Featured Blog: The Blonde Abroad
Author: Kiersten Rich
– Is It Safe to Travel Alone in Marrakech? –
Ultimately, yes. Just like any city in the world, you have to use common sense when traveling alone, as there is always some risk, and you have to take caution. This doesn’t mean you have to be totally paranoid – but don’t forget to follow your intuition and make sure you are prepared for different issues that may arise.
As an Arabic society, Marrakech men have different expectations of women. When it comes to being a white women in Marrakech, you’re going to get unwanted attention.
Most of it is completely harmless and just involves men calling out random things to get your attention.
Overall, the men in Marrakech are harmless. If you’re a female traveling alone, be smart about it. Walk with confidence, be assertive, and let people know you know how to handle yourself!
– Where to Go –
There are many wonderful day trips and overnight excursions from Marrakech. Just about every tourist stall in the Main Square, Jemaa el Fna, will advertise these, and hostels often organize them too. Prices are very reasonable and will give you priceless experiences!
Of the many day trips, one of the most popular it the trip to the Ouzoud Waterfalls in the Atlas mountains. You can spend the day hiking and plunging off waterfalls into the the crisp, cool water below.
Another option is taking an overnight, or two-night, excursion to the Sahara desert where you can ride a camel, sleep beneath the stars, and let the endless sand dunes take your breath away. Head into the Oukira Valley and watch as the landscape changes from brown deserts to a green oasis in a few hours.
There is so much to see and do around Marrakech city and the surrounding areas that there is no way you’ll be disappointed!
– Getting Around –
Marrakech is a safe city to walk around, but take the same amount of caution you would in any other city when out and about. Always keep your purse zipped up and ideally in front of your body, as there are pickpockets like any other popular destination.
On important tip, is to be mindful of people trying to scam money from you. This can happen when you first arrive and get off the bus with your luggage or when you’re wandering the streets- someone may ask where you’re going and will offer to show you the way.
Don’t be fooled into thinking it’s an act of kindness, because they will ask for money once at your destination! Just be smart and confident if you’re approached, say you’ve been to Morocco before, and know the way you’re going- even if you don’t, just bluff!
– Experiencing Marrakech Cuisine –
Moroccan food is full of flavor, with tasty spices and seasonings, and cooked in a unique way. The food is healthy and nutritious, and also really vegetarian friendly, so you can expect guilt-free feasting!
The marketplaces of Marrakech are the best place for a bite to eat. The main square, Jemaa el Fna, comes alive at night in a vibrantly buzzing atmosphere filled with delicious aromas. Walking through the stalls is an experience in itself, as each stall owner tries to grab your attention.
The food is essentially the same at each stall, with couscous, tagines, skewers, and traditional salads featuring on all menus. So it’s totally up to you where you sit down…just decide on which street food impresses you the most!
Helpful Tip: While the meat is generally safe to eat, the source is most likely unknown so it is a judgement call if you think it’s fine to eat.
– What to Wear –
Deciding how to cover up is always a big question when heading to a Muslim country. Marrakech is a big city and a popular tourist destination so it has seen plenty of western travelers, which is an advantage to solo female travelers.
However, it is still an Islamic society with a rich culture where women are expected to cover their knees and shoulders. As a western female traveler, it shows respect to put some effort into wearing conservative attire.
When planning your outfits, you want to make sure you are comfortable and that you choose something lightweight so you won’t swelter in the heat. To cover your shoulders, a loose top with sleeves is a great option, or using a scarf as a shawl to cover up works as well.
– Where to Stay –
Hostels in Marrakech are very reasonably priced, and are also centrally located around the main square. The hostels have a comfortable social vibe that you’d expect, plus comfortable spaces to sit and hang out in the Moroccan sun.
If you’re traveling alone as a girl, hostels are also a great chance to meet people to tackle the marketplace with.
Most hostels also organize fun excursions and day trips, so you have the opportunity to get out and explore with fellow travelers and with a local guide.