Travelling Morocco as a Solo Female


Lauren in the Atlas Mountains
Morocco

I’ll be honest: travelling solo through Morocco was tough.

My four weeks in the country were challenging, exhausting, frustrating and disheartening — and yet, they were also full of joy, awe, wonder, and rewards.

Morocco is one of my favourite countries but it was also one of the hardest to travel in.

It’s hard to explain. How can one of my favourite countries in the world have left me with such unenjoyable experiences that I cut short my time there by several weeks? I don’t know either.

But I loved Morocco. I loved my time there. I loved the places I wandered through and the people who proved that Moroccans can be kind and welcoming and helpful. However, I was so frustrated that the local men I met acted in a way that made my trip far less enjoyable.

I’m frequently contacted by women who feel that same pull as I did to visit Morocco, but who have also been put off by the negative articles and sexual harassment horror stories. They contact me looking for reassurance, wanting advice, and looking for information on how to have a safe, trouble-free trip.

The problem is I didn’t have a trouble-free trip, and I can’t offer reassurance that travelling through Morocco will be easy. But at the same time, just because I had a challenging time in the country doesn’t mean that anyone else will too. That’s why it’s tough writing articles like this — I don’t want to put anybody off visiting Morocco but I do want to share my personal experiences.

So here, then, is an account of the struggles and joy I experienced from travelling through Morocco — and the advice I would offer women who are looking to travel there too.

Lauren in the Atlas Mountains
The Atlas Mountains

Where I’ve Been in Morocco

I spent a full month in Morocco, and chose to visit Marrakech, The Sahara Desert, Essaouira, Casablanca, Chefchaouen and Tangier over that time. I deliberately skipped visiting Fes because I had heard nothing positive about the city from any women I ran into on the road.

lanterns in marrakech medina
Lanterns for sale in Marrakech’s medina

I Loved Marrakech

I arrived in Marrakech fully prepared to dislike such a chaotic city, but fell in love from the second I arrived. Yes, it was noisy, busy, and polluted, but it was also beautiful, exciting, and fascinating to spend time in.

The touts were more persistent than I’d experienced in most places around the world, but it wasn’t stressful and I wasn’t bothered by it. I even managed to negate some of the tension by hiring a local guide to show me around. My guide helped keep the touts at bay as we navigated the medina with minimal hassle. He helped me to get my bearings, and I experienced and saw a lot more than  if I had been alone.

The following day, without a guide, I found simple wanderings to be slightly challenging but I never once felt like I was in any real danger. I experienced mild annoyance from the touts as they desperately tried to sell things to me, but they always left me alone if I didn’t engage. I simply avoided eye contact, walked as if I knew where I was going, and they soon moved on to someone else.

the sahara desert morocco
Sand dunes in the Sahara Desert

The Sahara Desert was Incredible

I would count my tour to the Sahara Desert as one of the best things I’ve ever done in my life. Sitting atop a sand dune and watching the sunset was a life-changing experience, and sleeping beneath the Milky Way hours later was even more breathtaking than I’d expected. I believe everyone should venture into the desert at least once.

It was on this tour to the desert that I experienced my first taste of harassment. My tour guide made me feel uncomfortable at several points by continually reaching out to touch my arm and attempting to separate me from the rest of the group. At one point, he offered to take me up into the Atlas Mountains to camp after the tour, insisting I’d love the perfect night sky and friendly Berber people.

Perhaps he was just being friendly, but as a solo woman traveler, you have to be cautious when you travel, and I wasn’t going to take any chances. I made sure to keep close to other members of my tour group and he soon decided to leave me alone.

If you’re going to venture into the desert, I highly recommend booking a tour online before you go, so that you can check the reviews and vet the tour guides in advance. This tour is the one I took and I had a magical experience while I was there.

blue boats port essaouira
Fishing boats in Essaouira

Essaouira was Both Calming and Stressful

Essaouira felt like a breath of fresh air after the mayhem of Marrakech — a hippie town full of rumours that Jimi Hendrix, Bob Marley, Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones had made this their home throughout the 70’s. I love laidback beach towns like this and I love my classic rock so it immediately felt like the perfect place for me to be. It was mellow and beautiful and took only a few minutes for me to decide to extend my stay in town.

I spent my first few days relaxing on the beach, bemused to see everybody sunbathing while covered from head to toe. I got lost in the photogenic medina by day and spent my evenings fascinated by the local fisherman trying to sell their freshly-caught fish to passing people — there were dozens of hole in the wall restaurants just a few metres away that would happily cook your fish for you right there.

When I wasn’t out exploring, I was sunbathing on my hostel’s roof terrace, napping in a hammock or drinking amazing mint tea. Essaouira was amazing.

And then everything changed.

A music festival came to town, bringing with it hundreds of thousands of tourists as the population increased from 60,000 to 400,000 overnight. The increase in people brought with them a much tougher experience with the touts — they became aggressive and wouldn’t take no for an answer. I couldn’t sit down and have a meal without a local man approaching me and sitting down to chat.

Often, I’d leave the beach to head back to my hostel only to find a teenage boy following me and trying to talk. My guard was up and I didn’t say much, sad that I felt unable to trust them. They would follow after me, getting increasingly angry as I kept my head down and refused to participate — “Just talk to me!” they’d yell. After a while, I’d turn around and ask them firmly to leave me alone. When I relented and had a conversation with them, they became lecherous and inappropriate, and I struggled to get away.

I suddenly had hassle from men in the street, too — telling me they liked my “American tits”, whispering in French in my ear and then calling me a whore when I hurried away. I have to mentioned that I was completely covered up and couldn’t have worn any more layers at this point, beyond throwing a blanket over myself. I was avoiding eye contact and not engaging with anybody — I don’t know what else I could have done to not attract attention. I could no longer sit and enjoy a meal without several men sitting down with me and trying to convince me to go back to their house for a “local experience”.

My time in Morocco was beginning to sour and I was exhausted.

Casablanca Brought More of the Same

Still worn out from my time in Essaouira, I reached Casablanca, and was on guard, stressed, and ready to burst into tears at any moment. Fortunately, there were no incidents because I spent the entire time in my hotel room recovering.

Leaving only to buy food, I found myself each and every time with at least one guy following me and asking me questions and getting angry when I acted as if I had not heard.

I wasn’t sure what I should have been doing: engaging the men resulted in lechery and a struggle to escape, ignoring them made them angry and aggressive. I was starting to long to leave the country.

However, I had just one more place I wanted to visit.

chefchaouen blue door
Beautiful, blue Chefchaouen

Chefchaouen was a Welcome Respite

Chefchaouen was one of my favourite places in Morocco, and one I could have spent months living in. The entire town was painted a gorgeous baby-blue colour, the locals were friendly and welcoming and there was absolutely no hassle or abuse. It was bliss and I spent an entire week exploring the tiny alleyways, hiking in the mountains, and eating delicious tagine.

When my cab dropped me off outside the old city at the wrong gate and I couldn’t find my hostel, a local teenager approached me and made it his mission to help me out. In any other city in Morocco, this would be a sort-of scam, where a local helps you find your way and then asks you for a sum of money in exchange. I was fully expecting this but, when we finally found my hostel, he simply shook my hand, wished me an enjoyable stay in Chefchaouen and left.

I’d been considering cutting short my time in Morocco but Chefchaouen had once more transformed my opinion of the country. It seemed like every time something went wrong, I discovered something beautiful or had a touching experience which had me longing to spend even more time there. I subsequently extended my stay to a full week.

Tangier Beach
The beach in Tangier

Tangier Beat Me Down

Despite spending a week in recovery in Chefchaouen, I immediately felt my stress levels rising when I reached Tangier. I daresay that had I arrived in Tangier first, I would have loved my time there, but by this point in my trip, I was reacting with frustration and irritation whenever I was approached by the local men.

Tangier, then, was the final straw.

Within a few hours of arriving in this seaside port, I had a man following me out of the medina and asking me questions over and over — occasionally in English, mostly in French. I answered a few, but kept my head down, and tried to get away from him. I had learned by now that some responses were enough to keep the men from getting angry, but to keep my interaction to a minimum in order to keep them from getting too close.

When he continued to follow me to the steps of my hotel, I panicked and began to run. I just wanted to get to my room and away from this stranger.

It was then that I felt a cold, hard blow to the head.

He had thrown a rock at me.

Holding the back of my head and running for my hotel, I shut myself in my room, jumped online and booked a ticket back home to London for the following morning.

I was done with Morocco.

house in chefchaouen

Or was I?

Perhaps now that time has passed I find myself thinking longingly of my time in Morocco through rose-tinted glasses, but it’s the country I desire returning to more than any other. The country itself is beautiful and diverse, and there’s so much more I crave to see.

Unsurprisingly, the men I encountered during my time there ruined what could have been an incredible trip. Had they not been so intense, persistent, and aggressive I have no doubt that Morocco could have been my favourite country.

Perhaps my problem was not working any real rest days into my itinerary. Aside from the groping in Essaouira and the rock-throwing in Tangier, I don’t think the level of hassle was any higher than it was when I first arrived in Marrakech — it was just the cumulative stress of frustration after frustration after frustration that led to me being exhausted and desperate to leave. Perhaps I was just so frustrated that I was giving off negative vibes that were angering the locals. Perhaps I’m just victim-blaming myself in search of an explanation.

the sahara desert morocco
Camels in the Sahara Desert

Should you go to Morocco?

I’m inclined to say that if you’re a reasonably experienced traveller, have plenty of common sense, and have a pretty good idea of what you’ll be in for then you should go and experience the beauty of the country.

If you’re nervous then consider visiting places like Chefchaouen, Marrakech, and the Sahara, or arrive with no onward plans so you’re open to leaving early if the hassle becomes too much. You could even take an introductory tour to the country to give you peace of mind.

Would I recommend Morocco for first time solo travellers?

I wouldn’t say don’t go if you haven’t travelled alone before — but I’d suggest researching Morocco thoroughly before making a decision.

For me, I had travelled for a year — four months of those solo — before arriving in Morocco, so I had a good idea of what to expect from challenging countries.

What if I had visited at the very start of my trip? I think I would have been fine. I would have researched the country in great depth and known what to expect. Most importantly, I would have had a lot more energy and enthusiasm. I definitely had a case of travel fatigue wearing me down when I visited.

As long as you know what to expect — and you do after reading this post — you can go in prepared and have a successful trip.

marrakech from above
Marrakech from above

Tips for Solo Women in Morocco

And now some tips if you’re planning on travelling solo through Morocco as a female.

Use common sense: 

This goes for pretty much every country you visit but more-so for somewhere like Morocco. Be sensible, don’t drink too much alcohol (though in Morocco, alcohol is so expensive you probably won’t be touching it), and behave how you would at home.

In Morocco, I researched unsafe neighbourhoods in cities and made sure to stay away from any that were said to be dangerous. I made sure to read reviews left by female travellers for hostels before I booked them. I didn’t go out alone at night, and steered clear of dark alleyways and poorly-lit areas during the day. I didn’t drink any alcohol.

Stay in hostels/hotels that have good reviews from solo female travelers: 

I can recommend two fantastic guesthouses from my time in Morocco: The first of which is Riad Baraka in Chefchaouen. I loved this relaxing guesthouse with a gorgeous rooftop terrace. It was in a great location for exploring Chefchaouen, the owners were friendly, and it was peaceful and calm. It was totally an oasis and I long to return to this riad.

The second is the Hotel Continental in Tangier, which is one of the city’s oldest hotels. If you’re looking for a taste of nostalgia with beautiful views of the ocean, this is the place to be. I felt safe within the hotel’s walls and found it to be in a good spot for checking out Tangier.

Check out the reviews and prices of other Morocco guesthouses on HotelsCombined here. I always use HotelsCombined when booking accommodation, because they search places like Booking, Agoda, and Expedia to ensure you get the best price on your room.

Dealing with local men:

There’s not really much you can do to avoid attention (I even met women travelling with men who were drained from the abuse directed at them) but there are steps you can take to minimise it. Look as though you know where you’re going when you’re out exploring because if you look frightened, lost, and disorientated you’ll also look like an easy target. When local men approach you keep your head held high, avoid eye contact and stride purposefully away. If they persist, ask them firmly to leave you alone. Ignore them if they get angry.

Cover up: 

I wore long cotton pants down to my ankles, a t-shirt with a high neck, a long-sleeved cotton shirt and a shawl. I kept everything loose and light so I didn’t get too hot during the day. The girls I met who felt most scarred by the hassle were those who were walking around in shorts and a strap top, but even those who were covered from head to toe weren’t left alone, as my experience shows.

Expect to feel uncomfortable in shared cabs: 

Shared cabs are a cheap way to get from city to city if there aren’t any buses running. My experiences with shared cabs weren’t great. There was usually four people crammed into a backseat of a tiny car — that’s three men and myself all squeezed together. Nothing untoward happened but I did feel a little uneasy pressed up against three locals. Either wait for a cab you can share with females or take a bus instead.

Know that your frame of mind will affect your experience:

When horrible things happened to me in Morocco, it was at a time when I was struggling, worn out and angry. When I was happy and excited, wonderful things happened. There is no excuse for the man who threw a rock at the back of my head in Tangier, but I have a feeling it wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t been giving off a hostile vibe and storming away from him in rage and frustration. Though it can be taxing, try to stay positive when you’re experiencing hassle. I know I wish I had.

Get travel insurance: 

Travel insurance is my number one travel essential, and I’m a firm believer that if you can’t afford travel insurance you can’t afford to travel. Let’s just say that after six years of travel, I’ve come across far too many horror stories of dying, soon-to-be-bankrupted travellers who are in that situation because they’d thought they’d be fine. I always use World Nomads as my travel insurance provider, wherever in the world I travel, and I’ve been nothing but happy with them.

 

My time in Morocco was challenging but it was rewarding, too. As long as you’re fully aware of what to expect, stay positive, dress respectfully and take time to rest when the hassle gets too much, there’s no reason you can’t have a safe and enjoyable trip.

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Morocco is one of my favourite countries but it was also one of the hardest to travel in. Here is an account of the struggles and joy I experienced from travelling through Morocco -- and the advice I would offer women who are looking to travel there too.
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312 Comments

  1. Becky
    December 2, 2013
    Reply

    Thanks for sharing your experience and telling it like it was. I went to Morocco last year – but accompanied by my husband – and had an entirely different experience than you, receiving zero attention from local men. It’s a little crazy to hear how different it could be by being on your own! Glad you had a few good memories from the trip regardless and I appreciate hearing your viewpoint.

    • Lauren
      December 10, 2013
      Reply

      I’m glad to hear you had a different experience to me, Becky. If I’d received zero attention Morocco would have been my favourite country :-)

    • Lilly
      February 2, 2020
      Reply

      Hi Lauren, I am currently living in Tangier, Morocco and though I am not traveling alone I am sorry for the experience you had. Even though I also walk around with at least 1 other women I do occasionally get harassed but I could never imagine having something throw a rock at me. For others who look at this I have found that screaming/firmly shouting “La” (no in Arabic) repeatedly does the trick. We were told that if guys get aggressive then get aggressive back and yell Hosheem (I might be spelling this wrong) which means shame. I have almost always completely avoided talking to Moroccan men outside of saying my fake name and telling them I have a boyfriend. I found avoiding eye contact, firmly saying/yelling la, and turning down every guy immediately works wonderfully. I hope you try and visit again soon!

  2. Chris Cavallari - Part Time Vagabond
    December 2, 2013
    Reply

    It’s such a shame that you had such a rough time in Morocco. That’s one of the countries I’ve wanted to visit, but given its checkered history, I’ve always hesitated. I’m ashamed on behalf of men for the way those guys behave toward women, and how they behaved toward you. There are other places in the world to visit.

    • Lauren
      December 10, 2013
      Reply

      There are definitely other places. Morocco *is* stunningly beautiful but yes, the local men’s behaviour needs a lot of improving.

  3. Naomi
    December 3, 2013
    Reply

    I also found Morocco very confronting – a mixture of awe at the incredible scenes and beauty I was witnessing, but also SUCH ANGER at the constant harassment and abuse. Chefchaouen was such a healing spot after the insanity of the other cities. In cases like this, I try and remember that every place has its assholes, but just because one country’s assholes are the most vocal and in-your-face locals you meet, doesn’t mean that good people aren’t out there as well. But, seriously, is it ever difficult to keep that in perspective when a stranger is calling you a slut just for walking past…

    It’s encouraging to read that you still consider Morocco one of your favourite countries, though! I do want to go back someday, but with a thicker skin. Thank you for sharing your story :)

    • Lauren
      December 10, 2013
      Reply

      Sounds like we had the exact same experience, Naomi :-). I think having a very thick skin is key for dealing with Morocco.

  4. Anne
    December 3, 2013
    Reply

    I’m sorry to hear about all these terrible things that happened to you!! I have heard such a wide variety of experiences from women in Morocco – it really does determine how you feel about it.

    Just to give people an idea of a different experience: I studied abroad in Morocco this past summer, and as a 19 year old girl, took many solo trips around the country. Any problems? None!! I absolutely love Morocco, it’s definitely one of my favorite countries in the world. Sure, men catcalled me on a daily basis and I did get a lot of attention, but for the most part it was harmless and I often found it kind of funny (As in – let’s rate the quality of catcalls we get today). I never experienced any physical harassment, and as a solo female traveler I couchsurfed with the nicest people all around the country and met lots of hospitable locals who made my experience amazing. A taxi driver in Asilah even invited me and all of my friends for dinner during Ramadan, and we all shared food with him and his kind family in the countryside!

    The only kind of extreme hassle I had (nowhere near on par with yours) was this one henna lady in Marrakech who tried to scam the hell out of me. You’re absolutely right when you say that your frame of mind shapes the experience. I tried to stay positive the entire time, and took the cat calls lightly and with some humor instead of letting them bother me. When locals came up and started talking to me, I learned to just go with it unless I got bad vibes, in which case I’d ignore. I’d make some friendly chat and then come up with an excuse to leave, and usually the people were nice. It just seems so normal for them to walk right up to strangers and talk to them. The most common phrase I heard from these men who walked up to me was, “Welcome to Morocco!”.

    Once again, sorry to hear about these bad experiences. I share your love for the country, except this is coming from someone who did not get a lot of hassle. I also absolutely loved Essaouira and Chefchaouen – my two favorite places in the country! I went to Essaouira during the Gnaoua festival (which I think was the music festival you talked about stumbling into) and had an amazing time! Then again, I couchsurfed and the locals I stayed with were amazing guides and hosts to the little hippie town. I can’t wait to return to the Morocco! Even though your talking about the difficulties you had, it’s making me nostalgic hahaha.

    • Lauren
      December 10, 2013
      Reply

      Thank you for sharing a different experience, Anne! I have friends that had no problems while travelling through Morocco so I definitely know it’s possible — it’s just frustrating my experience was so negative! Your time sounds amazing :-)

  5. Beth
    December 3, 2013
    Reply

    Sorry to hear you had such a rough time in Morocco! I’ve been debating on whether or not I should try to visit there this coming year, although maybe I should wait until I have someone to go with!

    • Lauren
      December 10, 2013
      Reply

      Either wait until you have someone to travel with or expect lots of harassment so it isn’t a surprise :-). Work lots of downtime into your itinerary!

  6. Raffaella
    December 3, 2013
    Reply

    Morocco remains high on my list, including Marrakech, Essaouira, and Chefchaouen. It’s sad to hear that not only is there such harassment, but the anger that appears to come along when you don’t respond. I’m almost more concerned about how I would react – I can only keep my head down and mouth shut for so long! I still plan to visit, but will probably wait until I’ve had more solo travel under my belt and/or have a companion to come along.

    • Lauren
      December 10, 2013
      Reply

      I’ve had enough experience with annoying touts around the world that my first reaction is to keep my head down and ignore everything going on around me. It did definitely seem to anger them though.

