We get it. When traveling to a new country a whole list of worries and concerns can come to mind. So, your question “Is Morocco safe” is a valid one to ask! Whether you are a solo female traveler, a couple, or a family traveling to Morocco, we’re here to give you some Morocco safety tips that you can use during your visit.
Situated in Northern Africa, Morocco is a Muslim country. Meaning they follow Islamic laws and customs. Receiving anywhere from 10 million to 13 million tourists annually, Morocco ranks among the top-visited Arab countries in the world…and for good reason!
It’s a country packed full of rich history, amazing culture, flavorful food, and not to mention an endless itinerary of amazing things to do and see.
That being said, things can still happen when you travel to a new country. We’ll cover some essential safety tips for visiting Morocco, so you are prepared for your trip!
Is Morocco Safe For Tourists?
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Morocco Saftey Tips
Morocco is a wonderful country full of bustling medinas, tantalizing smells, and rich culture that makes anyone feel all those good wanderlust vibes.
However, with all the beauty and interest Morocco inspires, there are a few safety tips for Morocco we want to share.
1) Keep Valuables Out of Sight
Since petty theft like pickpocketing are the most common crimes tourists experience, it’s important you only carry with you only what you need and place the items you do carry, out of sight.
- Leave your passport locked up in the safe at the hotel
- Avoid placing anything in your back pockets! Keep items in your front pockets of trousers, in pockets that zip, or in a cross-body bag or backpack.
- Do not carry a lot of cash. If you have a decent amount of cash with you, make sure to keep the contents of your wallet a secret when you are paying for things in the medina and do your best to only carry the cash you need with you for the day.
- Avoid wearing flashy jewelry, and keep a hold of that cell phone and camera too. Basically, don’t flaunt your valuables or keep them in sight.
- If you are carrying a bag, wear your purse across your body and not on your shoulder. Having bags on your shoulder makes it easy for pickpocketers to run by, grab your purse/backpack, and be gone.
2) Keep An Eye Out for Scams in Morocco
The shop sellers and souk vendors of Morocco can be aggressive. But it’s nothing again you, it’s the haggling culture of Morocco! They are salespeople and boy oh boy, do they know how to sell!
When exploring Morocco, you’ll likely encounter one of the following. Just be kind, yet assertive, say no thank you and move on. Simple as that 🙂
- Moroccan women may approach you and start drawing Henna tattoos on you. This is not for free! They will expect a pricey payment at the end. Kindly, but assertively ask them to stop and keep walking.
- If a snake charmer or Monkey tamer in el-Fna Jemaa in Marrakech signals you to take a picture, expect them to demand money at the end. This also rings true for souk shops. If you take pictures, ask first, or else you can expect them to ask you for some money.
- You may have someone pretend as if they recognize you. They don’t. You’ve never met them. It’s a scam. Ignore them and move on.
- When shopping the souk stalls of the Medina’s NEVER take the price first offered to you. Don’t be afraid to haggle! Everything is negotiable.
- Be aware of people hanging around you at ATMs and only use ATMs in your hotel or at the bank. And always avoid getting cash out at night (unless in your hotel)
Check out some tips for shopping in the Medinas of Morocco!
3) Be Wary of “Fake” Tour Guides in Morocco
Be prepared to get offered “amazing tours at amazing prices” when you are out walking the medinas of Morocco.
However, do yourself a favor and kindly decline.
These tour guides, while very friendly, will try to get you into their shops or take you to their friend’s shops to push you to purchase items in their stores. It’ll be a headache of a day and far from a spectacular tour.
If the “fake” Tour Guides start walking with you and giving you the tour without your permission, this is where you need to be stern because they will most definitely heckle you for money.
TIP! If you are interested in a tour guide, coordinate with your accommodation or book ahead of time on reliable and top-rated platforms like Viator.
4) Never Get in A Taxi Without Knowing The Price
While many cities and places in Morroco are walkable, you may inevitably have to get a taxi. Prior to getting in the cab, always negotiate the price for taxis upfront!
Do not get in the taxi until you know the cost. We repeat, do not get in the taxi until you know the cost!
If you get in the cab without knowing the cost, you could be hit with an outrageous fare once you arrive at your destination.
Oh, and this is a global tip, not just a Morocco tip 🙂
5) Buddy Up and Stick to The Beaten Path
Be careful walking alone at night in Morocco and avoid unlit areas and un-populated alleyways.
Do your best to stay on well-lit streets and routes and when you can, walk in groups.
