Home » The reality of solo female travel in Morocco

The reality of solo female travel in Morocco

written by Bex Shapiro March 4, 2017

There are moments in Morocco when the doubt really seeps in. On the road, usually.

And you ask yourself what it was that compelled you to come to North Africa as a solo female traveler. Because it ain’t always easy. A night bus coming to a shuddering halt somewhere in the Atlas Mountains, provoking a fight you can’t follow, all Arabic and French. Feeling lost and overwhelmed in the sticky, chaotic mess that is Casablanca’s bus station. Trying to navigate Marrakech’s medina as daylight fades, walking in circles, feeling like the whole area was designed to confuse.

That’s the bad, and there’s no point in pretending it doesn’t exist. But, lows like these only serve to contrast with the highs, and there’s few countries where these highs are so epic, so dramatic, and so full of wonder.

Yes, those anecdotes above are truthful ones, experienced by yours truly – and at the time they worried me, of course. But what sticks with you is not the moments you’re reminded of your vulnerability, your otherness, Morocco’s patriarchal nature, but the many in which you witness the country’s beauty and the people’s warmth.

Dades Gorge MoroccoThis beauty and warmth will take you by surprise, even if you’re used to the wonders of travel, the kindness of strangers.

Looking down over Marrakech’s bustling public square, Jemaa el-Fnaa, as the sun sets is a sight that stays with you for life. As does the first time you set eyes on Chefchaouen, a startlingly blue-washed city that only emerges after hours in a rickety bus. And back down south, the Sahara needs little explanation. Which is good, because it’s not easy to explain quite how awe-inspiring the sand dunes of Erg Chebbi are, and how alone yet alive you feel when exploring them.

RELATED: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT CHEFCHAOUEN, MOROCCO’S BLUE CITY

But it’s the fact you feel alone in such a foreign country that leads to the most memorable experiences. In my case, the experiences that happened because of traveling solo started with me looking lost then getting saved by a caring local on a motorbike. They continued with the best tagine of my life, every mouthful enjoyed, no need for the hassles of conversation. And they ended with new friendships aplenty: a musician from Ghana, a writer from Portugal, a teacher from America (and, well, the cute German is a story for another day). But, more so, traveling solo led to an appreciation of the culture, and an immersion into it.

Morocco cultureFor you, well there’s no way of knowing what crazy, ridiculous, memorable experience will fill your days in Morocco. But I can advise on a few things I found out as a solo female traveler there. First off, sunglasses. We’re going to assume the whole ‘dress modestly’ thing is a given, but sunglasses might not be. Well, they work wonders for evading eye contact when you’re just not in the mood to be sold rugs and trinkets. Bonus points for the fact they make you feel more powerful celeb and less clueless wanderer.

THIS 15-DAY ‘BEST OF MOROCCO’ TRIP IS JUST FOR SOLO TRAVELERS!

What else? Wander off the beaten track, but know how to return to it. Google Maps is your friend – paper versions are just a little too obvious. But you won’t feel the need for either map if you join a small group tour. As a solo traveler, there are few things that’ll make you feel more settled than making new friends and having them to navigate Morocco’s stunning, chaotic cities with.

Morocco MarrakechCHECK OUT INTREPID’S NEWSLETTER FOR COMPETITIONS, GIVEAWAYS, TRAVEL INSPO & MORE

The rest is all simply a case of planning well and using common sense. You don’t need to be told again that Morocco is incredibly diverse, so sticking just to big metropolises or singular regions means you won’t see it at its best.

Casablanca is Morocco’s most cosmopolitan city, so head there if you’re looking for slightly less of a culture shock. Alternatively, head somewhere more chilled, like Essaouira. This fairly liberal port city on the Atlantic is a great deal more manageable than somewhere like Marrakech. (Check out this definitive guide to magical Essaouira!)

But, moving away from advice-giving, and back to Morocco’s magic. There aren’t many countries that take you from dazzling mountain ranges, to vibrant souks, to stunning sand dunes in a matter of hours. And when it comes to these sights, you might arrive alone, but you’ll end up leaving with new friends aplenty, travelers and locals alike. Promise.