      Glad you still want to visit! :-)

  7. Rika | Cubicle Throwdown
    December 3, 2013
    Reply

    I can’t believe that guy threw a rock at you!! Holy smokes. Kudos for you on keeping your cool with these guys. I would have never been able to handle that – I would have flown off the handle and probably made things much, much worse. Note to self: there are other places than Morocco to see :)

    • Lauren
      December 10, 2013
      Reply

      Yeah, I have a pretty bad temper but after punching a scammer in Shanghai I’ve worked on keeping it under control :-). There are definitely other places with much less hassle!

  8. Rebecca
    December 3, 2013
    Reply

    My pals over at Vagabond3 just got back from Morocco, so it’s really interesting hearing about their time and now yours as well. While Morocco has never been even on my radar of places to go, it’s officially completely fallen off based on the rock throwing. I am just in shock reading that. And given the fact that in a place like this I would always give off a bitchy vibe, that this could happen, I’m out.

    • Lauren
      December 10, 2013
      Reply

      Yeah, the rock throwing was completely uncalled for — I just wanted him to leave me alone. I’ll have to head over to Vagabond3 to see what their experience was like.

  9. Sally
    December 3, 2013
    Reply

    I really appreciate the honesty in this post. Morocco is one of the countries I’d love to visit, and planning a trip around cities where I won’t be harassed doesn’t seem so out of the question. I’m sorry you had some tough experiences, but I’m glad that you had the amazing times to balance that out. And you’ve written about it in a really balanced way, good job.

    Those pictures, though, breathtaking.

    • Lauren
      December 10, 2013
      Reply

      Thanks for the kind words, Sally. My time in Morocco was definitely very conflicted.

  10. Samantha
    December 3, 2013
    Reply

    Sorry to hear you had such bad experiences. I have yet to go but am in the midst of planning a 13 day trip next March but with my fiancé. How did you travel from city to city? Bus?

    Thanks!

    • Lauren
      December 10, 2013
      Reply

      Hey Samantha,

      Yep, I travelled by bus everywhere. The only exception was from Chefchaouen to Tangier, where I travelled by shared taxi.

  11. Jeff
    December 3, 2013
    Reply

    Sorry for a rough time at Morocco. I can’t believe that guy threw a stone to you. It must be frustrating for you but i like your attitude towards Morocco, hope you will go back there and may be give a different experience story.

    • Lauren
      December 10, 2013
      Reply

      I’d love to return and have a completely different experience with the local men! It would make Morocco my favourite country :-)

      • Afzal Zaheer
        October 1, 2016
        Reply

        Well, Lauren,
        I don’t know why there are few black sheep in every country. Sorry to hear about the person who hurt you for no reason.

        I am glad that being a positive person you look for the best things and that’s exactly what I like about travelling.
        It lets you give a positive vibe and you tend to look at the beautiful things of the world and its people. There are so many things to learn from you Lauren.

        • Lauren
          October 5, 2016
          Reply

          Ah, thank you so much!

  12. Cat of Sunshine and Siestas
    December 3, 2013
    Reply

    My first foray into Morocco was as an inexperienced traveller to Tangiers. Since I live a few hours north of Morocco, it’s easily accessible from Spain. In the short hours I spent there, I felt extremely uncomfortable and ripped off, and everything seemed to artifical. Due to the number of ferries that arrive from Algeciras and Tarifa, the cities along the coast have lost a lot of character. Marrakesh was totally different for me, and much more enjoyable.

    • Lauren
      December 10, 2013
      Reply

      I’m not surprised to hear that, Cat. I found the touts to be especially aggressive in Tangier — I guess due to all the day trippers from Spain.

  13. Jessica
    December 3, 2013
    Reply

    Wow, what an experience! I can’t believe that guy threw a rock at you, no excuse for stuff like that. It’s awesome that you didn’t let the bad incidents colour your perception of the country too much though – it looks stunningly beautiful.

    • Lauren
      December 10, 2013
      Reply

      It truly is a beautiful country. And yes, no excuses for the behaviour of the men. See why I’m conflicted?!

  14. Tom @ Waegook Tom
    December 3, 2013
    Reply

    Someone threw a rock at your head?!? That’s ridiculous! I guess guys generally get it easier than girls in the travel department – I certainly don’t get hassled in a sexual manner…maybe I should start wearing short shorts…anyway, I’m glad you wrote this post. Travel isn’t all sunshine and lollipops, and even in countries we love, we can have bad experiences. Serbia and Turkey are two of my favourite countries, but a couple of crappy things happened in each place.

    • Lauren
      December 10, 2013
      Reply

      Yeah, absolutely. I know that I find myself receiving much more harassment than my male travel friends do while travelling. Travel would be much easier if I was a dude :-)

  15. Jessica Wray
    December 3, 2013
    Reply

    Wow, I would have done the exact same as you. First, locking myself in doors for a while to recover, and then leaving after the rock incident. It is infuriating how some people can be so awful and ignorant! The things they were whispering too…..it’s hard to comprehend how they think that is okay!

    That being said, the Sahara desert experience sounds amazing and Chefchaouen looks absolutely stunning! It would be a dream to take pictures of and I must make it there someday. It’s too bad the people can’t just be nicer, then I’d book a ticket right away. Instead, I’m a bit hesitant, and would want to wait for the right time, the right travel partner…or maybe just a really cheap flight ;)

    • Lauren
      December 9, 2013
      Reply

      Yeah, the whispering and insults were what really got to me — and then I was pissed off at myself for not standing up for myself and yelling at them. I can understand you being hesitant but it’s definitely still worth visiting at some point, maybe with a travel partner.

  16. Amanda
    December 4, 2013
    Reply

    Great post, Lauren. It’s never easy to write about a place when you experienced both highs AND lows. Morocco is one of those places that part of me really wants to visit, while the other part just wants to stay far away. Things like the Sahara and Chefchaouen I think will eventually draw me in, though…

    However, I don’t know if I will tackle Morocco solo.

    • Lauren
      December 9, 2013
      Reply

      Thanks, Amanda! I think if you’re nervous about visiting Morocco it’s best to see it as part of a tour, or with a guy.

  17. Laura
    December 3, 2013
    Reply

    Oh my goodness I can’t believe someone threw a rock at you! I wrote a post where I mentioned feeling a draw to Morocco but feeling conflicted because of the hassle and safety factor and so many women have said it’s worth it. But man, your experiences sound really though! I think I’d either want to book a guided tour (ugh) at this point, or get some more solo travel experience under my belt.

    • Lauren
      December 9, 2013
      Reply

      Yeah. The rock didn’t hurt much but I was in so much shock. Even if I’d stayed past that point, I would have been too nervous to go outside.

      I’m not a fan of guided tours either, but I’d definitely take one in somewhere like India, which intimidates me.

  18. Jamie S.
    December 4, 2013
    Reply

    The pictures are breathtaking (the one taken in Chefchaouen is my absolute favorite), but until I read your post I had no idea this is the situation for female solo travelers in Morocco! I´ve always regarded Morocco as a great eco-tourism destination full of adventure and culture, but I´ve never considered its cons, I guess. I´m quite surprised I have to say.. Maybe this is the result of the lack of social interaction between the sexes and Moroccan men generally having little exposure to women other than their immediate family..

    • Lauren
      December 8, 2013
      Reply

      Thanks, Jamie.

      I can’t speak Moroccan men, but I’ve read, and heard from several people, that a huge contributing factor is the fact that they’re not used to seeing women exposing bare skin. In the Western world it’s rather common, which has the men believing that Western women are easy.

  19. Carmen
    December 4, 2013
    Reply

    This is a really great post, it’s wonderful you’re so honest about your experiences.

    I travelled Morocco with my husband and was occasionally harassed when I became separated from him. One time we were getting out of a taxi and I guy came up to me and said “Big ASS, you have big ASS!” It was the final straw. I turned around and snapped, “I DO NOT have a BIG ASS!”
    And then our guide informed me he was saying I have big EYES.

    Opps…

    • Lauren
      December 8, 2013
      Reply

      Thanks, Carmen, it took over a year for me to publish this post, but I feel like my experiences need to be shared. That story is hilarious!

    • pansy
      July 13, 2014
      Reply

      I’m afraid the guide would have been lying to calm you down. I have lived in Morocco for 15 years, I speak arabic and some berber and believe me, the only words that come out of their mouths are insults! There are, of course, exceptions but there is an incredibly high percentage of rude, nasty people here. Some of the attitude comes from lack of or, even worse, poor education and the instilling of the belief by parents to children that strangers are dangerous and not welcome – the infidel!. It is quite normal, while out walking the dogs or running errands, to be hit on the head by rocks or pieces of old food picked up from the ever-present rubbish in the streets.
      Morocco is a truly beautiful country ruined by the population who seem unable to take responsibility for anything. I have never seen so much broken glass (from wine, beer and mehia bottles) in countryside locations as here, in this islamic country and I don’t believe that one shard has been put there by a tourist!!!!

      • Lauren
        July 30, 2014
        Reply

        Thanks for your insight, Pansy.

        • Youssef
          September 1, 2014
          Reply

          Hi Lauren,

          I am moroccan and feels so ashamed that you had experienced a bad moments.
          beleive me this not our reality, i kniow there are bad guys and even moroccan girls
          go through the same situation.
          but i am happy you still keeping a positive side of you trip to our country.
          My advice is to travel with a friend or have an experienced local guide.

          just a note: the comment coming from PANSY that : THE INSTILLING OF THE BELIEF BY PARENTS TO CHILDREN THAT STRANGERS ARE DANGEROUS AND NOT WELCOME… is completely false and a rude judgement.

          Youssef from Casablance

          • Lauren
            September 7, 2014
            Reply

            Thanks for sharing Youssef, I’ll be making sure to travel with somebody else the next time I come back :-)

  20. Adam @ SitDownDisco
    December 4, 2013
    Reply

    Very sad. I feel terrible sad about the situation in Morocco because I also had fantastic experiences there, yet came away with an incredibly negative view. So negative that I tell everyone I know to go somewhere else. There are 200 countries in the world and you’ll never visit them all — go somewhere else before heading to Morocco.

    I had two major incidents and incessant minor ones. In each case it was about aggressive men. Hostile men. Nasty men. Nothing like any of the hassles you get a in a normal tourist destination. Hate hate hate.

    Positive experiences – Chefchaouen, Mhamid, Todra Gorge. The rest was shit. :)

    • Lauren
      December 8, 2013
      Reply

      Yep, it’s hard to know what to say when people ask for my recommendations. I have female friends who travelled alone in Morocco and had a perfectly safe, enjoyable experience — but that was the complete opposite to my experience.

      Chefchaouen was so great :-)

  21. Michael
    December 5, 2013
    Reply

    Thanks for such an honest post. It’s incredible to have a location that has such good and bad memories all at the same time.

    While I’m a “you shouldn’t let a bad experience ruin it for you” type of person, I don’t think I would return myself after going through everything you had to. There is so much more of the world to see. So many places where the positives far outweigh any negatives.

    • Lauren
      December 8, 2013
      Reply

      Yeah, it’s tough, and it’s true there are plenty of other places where you won’t be subjected to abuse.

      I’m still keen to return, though!

  22. Gayla
    December 6, 2013
    Reply

    Thank you for sharing your story and for the useful tips. Morocco is a country I’ve dreamed of visiting for a while now and I’ve been fortunate to meet many lovely people from there recently (male and female). Maybe when I do go, i will be in the company of a friend as a guide. I can’t imagine what possesses men to treat women the way you were treated there. I don’t think that was simply a cultural issue, but maybe it is, which is a sad thought. Throwing rocks at anyone is just mean. BTW, beautiful photos, especially of Chefchaouen!

    • Lauren
      December 8, 2013
      Reply

      Thank you! Morocco is incredibly beautiful — it’s just a shame about the hassle. I would return to Morocco alone, as I think I’d be more prepared second time around, but I’d definitely choose to travel with a guy if I had the option.

  23. SnarkyNomad
    December 7, 2013
    Reply

    As far as I’m aware, Morocco might just be the worst place to be a solo female traveler. Between my group that went and another group that went, it varied from decent to harassment-filled. It’s pretty sad that the best thing you can say about the people is “they didn’t bother me as much as people said they would.” Sigh. I don’t know the cause, but it’s certainly true. It’s not an absolute reason to stay away, but it’s certainly a reason to do your homework and be careful.

    • Lauren
      December 8, 2013
      Reply

      I’m sure there are worse places… but yes, it’s definitely a challenge. I believe you can have a safe time in Morocco if you research thoroughly and know what to expect — and if you have a bit of travel experience too, but it’s unlikely to be easy and stress-free travel!

  24. Lina @ Divergent Travelers
    December 9, 2013
    Reply

    Thanks for sharing your story. Morocco is on the list and I have heard it is a tough place to visit. I can’t imagine doing it by myself! But you are right, there are some amazing things to see there, and even though I go back and forth, it’s still on the list. Great article with great information, even for those that are not traveling alone.

    • Lauren
      December 10, 2013
      Reply

      Thanks, Lina. I’m glad you found it helpful, and I’m glad it’s still on your list :-)

  25. Steph (@ 20 Years Hence)
    December 10, 2013
    Reply

    I haven’t ever been to Morocco and I can’t say I’ve ever been anywhere that seems to be quite as rough as your time there was, but I do understand what you mean about finding a challenging country magnetic and alluring—I felt the same way about Vietnam, which definitely can have its difficult moments. And yet, I think that if it had been easy and smooth sailing the entire time, I just wouldn’t have liked it as much. I think that because we had to work a little bit to crack the hard outer shell and get to the good bits, it made us appreciate it more. Morocco is a country that I really want to visit one day (along with India!), but I know that it won’t be smooth sailing. Hopefully the fact that I’ll visit with Tony rather than myself will help things along, but I think there are a lot of good tips here for all female travelers.

    • Lauren
      December 18, 2013
      Reply

      Absolutely! I’m frightened by India and don’t think I’d be brave enough to travel solo there, but I feel that it would also end up being one of my favourite countries, despite the challenges it would hold.

      • Lydia
        October 19, 2018
        Reply

        Thank you for your post! I am thinking about visiting Morocco for my first semi-solo trip and joining up with an Intrepid Tour. I have been to India so I am curious as to how they compare. India was exactly like what the previous commenter said, it was a tough time but I really enjoyed the trip. I never noticed any sexual harassment in India, even when another girl and I got lost in Delhi at night, but the overall experience was emotionally tough and incredibly rewarding so I can see what you are saying. I was really excited about going to Morocco but now I am a little bit more nervous, I am hoping traveling with a group with a good guide will help the trip go well. But definitely go to India both of you if you haven’t already, though maybe go with a group or someone who knows the language and the culture.

  26. becky hutner
    December 12, 2013
    Reply

    Morocco used to be high on my travel list but after two female friends had bad experiences, it slipped several notches (in addition to being followed and grabbed, one asian friend faced constant racial slurs). It is disappointing to see that you too had a negative experience Laura (along with the positives of course). It’s such a big world, call me crazy but I’m more motivated to see the friendly/more respectful places first!

    • Lauren
      December 18, 2013
      Reply

      I definitely understand why you feel that way, Becky. There are definitely easier places to travel through where you almost certainly won’t be abused or hassled :-)

  27. Marysia @ My Travel Affairs
    December 30, 2013
    Reply

    It is shocking, grabbing, insulting and throwing rocks? I’m sorry you had to experience all that!

    I must have been lucky, I have been travelling in Morocco in December 2012/January 2013 for 4 weeks and didn’t have any bad experience!

    Of course there were men starring, maybe few times trying to talk, but I always ignored and they did too.

    • Lauren
      January 21, 2014
      Reply

      I’m glad to hear you didn’t experience the same levels of abuse that I did, Marysia. It’s great to hear that some females have completely hassle-free experiences in the country :-)

  28. Tina
    January 12, 2014
    Reply

    Thank you for the post. I’m going to Morocco solo for a week mid Feb for my 30th and I’m apprehensive about it for the harassment reasons. I’ve travelled solo often , and I DESPISE the the harassment in every country I go to. I’m always covered up but I always get creeps staring and saying things no matter what country I’m in. I’m worried about totally cracking it and screaming at someone!! Do you think it will be safe/recommend doing a desert tour?

    • Lauren
      January 14, 2014
      Reply

      Hey Tina,

      I agree. I always seem to get harassment even when I follow all the rules for avoiding it. I think you should be perfectly safe taking a tour in the desert, though. There’s usually around ten people in each tour group, so it’s not like you’ll be alone with a creepy male guide :-). I’d definitely recommend taking the tour — it’s the best thing I’ve ever done! :-)

  29. Elizabeth
    January 26, 2014
    Reply

    First off, I want to thank you for writing this, it’s difficult to find information on Morocco. I am planning a 11 month trip, after I graduate. It will be my first time traveling without my family, and I really wanted to see Morocco. The thing is, this will be the second country I visit in my trip (I’m planning on visiting 10- a month for each country, except Italy, which gets two :) ), and I will most likely be traveling solo, so I don’t know if it is such a good choice for me. I don’t like tours, they don’t let you plan enough of what you want to do. I have traveled before, with my family, and I can navigate well, and everything, but the hassle doesn’t sound like its worth it, when I could decide on going to a different country without all of the hassling and love all of it, you know? Do you have any advice?

    • Lauren
      February 3, 2014
      Reply

      No problem, Elizabeth. I’m glad you found it helpful. Maybe you could just buy a one-way ticket to Morocco and not book your flight out of there until you’d been there a few days? If you’re finding the hassle too much then you could just get out of there and go somewhere different. I guess you’ll have to ask yourself if you think you might regret it if you didn’t give it a go? If it was me, I’d do that and go see how it is for myself. The comments here have shown that some women have had a perfectly safe experience in Morocco so that could also happen for you :-)

  30. Sara
    March 18, 2014
    Reply

    Bummer to hear that you had a rough experience in Morocco. We visited Fes, Chefchaouen, Merzouga, and Meknes and loved it though were traveling as a couple. I definitely echo the ‘cover up’ tip! You’ll draw much less attention traveling this way.

    Hopefully some of my tips will be helpful for others looking to travel this wonderful country!

    • Lauren
      November 14, 2015
      Reply

      Thanks for your comment, Sara! It’s always good to hear from people who had a different experience to me! :-)

  31. Sarah
    March 19, 2014
    Reply

    I was just wondering of you have travelled to India before and if so how you felt the men and their hassling compared? thanks! x

    • Lauren
      November 14, 2015
      Reply

      I haven’t yet, but hope to soon. I imagine that India is worse than Morocco, from what I’ve read.

  32. Devon
    March 26, 2014
    Reply

    Hi Lauren, I found your post through googling ‘morocco annoying touts’ because I too am at the brink of leaving myself. My experience and the types of touts I receive are obviously different because I am male, but the constant harassment is no less irritating.

    • Lauren
      November 13, 2015
      Reply

      Ah, sorry to hear that, Devon. Did you decide to leave?

  33. Ashley
    March 31, 2014
    Reply

    Hi Lauren,
    Great article! Really informative and helpful to me as I prepare for a summer trip to Morocco. I am a fairly experienced solo traveler but I certainly can think of times when I felt worn down by rudeness or aggressive behavior esp. by men. I usually tend to clam up and stay quiet, feeling awkward, and not wanting to make a scene. I feel a little more prepared after reading this… quick question, Where did you get your guide when you first arrived?cost? sounds like a great way to get introduced to the area. Also do you know anything about taking a ferry over? I’m planning to take the ferry from Spain to Tangier I’m wondering if it would be best to just fly? Thanks! Ashley

    • Lauren
      November 14, 2015
      Reply

      I arranged it through my guesthouse. I’d imagine you should be able to do the same with most accommodations in the city. I didn’t take the ferry — sorry!

