10 Tips for Women Visiting Morocco
October 22, 2015
If you’re ready to venture out of your comfort zone and visit Morocco, you may have questions about what to wear in order to be respectful as a woman.
10 Tips for Women Visiting Morocco:
1) You’re not the first woman to visit Morocco. Tales of female travelers to Morocco are in English literature from the beginning of the 20th century (Edith Wharton anyone?) There are millions of tourists that visit every year and yes, that means many of them are women. Morocco is as safe for a woman to visit as any other country. There are some general precautions to keep in mind but if you traveled anywhere in the world you will be facing similar issues.
2) Be Aware. Don’t walk down streets alone late at night. Don’t carry large sums of cash. Don’t befriend people and hope for the best. If you’re alone go easy on any alcohol or don’t drink at all to avoid putting yourself in a compromising situation. These aren’t precautions just for women, they’re for anyone. It’s also uncommon (though this is changing) for women to sit in cafes. There are many that are fine for either gender to use, but there are “male” cafes too. If a woman is sitting in a male cafe it can lead to unwanted advances as the women that sit in those cafes do it to pick up men (aka prostitutes). If you want to visit a cafe ask at your riad, hotel, or to a guide. Most importantly, keep your senses and be cautious and alert.
3) Keep Your Smiles to a Minimum. I get it. I’m American and we smile – a lot. It took me a really long time to stop flashing a smile just because or to say hello. I’ll now smile and greet the ladies and old men in our neighborhood or on the street however I will never, ever flash a smile at a boy/man that is a teenager to about 60 years old. A smile means more than a smile here, it’s an invitation to continue (or start) a conversation, which then leads to other assumptions. I think it’s easier to just avoid that altogether.On that same note, avoid making small talk with men. Keep communication to a minimum.
4) Ignore the Comments. If I’m being honest then you need to know you’re going to hear comments (mostly from that male demographic I mentioned above). Some are innocent, perhaps complimenting you or exclaiming how beautiful you are. Flattering isn’t it? Maybe at first, but not after awhile. I’ve found the best way to deal with this is to just ignore it. It might seem rude not to respond but if you do respond it again is seen as an invitation to continue the conversation. If someone gets really aggressive, let them know you’re going to get the police and for them to leave you alone. If you really do feel threatened or overwhelmed, seriously find a police officer and let them know. Moroccan police do not take kindly to harassment of tourists.
5) Consider What You Wear. Yes, in most places in Morocco you really can wear whatever you want. Tank tops, short shorts, high heels, whatever you name it. This is especially true in big cities. But, just because you can wear it doesn’t mean you will want to wear it. Like it or not, the more revealing you are with your clothes, the more comments and harassment you may receive. Be yourself but keep in mind this is a Muslim country. You may want to consider wearing a wedding band, even if you’re not married. If someone propositions you simply show them your ring and let them know you’re married. They usually will stop at this point. Also, consider carrying a scarf (not sheer) that you can drape over your shoulders if you feel uncomfortable.