The North African country of Morocco is a beautiful land, filled with splendid landscapes, interesting cultures and traditions, and delicious food. A strongly Islamic country, the two main ethnic groups are Arab and Berber. The main language is Arabic, though French is widely spoken too, a throwback from colonial times, and English as well-understood in the main tourist areas. Some Berber tribes speak their own dialects and languages.
Whilst Moroccans are, on the whole, pretty warm and welcoming, here are some useful tips for solo females who want to enjoy this diverse nation:
Unless you’re on one of the major tourist beaches, don’t ear skimpy clothes to walk around in – you’ll just draw attention to yourself! You’ll notice that many local females wear head scarves and long items of clothing with long sleeves. Keep as much flesh covered as possible to avoid whistles and cat calls. Whilst generally harmless, and more of an annoyance than anything sinister, dressing conservatively can go a long way in Morocco.
Don’t be Overly Friendly
Whilst you should certainly engage with the locals when appropriate and possible, avoid showing too much attention to a particular person of the opposite sex … unless you want them to think you are romantically interested of course! There are strict rules concerning romantic relationships in Islamic societies, and, for devout Muslims, it isn’t acceptable for a man and a woman to be alone together. Do note that it is actually illegal for an unmarried couple, where one is Muslim, to share a room together too.
Don’t Look Lost
Pulling a map out or wandering around looking confused generally isn’t a great idea in many unfamiliar places, but in Morocco it can attract two kinds of people: those who want to assist, and those who want to take advantage of the situation. The second group of people generally don’t want to cause you any harm, but will likely be persistent in showing you the way, and then demand payment for doing so. If you really do need help, try and ask someone inside a shop; they cannot leave their premises usually so won’t be out to try and scam you. Alternatively, look for a police officer. A top tip is to carry the telephone number of your accommodation with you and call them should you need directions.
Taxis are generally inexpensive and safe and are a good way to get around places that you’re not too sure about. Especially at night time, as with almost anywhere, you shouldn’t walk around deserted dark places alone. The small taxis have meters, and you should make sure they turn it on. The larger taxis (grand taxis) don’t have meters and you will need to negotiate a price beforehand. It can help to ask your accommodation for a rough guide of prices before you go out so you know around how much you should be aiming to pay.
Drugs, including cannabis, are illegal in Morocco. You should avoid getting drunk in unfamiliar places. All other common sense tips, like keeping valuables hidden and being aware of your surroundings, apply. Most people enjoy calm and enjoyable visits to Morocco – have fun!