  34. Beth
    April 8, 2014
    Reply

    Hey Lauren,

    I just came across your post, and very much enjoyed it! I am planning on traveling from Spain to Chefchaouen next week as a solo female. Any recommendations on places to stay? I’ve been looking on Hostelworld etc, but would much more prefer a suggestion from another girl who has traveled there! Thanks so much!xx

    • Lauren
      April 11, 2014
      Reply

      Hi Beth,

      I loved Riad Baraka! It’s my favourite guesthouse in the world :-)

  35. Jacke
    April 12, 2014
    Reply

    Thanks so much for this post! I’m heading to Morocco this summer, and though I’ve traveled extensively, including solo trips to many “questionable” places, many of my female friends and associates have had unpleasant experiences there. Think I’ll go with a tour group (for the first time) to hopefully make my time more hassle-free.

    -Jacke

    • Lauren
      November 13, 2015
      Reply

      That sounds like a smart idea, Jacke. I hope you have a safe and enjoyable experience :-)

  36. mishka
    April 16, 2014
    Reply

    I’m in tangiers right now and have felt depressingly trapped in my hotel because of the harassment, the hooting and following and pestering…also, I don’t even feel like I can relax at a teahouse when out and about because they are full of nothing but staring men, so uncomfortable. I wish I had read your blog before wasting so much money coming here…. :(

    • Lauren
      November 13, 2015
      Reply

      Tangier was particularly rough for me, as well. Sorry to hear you’re struggling, Mishka. I hope things get easier for you.

  37. Jackie
    April 20, 2014
    Reply

    My two friends and I (all female) had a horrific experience in Morocco as well. I mean, there were things I absolutely loved about it. The Blue City was by far my favorite.

    And with the desert experience into the Sahara, we entirely expected it to be hot, toilets to not work properly, cold showers, etc. It’s the desert. We are not pampered. What we were not expecting was the lack of protocol when it comes to an emergency.

    To begin, we had a driver from Fes to the hotel. My friends and I speak both English and Spanish. He spoke Arabic and French. We tried to communicated but it was difficult. He then, however, proceeded to yell us whenever we spoke to one another in a language he didn’t understand “No English. No English.” It was also very uncomfortable to sit in the front seat next to him as he continued to grab our hands entwining his fingers with ours. We could pull our hands away but he would hold onto them still. At one point, he patted my chest, grabbed my hand and forced me to touch his stomach. There were many other moments in the car ride that were involved inappropriate touching. My friends and I felt very trapped and didn’t know how to respond, afraid if we got angry, we would be left and we were in the middle of nowhere. At one point, he stopped the car to have us take a “panoramic picture.” He wanted to take a picture with my friend. Being polite and not really knowing how to say no, she obliged him. As he goes to pose with her, he attempts to fondle my friend. My other friend screams at him to stop and back away. Which he does, but after, he is very rude to us and won’t let us talk to one another.

    Eventually, we arrive at the hotel. The staff was very kind and accommodating, welcoming and warm. Our driver left and we thought our problems were over.

    On the camel ride, two minutes into the trek, before we reach the sand dunes, there is a hard rocking part that has been cleared of sand. As I am riding, I shift my book bag barely and my camel gets spooked. He kicks and starts to run – I have a hold of the saddle handle with my left hand – but I can’t hold on. I am thrown to the ground. The next few minutes are a bit of a whirlwind. They ask me if I’m alright. I explain that my arm is hurt and my hip in pain. They tell me that I’ll be ok, but I need to decide if I want to go or stay behind. They have already tamed and fixed my camel. To take responsibility at this moment, I should have stayed behind, but I was in such shock that I didn’t really have time to assess my injuries. They put me back on the same camel and we ride an hour to the desert camp without electricity, ice, or anything to treat my wounds.

    When we arrive, I can’t bend or move my arm. It is in extreme pain. I tell one of the BerBer guides. He fixes up some hot water and salt and attempts to massage out the pain. I believe he honestly thought I had just sprained my arm. The pain was so excruciating that I they had to ties a scarf in my mouth to muffle my screams. I almost vomited from the pain. By the end of the hour long massage, I did have more flexibility in my arm and thought it was getting better. Some of the other travelers had pain medicine and shared it with me. Everyone at the camp was very kind, but I feel as if they were unprepared at how to attend a medical emergency. They called the hotel and their bosses, but when I requested if I could go back to the hotel to go to the doctor, they said they didn’t have any means of getting me back to the hotel until the next morning. Thinking it was just a severe sprain still, I requested if my friends and I could be the first group back to the hotel in the morning. They said yes.

    During the night, my arm worsened to a point I couldn’t move it. They massaged it again, but it was too painful and didn’t help. It was obvious the guides felt bad. They were very attentive, gave my friends and I a separate meal, etc. Sadly, our bed/cabin got infected with ants and we had to sleep outside.

    In the morning, when we were supposed to be the first to leave, they ended up making us wait and be the last to leave. When we finally arrive back at the hotel, I find the head staff member, maybe a manager, I’m honestly not sure because no one was very transparent with us. I requested to be driven back to Rissani to see a doctor, go to a pharmacy for medicine, and then if they could get us to the bus station. I didn’t demand a refund or anything. I just requested that they help us with transportation.

    The head guy was very kind and said he would arrange everything, gave us two rooms to shower and get read while we wait for a car. Another worker gave me a sling and they accommodated us with a free lunch and water. The bus from Rissani to Fes would leave at 8pm since there are only morning and night buses. We said we understood but in the meantime would like to be taken to a doctor.

    We waiting from 10am to 6pm before a car took me into Rissani, but the events that transpired into getting us to Rissani were very traumatic. By the time 6pm rolls around and no one has come to pick us up, I am upset. I start to cry and my friends, feeling frustrated, demand that we go now. We are shoved into a 4X4 with a man that we don’t know (we assumed a head guy) and another guy. He’s driving like a madman and before we were shoved into the car, all of the workers who had been kind to us before were trying to stop him from taking us. He screamed at the staff member who gave me the sling – yelling that it isn’t his property to give away.

    Half way into the drive from the hotel to Rissani he jerks the car and yells at me to explain why I’m crying. My friend tries to talk for me because I’m emotionally and physically unable to articulate everything. He cuts her off and asks if she is a lawyer. He then asks her this in Spanish as well. She says no. And he says, good, because if he found out a lawyer was in his car, we would be left in the desert.

    He then proceeded the entire drive to tell my friend that she had a hard heart and it was a good thing that he was kind because most people would leave her in the desert. He continued to say and do passive aggressive comments that implied we had no choice in our fate and that if he wanted to dispose of us, he could, especially with his connections with the police.

    During the drive, he would scream at at people in Spanish that he was going to kill them, then turned to us and said, “Oops. I forgot you speak Spanish.” These were all his subtle ways of threatening us.

    We finally arrive to Rissani and he hands us our bus tickets. He tells us we can go to a doctor, and to the pharmacy, but he actually recommends that we go to a guy that he knows to fix my arm. I request the doctor. So we go to the doctor’s office. The doctor, according to our driver, isn’t in. So he tells us, we’re going to the guy he knows. My arm is swollen, bruised, and my fingers and hand are beginning to numb.

    He drives us to an abandoned building that is falling apart. He yells at my friends to stay in the car while he takes me upstairs. They refuse and say they want to come with me. He takes us to the top where an old old man with a glass eye is sitting among trash, dirt, rust, etc. He then looks at my arm and tells the draconian driver that I have suffered a severe elbow dislocation and that the guy is going to set in place now. They don’t give me any medicine, nothing, and the old man sets my elbow. He tells the driver to tell me that if I had waited any longer, I may have lost mobility in my arm. I’m not sure how true this is – but these are the events that occurred. The driver then tells us to pay the man with money from the heart. We give him 200 DH.

    The driver then puts us back in the car and says “I invite you to tea. You can accept or decline, but I think it would be best if you accepted.” We then were forced to sit with this man and drink mint tea before our bus trip. He would ask us small talk questions and make comments about how respectable and beautiful Moroccan women are. He told us not to cry or we would have worse problems on our hands if the police saw us crying. Also, now that I was “fixed”, I could leave the desert happy. During tea, he told us that the same camel that threw me, had thrown another girl a week before, and she had a dislocated shoulder and they took her to the same man to be fixed.

    He then drove us to the bus station, dropped us off, and left and took the sling from me. Saying, it was his and I didn’t need it anymore since I was fixed. I was not taken to the pharmacy for pain medication and had to endure the pain of my elbow and leg. (If I could attach an image of my leg I would. I have a bruise that extends from the back of my right knee to the bottom of my right butt cheek. It is black and bumped up.)

    I am not sure why this all happened. I can honestly say that I acted with patience through the entire ordeal until the very end. They weren’t transparent about anything and I don’t know why they waited so long to have my injuries looked at. If they didn’t think it was sever or not, I’m not sure.

    All I know, is that whether the injury appears to be minor or major, they should have a protocol in order, or at least say, whether I think you are ok or not, we need to be sure, let’s see someone now.

    It wasn’t only physically harming buy also emotionally. I have traveled to many countries, I don’t expect luxury, but I do hope for human compassion and concern for safety if something goes wrong. The man who drove us was very disrespectful towards us and I am hundred percent sure it was because we were women. I felt powerless and unable to say no to him. I am writing this experience on here, because yes, I do think it is a freak accident, and if I hadn’t gotten thrown from the camel, we would have loved the desert experience. But, to see a man’s true colors, put him in crisis. I saw immediately we were just money to them and they were all concerned about protecting themselves.

    I could handle the touts, the touching, no. Am I glad I went to Morocco? Yes and no. Yes, because now I really do understand and fully can grasp the objectification of my sex. We also met one very kind Moroccan man at our hostel who took my friend and me to a Hassan with all local women, and naturally treated us and bathed us like their own. It made me so sad for what had happened to us before because of how kind they were to us.

    (Sorry this comment was sooooooo long, but I thought it necessary to share – and – well – I needed to because it was a painful experience.)

    -Jackie

    • Kathy
      May 1, 2014
      Reply

      Hi Jackie!

      I just read your comment about your trip to Morocco. I can’t imagine what you just went through, but I am glad your friends are safe! Now I am seriously debating whether to go there by myself or not!

      • Lauren
        November 26, 2015
        Reply

        Remember that one person’s experiences doesn’t necessarily mean yours will be the same!

  38. Adnane Bendriouch
    April 30, 2014
    Reply

    Hello lauren , Sorry for my english i’m not too Good , but i cant stop my self i must reply to this .

    My Country is Like all other Country’s , you can Find Good and bad paople , except my country is very beautiful and charming like you said :) , There is only a fiew bad people that would like to harm you , but there is too meny good people that would love to invite you to their house and give you Their food and their bad to sleep in and he can sleep on the floor , and i dare you if you can find this in eny other country , and i’m sure if i come to england and i was sleeping in the Street , i will not say no one will help me or invite me , but the number of people that would help you in that situation in morocco will be more than the number that will help me in yours , for example , a russian girl come to my library last week , and she was lost , she needed a map and for Free , because she wasnt caring eny money , i gave it to her , and i paid The Taxi for Her to her hostle , and i gave her my number so that if she needed enything just call me and i will be there to make her trip easy as mush i can , and i’m sure that 90 % of the people here would do the same thing , for no change , and the people in the streets who stops you to buy thing’s from , they do it to us too , they stop us too , poor people have the right to feed there children too , and there is too meny poor people in marrakech , and i asure you that happen’s to me when i visite marrakech too , and that boy from tanger that bother’s you , that can happen’s to you in your country too , that was a bad luck that’s all :D

    so i hope you change your idea about morocco , and you visite as again as soon as possible , because moroccan people love if people from other country’s talk good about them that’s all , and next time if you visite Casablanca and needed any thing just searsh for library wamnay in Maarif , i will be there to help you . Good luck

    • Lauren
      May 2, 2014
      Reply

      Thanks for your comments, Adnane! I completely agree that what happened to me could have easily happened in my hometown of London. I just wanted to pass on my experiences in Morocco, just because I did seem to have such bad luck there. I hope to return within the next few years to have a much more positive experience :-)

  39. Kathy
    May 1, 2014
    Reply

    Hi Lauren,

    Thank you so much for you post about your trip to Morocco. Im debating whether or not to go there by myself this month. Ive traveled mostly alone and your tips for women travelers is very helpful!

    • Lauren
      May 2, 2014
      Reply

      I’m so pleased to hear that! Thank you, Kathy! :-)

  40. Mai
    May 2, 2014
    Reply

    Lauren,

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience. Morocco is one of the places I’m definitely looking into doing solo trip to. I did 10 day solo trip to India and cut my trip short by few days (was supposed to be 2 weeks) as well due to overwhelming harassments, but of course not like what you experienced! I’m sorry your first Morocco left you a bit sour. Perhaps second or third might be better? It’s been 2 years since my India trip and even tho the harassments (or the touts) on streets were pretty bad, I’d love to go back and see other parts of India. Your experience was definitely something I’ll keep in my mind and hopefully it’ll help me stay strong when I do go to Morocco. Thank you again and I hope if you do go back, it’ll be fabulous :)

    • Lauren
      May 3, 2014
      Reply

      I sort of compare my experiences in Morocco with those that many people seem to have in Indian — hating it while they’re there, and having it drive them crazy, and then the second they leave, wanting to return!

      I’m hoping my second trip will be far more enjoyable than the first :-)

  41. Evelyn
    May 7, 2014
    Reply

    Hey Lauren,

    I’m visiting Marrakesh in two weeks and am currently researching sahara overnight tours – some with very positive reviews. I was just wondering what the name of the tour you went with was called? Just so I can avoid. Thank you! Sorry if you mentioned this in one of your posts – I may have missed it.

    • Lauren
      May 7, 2014
      Reply

      Hi Evelyn. I booked it through my hostel, Mama Marrakech. I didn’t book in advance.

  42. Raj
    May 11, 2014
    Reply

    I’ll be travelling there with my two sisters.
    I’m Indian and I can relate to the stares when roaming with them. But do you think I need to worry about men approaching or name calling them?

    And also are buses safe? It’ll be a budget trip so I would rather avoid private taxis.

    • Lauren
      November 13, 2015
      Reply

      I found the buses to be very safe — I never felt in any danger while taking them. And I think if you’ll be with them, they’ll probably not experience much hassle. Hope you have a good trip!

  43. Madeleine
    May 15, 2014
    Reply

    Wow, great post. Very honest!

    I travelled to Morocco 2 years ago, on my first ever overseas journey as a wide eyed 18 year old! I travelled with my best friend (male) and we did a tour through Topdeck for the most part. Topdeck used a local guide who was AMAZING and ever took me and my friend to his family’s place in the country to celebrate the end of Ramadan! We are still in touch, and I’ll never forget him rushing me to hospital when I collapsed due to a bid mix of food poisoning and heat stroke!

    I didn’t happen to have any problem with the touts, but I always engaged with them, although rarely purchased anything. I found that if I chatted and engaged, then explained that I wasn’t interested in purchasing anything, they were fine. I also found that I got much less attention from men than the other women in our tour. Maybe because I have Muslim friends, I was slightly more culturally sensitive, and didn’t wear revealing clothing at all.

    I am hoping to return to Morocco on my next trip, and was thinking of doing it alone, but after your experiences, I might try to rope a friend in to doing it with me!

    Thanks for being so candid, and I hope you do go back one day. It is such a beautiful county with the most incredible, varied culture!

    P.S. It;s so interesting that you liked Marrakech! It was my least favourite place, but maybe because it was above 50 degrees celcius the whole time..!

  44. Owen
    June 13, 2014
    Reply

    Hello, I’m planning a trip to Morocco in October, and was wondering which tour company you used for the sahara trip and which tour you chose? I can’t find one that’s suitable for solo travellers; was yours good? Were you in a group with other solo-travellers?

    Thanks!

    Owen

    • Lauren
      June 15, 2014
      Reply

      Hey Owen. I just booked my tour through my hostel. It’s far cheaper to just turn up and find something — and all of the tours offered are basically identical. Mine wasn’t great for solo travellers as I was with a group of 8 kids from Brazil who didn’t speak in English to me! But as it was booked through a hostel it depends on who’s staying there.

  45. JosephStark0
    June 20, 2014
    Reply

    I agree with Ms. Lauren, she said lots of things in this article is genuine. Last year i had enjoy a time with my partner. Travel To Morocco is the dream for me that’s come true. It was nice place, people of this country are hard working. It is the one of the most moderate and peaceful country in the world. I indicate to every individual on this Earth visit to Morocco is very adventuresome.

    • Lauren
      July 9, 2014
      Reply

      Thanks, Joseph!

  46. Hicham
    June 22, 2014
    Reply

    Any way lauren, I’m moroccan and welcome in morocco again

    • Lauren
      June 24, 2014
      Reply

      Thank you!

  47. Lori
    July 16, 2014
    Reply

    Morocco was my last stop on a short 5 week solo backpacking stint throughout Europe. I was exhausted and almost immediately dreaded my decision upon arrival.

    I arrived in Fes, nerve racking to say the least(had also heard many negatives about Fes). But, within a few days, it had a piece of my heart forever. I was lucky enough to have a short arabic lesson in the hostel where I stayed, and once I started attempting to speak the language, as broken as it may have been, it made all the difference.

    I hadn’t planned on staying in Fes, only just flying in there and taking a train to Marrakech. However, the hostel owner and a couple of guests convinced me otherwise. They said Chefchaouen would be much better, more relaxing and less of a hassle.

    I was hesitant at first, but I am so glad I changed my plans because I LOVED chefchaouen. I agree that everyone was incredibly friendly, we even played soccer in the main square with some of the local children. The scenery surrounding it, as well as the mountains and the city walls were so picturesque.

    Of all the places I went on that trip, the one place I’m always talking about is Morocco. I’ve never fallen in love with one place nearly as much. I cannot wait to go back.

    Thanks for sharing your input, always nice to read about other female solo travelers and their experiences!

    • Lauren
      July 30, 2014
      Reply

      Thanks for sharing, Lori! :-)

  48. Andrew
    September 14, 2014
    Reply

    Even as a male visitor, never never again Morocco. They kept harassing us to buy things and they cheated us in our change, if we got any change, from buses, to shops, to eating places. There was always someone to stick close next to you, pushing you in some direction to see something special. If you relaxed to appreciate something you were immediately swamped. I understand Algerians are even worse.

    Never, never again. I have travelled in Muslim countries and love places like Indonesia or Malaysia. But Morocco is, I am sorry to say on your website, the pits.

    • Lauren
      September 17, 2014
      Reply

      I’m sorry to hear you had such an unfortunate experience, Andrew, but sadly, I’m not surprised to hear that you did.

  49. Susan
    September 28, 2014
    Reply

    This is why I took a tour. It was my first ‘exotic’ country and since I’d been looking fwd to seeing it since I was a kid, I didn’t want the fantasy ruined. I got asked for coffee and kif (pot… local people don’t drink, but apparently weed is ok haha :) ) a few times by shop-owners, but they were sweet. No problems at all. :)

    • Lauren
      October 3, 2014
      Reply

      That’s great! I’m so pleased to hear you had an amazing time in Morocco, and it goes to show that taking a tour as a female can really make a difference :-)

  50. Miriam
    October 24, 2014
    Reply

    Thanks for the post. I am currently in Morocco, thinking of “escaping” to southern Spain for part of the ten weeks I planned on spending here but I’m torn because I’ve had such good and bad experiences. It really improved my state of mind to hear similar sentiments from you.

