I don’t really remember what I’d told her, but she was pretty adamant. When I bid her adieu, I felt like I might never see her again. Truth be told, I was sort of right.
She never did return. At least the one who I knew never did. The one I picked up from the airport was, well, someone else. I mean, she looked the same, talked the same. But there was something about her, she had changed so drastically and beautifully.
And then the stories began, she landed in Rabat. And she was welcomed by a few of the most beautiful people on Earth. The way they smiled, stretched deep into their souls.
But I stopped her there, “Tell me about the people, how safe is Morocco for tourists?” Don’t take me wrong, but I was genuinely curious.
Even though I couldn’t see her face as I was behind the wheel, but I could feel her rolling her eyes.
“Look,” she said, ”From the moment I got out the flight, there was nothing but warmth and radiance, sure I had my ups and downs, but, nothing serious”
“Tell me more”, I pushed her, “How are the public transports?”
Are Public Transportation in Morocco Safe?
“So, I took the train from Marrakech to Casablanca. We booked our tickets beforehand, and the seats are reserved as first and second class, but the price range doesn’t really vary much, so we got the first class. So, you remember the Trolley witch in Hogwarts Express in Harry Potter?”
“Yeah, I love Harry Potter”
“So, there was a snack trolley in this train too, and it came quite often. I was asleep most of the time. It’s really comfortable.”
“What about the others? The buses?” I asked her.
“Oh yeah, we did catch a few buses in Marrakesh. It’s preferable, actually, as long as it’s not crowded, they don’t rob you. The taxis, well, unless you have a local or you’re really good at bargaining, it’ll cost you a fortune”
“How were the buses? Were they crowded?”
“Not always, I found a seat all the time. And it’s really cheap. Costs around 4 Dirhams. That’s around 70 rupees to anywhere you want. And this was an AC bus, mind you.”
“Oh wow, that’s cheap. What else did you catch?”
“So you can catch the horse-carriage or an auto. It’s called a tuk-tuk over there. It’s always cheaper to catch one away from the stands, but if your bargaining skills are non-existent, it won’t make much of a difference. But the good thing is, they expect you to bargain. That’s just how Morocco works. These guys are just trying to make a living” she replied. “Well, and then there’s always the taxis. Do keep in mind that they always have meters. They tend to not switch it on, when they notice you’re not a local. The road safety in Morocco is amazing.”
Tl;dr : Buses are cheap, and the best way to get to places. Taxis and horse carriages are okay as long as you know the right value and get your bargaining skills back on.
“Oh, that’s interesting,” I replied, “What about the night, is it safe to travel then?”
Is it Safe to Travel at Night in Morocco?
“Look, it’s a foreign country, and they’ve all got their ups and downs as I’d mentioned” she replied. “So, I mean, to be honest, there were a few cat-callers. A friend of mine screamed ‘Go away’ at a guy, and he smiled back asking if she wanted to be friends. But I’m sure they didn’t mean any harm. But, I loved the nightlife of Morocco. It was beautiful and there were so many street performances in Marrakesh”
“Didn’t people try pick-pocketing you?” I asked.
“Well, none from our group were affected by something like that, we did have a lot of fun. A few kids would pose for pictures and then ask us for a tip. And a few of the strangers who helped us get to places asked us for a tip. But they were a tiny percentage of the people who helped us just because we were lost. They have the biggest hearts. But to be on the safer side, always be in a group.”
“So Morocco is pretty safe, huh?”
“But-” I began to argue.
“Dude, don’t get defensive, I’m just pointing out the facts” she replied. “Listen, I’m hungry, can we get something on the way?”
“Understood. And yeah, sure. There’s a McDonalds on the way. Is that good?”
“Oh no, I want to have something Indian, I miss Biriyani” she replied.
“How was the food in Morocco?” I asked.
“Oh, amazing. You walk through the streets and you get all these smells, it’s beautiful. Moroccans love bread, and you find so many different kinds of those. Oh, and the Moroccan sweet mint tea, phenomenal. They have couscous every Friday. The Tangia is well known in Morocco, and you definitely must try it, but you only find it in Marrakesh. The desserts are mostly made of almonds and honey, but they also have special desserts made on Ramadan like harira soup and sfouf cakes. And the Moroccan cuisines are so vast, they were even voted the second-best country to have cuisines on the planet”
“Didn’t you get any back with you to India?” I asked.
“Yeah, but they were so good, I had them all on the flight, I’m sorry” she smirked.
Tl;dr : Morocco is safe in the night. But it’s best if you don’t get lost and you’re in a group. People are always willing to help you out. They might want a tip, but they’ll make sure you’re safe.
