Is Morocco Safe?

A melting pot of Arabic, Berber and even French and Spanish history, Morocco is a North African culture that packs a punch of unforgettable experiences. Famous for its storied old medinas, mint tea, ancient mosques, and delicious cuisine, there’s a world of wonder to discover in Morocco.

But you might be wondering… Morocco sure sounds amazing, but is Morocco safe?

Don’t worry, we are here to answer all of your questions!

Whether you are wondering if Morocco is safe to visit, or whether want to know if Morocco is safe for female travelers, or if Morocco is safe to live in – this insider guide will answer all of your questions!

photo credit – legendary Morocco

How Safe is Morocco? (Our Take)

Overall, Morocco is pretty safe.

Last year, over 10 million people visited Morocco, making it the most touristed country in all of Africa! Countries don’t hit those sort of tourism numbers if they are dangerous. Case closed.

But this doesn’t mean that crime doesn’t happen, and like anywhere else in the world, you’re going to want to exercise caution and be aware of your surroundings at all times.

Let’s dive a bit deeper into the details of how to stay safe in Morocco…

 

Is Morocco safe to visit? (The Facts) 

Morocco’s unique culture has made it a tourist hotspot (photo credit – muchmorocco.com)

Morocco’s tourism numbers have been growing by the year and are projected to continue their impressive growth. And at the end of the day, growing tourism numbers typically indicate a safe country to travel in. 

But do bad things happen in Morocco? Absolutely.

The two most common complaints in Morocco are petty theft (which can be common in the major cities) and treatment to women (which we’ll cover thoroughly in a bit).

But while both of these issues are unfortunate, there are ways to maximize your personal safety and ensure that your trip to Morocco is smooth sailing.

 

Is it safe to visit Morocco right now?

Morocco is, in fact, the most politically stable country in North Africa, and the government has been investing more in its infrastructure to be able to attract more tourists. 

Because at the end of the day, more tourism = more money.

Like all countries, Morocco can sometimes experience political instability. Al Hociema and other cities have seen a number of demonstrations in late 2016 and 2017 due to the arrest of Berber activists and marginalization in the Rif area, a situation which is ongoing.

But at the end of the day, these demonstrations have not targeted, nor harmed tourists.

 

Morocco travel insurance

Get insurance! Even if you are only going on a short trip, you should always travel with insurance. Have fun visiting Morocco, but take it from someone who has racked up thousands of bucks on an insurance claim before, you need it.

As a wise man once said, if you can’t afford travel insurance, you shouldn’t be travelling – so be sure to get your backpacker insurance sorted before you head off on an adventure! We highly recommend World Nomads.

Find out why we recommend World Nomads, check out my World Nomads Insurance review.

If you want to shop around a little, then read up on competing companies and what they can offer. There are lots of insurances out there, so don’t feel limited.

 

16 Top Safety Tips for Traveling to Morocco

Follow our 16 tips for safer travel to Morocco! (photo credit – butterfield)

While we all agree that Morocco is largely safe, there are always ways to make sure you are extra-safe. These are our tailored travel tips for staying safe in Morocco.

  1. If you are approached and are uncomfortable, don’t be afraid to say ‘no thank you’ and move on
  2. Shop around for guides and don’t accept tours from strangers
  3. Keep your valuables close and/or hidden
  4. Carry small bills around so you don’t have to get out larger notes
  5. Dress appropriately – this is a conservative country
  6. Buddy up with fellow travelers, walking alone can make you a target
  7. If someone says they recognize you, it’s a scam
  8. Locals may smoke hashish in public, but tourists are likely to be penalized if caught
  9. Be aware of people around you at ATMs
  10. Ask people before you take their picture – they may demand money
  11. Try memorizing routes (or drawing a map) to avoid having your phone out
  12. Drink bottled water; ask for drinks without ice
  13. Be wary of your personal space as pickpocketing can happen – take a security belt
  14. Don’t wear anything flashy – you’re more likely to be targeted for a scam
  15. Confirm the price of your taxi before you get in
  16. Be prepared to haggle, it’s expected 

By following these simple safety tips, you’ll be able to travel to Morocco confidently so you can spend more time exploring, and less time worrying  🙂

 

Keeping your money safe in Morocco

The biggest threat you’ll probably face is being pickpocketed, to be honest. No matter where you go in the world, your money (and not your actual person) is most at risk.

All travellers – especially in Costa Rica – are basically targets for thieves looking to make a quick bit of cash by stealing from you. But you can thwart them in their tracks with a trusty money belt.

active roots security belt

The best way to keep your money safe is with an awesome security belt

You’ll find a few different money belts on the market, but we at The Broke Backpacker heartily recommend the Active Roots Security Belt.