    I wanted to add my two cents. I have experienced the same persistent but minor incidents like you describe. I work remotely while I travel and I feel restless, cooped up in a hotel room because many cafes are just so hostile (even silently hostile). An expat I met tipped me off that cafes often have hard-to-see upstairs sections where I’ve found many Moroccan women (never solo). The service is often terrible and it’s hotter upstairs but it’s an option and good to know.

    I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been followed. In Tangier I passed a man going in the opposite direction who said something I ignored. Three large city blocks, he is at my elbow talking to me again. I told him to leave me alone loudly in English (in the heat of the moment I forgot my French) and several men nearby approached, asked me if I was okay and kept the man, lecturing him, while I escaped. So I agree with Youssef, there are many, many good, polite and respectful men in Morocco. The taunts just make it seem like every man is a jerk.

    Also, I don’t think you can count on certain towns being better than others. If you are thinking about traveling to Morocco, I hate to tell you but my worst and scariest experience occurred in Chefchaouen and my best experience occurred in Tangier.

    In Chafchaouen, I was walking along the road from Bab el-Ain about 4pm on a Sunday afternoon to get photos back towards the town. There were tons of families around. This man “reverse followed” me. He walked in front of me, kept looking back and if I stopped (out if sight) he would wait for me. When I started walking back to the waterfall/Bab area he yelled at me and followed me. I got scared and flagged down a passing car. Thank goodness the car carried a family and that they spoke Spanish (the man was Moroccan but had moved to Barcelona). The man got out of his car and talked then yelled at the man. He told me it was nothing to worry about. I’m not sure if that’s because he understood what the man was saying or just trying to comfort me. He gave me a ride into the town center…on the way we passed his brother, a policeman. I went on with my day, just a bit shaken.

    In Tangier, I had the opposite experience. I was strolling the kasbah, taking photos and was amused by a cat being taunted by a small bird inside a screened window. An old woman poked her head out of the upper floor of the house and I thought she might be suspicious of me. Instead her adult son came down and invited me in to see their terrace and for tea. On paper I would never enter that house. But my gut told me it was fine. And it was. We spent the next hour utilizing all of our shared vocabulary in multiple language to share our lives. I was invited to join the family for Friday couscous and I feel like I got to see what a modern Moroccan family is like. That’s why I travel.

    So would I do it again? I had a conference in Casablanca, so my airfare was covered, so yes, I’d do it again. But if I were picking a trip, I’d wait a see Morocco with a male. I do get the sense that if you stay in populated areas other Moroccans will intervene if you make a scene. I don’t think Morocco is more dangerous than most other places but more challenging and exhausting.

    Hope this helps!

    • Lauren
      November 19, 2014
      Reply

      Thank you so much for sharing your experiences, Miriam! I really appreciate it :-). It’s a tough country because there’s so much good and bad, and is putting up with the bad times worth it for the good? I’m planning on heading back to Morocco in a few months, but this time with my boyfriend. Intrigued to see how different it is with a man by my side!

  51. Sarah
    October 30, 2014
    Reply

    I’m planning a trip to Morocco for a few months in Jan/Feb, and I was wondering what the name of your hotel in Casablanca was? I’m having trouble find a nice (and reasonably priced) place there.

    • Lauren
      October 31, 2014
      Reply

      Hi Sarah. Sorry, I visited several years ago and can’t remember the name of the hotel!

  52. journized
    November 2, 2014
    Reply

    great! what a sincere heart of local moroccan! :) and you are great too lauren because of your patient! ;)

    • Lauren
      November 14, 2014
      Reply

      Thanks! :-)

  53. Becca Gomez
    November 22, 2014
    Reply

    Wow..I don’t know how I ended up on this blog but I’m glad I did. I lived in Morocco last year and had a pretty tough experience. I was supposed to teach english thereof or 6 months but left after 4…but its funny…despite the negative experience..there were some amazing moments too. And I still find myself thinking about morocco more than a year and a half later. It’s because I had felt so much like a failed traveler that I desperately feel like i need to go back. I want to learn some arabic, learn more about the culture…
    I don’t know. Reading this just made me fee like…OK. Other solo female travelers went through it too. And now that that’s established…I can mentally prepare for the next moroccan trip.

  54. Jennifer
    December 18, 2014
    Reply

    I am traveling solo in morocco, second time here, first time I was with a group. I have been to all the main cities, and Fez is definitely my favorite, it’s strange you heard otherwise. I havent been to chefchaoen, but that is my next stop.
    Of course I have experienced the very annoying and persistent young guys who want money out of showing you around. I just ignore them, as if they are not there. Besides those hassles, other people I meet in the medina are so friendly.
    I hope the rest of my trip will be memorably nice, as now I have rated Morroco my favorite country I have traveled.

  55. Erica
    December 22, 2014
    Reply

    Thanks so much for sharing…all of you. I will be studying in France next year. I have a FB friend who has invited me to visit him in Agadir and I think I shouldn’t go alone. I think your posts confirm this…

    • Lauren
      January 10, 2015
      Reply

      Glad this post helped you make up your mind, Erica! I hope you do get to visit Morocco at some point, though :-)

  56. Boutaina
    January 4, 2015
    Reply

    Hei there , I’m morrocan and I’m so glad u liked it but at the same time I’m so ashamed of all the harassment and looks u got from local men that kept u from visting Tangier ( my native city) , I hope u’ll get the chance to come back again . I’m so sorry for all what u had to go through it takes a brave woman to travel here alone & I admire your courage .

    • Lauren
      January 10, 2015
      Reply

      Thank you so much, Boutaina! I’m actually hoping to return to Morocco this year :-)

  57. Rachid
    January 7, 2015
    Reply

    I am moroccan born in Holland.I live in Holland.Occasionally i go to morocco because my wife wants to see her family.Please people dont go to morocco iTS the worst place to go to.The country is fine but the people are very bad .the moroccans are hypocrite selfish people i have ever seen.if i could help iT i would never go to morocco.i hate morocco because of iTS people not friendly.The police wants to bring you down the people want to bring you down.

    • Hassan
      January 7, 2015
      Reply

      Indeed ,it is a shame to hear that you are Moroccan by origin and pseak about your mother country in such a bad way.your overgeneralization about all Moroccans indicates that you are either a dirty person or you are not a Moroccan at all,you are just pretending to be so so ,so as to spoil the reputation of our great country. Morocco is like any other country in this world,good and evil peaople are here as there,everywhere. We can not overgeneralize personal attitudes and judge the whole nation,culture,religion. Sexual Harrasement is condemned by the Moroccan law and by the Islam law ;however many people do it which means it is a personal attitude.For you manish, if you were good,you would see Morocco good;but you are an evil therefore you see Morocco as evil.In Morocco there are bad places and people and if you go there you will see only bad things and meet only bad peoples(night clubs pubs, bars,brothels etc,and some cafes that are colonized by prostitutes)and there are good places and people,if you go there you will meet nly good people and see only good things such as universities,Mosques,historical monuments , main streets ,parks and cafes to mention but a few.To close this, good and evil are to be found in everywhere in this globe.No single culture, relgion, community, race..can be claimed to be only good or only evil.Salamu aleikom

    • Lauren
      November 26, 2015
      Reply

      It’s a beautiful country, though, Rachid.

    • Kenza
      September 11, 2016
      Reply

      Sorry Rachid, but if Moroccans are bad people, than you yourself are bad too. Do you think you are Swedish yourself? Or do you think you are the only exeption to your own rigid and absolute rule? Bigot.

  58. Hassan
    January 7, 2015
    Reply

    Hi Lauren!So sorry to hear that you have had some hardship in my country.As we know that good and evil are to be found in everywhere in this world.No single country,culture,religious group, race,family… can be only good or only bad. good and evil are personal attitutes that should be judged as personal deeds not as attitudes of a whole culture,country etc. For instance sexual harrasement is and evil attitude that all laws of the world and all relgions condemn it but though that many people do it uncaring about the earth or heaven laws. in my country as in any other country,there are plenty of good people and good things to enjoy and there are also bad people and bad things that can make you feel disgust.

    I close my words with saying that Morocco and Moroccans through history remain great and hospitable and helpful people. Peace

  59. russell
    January 20, 2015
    Reply

    All very interesting. Im in Marrakech and flew in this morning. The combination of no street signs and the majority if people appearing friendly but then asking for money was at least 99%. I did decide I would make my way independantly of touts and guides and had 3hrs orientation walk. Walking confidentally and understanding sections coming out of the main market area. i think ill stay a few days and head to the beach… But it needs to be given a chance i think… I preferred staying away from busy areas. Hassle immediately drops right off. Also im wearing simple unbranded clothes no jewelry or watch which seems to allow me to go a little more un noticed. So far im intrigued and as long as im not overtired/present as confident/smikey and my situational awareness isnt compromised I cant see any real danger here.

    • Lauren
      March 21, 2015
      Reply

      Great tips, Russell!

  60. sophia
    February 12, 2015
    Reply

    I have been twice to Morocco, most recently this past January. I speak fluent french and I remember thinking after a few days this would not be a travel friendly country for non-french or Arabic speakers. I was not personally harassed sexually as you describe, and had probably one of the best experiences anyone travelling independently in Morocco with a male friend could have. We went from Tangier down to Essaouira through Assilah, Rabat, El Jadida, then on to Marrakesh, Taroudant, Meknes and Chefchaouen.

    While traveling we met many people. including women who told us about their experience in Morocco. One recurring statement was “it”s not that bad” or variations along the lines of it not being all bad or they can handle “it”. These were women we also found out had bought a knife in Fes because the amount of sexual harassment made them feel so unsafe, or another who was coming from Marrakesh and seemed just exhausted and shell shocked, or a couple hiding in their hotel after the harassment they had gone through in the Medina in another town.

    I think men have less to prove, and will say honestly they had it with the harassment and touts in general. Women on the other hand are so anxious to prove to themselves and everyone else that they can “handle it” that they will make excuses, take blame for some of what happened (bad vibes, wrong state of mind, wrong clothing, etc), rather than admitting that (a) it was a miserable experience because a lot of the people there are ass holes and (b) they can’t handle it because frankly no one could. Every man I ever talked to thought it was an unpleasant country they couldn’t wait to get out of. Women just didn’t want to give up, as if it was a personal failure they did not want too admit to.
    If you want to see history and beautiful Moorish architecture, visit Andalusia, For fun and nightlife,, go anywhere besides Morocco. For friendliness, and even scenery or food,, plenty of countries are nicer than Morocco.
    As I read all the comments on this page, I ask myself what is everyone on?? I have traveled extensively as well, and have never come across a country where people are so constantly aggressive and in your face. With almost 200 countries in the world to choose from, why would you make excuses and want to go back to a country where you were treated so horribly. And you will be mistreated again if you go back! The people harassing you are full of anger and view women as lesser than, and foreigners in general as just dollar signs. There are nice people there as in every country, but you will also notice that when in a bad situation, very seldom will anyone get involved, as you are not one of them.
    PS on a more general note, as I see comments about how to handle the problems, travel with a male friend to be harassed less, etc. Do you really want to contribute your tourist dollars or euros to a country that thinks so poorly of you and women in general that you have to jump through hoops in the hope of not being assaulted there?

    • Lauren
      March 21, 2015
      Reply

      Well, I personally loved every aspect of Morocco but the men. Visiting the Sahara Desert was the number one highlight of four years of travel and I wouldn’t want to give that up over some harassment. I’m currently living in Granada and it’s nothing like Morocco.

    • Lisa
      January 1, 2016
      Reply

      I think that there are a lot of truths in your post. I have traveled solo and am currently considering traveling with my son to Morocco. I would love to see Morocco. I looked at this website to convince me that the attitude of Moroccan men really is not that bad, because I have had my share of scary run-ins with Moroccan men (in Amsterdam, the Hague, Paris, Alicante, and Bonifacio). I’ve been convinced otherwise. I’m not ready to entertain the possibility of feeling threatened, being grabbed, running for my life like I have had to do to get away from insisting Moroccan men. I would love to feel invincible and to feel that my gender is not a barrier, but I will take peace of mind over danger.

  61. Christina
    February 25, 2015
    Reply

    Thanks Lauren for this nice travel blog. I am travelling solo in marrakech for one week to celebrate my birthday this coming march. I am suppose to travel with my friend who cancelled the last minute due to some pressing reasons. I have already booked a non-refundable flight ticket and accomodation, so I have no way out. Reading from the thread, it seems like ,it is not the best place for women solo travellers. I have travelled around the world and had been to dangerous places but with my husband.
    I am thinking of doing daytrips to Chefchaouen and 2 day trip to the sahara through excursion companies. I am getting wary though going on excursions after going through the thread.

    Would be glad to read more tips for women travelling solo in Morocco.

  62. Carly
    March 19, 2015
    Reply

    Hi,
    I am looking to book a week long trip (7 days) with 3 other girls and we are interested in going to Marrakech, the Sahara and Chefchaouen. How long would you recommend for each?
    Thanks so much,
    Carly

    • Lauren
      March 19, 2015
      Reply

      I’d say 3 nights Chefchaouen, 3 nights Marrakech, 2 nights Sahara Desert.

  63. marissa
    April 12, 2015
    Reply

    I too had a very difficult time in Morocco. I went there in 1997 as a teenager with no adult men present on the trip. I was followed around and harassed. Actually, the men were not very abusive, but they gave me a lot more attention than what I was comfortable with as a 17 year old. I covered up the whole time in accordance with customs but it did not matter. However, I also felt a pull to Morocco. Even though it was exhausting being there, I had also said to myself when finally leaving to return to Spain “I’ll come back here when I’m an older woman.” The men leave the older women alone.

    I have not returned yet but I often wondered if it’s easier to travel through Morocco now, given how much smaller the world is with internet (I was a SPECTACLE there being 5’9 and blond) – your blog has informed me that it indeed is not any easier for young women! One trick is to wear a gold band on your wedding finger — men in such countries tend to respect married women a bit more.

  64. Fred Rice
    April 27, 2015
    Reply

    Lauren,
    I have a niece who has been invited to Morocco by a man she met in Maine while he was there. She is 21 and named Lauren! She ha bought a one way ticket why I don’t know i live far away. Her grandmother is petrified and her Mother is in denial. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I did forward you blog to them.
    Thanks Fred.

    • Lauren
      April 27, 2015
      Reply

      Hi Fred. This really isn’t my area of expertise and I’m afraid I can’t offer any kind of meaningful advice.

  65. Paola
    May 2, 2015
    Reply

    Hi Luren,

    Thanks for all your tips. I will be traveling from Spain to Chefchaouen. I’m staying only two days, would you be able to recommend a place to stay and a safe way to travel from Tangier to Chefchaouen?

    Thanks

    Paola

    • Lauren
      May 3, 2015
      Reply

      Hi Paola, I went with a shared taxi between Tangier and Chefchaouen. It didn’t feel hugely safe but I couldn’t find any other alternative.

  66. Sarah
    May 11, 2015
    Reply

    Hi Lauren,
    I’m surprised to hear of your dreadful experience with Morocco. I travelled to Morocco a few weeks ago alone and found my experience to be lovely!! Although I had only travelled to Rabat, Casablanca, and Marrakech. I had one encounter with a man who was making jokes (mind you, he was hilarious!). I do plan to go back to Morocco next year. I believe you had a rougher experience because you’re white. Now don’t take me wrong but the men there target women of lighter skin color because it’s easier to identify them as foreigners. If you ever do plan to go back to Morocco, feel free to contact me for travel advice!

    • Lauren
      June 30, 2015
      Reply

      I’m so happy to hear that, Sarah! It just goes to show that everyone has different experiences and you can’t judge a country based on what one person tells you :-)

  67. Christan P
    May 11, 2015
    Reply

    Morocco looks interesting! A lot of mystery places to visit. I’m hoping I could go there before the end of the year. Thanks for sharing!

    • Lauren
      June 30, 2015
      Reply

      You’re welcome!

  68. rachid
    May 22, 2015
    Reply

    hello karen I am Moroccan and I live in Marrakech I’m really sorry for your trip to Morocco but next time if you come you’ll change your opinion and if you need advice I’m here to help you

    • Lauren
      November 22, 2015
      Reply

      Thanks, Rachid!

  69. HEATSEEKER
    June 1, 2015
    Reply

    Wow…firstly i was mesmerised by your story.sad yet exciting. A true good hearted human. Not to mention beautiful. I was almost in tears and my heart in my throat..yet then dropped wright down when you started mentioning the positive side..
    I was also in morocco in 2014 3 of us 2 male 1 female.. one night was walking back to the hotel from new town after having gone for a meal. When we walked past these two guys dressed in long gowns stood infront of the fire in the middle of the road as it was december and quite chilly at night. As we walked past one of them shouted ” excuse me pakistani” we ignored them and carried on walking. As we walked further down they started shouting ” chappati” to be fair i wanted to just go over and knock their lights out. But my 2 companions stopped me. And believe it or i thank them for it.
    And i wasnt even white lol.
    And hoing back in july 2015. Its the most amazing place on the planet.
    To be fair you get hassle where ever you go these days wether be it abroad or in country..maybe not as extreme but its their…unfortunstley..
    But i hope you will defo visit again some day.
    All the best.
    Loved your article.
    The best i have ever read period.

    • Lauren
      November 27, 2015
      Reply

      Haha, thanks! :-D

  70. sunra
    June 8, 2015
    Reply

    I think many solo travellers come away from Morocco with conflicting feelings. Travelling alone, you becoming a much softer target in many different ways. Mostly people just want to get some money out of you. Physically, it’s a safe country, although a guy did pull a gun on me (a joke? maybe just crazy) but you need to be on your guard during all interactions with strangers, which is a shame. After a month, I realise I only hung out with maybe three Moroccans that weren’t trying to get money out of me, otherwise all conversations swiftly led to some kind of proposition. The worst is how they imitate friendliness and play on your tendency to want to be polite (after a while that disappears completely). Also travelling independently is a real hassle as grand taxi drivers and people on the bus will phone their friends to let them know there’s a foreigner onboard. Where ever you’re going they’ll know you’re coming and be ready with this piece of junk or that unwanted service. (You know the taxi driver is involved, when he doesn’t mind you not paying for a 2 hour journey)

    As for Saharan tour guides, mine also offered me unwanted attention; rubbing my nipples, trying to lick me, pressing his penis into me during an unsolicited and unwanted massage and then finally exposing himself fully during an aroused state. Kind of changed the ambience of my only night in the desert. My feeling is that it’s a kind of prostitution. Because he lived mainly from tips, he must have thought sexual favours would help earn him a more generous tip. Perhaps other tourists have taken advantage of this before.

    Overall Morocco is a poor country that has experienced mass tourism, but most locals are yet to see any of the benefits themselves. The nearness of wealth has corrupted many desperate people, who now only view foreigners as sources of money. After indulging one guy and buying him dinner in Marrakech, I asked why this was and he said it’s just like this in poor countries. But that’s not the whole story. There are countries were the standard of living and opportunities are much worse than Morocco, yet the behaviour towards travellers is completely different. Whatever the reason, I’m glad I got Morocco out of my system now.

    • Lauren
      June 30, 2015
      Reply

      Thanks for the insightful comment, Sunra. Sorry to hear you had such a negative experience. It’s true, though, you really do have to be on your guard with every single local you meet. I had one positive interaction with a guy in my month in the country.

  71. Amy Trumpeter
    June 19, 2015
    Reply

    I spent 6 weeks in Morocco on a group expedition when I was 18. I’ve recently made the decision to return this summer in July. You do get hassle from men. In my experience, if you avoid eye contact and conversations with strangers, it is relatively safe.

    • Lauren
      June 23, 2015
      Reply

      Agree with you, Amy!

  72. Morocco sahara desert tours
    June 21, 2015
    Reply

    You are always welcome to Morocco :)

    • Lauren
      June 30, 2015
      Reply

      Thank you!

