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

Please read the original post, which gives a lot of information for an Indonesian female travelling alone.

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

Hi, thanks for the response. I have read the original post and several similar posts as well suggesting that it is safe for female to travel alone in Marocco. Those tips and suggestions are really helpful and convinced me to travel alone. However, ever since my Maroccan friends told me that it's not safe, now I am not really sure anymore.

marrakech
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for Morocco
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13. Re: Full Report 11 Days Solo Female Traveller

Hi Agnes W,

Have a look through all the posts in the female travellers information in the top questions box on the right of the page for loads of advice and opinions posted by previous visitors.

Richmond, VA
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14. Re: Full Report 11 Days Solo Female Traveller

Hi Agnes W,

I've traveled to Morocco 6 times since 2009, 3 times with one or two other females and 3 times alone. I've never had a problem either way, and really, I think alone I've had a better time because I've gotten to meet more locals, stay with a Moroccan lady I met on the plane from NYC to Casa, as well as stay with a Moroccan family some of my trip in Nov 2012. These opportunities don't seem to present themselves quite as much when I'm traveling with someone else.

I feel much safer in Morocco than I do in the USA, imagine that.

If you've traveled to other 3rd world or developing countries you should be fine.

~Z

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

I echo what Zafiradaima says, that when you are alone, you meet more local people. In my week in Fes, I had many wonderful conversations. Many people speak French & some people speak English too.

My tips would be what many people have said before :

stay somewhere reassuring ( look for Tripadvisor reviews where guests say they got lots of help from the staff; not just one helpful person at the hotel or B&B, as they could be on holiday when you are there !)

Dont go out alone after dark. Most B&Bs or hotels offer evening meals & in any case it is usually light till 8 or 9pm so plenty of time to get a bite to eat.

Buy a good map for the city you are in, when you arrive. Local maps are best. However don't be shy about accepting help if you are lost. Small boys are happy to get 5 or 10 dirhams to take you where you want to go. Just say no when they want to take you to their family's carpet shop/herbalist/ tannery etc. on the way & don't give them a tip if they don't listen. They are only trying to earn a little money so don't be too hard on them !

I have never felt in any way threatened, but if you are uncomfortable & think someone is following you, ask people nearby for help, either people in the street or go into a business, shop or cafe. Moroccan people are very hospitable & hate the idea of a visitor being hassled. They will intervene for you.

Have a waist belt for your money, passport etc & don't carry a handbag. I also have a small backpack for carrying water, items I have bought. etc.

I hear that it used to be more difficult in Morocco a few years ago & perhaps the people living away from there are a bit out of date in their warnings. If you are still hesitating, just book for three days in Marrakesh. It will be enough time to get the flavour of Morocco. I hope you do go & I am sure you will have a wonderful time when you are there.

portage wi
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16. Re: Full Report 11 Days Solo Female Traveller

I just returned from a month in Morocco and what I learned is that the experience can be different for women. Now I'm a chubby 65 year old and my only frustration was the amount of hassling to be my guide in Fes. And for those that got really obnoxious, and some of them did, I was just plain rude which is not how I want to be but it was the only thing that worked. One man that decided he would be our "guide" for the day since I asked him how to get to the tanneries took us to places we didn't want to go and it was all about shopping. I finally told him he could leave and he demanded 100 dirham to which I responded "absolutely not" and gave him a smaller bill. I did not get hassled like this at any of the other cities and in some, they were rather indifferent to my making a purchase.

NOW for the different perspective. My daughter is rather attractive and was with me some of the time and solo the other time and her experience was totally different. She was sexually harrassed constantly (and she was always dressed modestly) to the point that some men masturbated and cat called while she was on the beach fully clothes and reading a book. Some of the men even waited for her outside a store and/or followed her around. She speaks some Arabic and got pretty brutal but nothing seemed to dissuade these people. It was continuous and actually was a significant factor in her decision to leave Morocco sooner than planned. Needless to say, a chubby 65 year old white woman's experience is significantly different than that of an attractive woman in her 20's!!

The above advice is all good. These are the only comments I would add - it seems that most Moroccans don't read maps and very few streets are labeled so while I had a map with me all the time, it didn't work to show it to someone when you needed help. Instead, if it's a regular route you'll be taking, you might take digital photos of significant landmarks when you turn. Or identify a key landmark - like a gate or square/fountain, etc. that is nearby and ask people how to get to that destination. Stay at a Riad or Hotel that has people that speak your language and can help you - they were invaluable for me. Taxis, in general, are very economical but make sure they turn the meter on and have a sense of how much it should cost. Again, my Riad was great about that. One taxi driver refused to turn on his meter and kicked us out! Another time, we stopped 4 taxis before we were able to find one that could get us to our destination - it's just the way it is. And finally, know that in general, Moroccan's are generous hospitable people but many are struggling to make a living. 5-10 dirhams is a cheap price to pay for a little help and I always tried to have a pocket full of coins and gave them to kids to help me - they would always say "welcome to Morocco" and would walk me to my Riad or wherever so I needed to lighten up - they weren't going to take me to some dark alley way and steal my purse. And there were many people who tried to help and refused to take any payment.

Jakarta, Indonesia
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17. Re: Full Report 11 Days Solo Female Traveller

Hi, lufchic. I'm Indonesian and a solo traveler too. I'm planning to travel to Morocco in a few days. Would you min telling me how do you get a Supratour's ticket to Merzouga in Marrakech.

Is it easier to get along with the locals since I cannot speak French or Darija.

Thanks a bunch

Edited: 19 December 2013, 12:40
K T
Auckland, New...
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18. Re: Full Report 11 Days Solo Female Traveller

THANK YOU so much for this. I just arrived in Morocco for the first time. I'm a seasoned solo-female traveler but the first 2 nights in Fez & I thought about returning to the airport & buying a ticket back to Europe. Within hours of arriving i'd been ripped off & harassed to a level id' previously only experienced in N.W India. Having read your report I'm looking forward to heading to Chefchauen tomorrow. Thanks again!

Jakarta, Indonesia
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19. Re: Full Report 11 Days Solo Female Traveller

Chefchauen is a nice,and laid back place - but you have to be careful some ppl might offer you to buy their hashis. Smoking pot is illegal in Morrocco, you'd better stay away from such people. If you have time, you may want to go to Merzouga, and you'll be mesmerize by the scenery (the sand dunes is breathtaking) - I stayed at Chez les Habitants in Merzouga, the place is nice, clean and the most important you'll be welcomed by a nice berber/amazigh family - Ahmed can speak english fluently. He also can speak french and spanish.

Actually, people in Morroco is nice .. since it's a Muslim country, it will be better if you wear something more conventional, don't wear tanktop, mini or short - if you want to wear some clothes that a bit revealing you can cover it up by using pashmina.

Have a nice trip then

20. Re: Full Report 11 Days Solo Female Traveller

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Removed on: 05 August 2014, 14:19
Edited: 05 August 2014, 14:19