This is one of the most affordable, durable and (mercifully) subtle money belts out there.

Travelling with a money belt not only gives you peace of mind knowing that you’re pretty much protected against petty theft, but there’s a bonus: if you lose your stuff, you’ll always have this stash of cash strapped to your bod. Definitely recommend this one.

 

Is Morocco safe to travel alone?

If you are traveling alone to Morocco there are certain precuations you should take (photo credit – living nomads)

Traveling by yourself is an amazing experience – especially in Morocco!

Every year thousands of solo travelers head to Morocco to soak in the desert and culture of this amazing country, and with a great variety of hostels and cheap guesthouses – meeting other solo travelers is super easy.

But that doesn’t mean that traveling solo in Morocco is a cake-walk.

Don’t worry though. It’s not necessarily a difficult place to travel by yourself, but you’ll have to learn a few things to ensure that you have a fun time on the road.

 

  • Learning some basic Berber or Arabic will help you in your travels, especially with taxis or haggling. 

 

  • If you are thinking about traveling solo in Morocco – get yourself a phone or sim card. This will help ensure you don’t get lost and gives you peace of mind knowing you can make an emergency call if need be.

 

  • Making friends with fellow travelers along the way is always a good idea.

 

  • Depending on where you go and what city you’re in, solo travelers won’t even need a tour guide, particularly the relatively easygoing Tangier. In other places, just for peace of mind as well as of course to get the best out of your experience, a guide may be a good idea. In this modern age, you can check TripAdvisor and read blog posts to assess what places are safe to stay, eat and explore.

 

Generally speaking, Morocco is safe to travel alone. However, things can happen anywhere in the world – even in your home country – so keep your wits about you.

 

Is Morocco safe for solo female travelers?

Is Morocco safe for solo female travelers? (photo credit – intrepid travel)

No matter where you go, traveling solo as a woman is always going to have its risks – and Morocco is no exception. 

But having said that, traveling solo as a woman in Morocco can be very safe and 100% doable! You’ll just need to exercise a bit more caution than you would in some other countries. 

Here are a few important things you need to bear in mind to ensure that you actually stay safe on your trip.

  • You will most likely receive cat-calls in the medina, but the majority of harassment will most likely be ‘you’re beautiful’. Don’t interact with people who come up to you – you can do things like pretend to be filming and talking on the phone. Don’t be afraid to completely ignore/shut down a man that approaches you

 

  • Dressing appropriately is CRUCIAL – especially when you’re not in touristed areas. Cover your legs and shoulders, even if it’s hot, with loose, long clothes; a scarf is always very handy. You’ll still get comments, but not nearly as many.

 

  • Learn some basic Arabic phrases – ‘no thank you’ is a good one – to gain the respect of locals. Alwys try and walk around confidently and keep your eyes forward. Know where you’re going, have maps preloaded (or best of all, memorized), and try not to look lost. Never walk around alone at night and listen to your gut: if something looks sketchy, it probably is. Have an international sim card so you can call people.

 

  • Hiring a local guide is a good idea, but by no means mandatory.  

 

At the end of the day, it all depends on the type of traveler you are. Keep an open mind and you’ll have a great experience. It will feel a little intense at times but just remember why you’re there: to explore the country and get stuck in. Even Moroccan women themselves deal with hassle from the men – possibly to a worse degree.

So is Morocco safe for solo female travelers? The answer is yes. It’s an awesome place to travel, as long as you’re aware, follow our safety tips and don’t do anything to put yourself at unnecessary risk  – however, if you’re new to backpacking, Morocco may be a bit intense for your first experience so we wouldn’t recommend newbie solo female travelers start here. 

 

Is Morocco safe to travel for families?

Many families travel to the Moroccon Sahara every year (photo credit – fez-guide)

Morocco is a family-friendly destination and a total blast for anyone traveling with kids. It’s going to be a family holiday that you’ll never forget!

Moroccans are used to having large families and traveling with children is a great way to connect with locals, who’ll be friendly and helpful to family groups in their country. Booking yourself into well-established family-friendly accommodation is a good idea.

Morocco is safe to travel for families, but before you go, just make sure your children are up to date with their vaccinations, that you have simple medications (rehydration sachets, diahorrea tablets) and make sure they don’t drink tap water.

Also be sure to advise against petting stray animals and don’t let your children in the sun for too long.

But overall Morocco is a phenomenal place for a family holiday.

 

Is it safe to drive in Morocco?