  73. Sue
    June 22, 2015
    Reply

    Hi there,

    Your comments:

    1) Perhaps I was just so frustrated that I was giving off negative vibes that were angering the locals.

    and

    2) There is no excuse for the man who threw a rock at the back of my head in Tangier, but I have a feeling it wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t been giving off a hostile vibe and storming away from him in rage and frustration.

    are putting the blame on you, when the blame rests solely with the abusive men.

    There is no excuse for harassment & abuse and the men alone are responsible for their deplorable actions.

    I will definitely never be going to Morocco, given the strong misogyny there, which is a part of their culture. No picturesque scenery or historical site is worth it.

    • Lauren
      June 30, 2015
      Reply

      Yes, but I’m also offering advice for women who are going to be visiting Morocco soon. So if I can recommend they behave differently in the hope that it will reduce some of the harassment, I’m going to do so.

  74. esperanza.desoto97@gmail.com
    June 24, 2015
    Reply

    Hi! so I am considering traveling to Morocco and visiting some of the places you’ve visited there, and i would like to know what hostels you stayed at? Thank you for sharing your experience :D

    • Lauren
      June 24, 2015
      Reply

      The ones I would recommend are Riad Baraka in Chefchauen and Hotel Continental in Tangier! The one I stayed at in Marrakech has closed down, and I didn’t like the one in Essaouira.

  75. jebril
    June 24, 2015
    Reply

    hi Lauren JOY IT. i love all your trip and travel so take easy in any case, the Moroccan people is always kind and lovely. for never mind it’s life ;)

    • Lauren
      June 30, 2015
      Reply

      Thanks!

  76. maggie
    July 3, 2015
    Reply

    If you had gone about your travel in Muslim type of clothing,,,like a hijab and abayya, do you think the men would have left you alone? Or if your face had looked less western, do you think it might have made any difference? I am just curious.

    • Lauren
      November 26, 2015
      Reply

      I’m tempted to say yes, but many of the comments in this post have said that the local women struggle with this harassment, too. It’s hard to know.

  77. Nad Rahm
    July 13, 2015
    Reply

    Hi Lauren,

    Sorry to hear about some of your unpleasant encounters in Morocco. I spent about 10 days in winter last December and 1 week of it was solo travelling around the country. I visited all the places you had been except Chefchaouen ( would die to go back to Morocco and visit it!!)

    As a solo female pounding the streets ( even locals in Asilah and Tangier), you will never be free of catcalls and advances from men.

    My trick: I wore a dark scarf which was wrapped around my head and dark shades. Walk with a purpose even if you do not know where the heck you are. Check your maps discreetly at a safe place. I also would pretend to cough violently every time some extra dodgy approached me because who would want to strike up a conversation with a sickly, TB-esque female and catch a virus? Works like a charm. Helps that it was winter cos I could cover up and bundle up in my jackets/coat and hide extra precautions/ cash in my boots etc.

    I did not dare to whip out my phone and pretend to have a conversation that much because phone-snatchings can be quite common ( did this trick in Turkey when I was travelling solo as well when I was wary and weary of the myriad advances from males but in Turkey, everyone on the street was glued to their phones…)

    Harassment and one night stand pick-ups in trains from Moroccan air stewards aside, I get to meet various people in Morocco and had amazing experiences with them. I befriended the locals who brought me around the souks in Tangier and had ‘Hashish’ aka morroccan weed (!) over barbequed fresh fish and conversations with locals in a riad in Fez, among a few.

    There were kind souls from sojourn passengers to train conductors who would go out of their way to help what they deemed a ‘helpless’ damsel-in-distress, lugging around a huge luggage on trains to immigration officers at passport control ( at Algericas port, onward to Spain) who showed me their summer vacation pics in Marrakesh..

    When travelling in this mystic land, keep your wits about you, converse with locals with a smile and sprinkle in some Arabic and you would leave the country, exhausted but awed.

    I’d be back! ;) Maybe see you there! (non-solo travelling this time..)

  78. Tariq
    July 18, 2015
    Reply

    Hi, Lauren,

    This is gonna be a long one.

    As a proud moroccan, I feel ashamed of your touching and yet indulgent feedback, as well as a great majority of the comments that gives a bad but just an sincere feedback. In a way, it shows you that the hijab “protection” of the local women, far from being a tradition or a religious requirement, is often a sad assurance for tranquility in the big towns. And even if it does constitute a strong social tabou, there are still guys that are so miserable that it is not a certain one. The ones you met seems very miserable though, even in the moroccan scale.
    But as poverty, as reckless drivers, as uncivism, it is a part of the trip, and every coin has two sides, it is also a land of generosity, of excitement, of surprises. Plus, I think that my country, along with tunisia, still the less challenging for a woman to discover alone the arabo muslim part of the world, with the bonus of the berber culture. And for my western friends who visited your way, alone and free, the best way in my opinion, it is always a real experience, in a sens that they learn something about themselves.

    So, in order to help remaining in the “gentle and thrilling adventure” zone and avoid a lot of problem, let me give some advice for your next trip :

    * the “if you the mountain won’t go to Muhammad, then Muhammad must go to the mountain” rule. In morocco there are no indication, nor reliable live web information, people still the vector of information. So ask people that seems to you reliable and be very cautious, if not negative towards a miraculous help that comes from nowhere. But ask often, more often than in western it is fundamental. I do that myself, even if I think I haven’t miss one single road or significant town in morocco and that I am more local than locals. Every time I entered in a new zone, I take the temperature of the city in a local coffee, even in the Ketama triangle (which is definitely a no-go-zone) put my radar and find a good fellow. Of course most coffees are not an option for a girl, and you are not supposed to wear a moroccan radar equiped before your trip, but there are modern pubs and coffee where expatriate and group of girls are chilling where you can hit information (asking about your projects, where not to go) following your instinct and the level of language of your locutor (good english is a good indicator). French expatriates that works in local tourism are very reliable too, and have a deep knowledge of the country (sometimes better that the locals). Women are much more reliable than men too, and they are of course the most aware of the harrassers spots, even if they can be overcautious. Old artisans in the medina too.
    *Break the ice, smile, some simple arabic words in the conversation can help, even if your locutor understands english (more and more the case for the young generation), like choukran (thanks), labass (how are you), la choukran (no, thanks)
    *In case of emergency, ask for the touristic brigade rather than the ordinary policeman that can ask for a bribe. It is very efficient in marrakech fes and essaouira.
    In fact, it is common sense advices, and not risk free, but the moroccan nature, even between ourselves, is more helpful when it is gently asked and is not that helpful for someone who doesn’t. And those rules are for big cities, the berbers of the Atlas doesn’t follow this nature, they are respect and rightousness itself. You can feel very free and confident there, hospitaly is not a vain word there.

    Lastely, the ones that told you that fes is not a spot must be jealous or ignorants, Fes is one of the two hearts of moroccan culture with marrakech. And as bonus of conoisseur, you must add ait bougmez valley (Azilal region) for trekking (one of the best kept secret of morocco) and the Dades/ Draa valley from ouerzazate for gorgeous landscapes (just before merzouga and the desert coming from marrakech). For spectacular beaches, go south, near sidi ifni. It really worth it and still not polluted by mass tourism like marrakech, Agadir, and recently essaouira. I think that this authenticity is what you liked in Chouaen, besides its others “specialities” that keeps people in a local and peaceful indica mood (very good quality in fez too). Marhaban bik fil maghrib, a lalla Lauren.

    • Lauren
      July 22, 2015
      Reply

      Hi Tariq,

      Wow! Thank you so much for all of the advice! Super helpful :-)

      • Tariq
        July 24, 2015
        Reply

        Yw. In fact I reacted before having a big picture of your blog and your adventure, as I find this article googling about tourism and women in morocco (as women rights are a concern regarding late ramadan news here)
        Now that I’ve read a part it, and it was a thrilling reading thanks to your storytelling talent, i feel a bit cocky with my assumptive piece of advices. You are an amazing person, and I wish you all the best keeping this outstanding project alive. Big respect and support to you, Lauren, I can’t wait to read more.

        • Lauren
          July 24, 2015
          Reply

          Ah, thank you so much for the kind words, Tariq! I really appreciate it! :-)

  79. Kristen Tcherneshoff
    July 19, 2015
    Reply

    Hi Lauren,

    Thanks for writing this article! I am going to Morocco alone in November for 3 weeks (I wish I could stay longer, I have such a big to-see list!). I have traveled many times alone and know how to handle myself when men stare and try to grope, so I’m not as concerned about that (although I am expecting it to be extremely annoying and exhausting, like you said it was).

    I’m wondering how you traveled around the country. I am thinking of renting a car, but I am not sure how easy roads and maps would be to navigate?

    • Lauren
      July 22, 2015
      Reply

      Hi Kristen,

      I travelled through Morocco by bus, mostly. It was quite cheap and I never had any problems. The only exception was from Chefchaouen to Tangier, which I did by shared taxi. Was a little strange to share a taxi with four random strangers, but it was fine! :-) My friend Jodi wrote a post about driving in Morocco: http://www.legalnomads.com/2011/11/driving-in-morocco.html which made it sound a little nerve-wracking to me!

      • Kristen Tcherneshoff
        July 22, 2015
        Reply

        Thanks for the link! Her post was very helpful, I sent her a comment regarding it.

        Let me know if you decide to travel to Morocco again in November! I am loosely looking for a travel buddy! :)

        • Lauren
          November 26, 2015
          Reply

          Great! :-) I won’t be heading back that soon, but hope you have a wonderful trip!

  80. Alisha
    August 11, 2015
    Reply

    Wow this was super enlightening..and a little off putting I admit. I’ve backpacked the states and Europe on my own but now im a bit cautious of heading to Morocco solo.
    Having had the experience that you did would you recommend a tour? I’m normally anti-tours as you don’t get to to see anywhere near as much and its all limited to the tourist regions, however, if it is the safer option I may cave to it.
    Also, do you wish you had have seen Fes or are you still not shattered about missing it? And just in terms of walking with a large backpack, did you ever feel your safety was threatened at all??
    Sorry for all the questions, hope you can help!

    Thanks,
    Alisha :)

    • Lauren
      November 26, 2015
      Reply

      I’m not a huge tour fan, either, because I’m an introvert and like my own private time. However, in Morocco, I think taking a tour is a safer option, but I also think that not taking a tour is necessarily unsafe — you just need to know what to expect.

      I don’t really feel like I missed much in Fes. I think I would have struggled there. If I was to return to Morocco and visit with my boyfriend, I’d likely head there again, as it does look interesting.

      I never felt unsafe when walking with my backpack — it didn’t really change the levels of harassment or anything.

  81. Jenna
    August 30, 2015
    Reply

    About a month ago I was researching about Morocco as I was planning to travel there by myself and I came across your blog. Your blog and other comments in it almost made me cancel my plans to go to Morocco but luckily I didn´t. I had the best time of my life. The people there were so friendly. I think to say that it was “constant abuse and harasment” is a little bit too much. I mean yes, if you feel abused everytime someone wants to talk to you or tells you that you´re beautiful then I´m sure you´re going to have an awful time. If you´re open minded and kind then you´re going to experience it in a whole different way. Most of the people who want to talk to you they are only curious about where you come from, if it´s your first time in Morocco/if you like it in Morocco and just want to tell you “Welcome to Morocco!”. Of course you cannot stop and talk to everybody who wants to talk to you and you shouldn´t. But stay friendly. A lot of the times I just walked along like I was lost in my own mind (which I probably was) or if people were trying to stop me to sell something would say “I´m sorry, I have to be somewhere” and rushed away. The only time when I felt anxious was after a night in the overnight train because I was so tired that anyone who tried to talk to me annoyed me. But other than that I had an amazing time and the people were so friendly and generous. And also I´m a 23-year-old petite scandinavian girl with long blonde hair.

    • Lauren
      August 30, 2015
      Reply

      Hi Jenna. Happy to hear you had an amazing time in Morocco! It’s good to have some positive experiences outweigh the negative here :-)

  82. Philippe
    September 17, 2015
    Reply

    Sorry to hear about the hassle you experienced. I have been to Morocco 6 times, twice as a child with my parents then four times by myself as a young adult (my last visit was in 2002).
    The Sahara was a glorious experience, one of the finest I’ve ever had traveling the world. My desert trekking started from Ouarzazate, and involved camping under the stars; absolutely fabulous.
    Most of my time in Morocco was spent in the Rif, mostly around Chefchaouen, which to this day remains one of my favorite places in the world. Yes, the vibe there is definitely different from the rest of the country. Locals are friendly, helpful and quite delightful to hang out with. Yes, a lot of them are still trying to make a living, but I would never call it harassment, especially when compared to cities like Marrakech or Tangers.
    One thing though, and I suppose that applies to all travelers (particularly to women), I personally reckon a lot of tension and bad experiences can be avoided by taking the type of harassment you wrote about with a touch of humor and good spirit. Keeping your head down and ignoring locals (particularly the rude, abusive kind) only invites more frustration, which eventually will turn into abuse.
    Like one of the lady posters already mentioned above, keeping positive, light and playful goes a long way into avoiding unfortunate bouts. No matter how awful some of these guys might be, most of them simply won’t respond abusively to somebody who’s easy going yet politely refuses advances.
    Perhaps that can help you enjoy a better experience on your next visit, which I have no doubt you’ll eventually have considering your obvious enjoyment of Moroccan glory.
    Mezian bizef!

    • Lauren
      November 26, 2015
      Reply

      Thanks, Philippe! I so appreciate you sharing your advice with my readers :-)

  83. Bob
    September 20, 2015
    Reply

    Hey,I’ve had some weird experiences in marroco that have really made me feel emotionally hurt cause they seemed so heartless. Any marrocan I tell this too tells me exactly what I read here,that there are good and bad people everywhere.I’ve been all over and this here is not normal.I would like to meet some of these wonderful people but now I m over it,I don’t trust anyone here.real sad,I’d say if you travel here don’t expect anything normal.

    • Lauren
      November 13, 2015
      Reply

      While it’s true there are good and bad people everywhere — you can’t claim every single Moroccan is trying to take advantage of you — it does seem to be a bit more in your face than in other countries.

  84. Sophia
    November 4, 2015
    Reply

    Hello! I am a university student studying abroad right now in Spain, and I reaaaaaaally want to go to Morocco. I don’t know if I’ll ever have the opportunity to go and I found a tour through my study center here in spain which includes all meals, hotels, transportation, etc. It goes to Rabat, Meknes, Midelt, Assilah and Merzouga (in the Sahara Desert), with one night in the desert. I have been in Spain for 3 months, but all of the weekend trips I’ve taken have been with other people, so technically I wouldn’t say I’ve ever traveled solo other than exploring the city I live in now. I would be with a group of other students though and I assume I would stay with the tour group at all times. Do you think this is an okay idea? Do you have any specific advice. It’s just so frustrating, I want to sign up for it so badly but all of my friends have told me traveling to morocco alone is a bad idea. Part of me wants to be all Eleanor Roosevelt and “do something everyday that scares you” but then another part of me is like be logical sophia!
    Anyways thanks for posting this! advice would be lovely.

    Sophia

    • Lauren
      November 5, 2015
      Reply

      I think travelling through Morocco as part of a tour is a great idea! You’ll likely be around people for your whole stay, which will help minimise hassle. I don’t see any problem with you going! :-)

  85. Hatim
    November 7, 2015
    Reply

    Hello,

    Yes, unfortunately you’re right. I’m moroccan and I advise that any female foreigner come in a couple or in a group, it’s far better than coming alone in terms of safety. Concerning sexual harassment, it’s an issue in our country because even Moroccan girls are sexually harassed everyday, it’s not only restricted to foreigners. Lauren, I’m sure that if you didn’t visit alone, your experience would have been better and you would have enjoyed your stay. You’re not obliged to as a tourist of course, but in Morocco UNFORTUNATELY it’s like that. I hope you visit again and your previous experience doesn’t affect you negatively.

    • Lauren
      November 9, 2015
      Reply

      Thanks for your comment, Hatim! I hope to visit Morocco again soon — this time with my boyfriend in tow! :-)

  86. Marlene
    November 7, 2015
    Reply

    thank you very much for this post!
    I have been travelling on my own for a month now (in Europe) and was very much looking forward to Marocco. After arriving in Tangier today that feeling quickly changed. I was wearing a knee long skirt and decided to take a what I thought would be a nice walk down to the beach. Numerous man walked up to me, some sat down close to me at the beach, looking at me, and I could not walk five meters without somebody making comments or cat calling me. Never on my travels have I felt that uncomfortable.
    Your Post and the comments were very helpfull – I am definitely planning on spending more time in Chefchaouen now!

    -marlene

    • Lauren
      November 9, 2015
      Reply

      Hi Marlene,

      Sorry to hear about all the hassle you’ve been receiving. It can be so overwhelming, even if you are expecting it. I’d definitely recommend Chefchaouen as an escape from it all :-)

  87. Nechalus
    November 8, 2015
    Reply

    it is unfortunate that this still happens, but if you are travelling alone as a female especially if you are young and beautiful you will sure be a magnet for unwanted advances from guys starting from your own tour guide. To avoid getting this from of harassment from your guide. Ask him directly if he is a good Muslim you can trust if says yes. Then tell him touching a stranger woman who is not his wife, sister or mother is forbidden in Islam. Or Just ask him in a stern mode that his advances are not welcome and he should remain professional. wearing a marriage looking ring will do the job. Tell him you have a boy friend or married. You will be left alone most of the time unless you are displaying a provocative flesh in a macho culture.

    • Lauren
      November 10, 2015
      Reply

      Thanks, Nechalus. I’d probably recommend not saying that to your guide unless he does anything untoward first.

  88. Mariam
    November 16, 2015
    Reply

    I’m sorry to hear that you had some bad experience in my country.
    Actually, what you experienced is the daily life of moroccan girls. Everyday going to school or work, or hanging out with friends, girls get harassed in the streets. This is a hot subject in Morocco. When we discuss this in social media, guys say that it’s the girls fault to wear “provoking” clothes!! The thing is, some girls wearing Hijab (covered from head to toe) are experiencing this!
    I don’t understand and I can’t see any solution to this.

    • Lauren
      November 19, 2015
      Reply

      Yeah, it’s tricky, isn’t it? And sad. I know that I was covered up as much as I could (without a headscarf, though), and I still experienced hassle.

  89. Morocco Tours
    November 23, 2015
    Reply

    Great article and advices for Morocco.

    • Lauren
      November 26, 2015
      Reply

      Thanks!

  90. Audrey
    December 3, 2015
    Reply

    Hi Lauren! I’m loving you trip reports to Morocco as I am currently planning a trip in August. Would you mind telling me what month did you visit? I also want to do the Sahara desert trip just hoping it’s not unbearably hot that time of year.

    • Lauren
      December 3, 2015
      Reply

      I visited in June and if anything, it was too cold! It’s freezing at night, and by the time you get to the desert, the sun is setting so the temperatures are much cooler.

  91. Morocco desert tours
    December 14, 2015
    Reply

    Hi Lauren,
    Thanks for the article, although i personally think that a woman traveling solo to many countries all over the world must be brave! Here in Morocco, we rarely see local ladies traveling alone, except to / from major cities ( Casablanca, Marrakech, Rabat, Fes, Tangier ). When you travel as solo woman from let’s say Ourrzazate to Tingler, then, you need to be ready to encounter a male dominated society, where a local or a foreign woman traveling alone is considered ” desperate ” and an easy ” catch”!
    Also, in the desert, locals dealing with tourists on a daily basis are used to some southern Mediterranean ladies visiting the area who are usually easy going!! I definitely do not recommend that solo women travel to the rural side of Morocco alone, they need to have a companion ( men or women )

    • Catherine
      April 1, 2019
      Reply

      Oh boy. Morocco Desert Tours, your response displays such an inappropriate view of women in the modern world. But I thank you for it, so I and other female travellers can avoid using your tour. I’m going to Morocco in a few months and I wouldn’t trust anyone with such a misogynist view of women to take me to the desert. Thanks again for your making me aware of your views.

