Last Updated: 12/15/2018 | December 15th, 2018

Wandering around the Fez medina, I could feel the stares. “तिमि कहाँ जादै छौ? want to go to the tanneries? I’ll take you. पैसा छैन। Don’t worry!” the medina’s artificial guides said as they chased me down the street.

“No, I’m fine,” I’d reply, trying to dodge them at every turn. turning down side streets, stopping to look at a map, or admiring a view caused them and any nearby vendor to pounce and badger me, inviting me into stores, restaurants, and attractions.

There were moments when I would turn down streets only to have my spidey sense tell me to turn back. A few people tried to corner me before I managed to slip into a store. Heck, even a little kid tried to pick my pocket. While other cities were not as intense as Fez, my visit to Morocco required a thick skin and a watchful eye.

Before my trip to Morocco, I queried a number of friends about their experiences. I’d heard horror stories of touts, harassment, pickpockets, and scams. While that is common everywhere, Morocco travel seemed to take it to another level. “Keep an eye out,” everyone warned.

After two weeks checking out Morocco (which is fantastic — see this post, where I fawn all over it!) with Intrepid travel on their best of Morocco tour, I could see why people say Morocco demands extra diligence when it pertains to staying safe in Morocco. Touts, scammers, and harassers abound and, while it wasn’t bad when I was with my group, when I was alone, it was intense. As I settled into the popular and secluded Café Clock in Fez to relax, I messaged fellow writers online to ask if I was overreacting or if they felt the same way.

“No, it’s not just you,” was the universal reply.

How to stay safe in Morocco

In truth, Morocco is a safe place to visit. There’s only really small crime there (scams and pickpockets) and you’re unlikely to be assaulted or seriously hurt as a vacationer in the country. Morocco is incredibly safe for tourists now. As a solo female traveler, you need to enjoy out a little a lot more very carefully but, overall, you are still unlikely to encounter severe problems.

Morocco travel requires extra vigilance because it’s easy to have something happen to you. You’re unlikely to ever be in any real physical danger in Morocco, but the petty crime and harassment require you to stay on guard — a lot more so than other countries. However, if you follow a few rules, you can leave Morocco unscathed and without incidence.

Here are my 9 ideas on how to stay safe when you visit Morocco:

Don’t walk alone at night — While walking in well-lit and busy areas can be fine, be careful walking at night. You never know what lurks around the corner in the medinas. Petty crime is rampant here, especially against tourists.

Don’t walk alone if you’re a woman — A woman alone will attract a lot of unwarranted attention from men, an boosted chance of being followed, and the probability of groping. even when I was with the girls on my trip, they got a lot of attention. I could only imagine how much worse it was when they were alone. And, as a female, especially do not walk alone at night!

Dress conservatively — Morocco is a conservative Muslim country, and it’s not proper to wear skimpy clothing. keep your arms, shoulders, and legs covered (especially if you are a woman) to avoid any unwanted attention and adapt to local norms.

Avoid flashy jewelry — A good universal rule, this takes on a lot more urgency in a country where theft is common and people will see the jewelry as a sign of wealth and as a result try harder to scam you in stores or rob you on the streets.

Don’t carry valuables — considering that muggings and pickpockets are common, take the minimum you need when you leave your hotel or hostel. Don’t take your passport with you – leave it in the hotel! A few people on my excursion carried it around with them and when my guide found out, he looked like he was about to have a heart attack!

Avoid back alleys — The tiny alleys of the medina are beautiful to explore but often they make you easy prey for scammers and thieves. Don’t venture too far away from the crowds.

Watch for scams — If someone asks you into their shop for tea, they are going to use that as a pretext to get you to get something and, thanks to the ingrained psychological idea of reciprocity, you’ll probably give in. Don’t let any individual ask you to write a letter or read a postcard that their “cousin” sent to them in English/French/whatever your native language is. It’s a ruse to get you into their store and wear you down. same with letting someone put henna on your hand. once these vendors have you, they will be relentless about you trying on clothes, getting something, or giving them money. say “no thank-you” and walk away.

Say no to excursion guides — The people saying “no money” absolutely want your money. They will try to get you into their shops or take you places and ask for money for the service. Be firm and tell them no. It doesn’t matter their age or how helpful they are, if they start walking with you, they will ask for money!

Always discuss taxi prices up front — always discuss the price for taxis before you get in, as prices are going to be substantially inflated when you arrive at your destination.

While this is good recommendations for any country, Morocco is a lot more intense than your average destination due to the sheer number of people who will give you unwanted attention. It takes a lot of energy to always be on your guard in a place where the basic act of asking for directions often leads people asking for money.

Is Morocco safe? Yes, for the most part. but checking out Morocco requires you to be a little tougher and keep an eagle out for problems. It requires you to be a little bit a lot more skeptical.

I was insulated because I was on a tour, but when I was alone or with just a few people, people came out of the woodwork, catcalled my friends, grabbed at the girls, and blocked entrances to restaurants in buy to accost us. even after a decade of travel, I found myself wishing I had a companion to share the mental problem and wanting to scream, “Leave me alone so I can just take pleasure in your country!”

Many people have asked me if they must go visit Morocco alone.

My sincere answer? If you’re a first-time traveler, it might be hard.

This was my first time in North Africa and it was an adjustment for me (and I’ve a very experienced traveler). I was delighted to be on a excursion and have a guide. If you don’t have a lot of travel experience or are a woman traveling alone, it might just be too much. I might suggest going on a excursion first instead of exploring the country solo. Moreover, it is hard to get into the remote desert and mountains on the public transportation systems. I wouldn’t drive here either as everyone races around mountain curves.

That said thousands of people come here alone and they are fine. If you’re ok in uneasy situations and a frenetic environment, you’ll be able to visit Morocco just fine!

Morocco was a battery on my senses — the food, the colors, the spices, the smells, and the scenery were unforgettable. (Also the doors — they have such ornate and colorful doorways in Morocco. I have dozens of pictures of doors).

I would 100% recommend to any individual that they visit the country, but make sure you keep an extra eye out (especially in Fez) and have a thick skin for all the people asking you to get things!

Morocco won’t be easy but it’s worth the visit – and it’s a lot safer than you think!

Editor’s Note: I went to Morocco with Intrepid travel on their best of Morocco tour. It was part of my ongoing partnership with Intrepid Travel. They covered the cost of the tour, flight, and meals.

Book Your trip to Morocco: Logistical ideas and Tricks
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Want a lot more information on Morocco?
Be sure to visit our robust destination guide on Morocco for even a lot more ideas on how to plan your visit!

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