When I told people I was going to be doing solo female travel in Morocco, many of them were worried. I’m happy to say while some parts were tough, I successfully made it through the country on my own.
I’m going to be completely honest though – it was the hardest trip I’ve ever taken alone. While I never felt in physical danger, it sometimes got mentally exhausting to navigate through the craziness. These are the tips I recommend for any female going alone to Morocco.
Helpful Tips for Solo Female Travel in Morocco
Here are the tips for traveling alone in Morocco as a female that greatly helped me out.
Know basic Arabic phrases
Most people will know French if they don’t know English, but I was in several parts where they only spoke Arabic.
Here are a few phrases to know:
- Hello – Salam (pronounced “sa-lam”)
- Thank you – Choukran (pronounced “sho-cran”)
- No thank you – La choukran (pronounced “la sho-cran”)
- Good – Mizen (pronounced “miz-e-n”)
- How much – Shahal (pronounced “shaw-hall”)
Go in with a positive attitude
Traveling alone as a female Morocco can be intimidating, especially if it’s your first time. However, constantly thinking that something bad is going to happen is definitely not a good thing to do. Make sure to keep negative stereotypes out of your head because that will only hurt your experience during your Morocco itinerary.
It’s smart to try and stay safe when traveling in Morocco alone, for sure, but that doesn’t mean you should be wary of every single thing. Part of the country’s charm is its unique people, so try to keep a positive spin on things.
Join a tour
One of the best ways to explore a country when you’re traveling alone is to join a tour group. I took a tour when I went to the Sahara Desert, as driving out there alone was something I didn’t feel comfortable with. You could also join something smaller, such as a Marrakech food tour for a few hours to get a taste of the country.
Know some French
Not everyone will know English, but they will likely speak French. Brush up on your French before you go or download an app that has basic phrases on it. I once had to negotiate a taxi ride completely in French, so I was glad I reviewed it before my trip.
You can do something as easy as use Rosetta Stone before you go to learn basic phrases. This will help you a lot with your solo female travel in Morocco.
Don’t expect to get help without paying
While many Moroccans are friendly and have good intentions, asking if you need directions to your hotel means they’re expecting you to pay them. If you know where you’re going, politely turn them down and keep walking. That said, there were several times I used this to my advantage.
I got insanely lost when trying to find my Air BnB late at night in the Blue City of Chefchaouen, so was more than happy to pay. For 10 dirhams, a young man carried my luggage, found the place, and even called the host and spoke to him in Arabic to tell him to come to get me.
Another time I had a good 15-minute walk after I checked out of my hotel with a very heavy bag, so again accepted the help of an older man for 10 dirhams to carry my bag all the way through the medina. When you do solo female travel in Morocco, it’s worth it to have help at times.
I heard that solo females in Morocco constantly got hassled in Morocco and started to fear going. However, I found way fewer people talked to me when I looked at the map before I got on the street and walked confidently while looking straight ahead. Don’t look lost in public, and get off your phone!
Try to understand Muslim culture
Morocco is an Islamic country, and when you’re visiting it, you should have at least a basic understanding of Islam. That doesn’t mean that you should dress exactly like the locals or that you have to eat the same things or go to the mosques. It’s likely that you’d want to do those things, however.
Keep in mind that Islam is the second largest religion in the world, so respect everyone and keep an open mind. That goes for everyone that wants to do solo travel in Morocco, not just for the ladies.
Ignore merchants calling out to you
You’ll feel bad doing this initially, but it’ll save you many headaches. When you’re a solo female traveler in Morocco, you’ll get tons of men saying things like “Hello? Ca va? Excuse me?” when you walk by.
While there will be some that keep following you, most of the time they’ll stop calling out to you if you keep walking by without engaging.
The easiest way to prevent merchants from seeing where you’re looking is by wearing sunglasses. The second they catch you staring at their goods, they’ll run over to try to get you to come in. You can check out what stores you might want to visit later without people seeing you.
Dressing appropriately is kind of a big deal in Morocco, especially if you’re going alone. Not that you’ll encounter some large issues strictly because of that, but rather because you’ll be treated with more respect.
It’s easy to fall into the stereotypical mindset that Moroccans will expect you to cover everything up, but it’s far from the truth. Try to keep your shoulders and legs as much as possible when you’re traveling in Morocco alone, and that’s pretty much it. Make sure to not forget about a scarf, too, as it can definitely be a lifesaver.
Negotiate taxi prices beforehand
Don’t get in a taxi without asking how much it is. I was able to get rides down to 10 dirhams for several rides, but only because we negotiated it first.
They’ll always give you a higher price, so come back with a lower one. Expect taxis from airports to be higher, as airports such as the one at Casablanca already have a set price in all the windows of official taxis.
Know Common Scams
“The square is the other way.” – This is one of my top tips to know before visiting Marrakech. Every fifth person I passed told me this common lie, even when I was right below the marked signs in the Medina showing the way for Jemma el Fna. They’ll then “graciously” offer to show you the way and demand payment at the end.
“This way is closed.” – You’ll constantly be told that the street you’re walking on is closed and you need to go another way. Again, they’ll offer to show you the way while expecting payment at the end. Even if they say you don’t have to pay, this is most likely a lie.
“Come have mint tea, no cost!” – Store owners will invite you in to have tea, but you should expect to buy something in exchange for this. You’ll be highly pressured into buying something if you don’t. If you are interested, by all means, accept their offer and enjoy some tasty mint tea.