Basically, just be aware of your surroundings and only bring what is essential with you. Leave the rest of your belonging at your accommodation.
TIP: If you’re staying in a hostel, partake in their group activities and social events where you can make friends whom you can go out and walk with!
Oh, and do your best to stick to the “beaten path” or tourist circuit/area. You don’t want to unknowingly end up in a sketchy or unsafe area.
6) Skip The Tap Water in Morocco
Drinking from the tap in Morocco is honestly 50/50.
In the major cities of Morocco, tap water will usually cause no harm. However, it’s not a guarantee. So it’s up to you if you want to chance it!
It’s safest to drink bottled water when traveling in Morocco. However, you can opt to purify the tap water yourself which may stop you from getting diarrhea.
We always travel with medication like Tums or Ciprofloxacin to help aid in any tummy troubles we may encounter when traveling to destinations around the world.
7) Limit PDA, such as Kissing in Morocco
Out of respect for the people and place you are in, avoid public displays of affection (PDA) in Morocco. Moroccan society is conservative and being publicly affectionate to your partner is something highly frowned upon in Morocco.
Now, being your a foreign tourist and you slip your significant other a kiss, don’t freak out! Likely no one is going to say anything to you. Just do your best to keep any PDA to a minimum during your time in Morocco.
Is Morocco Safe For Women?
First, understand that no matter where you go, traveling as a woman is always going to have its risks. It’s sad but true. Unfortunately, Morocco is no exception.
As a female, it’s an inherent understanding that we must always exercise more caution than our male counterparts when traveling.
However, and this is a big HOWEVER, traveling as a woman in Morocco can be very safe and full of new adventures! Below are some safety tips for women traveling to Morocco that will come in handy!
1) Ignore The Men
Moroccan men can be very forward. They may stare and may even say things like “Hello beautiful lady” as you are walking by.
Kindly walk past their cat calls and ignore them.
Don’t engage with them and if they approach, be stern and assertive to let them know you mean business! And if it comes down to it, don’t be afraid to alert tourist police, make a scene or ask for help if something happens to you!
2) Don’t Walk Alone Late at Night
Now, this goes for any place you travel to as a woman, but do not walk alone at night. Just don’t.
In Morocco particularly, the streets are not that well-lit and can be EXTREMELY hard to navigate. It’s easy to get lost and end up in a neighborhood that you don’t want to be in.
If you do go out and night, make it to a restaurant or place VERY close to your accommodation and in a well-lit area. And always let someone know where you are going.
3) Dress Conservatively in Morocco
Morocco is a conservative Muslim country. Making it not appropriate to wear provocative clothing that shows off those female assets of yours, no matter how amazing they may be!
When visiting a conservative country like Morocco, remember you are in their country and some of your clothing choices/styles you wear back home are not appropriate to wear during your trip to Morocco.
Nothing against you, but to be respectful of the place you’re visiting, its people, and its customs, and to avoid unwanted attention, dress on the conservative side when visiting Morocco.
Meaning covering your shoulders, cleavage, and legs to avoid any unwanted attention.
Morocco is hot, so loose, airy clothes are a great option for women.
Think flowy dresses, long skirts, linen pants, etc. Oh, and a scarf is a GREAT tool to have in your arsenal. You can cover your shoulders when you’re wearing that tank top of yours or use it as a wrap.
4) Hire A Local Tour Guide
This is by no means necessary but is a great idea if you are feeling a little nervous traveling by yourself. Book a local guide through your accommodation or online, and never with a vendor on the street!
Doing walking tours with a local guide in popular cities like Marrakech and Fes or booking a Sahara Desert Camp experience are all great ways to safely get around Morocco and also learn about the culture and history as well!
5) Have An International Phone Plan
If you are a solo female traveling in Morocco, you’ll want to always have access to a working phone, not only when you can connect to WIFI.
You’ll never know when a situation will arise that you’ll need to use Google Translate, a map, or get in contact with someone. Oh, and share your location with your friends and family back home too so they know where you are.
TIP: Make sure to have maps downloaded to your phone so you can use them when cell phone reception isn’t available. When walking the bustling medinas of Morocco, cell reception can be hit-or-miss.
Also, you can sign up for travel advisories and alerts to stay up to date on any protests or recent conflicts in areas you may or may not be visiting.
6) Keep Those Smiles To A Minimum
If we make eye contact with someone on the street most of the time we give a little smile or a nod, just to be friendly.
Avoid doing this In Morocco.
