If you’re thinking about heading to Morocco, awesome! You should totally go, it’s a beautiful country and definitely an experience you’ll never forget. It can be overwhelming at times, especially if you don’t know what to expect. Read through this quick guide to make your trip to Morocco as safe and easy as can be.
If you’re a beautiful girl, (which you are! unless you’re a dude…) and you go outside, you will get harassed in Morocco. Shop keepers, cab drivers, random guys on the street – they will all yell lewd comments at you. Mostly they’re harmless and a testament to your majestic beauty, but it can definitely get overwhelming if you’re not expecting it. Here’s what to do:
• Ignore, Ignore, Ignore.
Sunglasses and headphones are your best friends. Unless you’re intent on buying something from their shop or going out for a drink with them, the less interaction with someone who yells at you, the better. In my experience, every Moroccan guy has one thing on his mind: sex. And you, my western friend, are what they call an “easy” target.
• Try Not to Get Angry
For some reason, Moroccan men tend to get off on that. It makes you seem feisty and like a challenge. DON’T challenge them, even if it goes against everything you are as a total feminist bad ass bitch. However…
• If Someone Touches You Inappropriately
This is not okay in any culture, including Moroccan, and it is extremely shameful to make a woman feel uncomfortable. How you handle this is up to you but I have heard stories of men apologizing on their knees when yelled at in public by a woman. Just think before you throw yourself into a full blown confrontation. Do you have backup? Have you been drinking?
• Don’t wear tiny clothes
It gets HOT in Morocco, true. But put together a culture of sexual oppression and a pair of hot legs in short shorts and you are inviting rude comments. When I first moved there I was all like “hell no, I will wear whatever I want – I’m not going to let societal norms force me into jeans when it’s 105 degrees outside” but trust me, it’s much easier to abide by the rules. And if you don’t want to be a walking invitation for sexual harassment, try to blend in by always covering your shoulders and knees.
• Wear A Cross Body Purse
They’re much harder to steal and you’ll be seen as a more difficult target. Backpacks are a bad idea. The ONE day I wore a backpack in the medina, I was literally stopped by police and warned to switch it around to the front. (Which I did and proceeded to look like a turtle for the rest of the day.) Avoid that.
• Don’t Arrive Anywhere After Dark
Try to arrive wherever you’re going during the day. Walking around an unfamiliar place, not knowing where you’re going and having all your stuff with you makes you a prime target. Night trains are a great way to arrive in the morning and also save on hostels.
• Watch Your Shit
Getting on and off buses is when most robberies happen. Stay alert, have your purse zipped and your hand over the opening until you’re out of the crowd of people. Try to have your hands free just incase and always have your stuff on your person when on transportation.
• Walk Confidently/ Act Like You Know What You’re Doing
If you’re good enough to fool yourself, you good enough to fool everybody else. Again, don’t make yourself an easy target. If you stay alert and engaged with your surroundings instead of staring off into la la land, you’ll be harder to bother.
• Expect to Pay ANYONE You Accept Help From
A little kid will ask if you need help getting to your hotel, you’ll say yes and feel so relieved because you’ve been wandering around the medina getting lost as all hell and thinking maybe you’ll just sleep in the streets tonight. He will expect you to pay him when you get to the hotel and it’s customary to give them something. Feel free to buy him a juice or candy as well.
• Ask Women For Directions
Men tend to lie and think it’s funny when you get all turned around and lost. To avoid being a laughing stock and passing by the same jerks three times, ask a woman. She’ll point you in the right direction and usually walk with you if she’s going the same way. Note: you don’t have to pay these women but buying them a pastry when you reach your destination is a nice gesture.
• Be Wary of Super Hot Moroccan Musicians That Call You Their “Flower” and Are Way Too Charming for Their Own Good
Does this seem a little specific? I hate to even use the “R” word here but yes, western girls are a target for rape. It’s generally known in Marrakech that some guys float around the nightlife circle looking for tourists to use for free drinks, commission at friends’ shops and ultimately, for sex. Try not to get involved, no matter how sexy, sweet and genuine he seems.
• Don’t Get Hammered and Wander the Streets Alone at 4AM
Duh. This seems like a really obvious thing to say, but I can’t stress it’s importance enough. While this isn’t a particularly great idea in any country, there are parts of the world where it’s perfectly acceptable and normal to stumble home wasted as the sun is rising. Morocco is not one of them. Be smart and be safe.
Don’t let this article freak you out! Morocco is absolutely beautiful, full of amazingly friendly people, incredibly diverse culture, delicious food and gorgeous beaches, mountains and desert. It is absolutely worth exploring and one of my favorite countries, but like anywhere else you need to be smart.
Check out some of my more positive thoughts on Morocco here.
Alexa is a twenty-something girl that likes to travel, eat, take pictures and make bad jokes.