“No cost!” – Only one in my entire time in Morocco did an older man help me find a place without demanding money. There’s usually always a cost associated with help.
Join a Group
When you do solo female travel in Morocco, you’re bound to get some unwarranted attention. It’s possible for some men to start talking to you or to catcall you. While you should ignore them completely, the even better option is to have male friends around you. It’s very easy to meet likeminded people that have traveled to Morocco like you.
If you’re staying in a hostel, join a group that’s going out to explore to make it easier. Try to make some guy friends as soon as you can because solo travel in Morocco can be difficult if you can’t handle random men shouting expletives. If you’re around other men, it’s 99% certain that nobody is going to catcall you at all.
There are also times you’ll have to join a tour group for certain activities, such as camping in the Sahara Desert. You won’t be able to get to these places alone.
Always choose safety over risk
Traveling brings plenty of new, exciting experiences, and it’s easy to get wrapped up in what you’re doing while putting safety to the side. Many people want to know is Morocco safe and while I say yes, trust your instincts. If you don’t feel safe doing something, then definitely don’t do it.
That might mean being hungry one night or maybe paying for extra cab fare. Safety is very important no matter where you are, especially if you’re traveling in Morocco alone. If you feel like something is a bit risky, it might not be worth doing at the moment.
Try to be connected at all times
Communication is very important when you’re traveling in Morocco alone. That means you can’t simply rely on free Wi-Fi, no matter how good you are at finding it. An international roaming plan is a great idea for solo travel in Morocco because you’d get to use your phone normally.
However, that might be an expensive option for some. If you have an unlocked phone, you can get a free SIM card at the airport, which you could load up with data. Although it’s more expensive, I recommend renting or buying SkyRoam as well.
Know How to Navigate the Medinas
There are gates to each entrance starting with “Bab” (ex. Bab Marrakech), so associate with the ones you go into to find your way in or out. I would always find which one was closest to my hotel and head back that direction to reorient myself. If all else fails, head to the outside of the walls and walk around until you find where you’re going.
My GPS worked about 80% of the time when I was in the labyrinths of the Medinas, which was surprising. I know other people’s phones didn’t when they were in Morocco, so don’t rely on your phone to show you what street you’re on.
It’s best to find a landmark to look for, such as a mosque or museum. Traveling has given me a much better sense of direction, which you’ll need in Morocco.
Have someone informed about your whereabouts
When you’re in a foreign country where you barely speak the language and understand the locals, you should always have someone informed about your movements. That someone should be family or someone that you absolutely trust.
Solo female travel in Morocco is safe, but I always told the person at the front desk of my riad or hotel where I was going so they knew. You could also send your family your itinerary, or maybe do daily updates, just make sure to keep them informed.
Also, consider applying for STEP – Safe Traveler Enrollment Program – online. It keeps track of all your movements online and sends you travel alerts. It’s a great thing to do when you’re doing trying to stay.
Try to avoid drinking too much
Islam is a religion where drinking alcohol is forbidden, so it’s much harder to find alcohol in Morocco. That doesn’t mean that it’s forbidden for tourists and plenty of places will serve it.
Drinking might just attract unwanted attention and also let your guard down. I recommend sticking to the rule of not having more than a drink or two in any country you’re not familiar with, especially when you’re traveling alone.
Consider hiring guides
Sometimes, no matter how well you’ve devised a plan to see as much as possible in Morocco, it’s just not enough. That’s when you hire a guide so they’ll take you to the best and most interesting destinations. However, a guide can also act as a bodyguard of sorts.
They know their way around, they speak the language, and will even act in your interest when someone attempts to harass you, which will almost certainly happen when you do solo female travel in Morocco. Make sure to ask at the reception of your hotel or lodgings. It is even easier to find guides when you’re in a larger city.
Have a plan for any contingency
Solo travel in Morocco, and solo traveling in general, will definitely require you to be ready for anything. That doesn’t mean that you should only be prepared for bad things because good things will most certainly happen as well. In any case, you should have a backup plan for any situation.
Maybe something happened with your reservation, or maybe your guide bailed on you. Take those things in stride and deal with them as they come – just make sure to be as prepared as possible.
Ways to Get Around
What city you’re in will depend on what type of transportation you can take. For example, you can take the train from Casablanca and Marrakech, but not many other cities.
However, it’s good to know which cities have busses you can take so you can save significantly on the price of a taxi (and most cities will have at least one bus a day). Figuring out how you’ll be getting around first will help you with your solo female travel in Morocco so you don’t look lost either.
Petit taxi – will take you around the city Grand taxi – will go on longer trips to different cities, but you have to wait until the taxi fills up or pay for the entire ride yourself (this can be hundreds of dollars, not worth it unless it’s an emergency)
Local bus – easy in big cities like Casablanca or Marrakech, not as practical or non-existent in smaller cities
CTM or Supratours – inexpensive way to get across the country by bus, can be booked in advance on their website (ex. 150 dirhams/15 USD six-hour ride from Casablanca to Chefchaouen)
Train – doesn’t go to all cities but can take it from Marrakech and Casablanca to certain cities
Fly – most expensive way, may cost around 2000 dirhams/200 USD on Royal Air Maroc, but can save you hours if you’re on a tight schedule.