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Full Report 11 Days Solo Female Traveller

London, United...
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Full Report 11 Days Solo Female Traveller

Hi everyone,

Just got back from 11 days in Morocco and since everyone here has helped me a lot so I thought I'd do my part and write a full report just in case anyone here care to read. First of all I would like to say that I absolutely love Morocco. I didn't think I would love it this much but I do. I fell in love from the first day and I can't wait to go back. However, I want to write an honest report based on my own experience. If anyone disagree etc please remember that this is based on my "personal" experience.

Travel Dates: 1st - 12th November

Route: Marrakech - Merzouga - Erg Chebbi - Fez - Chefchaouen - Tangier

Transport: Bus (Supratour/La Ideal)

Total "scammed": 100 - 150 Dh for the whole trip including overpaying for stuff, asking for directions then asked for money, "charged" for taking pictures of something etc

Safety: felt safe most of the trip, no serious issue

Clothes: jeans, short sleeves t-shirt and shirt, cardigan - no issue

Health Issue: None. I ate everything but stick to bottled water the whole time. I still have my tough Indonesian stomach!

Marrakech

Weather: Hot around 27 degrees

Hassle Level: Normal to Low

Hygiene Level: Normal probably similar to Indonesia

I stayed in a lovely riad in the Medina for 2 days and asked to be picked up from the airport as I didn't want to get lost on my first day. It costed me 15 EUR and it was probably one of the best decisions I made. The driver didn't mind taking me to get my Supratour bus to Merzouga for the 3rd Nov and when I was struggling to find small change he said not to worry and gave the 10 Dh that I needed and refused when I try to pay him back. Bless him. I stayed at Riad Le Coq Berbere which was absolutely perfect and it probably set the mood for me for the my time in Marrakech. Visited most of the usual touristy places, Ben Youssef Medersa - very beautiful, Maison de la photography - this is worth a visit, beautiful place, photos and I had lunch on the terrace, there is a young gentleman there who gave me a brief tour of the place, he is knowledgeable and joked about the free "tour" saying this must be the first time I hear something is free in Morocco haha, then just wander about and had dinner at Djemaa El Fna. I tried those snails soup thing it was OK but I've had better, maybe next time I'll try a different stall/place. Second day I went to Atfalouna, got very lost so I had to ask some random guy to show me where it is. It was one of the highlight of my trip. The children looked really happy and well looked after and so friendly and gave me hugs and kisses and wanted to take pics with me etc haha such positive energy. While I was there I met a young guy from UK who's volunteering for a few weeks there. Hakim is really nice and I really respect him a lot for doing what he does. He's a very busy man so I didn't want to intrude too long. I brought some french books and my friend from Australia and I gave a small amount of donation. Other than that I also visited the tomb, Bahia Palace and El Badi Palace.

Merzouga - Rissani - Erg Chebbi

Weather: Hot around 27-28 degrees during the day but I needed my wool cardi and blankets during the night

Hassle Level: None

Hygiene Level: Normal probably similar to Indonesia - flies were a lot due to date season but it didn't bother me and it didn't make me ill

I spent 3 days and 3 nights here including my 2 nights camel ride/desert camp. I went with Moha Aventura and stayed the first night after the long 12 hours bus trip at his hostel Auberge Le Petit Prince. I'm extremely happy with my stay there and the camel trip he arranged for me. Everything was amazing stargazing, moon rise, sun rise, great food and great company (I was by myself most of the time but there were small groups at the camp and lunch place). For me this was another highlight, even though after 2 days of camel ride I don't think I'd ever want to do that again. It's a pain in the a** literally. The food was really really good. Someone from his hostel took really good care of me and took me to Rissani to see the local market the next day before the camel ride etc. Also met some really nice people during the bus ride, had a good conversation with a guy from Rabat who spoke perfect English with almost American accent and lovely lady from Marrakech who turned out to be a teacher and then another lady who gave me cookies. No fat man trying to fob me off, luckily I read TA forum and Moha warned me in his email too.

