Travel tips for solo woman travelers in Morocco
Travel tips for solo woman travelers in Morocco Reviews
Dec 29, 2007
On driving a car, solo woman traveling, roadblocks and staring:
Things to do before you go:
* Raid your husband’s closet and take all his cotton, long sleeve shirts that hide your curves
* While you are in his closet; steal his Swiss watch with a compass (sorry Chris:-)
* Put your make up, shorts, mini skirts and tank tops back in the drawer
* Go online and buy a loose fitting pair of combat pants, wrap around sunglasses and a cap
When you arrive:
* Braid your long blond tresses and put on your cap and your sunglasses (I am assume you are wearing the combat pants and your husband’s long sleeve shirt)
* Get in the car, ignore the Sahara sand on your dashboard, chair and trunk, and lock the doors
* Try to get generic directions to your destination; in cities like Marrakech and Fez I counted no more than 3 street signs and even with my compass it took me 1,5 hour find the road to Quarzazate.
Once you're out the city, driving is very easy and relaxing and you won't get lost, simply because you can't (there are so few roads)
* When pulled over by cops, smile; take off those damn glasses and bat your eyelashes like crazy. Compliment them on their English (ignore they tell you ‘good morning’ when your watch says 8 PM), unfold your big map, and explain you are lost. Say you don't have any money yet and frustrate them by pretending not to understand a word of what they are saying. Eventually they will get in touch with their inner savior and help you make a U turn and wave you goodbye.
* Roadblocks are everywhere. I was frightened to get ripped off by corrupt cops but that never happened. They are not interested in tourists and as soon as they see you are one, you are allowed to pass.
* When you head south, you will see people being very creative in trying to stop you from driving. They will stand on the road; stop their car in your lane and such. This is scary at first, but I learned that most of them just want to promote their uncles guesthouse, restaurant, camels, dades, etc. That doesn't mean you have to stop! I just let my engine roar and that convinced them to get out of my way quickly. NEVER stop, it might be a scam.
* When you drive through little villages, everybody will stare at you and that made me very uncomfortable at first. Then I had the pleasure to sit down in a little village myself one day, and together with my new Moroccan friends I killed time by watching people, donkeys, overloaded cabs and tourists go by. Very relaxing and entertaining. I realized they don't stare because you are a female or a foreigner; they stare at anyone who passes, because that is simply what local Moroccans do. (what would you do without a tv, internet, your Ipod or your next Lonely Planet?)
* Although it gets warm, please do as the locals, and keep yourself covered. I have had no problems traveling solo as a woman in Morocco, and I think that is because I respected the local customs and kept myself covered. Most of the time people thought I were a guy and only up close they marveled ‘oh, it’s a Fatima!’. This made my life easier and definitely more interesting. In the cities I walked without any problems while around me girls, wearing long sleeve but tight fitting hoodies were getting verbally harassed.
That said, I must add that it is your right to dress like you want. And don’t forget, it is the local’s right to take pictures…:
I went with a couple of guys to their family homes. On the wall were blurry, enlarged pictures of female tourists wearing tank tops and shorts. Those girls were obviously oblivious to the fact their pictures had been taken and were now hanging on the wall of some stranger, for the whole village to come see and use for future reference in wet dreams.
Ye be warned!
That said, Morocco is nothing to worry about. The people are very warm, helpful and hospitable. I never felt unsafe and I am definitely going back. Going solo helps you to connect with the locals in a way I have never been able to repeat when I'm with a travel partner.
3 / 3 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!