We do not recommend driving on Moroccon roads (photo credit – Morocco World News)

If you are in the city, whilst you can rent a car, or a motorbike – we don’t recommend it.

Morocco’s urban traffic is absolute chaos. These roads are filled with potholes, congested traffic, and super-aggressive drivers. In 2017 road accidents in Morocco accounted for 3.6% of all deaths in the country (compare that to 0.39% in the UK).

For these reasons, we’d advise only super confident and/or experienced drivers to drive in Morocco’s larger cities. 

That said, if you are looking to drive OUTSIDE of the city, there are some incredible road trips to be had.

If you find a reliable place to rent a car, and you’re in Marrakesh, you should head out for a road trip on the Tizi N Tichka Pass – it’s mostly empty and is an amazing way to see the countryside.

 

Is Uber safe in Morocco?

Uber launched in Casablanca in 2015, but after some difficulties, Uber was forced to suspend its services in the country. 

With no Uber, this means that you’ll be relying on taxis…

 

Are taxis safe in Morocco?

Taxis in Morocco are a convenient way to get around (photo credit – TripAdvisor)

Taxis are one of the most frequently used modes of transport in any given Moroccan city. There are two main types: petite (small) and grande (large). Buses do operate but most people hop into a petite taxi if they need to get anywhere in a city.

Are the taxis safe in Morocco though? Well, they might be safe, but that doesn’t mean they’ll follow the rules. Taxis in Morocco are notorious for driving quickly and jumping traffic lights.

Generally, they’ll get you from A to B without mishap – just be prepared for a wild ride. 

Also, please be aware that taxi scams can be very common.

Petite taxis are supposed to charge by meter, but they’re known for pulling the old ‘the meter’s broken’ scam. They also might say they have no change (which is why small denominations are important) and also try and drop you at random places, so if possible try to keep a GPS app on your phone so you know where they’re driving you.

You may also have to share taxis. When it comes to the grande taxis, these will wait until they’re full with more people than they’ve got seats before they go. It can be squishy but it’s definitely an experience to add to your travel log. Grande taxis also charge per seat rather than by meter.

Learning a little bit of Arabic, Berber or even French would also help a lot in any taxi based situation, but at the end of the day taxis in Morocco are quite safe… if not completely thrilling.

 

Is public transportation in Morocco safe?

Morocco is fairly easy to travel around on its trains, buses and taxis. But is the public transportation in Morocco safe? 

Easy answer – absolutely!

There’s a train network in Morocco which is great for traveling long distances: it connects most of the major (tourist) cities nationwide. They’re fast, they’ve got air-con, they’re comfortable and they’re safe. You can check times online, meaning you know when you’re going to arrive and plan accordingly.

Public transport quality in Morocco can range greatly (photo credit – expat.com)

Between Rabat and Casablanca, there are some pretty chic double-decker trains that will make you think differently about overnight train travel. For those nervous about overnight trains in general: fear not. Plenty of women travel solo on these trains, with children, too – and there are even women-only cabins.

Be aware that train stations are where you’ll find a lot of salesmen trying to get you in their taxis and on their tours before you’ve even had a chance to step foot around your point of arrival, so be prepared to say ‘no thank you’ a lot. But then again, there’s often a bus station right next to the train station, so transit to your destination should be surprisingly efficient.

The bus routes in Morocco are extensive. The CTM buses, which can be booked online, have wi-fi and extra legroom for a spot of luxury.

Then there are the older buses. More affordable, sure, but the routes are hard to figure out and they’re the type that just pick-up and drop-off as they go.

Unlike the trains, the conditions on the buses aren’t always the best: they’re overcrowded, and you may find yourself sat next to a dog, or a chicken. But generally buses in Morocco are safe, if a slightly colorful, way to travel.

Keep in mind though that all public transportation that travels by road is subject to, well, being on the road. And these can be at times a little hairy in Morocco.

 

Is the food in Morocco safe?

Food in Morocco is delicious! (photo credit – life in a rucksack)

Moroccan food is absolutely incredible. A trip to this North African country will have you on a culinary journey that’ll have your taste buds tingling. But is the food in Morocco safe? Will it upset your stomach? Will you get food poisoning?

If you follow these guidelines you should be able to eat your way around the country no problem.

  • Firstly, there are a lot of delicious looking fruit and vegetables on offer at the markets. But you shouldn’t really eat these raw unless they’ve been thoroughly washed or peeled, otherwise cooking them should be ok.

 

  • Salads should always be approached with caution; if you don’t trust the place you’re ordering the salad from, if it doesn’t look clean, be wary. Use your senses: if the food looks like it hasn’t been cooked properly, or if it’s been lying in the sun all day, try to avoid.