Fes

Weather: A bit cooler 25 degrees during the day but I needed my card during the night

Hassle Level: High

Hygiene Level: Normal probably similar to Indonesia

I took the night bus to Fes with Supratour. The bus right was fine, driver was careful, no crazy driving, met a lovely lady on the bus who even though couldn't speak English she gave me cookies haha. Fes is probably my least favourite. I got hassled a lot, a bit too much for my liking. I spend too much money here than necessary due to the hassling and getting lost and I just want to get people off my back. Maybe I was just being unlucky. The most annoying/ almost scary moment was when I asked a young guy for direction, he was absolutely fine and he didn't even end up asking for any money but while I was being shown by this nice guy another guy who's about 15-16 years old started following us around and at first I thought he was his friend but then he started harassing me and saying inappropriate things and it seems that the nice young boy who was helping me didn't dare to tell this guy off so I told him to get lost since he started saying really sexually inappropriate things. After I got rid of him the nice boy who's helping me told me that he's a sex worker. It makes me sad especially because of how young he is. And then there was a guy at this place where they process leather and wool who insisted to show me around the place for "free" then ended up asking for money. I don't think I care about the money, they're not that much but I think after a while it gets really tiring and it's that feeling of being deceived and not knowing whether help means real help or "help", also I felt like I have to be alert all the time. All in all Fes was interesting even though I was glad I was only stopping over for 1 night there. I tried the camel burger and the date milkshake at cafe clock which was nice.

Chefchaouen

Weather: varies a lot during my 4 days there from warm to cool to really really cold. There were also quite a lot of rains.

Hassle Level: Low

Hygiene Level: Normal probably similar to Indonesia

This is another highlight of my trip. I loveeeeeee it here. I met so many nice people though most of them are other travellers. It is absolutely beautiful - one of the most beautiful places I've been, excellent food, quiet and the medina is easy to handle even for me who needs a gps to find my way out of my own apartment. I met another traveller from UK and we decided to take the taxi to Akchour even though we didn't get to the waterfall due to the rains but it was still a beautiful and worth the trip, we also went to a small fishing village and had seafood and fish for lunch. I spent the other 3 days doing absolutely nothing and it was perfect. I visited the Hat Man. He knitted 3 hats especially for me and I got a scarf for myself and another for my friend, had a long chat with him very nice guy. I also bought a couple of stuff from this place where the blind people made woven stuff. It was tricky as I only speak English and they don't at all and also I couldn't use hand gestures as they couldn't see. Luckily there was a moroccan family who were tourists themselves came in and the son asked me if I needed help with the communication haha and I straight away said yes yes please. Did I say food was excellent? The warm bread and cheese were amazing. I ate way too much here. Stayed at Casa Perleta which was really amazing. It's so beautiful and everyone was so friendly and helpful. I spent my last day at Riad Baraka as I spent way too much money already.

Then took the morning bus La Ideal 8.30 am to Tangier and then catch my flight back to London.

My personal advice is to do a lot of research, read trip advisor forum in and out, always remember that you are visiting a country in Africa not in Western Europe so don't go blindly expecting it to be the same, have common sense and be careful and try to look like you know what you are doing there even when you don't to give the impression that this is not your first time there and you're not vulnerable. You might still come across bad experiences because not everyone is an expert in spotting dodgy people (even me who came from Indonesia, one of the dodgiest place on earth) but if you've done the above hopefully, you'll minimise the unpleasant experiences.

One thing I learned from this trip is that I'm not going to be bullied into giving more money than I think is fair to those people who asked for pictures/direction money next time. From what I learn, they will eventually go away. And I always say no thank you, maybe later or I'm not shopping I have money to those pushy shop owners to stop them hassling me.

Hope that helps a bit! I can't wait to go back already :) My friend teased me I had gone all Eat, Pray, Love because he knew I hate that stuff haha.