  92. CrazyTravelista
    December 18, 2015
    Reply

    Great article! I’m looking to go to Morocco with my girfriend for 7 days and am looking for an itinerary that fits everything we want to do but we cant seem to find a tour that does it all. We want to go to Chefchaouen, Marrakech and the Sahara, for a total of 7 days. It seems like you did Marrakeh and Chefchaouen on your own, and then did a tour to the Sahara? And how did you get to Chefchaouen, it seems out of the way. If you could give me any tips to help on the 7 day itinerary, that would be great! Thank you!

    • Lauren
      December 18, 2015
      Reply

      Yep, I did everything independently apart from my trip to the Sahara Desert. I got to Chefchaouen from Casablanca. You can also get there easily from Fes or Tangier. But yeah, a bit of a pain from Marrakech. Might be worth flying to Tangier and then taking a bus to Chefchaouen. Or going to Essaouira instead, which is a cool hippie beach town.

  93. SAID DAOUDI
    December 23, 2015
    Reply

    Hey Lauren
    It’s really sad how SOME Moroccan people treated you. I am Moroccan and this is the first time I heard something like this about Moroccans. Because I live here and I know they’re very welcoming people specially toward strangers! All I can say is that you weren’t lucky and may be you visited the wrong places. Of course they are some bad places in some cities there are some rude people even toward locals. If you have the chance to visit Morocco again go the south-est, where Berbers live. You will meet wonderful people in there and enjoy stunning paysages. I am sure you will change your thinking about Morocco.

    • Lauren
      December 24, 2015
      Reply

      Yeah, I’ve definitely found that the hassle is worse in the more touristy parts of the country (and most countries really, I guess). Would love to return to Morocco soon!

  94. Freeberb
    December 29, 2015
    Reply

    i think that maybe a lot of tourists mm sorry travellers! should do some personal work on their selves instead of being paranoiaK of everyone walking behind using the same sidewalk!

    • Lauren
      December 29, 2015
      Reply

      If literally every person who approaches you on a sidewalk in a country mumbles something inappropriate about your breasts, attempts to scam you, follows you to your accommodation, or throws rocks at your head, what other conclusion should you come to?

  95. Nabil
    February 6, 2016
    Reply

    Bonjour Lauren,

    I am really so sorry that men didn’t treat you very well in Morocco, my country. I think what you said is really true: the country is beautiful but some men behave very childish. Anyway, I have been welcoming foreign female friends and yes if I was not by their side, I am sure things will get little bit awkward for them.

    However, I do have a question: have you experienced the traditional Moroccan Hammam ( similar to the Turkish bath).

    • Lauren
      February 18, 2016
      Reply

      I have not!

  96. Wheels Of Morocco
    February 12, 2016
    Reply

    Thanks Lauren for sharing you awesome story! And yes there are a some great places to visit in Morocco. And I love Moto desert adventure in Morocco beaches and Atlas mountain adventure in also a great thing if you would like to do it in Morocco.

    • Lauren
      February 18, 2016
      Reply

      I would love to spend more time in the Atlas mountains in the future :-)

  97. zara
    February 13, 2016
    Reply

    Hi All,

    Is anyone planning to visit in April 2016? Or know of a forum where us solo ladies can chat and coordinate stays so we have safety in numbers?

    • Lauren
      February 13, 2016
      Reply

      Maybe check the Lonely Planet Thorntree forums?

  98. Christina
    March 3, 2016
    Reply

    Thank you so much for this post. I was considering going but now I know not too. I’m a firecracker and avid feminist. I would get in a violent bloody mess fast. Your honesty is well received, and I really can’t believe you calmly made it through abuse like that. I’m glad you were able to still experience the beauty that I’m sure is there.

    • Lauren
      March 15, 2016
      Reply

      You’re welcome, Christina! :-)

  99. Preya
    March 11, 2016
    Reply

    Hi Lauren,

    Your blog was definitely insightful. Maybe travelling to Morocco in a small group of 2 to 3 might help me instead of travelling solo.

    • Lauren
      March 15, 2016
      Reply

      I think you’d be likely to receive less hassle as a group — or, at least, the harassment wouldn’t be quite so intimidating if you had other people around and looking out for each other!

  100. joanna
    March 11, 2016
    Reply

    Thanks Lauren for sharing. I’m since 2 days in Marrakesch and must say I was not expecting it will be so bad. I’m 40 years old, dark hair. Everything is beautiful in Marrakesch apart from some of those guys. Catcalls is not a problem but only yesteray 3 guys regularly followed me. i must say it is a challenge because not all are bad, some are really nice and want to help. Unsual habits. I will be one week more in Marrakesch and have to learn how to live here.

    • Lauren
      March 15, 2016
      Reply

      So sorry to hear you’ve been struggling, Joanna — especially with men following you. That’s scary and not okay. It’s tough, though, right? Because you want to meet the locals and experience a different culture, but you don’t know who you can trust and who is taking advantage. I hope the rest of your trip goes better.

  101. Alia
    March 13, 2016
    Reply

    Hi, I’m originally from Morocco but I live in North America. I go back to Morocco every year. I adore this country but this is a nightmare for me to travel there as a woman. I am an experienced traveller…have been to India and other third world countries. As a woman, Morocco is the worst. I had panic attacks, had to start fights in the streets and usually can’t wait to go back to America. Men are constantly following me, cars as well, slowing down as I walk in the streets, taxi drivers commenting on my looks or my behaviour (lets say I’m in the text with my mom). I did learn a few strategies to make the experience less traumatic: go out with an elder, wear sunglasses, walk fast and be focused. I always dress in a very modest way. The worst ever was in the souk in Fes. As I was entering the souk, it seems like every man was greeting me and asking me I was doing , in french or arabic “Hello, glory of God, How are you?” (Salut, Tbarkallah, ca va?”). I had been walking for like 5 minutes, and after greeting number 55, I started being grumpy and my eyes turned dark. One guy asked me why I was mad and I shouted “Fuck You!!!”. Not the best reaction, but please understand that prior to the souk I had several are following me, some slowing down and asking me to get inside…so being seductively greeted by all these men in the souk was the last drop. I know it sounds surrealistic but it’s true. Anyway, the man I did insult got really offended and it kind of got dangerous for me…I escaped thanks to a woman who took me under her protection.
    In tangiers, when I am being harassed on the big Boulevard where there are many soldiers for security reasons “Stop it or I will denounce you to the police right now!”.
    This is not how I want to spend my holiday!!
    India is easier to deal with for me. Men look a lot at you (touch you sometimes) but in Morocco they feel like you should also talk to them. Hundreds of men very day.
    from a Moroccan who adore her country but there is some serious problem there.

    • Lauren
      March 20, 2016
      Reply

      Thank you so much for offering your advice, Alia! It sounds like our experiences were similar: it’s a beautiful country but the level of harassment is insane. I haven’t been to India yet, but I agree with your observation that Moroccan men often expect you to talk to them and follow you until you get mad.

  102. Kathy Egan
    March 15, 2016
    Reply

    I am sorry about your bad experiences in Morocco. I am a blue-eyed blonde American who lived in Morocco for 8 years. The first two years I had no car so walked or took public transportation everywhere. Yes, there was verbal abuse.
    But I did learn a thing or two about how to handle the situation.
    1. Walk like you know where you are going.
    2. Don’t take any shit from anyone. This may mean a detour.
    3. Learn a few choice phrases in Arabic such as “Are your sisters as stupid as you?”, “Did your mother get roasted for Eid last year?” etc.
    4. Know that Moroccan girls get harassed too.
    5. Call them on it – “Yella, Daba, Henaya” (Let’s go, right here, right now” to any offers of sex will usually send them scurrying in embarrassment.
    6. Ask any nearby shopkeeper for help. They don’t want to lose business because of these louts. (And they probably know their entire family)

    • Lauren
      March 15, 2016
      Reply

      Amazing! Thank you so much for your tips, Kathy! That’ll help out my readers so much :-)

  103. Priscilla
    March 23, 2016
    Reply

    I’m in Marrakech right now and I can’t wait to leave tomorrow. I wish I would have read about your experience traveling solo before booking the flight. I wanted to love this country but the harassment is overwhelming and taints the entire experience of being here. Not to mention getting ripped off by every single taxi driver, shopkeeper in the souks, strangers following me trying to “help” for an outrageous fee. I value authenticity in my life and it’s heartbreaking being in a city where I can’t trust anyone. I felt the same in Istanbul last week as well- only there, the cat calling and stalking by local men lurking in tourist areas was even worse. I’m conflicted. I hiked the Ourika Valley yesterday with a small group and even on a cloudy day, the experience was liberating. Yet, it was tainted with frequent stops where everyone expected me to throw money at them for trinkets. It’s a different culture and I force myself to step back in these situations and think about how the country’s developing infrastructure, economy, and cultural views impact treatment of women travelers. It’s been frustrating being here and I spent yesterday afternoon crying in my room after a terrible experience in the souks. It feels good to vent. This trip is one of the biggest lessons for compassion I’ve experienced in my life. Working on forgiving and forgetting and moving on. I would not encourage other women traveling alone to come here. I hate to think that my experience would be different had I been with an organized group or traveling with men. It shouldn’t matter, but I feel that it does. Whew!

  104. Jackie
    March 30, 2016
    Reply

    Thank you, Lauren, for this post. I am traveling to Morocco this summer with my daughter (she is 20). I expect the harassment, but was looking for some practical advice. Between your article and the many helpful comments, I feel a bit more prepared. I am still looking forward to it, especially Chefchouen. We are planning on seeing Casablanca, Fez, Meknes, Tangier and Chefchouen, and will perhaps be more flexible about how much time in each :).

    I am so sorry to hear about the bad experiences from people. It does worry me a bit – I will be protective of my daughter even though I am sure she can handle herself!

    Thank you again for your balanced post!

  105. amin
    April 1, 2016
    Reply

    A lot of young Moroccan men are sexually frustrated, when they see a foreign women traveling alone for most of them it’s an opportunity to have sex without problem, it’s sad but it’s true.
    I advice you to find local friends during your visits ;)

    • Lauren
      June 3, 2017
      Reply

      Yeah, it’s sad and true and disgusting.

  106. Yocasta
    April 8, 2016
    Reply

    Hi lauren, i wanted your oppinion. Im planning on going to morocco with a couple friends but we are doing a fully escorted tour with a group of people and a guide. Im feeling extremely nervous reading all the stories about how the men are with women all the harrasment and also all the current terroist threats . Im a bit of a worry wart and feeling nervous i dont know ifbi should go but i want to edperience this country and i dont want to regret not going. So given the fact that i eould be with a group tour the whole time do you think ill be ok in morocco in regards to all the harrasment etc?

  107. Mariam
    May 18, 2016
    Reply

    I find it very appalling about what happened to you. But what I find even more appalling is the self induced victim blaming in your post. You seriously blame your negative attitude and think it is the reason why these men treated you like this? That’s disgusting.

    Arab culture is to cat call and harrass any woman who they think deserves it. It’s a machismo culture that uses women and this harassment as a way to feel good about themselves. Take it from a European woman of North African decent. I get harassed by them in Europe and when I go back to North Africa.

    You’re a fool to have travelled there alone and should feel very cautious about advising any other solo female traveller to repeat your mistake. One wrong move with these men and you can be seriously traumatised or risk bodily harm, even rape and murder.

    Please don’t go to North Africa unless you are with a man or in a group. It’s simply not safe!

    • Lauren
      May 19, 2016
      Reply

      But here’s the thing: I didn’t experience harassment when I had a positive attitude; I only did when I was feeling negative and stressed. So, what else can I deduce from that? I wrote this post to offer advice to women who want to travel to Morocco alone — if they go, that’s what I recommend doing because that’s what minimised the harassment for me. But thanks for calling my article disgusting.

      And the comments on this post are full of women who went to Morocco alone and had an amazing time without any harassment. Was it a mistake for them to visit as well? If female travellers from other countries were seriously being raped and murdered all of the time in Morocco, it would be publicised. It seems to happen far more in Thailand, for example, where nobody is telling people not to visit.

  108. bakr znagui
    May 21, 2016
    Reply

    Hey Lauren i’m a 19 year old Moroccan currently living in Turkey , on nights such as these where i miss home i log into the net and look at pics but tonight i ended up here and many similar websites before this one but i decided to leave a reply on this one so here it goes .
    First of all i would like to sincerely apologize for the amount of sexual harassment and cat calling you suffered as well as the rock throwing incident my jaw literally dropped when i read that ,never heard that one before i would like to think that man was crazy or something , now let me explain a few things in Morocco anything below the city of Tetouan (my home town) and surrounding small towns is considered south of the country although some are in the middle of the country like Rabat or Casablanca and that is due to the huge difference in our accents , northern Moroccn’s such as my self are kinda considered racist towards the ” southern ” Moroccans because we find them a bit ” savage ” and not as polite or respecting as us . Now that may sound arrogant of us but it’s the truth , the proof is the difference you had in your travel between all the cities and Chefchaouen or Chaouen as some call it with the teenager helping you and all and i’m sure you’ve sensed a much warmer aura from the locals than the other cities . Northern cities are much better for tourist when it comes to feeling safe and the harassment level significantly drops (i’m not saying it doesnt exist but it’s very rare ) however there isnt as much to see in the “north” as much as there is in the “south” except for Chefchaouen. MY city Tetouan is 60 km away from Chefchaouen , it’s not as beautiful i admit but it’s bigger and it has it’s own uniqueness in my opinion i wish you visited there as you could have left Chef for one day in the morning and come back in the evening but oh well . Tangier is the only exception here as it is the biggest city in the north ,the crime rates are higher there and the city is much more populated than the small chefchaouen so it’s obvious that the harassment level is higher than the blue city although less than Marrakesh or fes it is none the less there and very frustrating and sad .
    I’m not much of a writer but i hope you get to read this and i wanna tell you and everyone who might read this comment that whether i like or not Morocco is still an evolving country and half of our people are uneducated and mostly driven by their ignorance and greed which eventually results in your bad stay in our country and that saddens me so much but i hope that you look at the good people and not the greedy taxi drivers or the scammers and ask of you not to judge us all by the worst of us (although they are like half of us :p )
    Once again i sincerely apologize to every person who had a bad experience in my country and i hope you get a better one in the future if you hadnt already gave up on it .

  109. kelly
    May 23, 2016
    Reply

    Great post! Your photos are fantastic! I did my first few days in Morocco alone as a solo femaie and then met up with my boyfriend for the rest of the trip. I have to say my experience as a solo female was vastly different than when I was with a man. I never felt threatened when I was alone, but the comments and hassle I received was frustrating and made it difficult to enjoy myself. That being said, I would not let this discourage anyone from doing this trip alone. There are plenty of group tours where you can meet people to travel with and still have an amazing time!

  110. joseph
    May 29, 2016
    Reply

    every corner in the world has its smugglers not only Morocco . I am from morocco exactly mountains of atlas. yet, the thing that is worth to mention . wherever you go you will find some difficulties with the natives because of the crush of culture and thought . reader travelers mustn’t fall in that process of generalization which claim that all Moroccan are the same . no , the thing that I want to say I myself when I go to visit some cities in the north or south of Morocco I sense something strange from the native. Given the fact that , I have different cultural background or they see me as a stranger.
    anyhow you made what I have not myself . you visited the major cities. I am a quiet wildling , i like the passion of mountains . if you visit again we may have a cafe or a drink that you couldn’t afford for your first journey.

    • Lauren
      June 14, 2016
      Reply

      No, it’s true, all Moroccans are not the same. But it’s also true that you’ll have to deal with more harassment in Morocco than in many other countries.

  111. Ale
    June 17, 2016
    Reply

    Today is my first full day in Marrakech, second night. So far, I fully agree with your experience on attire and frame of mind. Last night, I wore long black pants, a tshirt with a high neck, and a long-sleeved dress type top, and a scarf. All was good, I was only spoken to by the men in the square who were trying to sell me food, and although annoying and relentless, it wasn’t bad and I was out by myself until past midnight.

    Today, I wore a long dress, but it didn’t cover my ankles, and a long sleeved shirt over it, with the sleeves rolled up and open because my dress had a high neck. No scarf. For the most part, I was left alone, but was noticed a lot more and men did attempt to talk to me but I just ignored them. It wasn’t until I took out my phone to snap a few pictures of the sunset over the main mosque that this crazy guy yelled at me and chased me for a while. I didn’t handle it well. After he yelled the first time, I ignored him but he continued to come after me and in a threatening way so I spoke to him firmly asking what was happening. He yelled and said in broken English that I couldn’t take pictures of the mosque and something about my country — guessing an infidel shouldn’t take a picture of a mosque. It’s Ramadan and as I made my way back to my riad at around 6 or 7, people were starting to eat and the streets were empty except for lots of men. I was harassed for a good 10 blocks, one after another wanting to talk and when I didn’t, they called me whore in several languages and also a motherfucker.

    Now, totally agree that there are very nice men also. Just today, I encountered about 5 super helpful men. One at a restaurant, so yes, he was a bit obliged but it wasn’t a touristy restaurant and he went out of his way to make sure I was ok and knew how to get back to my riad. Another was a guy working at a tea/herbs place off the quarter and in a mostly local traffic street. Some others young guys just coming out of a mosque. And another who helped me find my way in the maze where my riad is, expecting nothing in return except a thank you to which he also thanked me. Last night also a guy in the riad neighborhood (instructed by a woman I approached) took me out of the maze to show me the correct path to my riad.

    Some accept a “no” with gentleness but the majority are rude and just awful. I’ve traveled throughout the world and I almost came to tears today because I’m here of my own choosing with my own hard earned money. I have encountered looks and discomfort in Malaysia )Pennan) and Luang Prabang Laos (they were just rude). And I’ve cried on the streets feeling helpless in Honduras as I was harassed day in and day out, just for being a woman. Just my experience.