 

  • A good rule (for anywhere in the world) is to eat at places where a lot of people seem to be eating. Popular resuarants are less likely to have sanitation issues.

 

  • Eating at food stalls is another great idea because you can watch the food be prepared and cooked in front of you – no surprises!

 

  • Even in supermarkets, check the sell-by date. Old food might not be allowed on the shelves in your home country, but in Morocco’s supermarkets, it seems things can slip through the net quite easily.

 

  • And lastly, it’s an oldie but a goodie: wash your hands. You’ve been walking through souks, touching who knows what and with lots of animals and dust flying through the air. A good way to not get ill is to simply wash your hands.

 

  • One of our favourite mottos at The Broke Backpacker when it comes to eating street food is ‘Boil it, peel it, cook it or forget it’

 

And you might want to practice the Moroccan custom of the right hand for eating, left hand for… well, you know.

 

Can you drink the water in Morocco?

Simply put: no. DO NOT drink the tap water in Morocco

That being said Morocco is scorching hot, and you’ll need to keep yourself hydrated. Do this by buying big bottles of water from supermarkets, streetside kiosks, and newsagents. Hotels usually have water filters for guests and we highly recommend you try to refill bottles rather than buying new bottles. 

If you’re heading out for treks in the desert – or even if you’re just walking around a city – take a good quality water bottle and water purification tablets. The water bottle can be used for anything, not just water, which is great if you need a little bit of sugar to keep you energized.

 

Is Morocco safe to live?

(photo credit – Morocco World News)

If you are thinking of making the move, don’t worry: it’s a safe place to live and work. The number of foreign nationals living in Morocco (as of 2014) is around 84,000, with French nationals making up 25% of that number. 

It might be a little bit of a culture shock, and you may struggle – as with making any move to any new country – but Morocco is very safe to live in.

A great tip? Ingratiate yourself into the community and don’t isolate yourself! Ideally place yourself somewhere where you’ll find home comforts or at least European familiarities. Base yourself in Casablanca (home to the largest portion of expats) or Rabat – this is also where you’ll find the best jobs.

It goes without saying that learning at least some of the language, Arabic and/or French, is a must.

 

How is healthcare in Morocco?

There are two types of healthcare in Morocco: public and private.

The public is free, but not recommended since it’s not well funded. 

The private healthcare system in Morocco is affordable by Western standards and offers high-quality care. Hospitals vary, but doctors have often trained in Europe or the US so you shouldn’t worry about skill level. Though do note that some hospitals don’t provide things like drinking water or even blankets – cultural differences.

Bribery is also a thing here. Paperwork too, and lots of it. Government officials aren’t always the most genuine people, so be prepared for that, and outdated systems, too. This, however, doesn’t mean it isn’t safe. Just keep your cool and don’t try to challenge the situation too much.

 

Helpful Arabic Travel Phrases

Moroccans speak “Moroccan” Arabic or Darija (countries in the Middle East will say it’s not really Arabic).  The main Berber language is known as Amazigh. Most people speak English in the cities, as well as other languages. However, once you get to smaller towns, you’ll find many people barely speak English, even guesthouse owners.

French will get also get you by anywhere in Morocco, though it is no longer an official language. (My college classes finally came in handy here!)

I have listed a few phrases in Darija:

Hello – Salam

My name is… – Ismi…

I’m fine – Ana bekhair

Thanks – Shukran

You’re Welcome – Afwan

Yes – naam

No – la

Where is the bus station? – Aynataqaomahattat al ‘afak?

How much? – Kamthamanoha?

Tea – shay

 

Final thoughts on the safety of Morocco

Overall, if you use your wits – Morocco is a safe country to travel to (photo cred – AirPano)

Morocco is one of the most amazing, dazzling (and sometimes frustrating) countries in the world. Whether you are a solo female looking for a backpacking trip, a family looking for a weekend holiday, or are thinking about moving to Morocco, you will be pleased to know that while it has it’s downsides, Morocco is a safe and wonderful country to experience.

With the help of this guide, you’ll be able to easily know exactly how to stay safe while in Morocco so you can spend less time worrying, and more time exploring this incredible destination.

Let us know in the comments below if you are heading to Morocco!

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Disclaimer: Safety conditions change all over the world on a daily basis. We do our best to advise but this info may already be out of date. Do your own research. Enjoy your travels! Some of the links in this post are affiliate links which means we earn a small commission if you purchase your insurance through this page. This costs you nothing extra and helps us keep the site going. 


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