Many women coming to Morocco are understandably nervous about travelling in a country with such a male-dominated culture and ask us whether it’s safe for them to travel alone.
Since Easyjet and Ryanair started flying to Morocco things have improved a lot and the tourist police make sure that no one gets hassled too much. So a woman can now travel in Morocco without any major problems.
That said, it’s worth bearing a few things in mind: few Moroccan woman would ever go backpacking around by herself and so it’s hard for Moroccans to understand why a woman would travel by herself. Some men may think that means that you’re easy and might make suggestive remarks when you pass them in the street. But that’s about as bad as it’s likely to get.
You can minimise these kinds of situations by dressing appropriately: leave the mini skirts at home and try to wear long sleeved shirts and dresses. Especially if you’re blonde, buying a scarf to wrap around your head helps you blend in, especially in more conservative areas of the country.
When talking to Moroccan men it might help to say that you have a boyfriend or husband who’s due to join you later on and it’s probably not a good idea to accept an invitation to stay at some guy’s house unless he’s married and his family live with him. Couchsurfing is cool but if you go to stay with a young guy who lives with himself then he’s likely to get the wrong idea.
If anyone really does try to take advantage of you it’s worthwhile calling for help from others in the street. You are a guest in Morocco and the guest if the face of God, according to Islam. The community will usually come to your protection if needed.
As far as coming to the retreat goes you’re very unlikely to experience any problems on the way to the desert. Marrakech is pretty relaxed these days and well-policed and then we all travel on the bus together to the desert where the locals are very respectful of tourists – both because their culture requires it and also because we provide a lot of jobs.