Edited: 13 November 2012, 00:18
Salt Lake City, Utah
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1. Re: Full Report 11 Days Solo Female Traveller

Great report - with the balanced perspective of a seasoned traveler! Having also traveled solo in Morocco I thought it was interesting that you ranked Fes "High" in level of hassle and felt like you had to always have your guard up. Of all the cities on my trip, that was TOTALLY my experience in Fes and my thoughts exactly! I had a young teen boy grab my backside while making my way back to my Riad in the evening. And it wasn't just an innocent brush - it was a two hand lingering grope! Followed by a series of vulgar gestures. Yuck! Its kinda funny now because it was so brazen - but it was not so funny when it happened. I was so mad at the audacity of it, I turned around swinging and screaming at him, and ran him off with all the "crazy mad woman" strength I could muster. I have been to Morocco several times since and probably will never go back to Fes - but it was an interesting one time stop. And I still love love love Morocco!

Again - great post! Cheers!

Edited: 13 November 2012, 03:32
marrakech
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2. Re: Full Report 11 Days Solo Female Traveller

Hi,

One of the most helpful travel posts ever. I am sure you will reassure many women thinking of visiting. I've added it as a link in the Top Questions box so it is easily found in future.

Thanks also for visiting Atfalouna in Marrakech and thinking about the less fortunate children in Morocco.

El Jadida, Morocco
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3. Re: Full Report 11 Days Solo Female Traveller

This is such a positive review, despite the occasional scams and hassles. You had the right attitude and did your homework!

Thank you for spending so much time on this.

idaho
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for Sun Valley, Ketchum, Beach Vacations, Idaho
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4. Re: Full Report 11 Days Solo Female Traveller

great review, thanks for taking the time..i lived thru vicariously your report!

Tweed Heads...
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5. Re: Full Report 11 Days Solo Female Traveller

Hi Lufchic, thank you for sharing your thoughts in your trip report :-). I wish there were more of these for those of us who want to read up and prepare ourselves for our own trip.

My friend and I will be in Morocco for 3 weeks in January. We have been planning it for over 12 months. It's hard to get information from recent travellers, so your report has been most informative. I have been to many parts of Indonesia over the years (I really love the country and the people), so your comparisons helped me picture what I should expect.

We are really looking forward to visiting a country with a culture so different to anything we have previously experienced.

We will be staying at riad Casa Perleta, so was glad to hear you enjoyed it so much.

I also have la maison de la photography on my list, so it sounds like that will be marked down as must do.

Many thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts.

London, United...
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6. Re: Full Report 11 Days Solo Female Traveller

Thanks everyone :) glad it helps in some ways. Veejay in some ways it is similar to Indonesia but in some ways Morocco is way more conservative than I thought. I think if you are a female you'd probably notice this more when you are there. Just noticed you're in Oz. Quite a long journey :) I just moved to London 6 months ago from Melbourne. Have lived there for 12 years.

San Francisco
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7. Re: Full Report 11 Days Solo Female Traveller

Quite an incredible post! One of the best and unbiased and coherent that I've come across on the site. Will save it as I plan my return trip in the spring!

Bristol UK
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8. Re: Full Report 11 Days Solo Female Traveller

Just come back from Fes & found it a lot less hassling than Marrakesh. At least when people offered to guide you, they would take no for an answer straightaway, unlike Marrakesh, where we were followed for hours & got so tired of it ! I also got lots of free help in Fes. Perhaps it is different for young women alone, but dont be put off Fes, which is a wonderful friendly place in my experience !

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9. Re: Full Report 11 Days Solo Female Traveller

great post thanks.

Leiden, The...
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10. Re: Full Report 11 Days Solo Female Traveller

Hi, the report was really great! I am planning to visit Marocco alone (I am a female Indonesian). I have asked around people who had been to Marocco before (including several Moroccan friends who live in Germany) and all of them said that it's not safe for a female to go to Marocco alone. However, I will be going back to my country in August and I really want to visit Marocco before that - even if I have to go alone. Do you have any suggestions or tips on the safety and situation there? Thank you!