a jazz, pop, rock, soul, and contemporary music festival in Morocco that happens once a year in June. It’s one of the biggest music festivals in the world. It features the local music “Gnawa” and famous bands from all over Africa. I had planned my itinerary to Morocco before finding out about this festival, but after learning about the festival and realizing that it would happen during my stay in the country, I completely changed my itinerary and decided to go to Essaouira during the festival period. It was the best decision I made! This small city was filled with people from everywhere. So many hippies! I love music in general, and I loved to explore this new genre of music. If the timing allows, I highly recommend anyone goes for the festival.
Be sure to pack a jacket with you, unlike the rest of Morocco, it gets cold even during summer due to the ocean breeze.
Camel Back Riding by the Beach & Mountains
Camel back riding by the beach and inside the mountains was an unique experience because most of the camel rides in Morocco are in the desert. I really loved it because I got to see various lanscapes of Morocco all at once. I arranged the tour through a freelance guide affiliated with the riad I stayed at. The guide happened to be the one who took Angelina Jolie and her kids around Essaouira when she visited there for the film shooting for “Alexander.” I am usually not a “tour guide” kind of traveler, but it was definitely worth the try as I would have not seen many parts of Morocco without the guide.
Visiting a Local Hammam
Another cool experience I had in Essaouira was my visit to a local hammam (bathhouse). Hammams are an important part of Moroccan culture and life. Moroccans typically visit at least once a week to cleanse themselves. There are so many hammams inside the medina, but they are usually touristy and over priced. I received a hammam recommendation from a local lady at my riad. It was just what I was looking for, I was the only tourist. I had to communicate with my limited French skills to buy soap and towels there. It was such a perfect way to get insight into authentic Moroccan life.
Overall, with its very chill and hippie atmosphere, and great seafood. I believe Essaouira was a fun contrast from the rest of Morocco. Although I arrived alone, I met cool people every day and hung out with them at the festival, so I didn’t feel lonely at all. That’s the magic of solo traveling! You end up making new friends!
I chose to visit Marrakech mainly for its hand crafted souvenirs and beautiful architecture. I waited for this moment almost for 7 years, since I got into the Marrakesh inspired decoration/furniture. I had a long list of what I wanted to get over there: Moroccan rugs, leather pouf, ceramics, and jewelry.
Make sure you leave room in your luggage! I really went crazy with shopping there and had to hand carry a lot of my souvenirs because my suitcase was overweight.
Other than the hand crafted souvenirs, the architectural designs at some of the historical buildings in Marrakech were amazing. Wherever you go, it’s so photogenic that you will find yourself taking pictures of every corner. I recommend Bahia Palace, it was built in the late 19th century and has amazing tile works inside. Another must visit is Jardin Majorelle. It use to belong to the designer Yves Saint Laurent. The colors and plants at the garden were so exotic and pretty. I walked around and imagined what inspired his works in the garden back in the day.
Solo Female Travel Tips for Safety
Besides my amazing experiences, I also experienced some unpleasant moments in Morocco. Being a female solo traveler is not easy, especially in Marrakesh. I walked around the souk alone and salesmen would shout at me. While I do recognize that this could happen in other countries as well, I could not stand that some of them would try to trick me and shout unpleasant words. I wasn’t the only one to receive this treatment. I saw a group of girls getting cursed out from a guy, who was trying to get money for giving them directions. I am not saying that everyone in Marrakech is like this, but if you are not with a man, you will most likely experience a similar situation. Be strong and ignore those unpleasant people if you have to deal with them there. Looking back, I believe that I would not have to deal with this if I joined a tour, and it might be a solution for you to avoid such situation. Also, ignore people who come up to you trying to “help” you with directions. If you find yourself lost, go into a shop and ask someone.
Despite the fact that I had an unpleasant experience in Marrakech, the local people with great hospitality I encountered during my trip and the beautiful places I visited still warms my heart. I'm eager to go back and explore other parts of Morocco. I hope sharing my solo female travel to Morocco experience helps you and inspires you in any way!
Have you ever traveled solo to Morocco? What are some safety tips you recommend?
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