Got the solo travel bug? Intrepid has a new range of trips just for solo travelers (Morocco included!)

All images c/o Intrepid Travel

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16 comments

Sam January 11, 2019 - 10:47 am

I’m going to Morocco in Jan 2019 and I’ve only encountered horror story blog posts up until now. It’s stressful reading about other peoples experiences but this gave me a bit of reprieve especially as a female travelling alone, thankyou 🙂

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Gabby L November 16, 2018 - 2:23 pm

I’m going to Morocco in jan 2019, love your opinion. Just read a awful blog which scared me so much but you changed that mood! Thankyou

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Sylvia Weaver December 27, 2018 - 11:01 am

Hi I just read the blog also abit weary as I’m going to be a lone female traveler.Planning a 4 day trek in the begin of Jan but hopefully came back with nice memories but the blog made me think to be positive for my big adventure.

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Olivera June 26, 2018 - 2:18 am

I’ll be soon heading to Marrakechs by myself and it’s safe to say that I’m kinda freaking out at this point :D. Especially cause it’s my first solo trip ever. So I found your article to be helpful and reassuring. My parents are strictly against it and I don’t know how to bring them around. I know that I want to go and see something new and different, but people around me think I’m crazy for going on my own cause apparently it’s “very unsafe”, especially for a woman. Have you dealt with that kind of pressure when you first started traveling? Thank you for sharing your experience and I wish you safe travels!

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Rebecca Shapiro June 29, 2018 - 12:45 pm

Hey Olivera, thanks for that kind comment! You’ll have an amazing, impactful first solo trip. As long as you dress modestly, use common sense and stick to places you feel comfortable, you’ll feel completely fine. In Morocco as a solo female, I felt particularly comfortable in Essaouira and Chefchaouen. Do feel free to drop me a note if you want any info on our group tours there or I can help further 🙂 rebecca.shapiro@intrepidtravel.com

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Emilie July 26, 2018 - 6:47 am

Hi Olivera! When are you going to Morocco? I plan on going early September! Would be nice to share if you want!

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Olivera August 1, 2018 - 11:28 pm

Hi Emelie! I actually got back from my trip, I was there for one week in mid-July. Otherwise I would have been happy to share of course. It was fun and I enjoyed exploring Morocco, and overall it didn’t seem scary or unsafe even for a complete rookie like me. I would definitely want to go again one day and see more. I hope you have great time at your trip and I’m here if you have any questions (even though I’m hardly an expert but I’ll do my best)! 😀

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Rizzi August 27, 2018 - 3:01 pm

Hi Emily,
I am planning to go on September as well Maybe we can meet up

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rick be July 27, 2018 - 1:22 pm

You are much better off going with a tour group,Olivera.Solo travel is a tough gig,even for a big guy like me and especially in Morocco.

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Tob June 1, 2018 - 4:32 pm

Thanks for sharing Rebecca. I went to Morocco in March. It’s a very beautiful place, but a little bit hot

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Julia January 20, 2018 - 12:46 pm

Thanks for sharing Rebecca. I’m planning to visit Morocco this summer. Is it hot in June-July?

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Rebecca Shapiro January 21, 2018 - 1:59 am

Hi Julia! I was actually there in August and it was super hot. I’d suggest June would be a more comfortable time to travel for you! Hot but not as hot! http://www.holiday-weather.com/marrakesh/averages/june/

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rick be January 21, 2018 - 2:26 am

Hot? As a friend said, “like a blow drier in your face”.

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carol January 2, 2018 - 11:25 am

I want to go to Morocco the first week of February (next month) and spend at least a day and night in Rabat where my grandson is studying for the year. Only have a week. Can you find a guide for me (and maybe my husband). Carol

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Raybon May 31, 2017 - 10:27 pm

very beautiful place and very well written article on solo female..
thanks for this

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Alan Rimmer March 11, 2017 - 4:45 am

Although a bloke I can fully agree with Rebecca’s article.
I trekked in the High Atlas and can say that both the Trek Crew and the people I met were most friendly and hospitable.
Hope to be able to go back shortly

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