    • Lauren
      June 22, 2016
      Reply

      Thanks so much for sharing your experience with my readers, Ale! It’s such a complicated country to visit, isn’t it? Full of moments of beauty that are usually followed with frustration and horror. I hope the rest of your time in the country goes well :-)

  112. Roonie
    June 18, 2016
    Reply

    Hey Lauren, sorry to hear about your bad experience with Moroccan men. I spent a year in Morocco and travelled around a bit solo as well as with a group of friends. It is obviously a better idea to travel with friends or a male companion, however a female solo traveller can be safe even alone I think. I once shared a taxi with a woman and 3 other men out of which one harassed me (touched my leg and kept trying to talk to me). At first I told him I wasn’t interested in a polite way but he wouldn’t listen. Then I told him firmly and he still wouldn’t listen. Other passengers didn’t hear anything at first but when they noticed they told him off and later the driver told him to get out of the car. My time in Morocco, however, was great apart from this incident. I tried to always interact with women rather than men, which is a cultural norm in Muslim countries anyway (outside of the home and family, women talk to women and men talk to men and then not much can go wrong). I lived in Fes for a year and didn’t have much trouble with men there and if the harassment and cat calling ever got bad, I would put on a hijab and pretend I was Muslim and that made a huge difference in the way men in the street behaved towards me. I speak Arabic and know a lot about Islam so it worked and no guy dared to say anything stupid to me, the way they approach Muslim women is completely different from the way they approach Westerners wearing “Western” clothes. They may try asking you if you are Muslim and how long you’ve been Muslim or why you converted or why you like Islam, etc., but otherwise they’ll behave nicely, or at least they all did with me. So wearing long clothes and a hijab definitely helps. Also, another piece of advice if you’re a woman and you’re travelling solo – try to always take a taxi with other (preferably LOCAL) women, whether it’s in a city or intercity and chat with them a little before you get in. If there’s a problem they’ll stand up for you and help you, whereas with men you can’t always be sure. I once took a taxi with an English friend of mine (female) and the driver locked us in the car and wouldn’t unlock the door (from the inside) until we paid him the money he asked for, of course he totally overcharged us. After an argument with him we paid him and he let us out, there was no other way to deal with that situation and there was no one around to help us so we did what seemed the safest. Also, another taxi story – my parents came to visit and we took a taxi to somewhere in Casablanca and although I was the only one in our group who spoke any Arabic at all, the taxi driver pretended not to hear me and wouldn’t talk to me or reply. Only when my father tried talking to him in simple English he would reply or when my father repeated after me in Arabic. That was ridiculous and nothing similar ever happened to me after that but that’s just another example of how some people just wouldn’t talk to the opposite sex even in such ‘innocent’ context.
    As for places to visit, I definitely recommend the old medina in Fes (don’t let the few annoying locals to overcharge you though and if you’re not interested in seeing or buying their stuff make it clear to them but in a polite way if possible :)), Meknes, Ifran, Sefrou waterfall and the towns in the South, but I hadn’t visited any and regret it. I’ve been to Casa and Rabat, but those left no impression on me at all. And I didn’t exactly like Marrakech as it was very touristy and overcrowded and the men were too persistent and I got hissed at a lot but I just ignored that. So I wouldn’t go there again. Actually, if I do go again, and I’d love to, I’ll probably avoid most large cities and will visit the countryside, mountains and small villages or towns. And Chefchaouen, it looks beautiful. Whoever is reading this, I hope you will have a safe and enjoyable trip :)

    • Lauren
      June 20, 2016
      Reply

      Thank you so much for the amazing and helpful comment, Roonie! I so appreciate it! :-)

  113. Moroccotours
    July 2, 2016
    Reply

    Thank you for your post. As a Moroccan male and an owner of a tour company, i would like to post some advice here:
    – Morocco is a male dominated society, especially in rural areas outside the main cities.
    – Ladies wishing to travel alone there are encouraged to dress moderately to avoid attention.
    – Avoid eye contact and smiling at males in the streets, it could be mis interpreted.
    – When traveling to the Sahara desert, choose to go in a group tour
    – When in the Sahara desert, you need to be firm with restaurants and desert camp staff, as well as local guides and camel drivers. Your kindness and smiling at their face all the time might be also mis interpreted.
    Luckily, last 10 years has known a big drop of numbers of female tourists and local ladies harassed in the streets, but we hear of a few minor incidents every now and then.
    As a tour company owner, i always advise my female clients traveling alone as above and thank God none ever had an issue. I also insist on my local suppliers in the Sahara desert that if any of my female clients ever complains about their staff, i will press charges against them, and this worked well.

    • Lauren
      July 11, 2016
      Reply

      Thanks for sharing!

  114. Lopes
    July 4, 2016
    Reply

    Hi,
    How did you move between cities? did you have a car or your took the train. Is it safe to travel without a car?

    Thank you,
    Lopes

    • Lauren
      July 6, 2016
      Reply

      Hi Lopes! I travelled by bus between cities, and took a shared taxi from Chefchaouen to Tangier. I personally wouldn’t recommend driving in Morocco, because the drivers are, um, very aggressive!

  115. Moon
    July 9, 2016
    Reply

    “Perhaps I was just so frustrated that I was giving off negative vibes that were angering the locals.”

    I find this statement of yours very disturbing. At no time does any human have the right to heckle, grope or cause mental, emotional or bodily harm to your person no matter your locale on this planet. That fact that you said that gives you a victim mentality. That is very dangerous mental aspect to take on as it can and will mold future events in your life. “Re-path” that thinking pattern into one of security for your own protection.

    • Lauren
      July 10, 2016
      Reply

      No, here’s the thing: I’m not sitting down and writing a diary of my experiences here. I’m writing a guide for women who want to travel to Morocco, letting them know what to expect, and offering tips for how they can avoid having such a stressful experience. Yes, of COURSE, it’s awful that the men behave in this way, but that’s not going to be any different when my readers visit. So if my negative vibes could have been increasing the amount of hostility I received, and that plastering a smile on my face may have helped ease it, I am going to share that with the people reading this post, because I want their journey to be as hassle-free as possible. Me going off on a rant about how their behaviour is unacceptable isn’t going to help with that; me offering tips on what I thought contributed to the increasing aggression I experienced the longer I was in the country will.

      I don’t have a victim mentality and I don’t appreciate your condescension either.

  116. Adam
    July 19, 2016
    Reply

    Morocco is still a very conservative country and most women walk around with their hair covered. This is a message to visitors that skimpy tops, shorts and revealing clothing are not appreciated by the locals. Dress modestly with legs and arms covered and you’ll avoid the wrong kind of attention. It is also helpful to carry a scarf – essential for visiting a mosque, but also worn Berber-style it helps you blend in and avoidunwanted attention.
    In Morocco the focus is on the family and women are expected to have husbands and children. Many Moroccan men equate women travelling alone with loose morals. It is extremely rare for the harassment to be violent, an inappropriate touch at worst, but the tongue clicks and hisses can be upsetting to some. They also back down quickly if you have a few choice words.
    If you’d like to avoid being an object of curiosity, get a husband and kids- fake ones. Wear a cheap wedding band and carry a photo of your “husband” and “children”. Many women travellers say wearing sunglasses helps avoid eye contact with the leering men.

    If you think you are being hassled walk into a shop or restaurant and ask for help. If you find you have been groped or are receiving unwanted persistent attention make a fuss and show your disgust, locals (especially women) will come to your aid.

    • Lauren
      July 19, 2016
      Reply

      I dressed with my arms and legs covered and I didn’t get to avoid all the attention.

      • Amjed
        August 6, 2016
        Reply

        You must be very beautiful.

        • Lauren
          August 6, 2016
          Reply

          Not really. 95% of the women I know who have travelled to Morocco experience some form of harassment. Blame the men rather than trying to blame the victims for however they look.

  117. E.Abdelbar
    July 19, 2016
    Reply

    Hey my name’s Abdelbar a 27 years old moroccan guy born in city called Mohammedia, it’s small city located between Rabat the capital and The biggest city Casablanca but my origin came from a village of the northern morocco which is 24 km from Chefchaouen, there where they produce Cannabis ” weed “.
    I am sorry that you have experienced such bad as harassment in our country but as you see it happens in bigger cities such Marrakech and Casablanca, what i can tell you that even moroccan girls get to face that more than you do.
    So men are attracted to sexy women and can’t not comment.
    Me Abdelbar i wish you good and safe trip to Morocco with nice moments.

  118. the moroccan girl
    August 30, 2016
    Reply

    Hi lauren,
    I’m in love with your article, I am from morocco, Casablanca but I’m living in japan now.
    Every words you said about the harassment I can feel it and it brought me a lot of memories, in behalf of all I’m sorry for that, its the worst feeling ever, I love me country but I couldn’t stay there because of this, it was the first reason that mad me leave it.
    I just want to advise any women going to morocco, if you will go to the north of morocco, it is all good, no one will talk to you people are very nice and well educated.
    if you will go to Casablanca or any where south, I would prefer that you either go with a group or with some MALE friend, it will be much fun and safer.
    after all it is a good country
    have fun

  119. Kenza
    September 11, 2016
    Reply

    Hello Lauren, As a native Moroccan woman I feel sad and embarrased you had such negative experiences. Travelling as a woman takes guts, thick skin and is never that easy. Myself I travelled around a lot and experienced weird things even in “safe” Western countries; being groped and stalked by Italians, sexually harrased by French policemen and being robbed of 500 pounds by a young native Britt in London, because I didnt take extra precautions believing that all Westeners are honest people. Its a shame that Marrakech has attracted all sorts of opportunist that want to make a quick buck off of tourists and whose daily job it is to engage with tourists. Also the harrassement of women is an issue that needs to be dealt with because as your story shows it detremental to your freedom as a human being. This article might be helpful for travelling females. With advise on countries to avoid http://www.internationalwomenstravelcenter.com/479/

  120. Jesse
    September 22, 2016
    Reply

    great post dear! thanks for sharing with us and keep it up.

  121. Savanah Evans
    October 3, 2016
    Reply

    What company did you go out in the Sahara desert with? How much did it cost? Was it worth it?

    • Lauren
      October 5, 2016
      Reply

      I booked it through my hostel — it cost $70 for two nights.

  122. Heather
    October 21, 2016
    Reply

    Hi Lauren,

    A couple of friends (all female) and I are thinking of a short trip to Morocco in November.
    We are really keen to do some exploring of cities, trekking and visit the sahara.
    How easy is it to find guides/trips for things if you don’t book anything in advance? We quite like winging it…!

    Any advice would be really helpful

    X

    • Lauren
      October 21, 2016
      Reply

      I think it would be fine. Guesthouse owners are super-helpful, so they’ll be able to recommend guides and stuff if you ask. And in the main cities, there are lots of options for hiring people.

  123. Caroline
    October 30, 2016
    Reply

    Omg thank you, that’s exactly what I needed to read. I am currently in the south of spain and wondering if I am going to Morroco for a few weeks as a solo female traveller so your article really help me to understand what it is like. (Still not sure what’s my decision though haha)

    • Lauren
      November 4, 2016
      Reply

      Glad you found it helpful, Caroline! :-) Hope you have a great trip if you do decide to go.

  124. Mags
    November 5, 2016
    Reply

    Hi it is interesting to read this. I travelled to Essaouirra a few years ago with a friend and at first it was great but then a few days in increasingly sexual comments, being followed, shouted at, abuse at our (absent) mothers etc made it very wearing and left us with a bad memory. There were so many nice people too but of course you end up being distant with them because you don’t know who is going to be aggressive etc. I was thinking of visiting Marrakech in January with another female but now I am not sure. I can negotiate it but sexual harassment is scary and makes me angry.

  125. Veronika Paluchová
    November 10, 2016
    Reply

    Hi Lauren,

    I understand you well. I had the same experience in Israel. Actually I was happy and enjoying my holiday. But after that harassment it just ruined the rest. And even if the country is beautiful, I don’t like to think back. I think you have the same, or? Are you going to travel to some Muslim countries yet? Me definitely not till I’m young and attractive.

    Wish you a lot of beautiful experiences and safe journies.

  126. Mona
    November 11, 2016
    Reply

    Hey Lauren,

    thank you for sharing your experiences here!
    I grew up in tangier, Morocco. I’m half moroccan half german but definetly looking more german and I really understand you. Even if i grew up there and even knowing the language it’s hard for me to go out alone.
    Travelleing completly alone in such countries is always a risk!

    But I loved it when you said that even after the negative things that happened to you you loved the Country because it definetly is!

    Maybe next time you should come back again with a Group. I reccoment you to definetly visit Tangier again and Asilah, a small Hippie town next to it, to probably go down to Taghatout a small Hippie-Surfer spot where you can find your Piece.

    I apologize for that it is really a shame to read that and so sad that there are really still People like this in our world and pollute such a beautiful Piece of earth.

    best,
    Mona

  127. Annamaria
    December 6, 2016
    Reply

    I’m happy to found your blog. I’m an experienced traveller, have been to places mostly with someone else, though. Those places I’ve travelled alone to, I loved the most, relying on myself alone is a challenge.

    I was thinking about returning to Morocco where I had travelled with my ex boyfriend. In Morocco especially Marrakesh Medina was a miracle for me, had no sexual harm, assault, perhaps with a man beside me I was not a target.
    We travelled to Casablanca and Marrakesh as we found local people friendy and helpful, even in Marrakech, motorbikes were annoying, though, got lost in the souk was tough, and those guys alway around who wanted to help us find the way back to the accomodation when they saw us lost was tough as well, especially when we did not pay and made them angry.

    Before venturing into a new solo adventure, I wanted to read about how it was to travel to Morocco as a solo woman. Reading your blog was helpful and I still hope I can make it.
    Whenever traveling to Morocco solo, I would return to known places first to gain self-confidence. I had a couple of nice hosts in Morocco as well and I was happy they were all Europeans living in Morocco. I would definitely return to them to feel safe. Traveling to Morocco as European I had fears even with a man beside me. There was a point when my stress was so high that I cried.

    Thank you for sharing your experience, I still plan to explore Morocco solo.

  128. Afzal Zaheer
    December 13, 2016
    Reply

    Hi Lauren,
    I often wonder that how come these scammers have free hand?
    What are they upto?
    Are local cops only acting as a mute spectator?
    I am glad that your hardwork will sensitise travellers like me who will be more careful in future as well

    • Lauren
      December 13, 2016
      Reply

      Which scammers?

  129. Bina
    December 16, 2016
    Reply

    “At one point, he offered to take me into the Atlas Mountains to camp after the tour, telling me I’d love the stars and the friendly Berber people.”

    Two of my female friends did actually have this happen to them on a trip to the Atlas mountains. They naively agreed to go with their guide for a walk from their camp to look at the stars. Where he and his friend aggressively tried to “persuade” them to have sex. Luckily one of their male friends in the tour group had come up to see what the noise was about, and situation over as quickly as it started.

    Sounds like you were quite wise to be wary of this guy. It’s a shame having to constantly be mistrustful of people, but that’s kind of how I felt in Morocco too.

    • Lauren
      January 9, 2017
      Reply

      Oh wow, thanks for sharing that, Bina. That’s awful.

  130. Malikah B
    December 26, 2016
    Reply

    Did you take a cab to the blue city? If so was it expensive? I plan on going to Morocco in january (solo) and just trying to pick up a few tips. I’m sorry all this happened to you and I hope for these men sake that they leave me alone because being from NYC I am a pro at getting rid of annoying street venders and ridiculous men!

    • Lauren
      December 30, 2016
      Reply

      Yep, I took a shared taxi from Tangier.

  131. Megan
    December 28, 2016
    Reply

    Thanks so much for this article!! I love the honesty. Did you speak French or Arabic before you got there? Have you ended up going back yet?
    I may be going for a few months to volunteer, I am still researching and haven’t completely decided yet. However, I would be staying with a host family for my entire time there, which includes meals and transportation. Do you think this kind of lifestyle could lessen the harassment /discomforts? I am still a solo female traveler, but I would think that having a family to come back to every day would give me a support system.
    I have one more question- was the harassment the only safety concern you had while in Morocco? I am a bit wary given the increase in terrorism scares, to be honest.

    • Lauren
      December 31, 2016
      Reply

      I didn’t speak any French or Arabic, and I haven’t returned to Morocco yet, but hopefully will later this year. I think staying with a host family could definitely help minimise the harassment — I have a friend who did just that and had a wonderful time.

      Yeah, my only fears were harassment. As far as I’m aware, there haven’t even been any terrorist attacks in Morocco in recent years. Would you still visit France? There’s most likely a much higher risk there than in Morocco. I always remind myself that even if I was ever unfortunate enough to be in a place when a terrorist attack took place, the changes of it being in the exact same place at the same time as me is so, so, so, so low.

  132. Moha ABIRA
    January 4, 2017
    Reply

    I am Moroccan and my sincere apologies on behalf of all real Moroccan men who value women, but those dirty minded freaks that your destiny, unfortunately, makes you encounter them are a simple minority that distorts the beautiful image of the country and its warm-hearted citizens. I am personally convinced that change will take place but it is just a matter of time.

    Many thanks for imparting your Moroccan experience with us and I do really hope not be hindered from visiting our country in the future.

  133. Kamal
    January 12, 2017
    Reply

    Dear Lauren,
    I really hope you would be my Guest next time you would come to Morocco, I’m owner and manager of my little Guesthouse with only 4 rooms located in Bhalil a village 24 km close to Fez.

    I have hosted several young women as a single traveler,
    Sarah is one of them, rad her TripAdvisor review and read also the other reviews in TripAdvisor, you will understand that my Guesthouse and staff is very normal and fully respecting individuals.

    Sarah stayed at our House in a village 24 km close to Fez, see how a single women was happy at our Guesthouse and village in Bhalil Morocco, then read more reviews about Dar Kamal Chaoui in TripAdvisor. you will enjoy your next trip to Bhalil Morocco.

    “Beautiful place in the mountains for a single traveler, close to Fez!”

    I stayed at this guest house after a long trip to Morocco for rest and relaxation. I sure got exactly that! The guest house itself is so lovely! It has wonderful decorations, beautiful rooms with a comfy bed and warm shower, lastly a really nice terrace to sit on and enjoy the view. The city is small and slow moving, which was a great change from Fez and Marrakesh.
    The staff at the guest house is wonderful! Kamal was a great host, always helpful and we had some wonderful conversations about many things I was curious about in Morocco. Naima makes great food and is so kind! Two nights I was there we had a guest, Rita and it was so interesting for me to get to know a young girl and learn what she does for fun and about her family. Latef is a great carpenter and makes some of the coolest wood carvings I saw in Morocco. As you can tell, I made some great friends and truly felt like family.
    I would recommend this guest house to anyone and everyone who comes to Morocco! I would even suggest it if you are visiting Fes, as Bhalil is close and the guesthouse is exceptional. Thank you for the hospitality!

    • Lauren
      March 2, 2017
      Reply

      Thanks for sharing!

  134. Connie Palmer Smalley
    February 28, 2017
    Reply

    I’ve enjoyed reading all these comments here about Morocco.
    No one mentioned any experiences in Agadir which I understand is a popular beach city there. I’ve met a young man from there who I met on a language web site called Speaky (speaky.com). We’ve become friends. He and his family run a BnB there which he has invited me to visit.

    I am 72 years of age, married & speak Spanish fluently & some French. I’m sure that he would accompany me while in that city. Would I have to worry about this male harassment considering my circumstances?

    • Lauren
      March 6, 2017
      Reply

      If you were with a local guy while you were out and about, you’d definitely manage to avoid the vast majority of the harassment. I hope you have a wonderful time in Agadir!

  135. Mark-Anthony
    April 11, 2017
    Reply

    I’m going to Morocco soon, well hopefully soon. My wife and I are planning a trip for May/June . I’m always interested in the female solo traveler perspective. I’ve heard some stories about Morocco that didn’t sound so pleasant and wanted to see what others experiences were. Yours sounds like a roller coaster of ups and downs. Hoping traveling as a couple will be a lot better for us. Appreciate your insight.
    Cheers,

    • Lauren
      April 17, 2017
      Reply

      I hope it ends up being a lovely trip for you both, Mark-Anthony!

  136. Adrienne
    June 20, 2017
    Reply

    I travelled from Marrakesh to Fez and back.

    Fez the taxi drivers were wanking in front of me.

    A pack of men in the Market cornered me.

    I gave up my ambition of being at the sacred music festival.

    I was shouted at and sworn at in many towns travelling off the beaten track.

    Marrakesh I could handle.

    Its sad but I have encounter so many women with the same tail.

    • Lauren
      July 18, 2017
      Reply

      Ugh. I’m so sorry to hear you had to go through that.

  137. lisa
    June 20, 2017
    Reply

    Hi Lauren,
    I just love your blog. Thank you so much for all your honesty. I also loved your book!
    I am about to book a trip to Morocco and definitely don’t want to travel alone even though I’m a seasoned traveler.
    I am trying to decide between a group tour (Intrepid which I used in India and loved) and hiring a one on one private guide for the entire two weeks.
    I generally like to travel independently but for some reason the thought of being one on one with a guide makes me a little uneasy.
    Do you think in a case like this it’s best to go with the tour for company?
    My only concern is would it be aqkward to be alone with a guide 24/7 for two weeks…I’ve never traveled like that before.
    Thanks for any feedback!

    • Lauren
      June 21, 2017
      Reply

      I would personally go for the group tour option, because I’ve heard of guides being pretty creepy with solo female travellers, so I’d prefer to have more people around me.