Look, it’s not like you can’t be friendly, but in Morocco, a kind smile from a woman may be misconstrued as a sign that you are interested or find someone cute.
A smile can even be taken as a sign of flirting. So, do your best to limit your smiles to strangers, especially men, you pass by on the streets.
7) Don’t Be Afraid to Say “La”
“La” is the Arabic word for “no”.
And in some instances, saying “La” versus “No” may go a little further.
Also, never give out your number or social to local Moroccan men. If you do, you’ll get bombarded with Whatsapp messages, Facebook friend requests, and Instagram messages/calls asking for you to be their girlfriend.
We’ve met a handful of travelers this happened to, not to mention this happened to Lauren’s sister when we were in Guatemala!
Long story short, just say no to avoid your future self social headaches 🙂
8) Have a Boyfriend or Husband Story
Obviously, this is something we didn’t have to worry about as we are married, but we LOVE THIS tip for any solo female travelers out there.
While it may seem a little outlandish and silly, having a boyfriend or husband story (even when you don’t!) may save you from flirtatious Moroccan men wanting your phone number.
You can go as far as even wearing your favorite ring on your ring finger, have a picture of a guy friend (aka your boyfriend) on your phone, and fabricate a love story between yourself and that boyfriend of yours!
Have fun with it and use this as an extra level of “back off” when needed!
9) Listen to Your Gut
Finally, ALWAYS listen to your gut.
If something doesn’t feel right, it’s probably not. Remove yourself from that situation and don’t look back. Be smart, use common sense, and rely on that gut feeling when traveling in Morocco (and anywhere else you go) and you should be just fine!
Is Morocco Safe For Families?
During our time in Morocco, we saw and spoke with a handful of families, all of whom were loving their time in Morocco. From our conversations with them, we learned a few things about tips for traveling as a family in Morocco.
- Booking private transportation. Shared transport like bus travel can get crowded and a little overwhelming. If you book a private transfer to your next destination, you can leave and stop when you want, making it a nice, flexible option when traveling with kids in Morocco.
- Book private tours. A private tour of the city or overnight campout in the Sahara lets you enjoy time with your family and only your family, vs being a part of a larger group.
- Book accommodations with a pool. This is a fun way for the kiddo’s to unwind and take a break from the hot sun of Morocco.
TIP: While a personal choice for how your family operates, vaccinations for kids (and yourself) are recommended when traveling to Morocco. All travelers should be up to date on current vaccinations, like measles, hepatitis, and tetanus. As always, you can consult with your healthcare practitioner to determine what is best for your family.
And last but not least, just a heads up that Moroccans love kids. Kids are viewed as a blessing in Moroccan culture so do not be alarmed if Moroccans try to pat your kids on the head, kiss their foreheads, or shake their hands.
Is Morocco Safe for American Tourists?
Yes, we are a travel couple from America so we felt that we should include a little blurb about traveling to Morocco as American tourists.
We understand that the political climate is ever-changing and as Americans, we may get a bad rap. But that was not our experience AT ALL in Morocco. We never felt unwelcome or unsafe during our 7 days in Morocco.
Never, not once.
Tip: You can check the State Department’s website for the latest and greatest information on security threats and travel warnings in Morocco.
The people are so kind, so welcoming, and generally excited to share their country with you. We met the most wonderful people. From tour guides to hotel staff and souks vendors, the warmth we felt when visiting Morocco is a memory we won’t soon forget.
So, Is Morocco Safe?
Morocco is safe. But understand bad things can happen and this is no matter where you go.
Be smart, be aware of your surroundings, and use common sense.
Our biggest tip when traveling to any new destination is to be open.
Sure, some of Morocco’s customs may not be what you are used to back home, but be open and a whole beautiful world will unfold to you.
Morocco is nothing short of amazing.
Is Morocco Safe? When In Doubt, Get Travel Insurance
You never know what’s going to happen when you head to a new country. Not to be bearers of bad news, but accidents happen.
We frequently use travel insurance as an additional means of safety through World Nomads. There is no better peace of mind than knowing you’re covered if the unexpected happens!
World Nomads has definitely come in handy for us a time or two! But that’s a story for a different day 🙂
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For more travel tips, guides, and awesome travel shots, be sure to poke around our site, and follow us on Instagram @wanderingstus, Pinterest, and Facebook. Oh, and if you have any questions, let us know in the comment section. We’re happy to answer. Or, just leave us a positive note!
– Lauren & Jesse Stuart (The Stus)