I sighed. “Also, didn’t you go anywhere just by yourself? Was that safe? Or do you know any other women who traveled alone?”
Is Morocco Safe for Solo Female Travelers?
“Oh yeah, I traveled to Asilah all by myself. It’s a beautiful seaside town. And I absolutely loved it. It was beautiful and the beach was, just wow. Get this, pirates used this town as a base of operation back in the 19th century.” She said.
“Wow. What was the beach called?” I asked.
“The paradise beach.” She laughed, “And yes, it did do justice to that name.”‘
“Yes” she sighed, “It was completely safe, I even had night strolls in the beach, though I didn’t walk too far. It was a spiritual experience. And so peaceful. Oh and, well there are these women who approach you and try and get henna on your hand, forcibly, and then charge a lot. Oh and also, if you’re a woman walking around alone, a few people do approach you for marriage proposals.”
“What?” I laughed, “How many did you get?”
“A few, until a friend suggested me to wear a fake wedding ring, that sort of drove the guys away” she laughed too.
Tl;dr : Morocco is safe for solo female travelers. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. Respect their traditions and culture, and take care of your belongings. Beware of the henna woman.
“Did you meet anyone else from India who wasn’t in your group?” I asked.
Is Morocco safe to travel for families?
“So, this one day, when we were in Chefchaouen, I met this Indian family who decided to travel by themselves. So, Chefchauen is this beautiful city in Morocco where everything is painted blue. And I’m not kidding when I say everything. The walls, floors, doors and windows. Everything’s blue. And right above that, are the Atlas mountains, and they loom over everything. It was one of the most unique and beautiful places I’ve ever visited. So, anyway, this family were from Bangalore and were traveling around Morocco. And they absolutely loved it. People tend to be a lot nicer to you when you’ve got kids with you.”
“Really? Isn’t it harder to travel with kids?” I asked.
“Generally, yeah. But Morocco welcomes kids. I would even say it’s easier to travel around Morocco with kids. They were even welcomed into places they wouldn’t have been allowed otherwise. Morocco is really family-friendly.”
“Oh wow. That’s amazing.”
“Yeah, it really was.” she sighed. She looked out of the window. And we travelled in silence for a bit.
Tl;dr : Chefchaouen is beautiful, and Moroccans love kids. Kids can even be your entry ticket to places you wouldn’t get invited to otherwise.
“So let’s assume I decided I wanted to travel to Morocco, is there anything else I’ll have to keep in mind? Like, a few safety tips?” I asked her.
Safety tips for traveling to Morocco
“Always carry water with you. You really need to take care of your health and safety. You’ll never know what water is sold in the shops. They sometimes sell tap water, but a lot of Moroccans do that. It’s said that the water is clean and that it’s chlorinated, but, just to be on the safer side.”
“Okay, noted. What else?” I asked.
“Beware that there are pick-pockets. And it’s always best to stay on the safer side and be cautious. And be strong when you bargain with vendors and taxi drivers. Or they charge exorbitant amounts. It’s easier if you have a Moroccan already with you, and even better if it’s someone you trust.”
Tl;dr: Carry a bottle of water always. Take care of your wallets.
“I mean” she continued, “you definitely must visit Morocco sometime. It’s beautiful, exotic, and definitely out of your comfort zone. I now have friends who I can now call my family. It was a lot to take in, but I never felt in danger. You need to experience this, and not listen to me. Get out here. This is the only life you have.”
Honestly, listening to everything she said, I realized I had to be more open to new experiences and embrace change. I’m not even kidding when I say that Morocco is now going to be on top of the countries I will visit one day.
To sum it all up, here are 9 points to stay safe in Morocco
- To stay safe in Morocco it’s always best to stay in a group. Especially if you’re a woman.
- Like all countries, petty crimes take place here too. So avoid carrying a lot of cash at a time.
- Respect the country’s traditions and dress accordingly to avoid unwanted attention.
- Avoid flashy jewelry, this tends to turn heads, and especially those of criminals.
- In case you’re looking for a tour guide, make sure you find someone suggested by your hotel, friends or anyone you know.
- And whenever they say “no money”, that’s when you have to be most careful, as most of the time they tend to either ask for a tip in the end, or take you into their shops and make you buy something.
- Be wary if they offer tea in their shops. These are amazing salesmen and they make conversations and in the end you tend to buy something out of guilt, and if you do say no, it might lead to a bit of an argument, and none of us want the negativity.
- Always carry a bottle of water with you.
- And also, it’s always best to learn a few basic Arabic and French words before you travel here. Everyone in Morocco speaks French and Arabic, and very few speak English.