Where to stay in Marrakech

How To Stay Safe As A Solo Female Traveler In Marrakech

When I returned home from Morocco I felt incredibly overwhelmed. I had so much information I wanted to share but couldn’t decide what to post first. I needed some help, so I put a call out on my Instagram stories to ask what people wanted to know more about and, in a landslide majority, how to stay safe as a solo female traveler in Marrakech was the most asked about topic. Side note – a big thanks to everyone who gave me their suggestions. You asked for it so here it is, let’s delve into some safety issues and tips to keep you as safe as possible during your travels.

How To Stay Safe As A Solo Female Traveler In Marrakech

Don't let the media scare you, it is possible to stay safe as a solo female traveler in Marrakech - especially with this collection of handy tips.

Before we get started, I suggest reading this post:

How To Stay Safe As A Solo Female Traveler – A Practical Guide

It has a lot of real world, common sense (but not so commonly followed), general safety tips that are relevant to any destination. In today’s post I am going to share some more Marrakech specific safety tips.

Before my trip, I had seen the safety warnings, read many mixed reviews from other travelers and had a few ‘are you crazy?!’ moments when I told people where I was going. I have to say though, being a solo female traveler in Marrakech was so much different to what I expected. I can only speak for my own experience, and it’s not to discredit anyone else’s, but I had a wonderful trip and felt safe the whole time. I think these tips are the reasons why my experience was a great one.

What You Wear Is Important

Before I visited I read many blog posts and reviews which said things like ‘there’s no need to cover up because people know you’re a tourist’.

Insert massive face palm here. 

Ok, the first thing is anyone who gives that advice has completely missed the point of why you cover up. It’s not to blend in. It’s out of respect for the local culture of which you are a guest. Put it this way, when I visit America and I go to a restaurant, I can’t use my ‘get-out-of-tipping-free-because-I’m-a-tourist’ card. Instead, I leave a tip because that’s the way they do things there, I’m a guest and will be respectful of the social norms. It’s the same principle when deciding what to wear in conservative countries.

The last thing you want to do as a solo female traveler in Marrakech is piss off the locals by flaunting too much skin. Yes, it is uncomfortable in the heat but it’s important to show respect when you travel and will certainly help you to avoid attracting the wrong (and potentially dangerous) kind of attention.

Travel Tip: Keep yourself covered from shoulders to knees. In the heat you’ll want to keep the fabrics light – things like long maxi dresses, scarves and light pants. Also, use a cross body bag and hold it in front of you to help avoid theft.

Where to stay in Marrakech

Where You Look Is Important

As a woman traveling alone you will attract some attention as you walk around. One tip I read before I visited was to try to avoid making a lot of eye contact with men as you are walking around. The eye contact was almost seen as an encouragement for more attention.

Avoiding eye contact is a little easier said than done when you are in a new place though because it’s natural to be looking all around you to soak in your new surroundings. And when someone calls out at you, which I promise will happen, your eyes are naturally going to look that way. Eye contact seemed a little unavoidable.

Travel Tip: Wear sunglasses as you walk around to give your eyes a little shield, not only from the sun, but also from accidentally inviting unwanted attention.

Who You Ask Is Important

With all of the narrow alleyways in the Medina, chances are you will be lost at some point and as you walk around people will offer to give you directions. Don’t accept them.

One of the things I noticed was that people would stop and give me wrong directions as I was walking around, as if to confuse me. I never took the directions because I had a great offline map app from Riad Star where I was staying at so I knew where I was going (you can read more about how much that map saved me in this post), but what happens is a tricky little money making scam.

Once you ask for directions or accept directions, they will charge you for it. I even heard from other travelers who were charged one amount, handed over the money, then the person asked for more and made a scene until they got the money.

Travel Tip: To prevent finding yourself in this kind of situation, if approached, just say thanks and that you know where you are going (even if that’s a lie). Then go into a nearby cafe or store before pulling out your map to check where you are going.

Solo Female Traveler in Marrakech

Being Firm But Polite Is Important

Whether it was spices in the Souks, Henna tattoos in the main square or bags of Oregano at the Ouzoud Waterfalls, there is always someone approaching you to sell you something.

Remember these people aren’t trying to harass you, they are just trying to make a living and their persistence helps to put food on their table so keep that in mind before you respond rudely. I found it quite easy to navigate these situations by just saying no thank you and moving on.

Travel Tip: “No mercie” or “no shukran” are two ways of saying ‘no thank you’ then just keep walking. They may follow a couple of steps but then will move on to the next person. 

Where You Stay Is Important

During my solo visit I stayed at Riad Star and this was helpful for me as a solo female traveler in Marrakech for 3 main reasons.

Firstly, it is located in the heart of the Medina meaning that I could walk easily to the souks, main square and a range of restaurants.

Secondly, as I’ve already mentioned, the Riad has created their own app which has an offline map that you can use to get around. Google Maps doesn’t recognize all of the little alleyways so this app was a huge help to me and I could use it discreetly to navigate the streets.

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, the personal service at the Riad is what truly set it apart for me as a solo traveler. Aziz was the host during my stay and he helped me set up the app on my phone, testing it to make sure it was working properly, he also gave me lots of great advice on getting around and made sure I had his number so that if I was ever lost or stuck I could call him.

Travel Tip: Invest in a safe place to stay. I highly recommend Riad Star and have nothing but good things to say about my stay there. 

Riad Star

Your Actions Are Important

In my opinion, a huge element of keeping yourself safe is to be very mindful of your own actions and the amount of risk you place yourself in. Sure, in a perfect world we would be able to walk around wherever we want at any time of the day or night and not be in danger, but it’s simply not the world we live in.

No matter where you are traveling to, it is so important that we are cognizant of the situations we place ourselves in and how much risk is attached. Don’t make yourself an easy target.

Bonus Travel Tip: Buy a gold band and put it with another ring on your wedding finger. Marriage is well respected in Morocco and men are less likely to harass another man’s wife. 

Have you been to Marrakech or is it on your bucket list?

If you have any questions or other safety tips please leave them in the comments below.

This post was written in partnership with Riad Star. I never promote something I’m not passionate about – see my disclaimer for more information. 

2 Comments

  • Monica September 19, 2017 at 6:03 pm

    Wish I would have read this in advance of my trip to Morocco! I went there totally unprepared! So glad you are sharing tips!!!

    Reply
    • Katie Mac September 20, 2017 at 1:59 pm

      Ahh I wish I could’ve posted it before your visit!

      Reply

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