  138. Lynne
    July 29, 2017
    Reply

    I’m an older woman and my husband and I have been to Marrakech three times and Fez twice. We got badly harrased in Fez on our last trip but otherwise it was fine. I got separated in the souk in Marrakech and nobody pestered me, but the men on the stalls guessed what had happened. When I moved on (as somebody said my husband had gone ‘that way’) I then got harrased by a female beggar who said ‘well, what DO you want?’ and I just said ‘my husband’. At that point a young man, about 18, got me some water (I had no phone on me, no cash and no water) and he spent two hours trying to help me find our riad. Once we got back I was unable to take him in for tea as the manager said I had no chaperone (why the hell couldn’t he have chaperoned?) Anyway my husband and I walked back through the souk and found the young man the next day and my husband gave him a healthy tip. He was overwhelmed and gave us both a big hug (old enough to be his parents, maybe even his grandparents!) i will always treasure that memory.
    Oh, on our final trip to Fez the manageress of the riad went out of her way to help me get a carpet bag made. I bought the rug at a supermarket but she helped me get the fastenings and lining etc from the souk. She knew of a craft school where they were thrilled to make their first carpet bag. Who knew that they were unheard of? Lots of kilims turned into bags, but not an actual rug.
    Sadly I don’t think we can return to Morocco due to various health issues, but with five visits we can certainly say we know and love the place.

    • Lauren
      July 31, 2017
      Reply

      Thanks so much for providing a counterpoint, Lynne :-)

  139. Dima
    July 31, 2017
    Reply

    When in Rome do as the Romans. Now I am not saying throw a veil on; your attire shows you had not done your homework about Morocco. Certainly none of the hassle you went through is excusable, however your nonchalant attire is a guarantee for serious trouble. Travel is about going toward a new culture, about melting into it. Travellers who knock on the host country’s culture and tiptoe in, humbly, will have the a richer travel experience, and that goes for anywhere in the world.

    • Lauren
      July 31, 2017
      Reply

      What are you talking about? My nonchalant attire? The only parts of my skin I showed when in the cities was my face, so if you’re not suggesting I put a veil on, what are you suggesting??? I covered up from my neck to my wrists to my ankles with clothes while in Morocco, as I mentioned in the post. The only exception was the one day I spent in the Sahara Desert, because my tour guides assured me it was fine. Here’s a couple of quotes from my article:

      “I wore long cotton pants down to my ankles, a t shirt with a high neck, a long-sleeved cotton shirt and a scarf. I kept everything loose and light so I didn’t get too hot during the day.”

      “I suddenly had hassle from men in the street, too – grabbing me, trying to touch my breasts, telling me they liked my “American tits”, whispering in French in my ear and then calling me a slut and a whore when I walked away. I was completely covered up and couldn’t have worn any more layers at this point, beyond throwing a blanket over myself.”

      Don’t be such a judgmental and condescending asshole, and maybe try actually reading my post next time.

  140. Ana Berdeja
    August 8, 2017
    Reply

    Hi Lauren! Thanks a lot for the information.

    I am planning to travel solo to Morocco during october. If I understood well, you recommend visiting Chefchaouen, Marrakech and the Sahara to feel a bit safer?

    Thanks a lot!

    • Lauren
      August 8, 2017
      Reply

      Yep!

  141. Michelle
    August 15, 2017
    Reply

    Lauren I think its really awesome and brave that you ventured Morocco solo! I did a trip to Morocco last year with my significant other with GAdventures because I honestly didn’t think I could have handled the crowd, congestion and winding roads on my own. It makes me sad to read about your not so pleasant experiences at the same time creating that awareness for other female travelers is invaluable.

    • Lauren
      August 16, 2017
      Reply

      Thank you so much, Michelle! Glad to hear you enjoyed your time in Morocco :-)

  142. Gioko Pat
    October 22, 2017
    Reply

    Sorry for the experience. Its quite shameful on mankind that in the 21st Century, women still have to stay on their guard because of the men. Apart from that, Morocco is indeed the place to be. It looks so awesome, a mixpot of the ancient and the modern sitting bang in the middle of the Sahara. I would definitely love to go there.

    • Lauren
      October 26, 2017
      Reply

      Hopefully things will change in the future. I’m planning on heading back next year, actually, to see if it’s changed in any way since my last visit, back in 2012!

  143. clampoholic
    November 1, 2017
    Reply

    I’m planning to visit Morocco next year, and stumbled upon your blog. First of all, I’d like to thank you for sharing your experience. And the way you manage to maintain your positivity even after all the unpleasantness you went through–I find it so inspiring. I’m still a bit nervous about going there alone as a female traveler, but your story really gives me courage. So, thanks again :)

    • Lauren
      December 14, 2017
      Reply

      Thank you so much! I hope you have a wonderful and trouble-free trip to Morocco :-)

  144. James Horner
    December 19, 2017
    Reply

    It’s hard to believe what you have gone through Lauren. Those kinds of jerks are all over the places. They need to be taught about basic etiquettes at least. But I appreciate your great patience. You moved on with a positive mindset. I learnt one thing from your experience that every individual should have minimum awareness before traveling to a new destination.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Lauren.

    • Lauren
      January 2, 2018
      Reply

      Thanks for the kind comment, James!

  145. Natalie
    January 1, 2018
    Reply

    Hi Lauren,

    Thanks for sharing your story and I’m so sorry for what you had to go through, especially this throwing the rock situation, that is truly appalling. I wanted to add on here as well for anyone else considering, especially a solo female traveler. I just returned tonight to the US and cut my trip short 10 days, because of all of the harassment, cheating I was experiencing and getting robbed.

    I am an extremely savvy traveler, have traveled solo throughout Asia, Europe, South America and lived in South America and Mexico and while I’ve had incidents like my phone being stolen right from my backpack and being catcalled and even had men pull their pants down in front of me, nothing has been like the terror in the medinas and scam artists of Morocco.

    In my Riad in Fes, Dar Elgahlia, the hotel stole a $100 bill out of my wallet, I know this because my wallet had been clearly tampered with in my suitcase. The manager at the hotel also told me he’d help me by getting me an overnight bus ticket to the desert, and after I paid him and later looked at the ticket, he’d given me a used ticket from the day before. This same Riad also turned away my tour guide without telling me, so that I would use a tour guide through them and they would get a cut. The snakes in Morocco are not just on the street, after this I felt I could not trust even my hotels.

    I went in late December so was extremely covered up, hair tied back and sunglasses, no make up, essentially trying to look as unappealing everyday. I did not look or smile at anyone, and the catcalls didn’t annoy me as much because I’m used to that, but it was the aggression in people grabbing at me, following me and lying to my face to lead me astray. In Marrakech I was harassed by women, grabbing at me to do henna as I was walking and held my hand drawing on me walking with me, even though I dislike henna and told her no, and didn’t have money on me (which I did not) and she would not leave or stop, then demanded money and caused a big scene. I was also led astray by a man who spoke perfect English telling me he’d lead me to NOMAD restaurant and told me this big story about how his Berber family from the Atlas Mountains goes there to learn to cook, only to then drop me off at a spice shop which was on the complete opposite side of the restaurant so I could buy things.
    I was also followed by multiple men, saying “you’re going the wrong way.. your Riad is this way… you’re so beautiful let me take you to where the beautiful women go.”

    I even went to the police station to report Dar El Ghalia at the request of Booking.com (whom I booked the Riad through) and was escorted by a trustworthy nice young Moroccan, but even after being with him for a couple of hours, he tried to make advances, touching my leg and trying to hold my hand, and asking about my sex life and preferences.

    I have very thick skin and get over things quickly, but this place had me in anxiety and on the verge of tears daily. It made me so disheartened because Morocco had been on the top of my list since I was 15, and to feel like I have to be escorted around is just sad. But, that is the culture and I do recommend still going just with a sensible private guide who knows the language and people, a very protective and aware man or a tour group. I have to give it time but I will go back and visit the desert, Essaouira and beach towns but with a man and a guide.

    • Lauren
      January 2, 2018
      Reply

      Ugh, I’m so, so sorry to hear about your experiences, Natalie. It’s so terrible that you were treated that way. Morocco’s a tough country to travel through as a solo woman, so I’m not surprised to hear you also cut your trip short. Thanks for sharing your experiences here, so that other women can have a good idea of what to expect when they visit.

  146. Pedro Bellido
    March 6, 2018
    Reply

    Simply gorgeous! Such a beautiful place, even though you have to always have an eye open, but totally worth it.

    Thanks for sharing! I loved the pictures!

    • Lauren
      March 22, 2018
      Reply

      Thanks, Pedro!

  147. Jim Gibson
    June 23, 2018
    Reply

    I learned a lot from your post. I love the pictures! What a great place to travel. I love Morocco!

  148. Gillian
    November 10, 2018
    Reply

    Hi Lauren,

    I’m a solo female going to Morocco for a week and a half at the end of this month for holidays. I will be arriving in Marrakech, then wanting to visit the Sahara and if there is is time, Essaoira. Can you please suggest accommodation for me in Marrakech? Safe tours to the Sahara? and accommodation in coastal town such as Essaoira? Also, do you know of any female meet groups there ? Thanks, Gillian

  149. Stefan
    December 3, 2018
    Reply

    Just got back from Morocco on Sunday having cut my trip for a few days due to the people I met there.
    I am a guy and pretty big actually but I really disliked their attitude and had to keep my temper in control due to the fact that I was thousands of miles away from home.
    I posted my thoughts about Morocco on my blog since I think that people should be aware of everything before they visit a new country!
    Personally regardless of how many good stories I hear I would never recommend Morocco for a single girl traveller!

    • Lauren
      January 8, 2019
      Reply

      It’s always good to receive other perspectives, so thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences, Stefan. I’m sorry to hear you ended up cutting your trip short! It sure is a challenging country to travel through.

  150. Ali Alrohia
    February 27, 2019
    Reply

    You were brave to go alone but these kind of trips feels better with friends.

  151. Tamara
    March 25, 2019
    Reply

    The sexual harassment we faced in Morocco was the worst anywhere by a long way. The worst place was the Marrakesh Bazaar. It was so crowded and men would grab us and making hissing noises. All the girls in our group had to cross their arms over their chests (to stop the grabbing) as we tried to get out of there. It was a horrible nightmare.

    • Lauren
      March 25, 2019
      Reply

      I’m so sorry to hear that, Tamara.

  152. Hematologist
    April 3, 2019
    Reply

    Hi As a 57 year old potential solo traveller to Morocco. Do you think my age would provide protection from male harassment?

    • Girl on the move
      May 16, 2019
      Reply

      I am likely heading to Morocco for a few weeks this summer. Regarding your age…. sadly there are lots of poor desperate shameless Moroccan men that consider anything foreign fair game in pursuit of getting of Moroccan. Descent Moroccan men you are less likely to encounter as they usually actually are in school, have jobs or have families to take care of. Better quality Moroccan men do exist … but they are not as likely to be encountered as they are not the looser that are harassing women as a profession. Local women also have issues with regular aggressive sexual harassment in Morocco. The story in Tangier really angered me as it reminded me of an experience I had in Istanbul.

      I want to encourage women to be upfront about their experiences and stop describing these situations as “attention”…. this is outright sexual harassment and it should not be sugar coated. Morocco has huge problems with sexual harassment. It is does not only happen to tourist is it a common problem for local women. As a tourist dealing with that is a temporary fear, but imagine how crippling and scary it would be to have to deal with that on a daily basis?

    • yvette
      August 11, 2019
      Reply

      no…..not really the young guys like old women to…they even marry them mainly for there money wait for them to die…so many there all scammer keep away from Moroccan men…

  153. YC
    April 5, 2019
    Reply

    I am currently in the middle of our Morocco trip with my wife and I definately see all the harassment on a daily basis towards females which would be unacceptable in my country. The constant leering and touts at my fully covered wife even though she is by my side is concerning, I can’t imagine what it would be like as a solo female traveller. Not sure if it is a lack of self control or education or both. Makes me sad that females have to put up with this rubbish in a daily basis. Not really sure how a country can progress as a whole with these attitudes towards half their population.

    Marrakech was a great place and had a great desert experience. We booked to join a group tour of about 15 people through ‘Marrakech desert expeditions’ but ‘Miftah tours’ actually operate the tour. Driver was great and none of the solo female travellers got harassed from we saw or heard.

    Currently in Casablanca and honestly, don’t bother with this place if you are tight on time. The Mosque is incredible but that’s it. Might be good if you live there and have time to explore as others have mentioned but give it a miss as a tourist here for a couple of days. I reckon the harassment was on par with my time in New Delhi.

    Like most people said, amazing country and everyone has different experiences. There are mostly nice people as others have said but the lack of respect towards females was definitely a downer.

  154. yvette
    August 11, 2019
    Reply

    good and bad in every country ….but so many bad in morocco yes don’t make eye contact helps…as if they think there the best looking things since sliced bread…full of themselves..you have to understand them .girls meaning you whoever reads this they think all tourist women are easy..there looking for a way out..and some are even married and still scamming many are married and still having there women on the side the wives don’t want that but what can they do? cant go back to there families no welfare for abused or single women with children ..morocan men in my experience of Arabic countries are the worst..lieing cheaters..and so full on with the compliments I have seen so many older women marrying younger men as if …it wont last it never does they want kids and they want your country citizenship where ever your from so they can look good when they go back..they seem caring they seem everything just believe me there either born this way or been doing there scams since childhood..i believe they love there mothers that’s all..they don’t respect women at all..i think they think women are just a vessel for things they want.and muslim country I will eat my hat..Bull crap the most unmuslim country I have come across…even at ramadam a lot sleep most of the day and up all night just change there sleep patterns..not so hard..alcohol never seen so much a lot a drinkers..and hash..they all do it most of them..hey guys its a drug and addictive and not islam I wonder if they know that…I could go on and on..I have lived there..i have Moroccan children I know a lot have lived there to..any info you need don’t mind telling..

  155. Veronica
    October 14, 2019
    Reply

    Wow, I’m rather disappointed with most of the feedback. I am a 64 yr old woman and I will be going to Portugal next year and since I will then be retired, I thought of just flying to Morocco and spending a couple of days in Marrakesh at the Sofitel hotel there, now I’m not so sure?? Thoughts?

  156. Vagabonde
    November 3, 2019
    Reply

    I spent 2 weeks in Morocco last year as solo female traveller in my 40s, this country is the worst I have been to so far. Catcalled, followed, groped, harassed… it was relentless. And yes, I dressed modestly. The landscapes were gorgeous, especially in the Atlas mountains, but I could not enjoy a single day of my holiday because I was constantly dodging unwanted attention, looking over my shoulder and I never felt like I could have a genuine interaction with the locals. Everybody wanted something, and men clearly felt entitled to my money and my body. When talking to me, a lot would just stare straight at my boobs!

    I will not go back to Morocco. When I am on holiday, I want to relax and enjoy myself, and I find it deeply unpleasant to have to be on my guard every time I step out in the street. I will also think twice before going to another conservative muslim country, since women clearly enjoy a much lesser status than men in those very patriarcal societies. When you invest time and thousands in a trip, you want a positive experience, not fight every step of the way and come back more stressed than when you left!

  157. Sophie
    December 25, 2019
    Reply

    Hi Lauren, thank you so much for sharing your wisdom!

    I’m a 20 year old student about to embark on a 3 week trip to Tétouan for Arabic classes. I grew up in France and speak fluent French, and am learning Arabic in college, but I’m still nervous. I’ve never really travelled alone before, and as you described, Morocco is a daunting place to start. I did go to Rabat once but it was with my mother, and any harassment we did get was never unbearable. Do you think the season makes a difference? I’ll be traveling in January, which I assume is a relatively tourist-free time of year. I’m wondering if that means there will also be less harassment.

    Any other travel advice would also be appreciated! Thanks xx

  158. Ramon
    December 30, 2019
    Reply

    Lauren,
    I was just there in Morocco in October at all the places you visited for two weeks. As a male foreigner with my wife, we did get harassed to buy this or that. This occurred in the Medinas. We travelled with a tour group. However, we travelled independently on our own at midday and at night. I did get asked frequently about my origin as I was compared to a Moroccan actor. I took it all with a pleasant attitude and smiled. More importantly, we ignored unwanted remarks, sales, and offers with a preoccupied look for elsewhere and walked with a predestination in mind. We enjoyed the independent walks in Rabat, Marrakech, Meknes, Casablanca, Fes, and Essaquira. We also enjoyed a night in the Sahara Desert. We loved it and hope others will as well. I offered my advice as I have researched countries for advice. I often follow female solo travelers’ advice in visiting countries. My advice to female travelers is to blend in with the cultural norms and try to use a pleasant and friendly attitude. Be aware and astute. Morocco is worth visiting.

  159. Azizi
    January 8, 2020
    Reply

    I’ve been stuck in morocco now 16 months yes I get bugged all the time and I really don’t care i learn how to tell them to fuck off and show them im not scared of them women as well try for harass me and I say them thanks I don’t let small things stress me out but honestly learning to swear in there language is best when your travel solo I read how if you ignore them they get mad ! I try same thing but in the end I’m say kawd meaning fuck off and they be shocked they swear back at you but this gives you the opportunity to walk away don’t let them think they are better then women we all come from the same place and for this we is all equal remember this !

  160. Kiki
    January 17, 2020
    Reply

    I had a very similar experience in Morocco and I would never, not ever, go back. I haven’t experienced anything remotely similar anywhere else.

    • Lauren
      March 15, 2020
      Reply

      I’m so sorry to hear that, Kiki.

  161. Denise
    February 8, 2020
    Reply

    Heey, wow it’s almost sad to read these comments.. I’m sorry for all of you who felt that way.

    I travelled there (solo) four years ago, and I’m going back (solo) next week. I’m so excited! I’m 1.74, blonde, light skin. I’m used to getting some attention on holidays. And I did, but albeit for one weird dude, never in an disrespectful way. But my Morocco experience has been soooooo different! There were 2 scams (the guy bringing me to the hotel) which I obviously refused to pay, and a woman with henna (too bad, I fell for that). Other than that, I was actually really really lovely!

    I have a very long I-could-have-ended-up-in-human-trafficking-but-it-turned-out-amazing story, but I’m too lazy to type it out. Some guys gave me compliments, in the most respectful way ever. I got free food (and plates) from a restaurant because the man really wanted me to try out their desserts, which I later shared with the homeless people, had friendly people showing me the way, helping me out, help me get better prices at lunchplaces, found some roaming camels to cuddle..

    For all the ladies traveling alone: go during Ramadan. I am not sure if that had something to do with it, but I fell in love with both the country and it’s people.

  162. Ryan
    February 24, 2020
    Reply

    There are some horrific experiences shared here. I went with my wife back in 2008 and didn’t really experience any of the horror stories most people have seemed to encounter.

    We stayed for 4 days and 3 nights (always inside the Medinas) but never felt threatened or even harassed more so than your basic sales pitches by street vendors.

    Word of advice have a local show you around and never wander aimlessly. If you look like you’re lost you will be approached. Have a destination in mind and go with a local and you’ll be fine.

  163. zoher daginawala
    April 12, 2020
    Reply

    its exactly 1 year -i visited my best ever trip to morocco
    i am a male solo traveller and after going through your article i almost decided to cancel travelling to my dream deatination of morocco- and i had send you the email to get some advice -and your reply was very encouraging and it drove me to go ahead with my plan and i had a wonderful trip of life time -the people were very nice -you have to be little careful specially in fez
    your advice was that as a male and from india we are supposed to be always vigilant in our own place so nothing to worry and i should go ahead with the wonderful trip of moroccco

    • Lauren
      April 12, 2020
      Reply

      Yay! I’m so happy to hear you had a great trip, Zoher!

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