Thinking of visiting Morocco? Well, maybe you should think again… There are a whole heap of reasons not to visit Morocco.

Before you book your flight to this seemingly enchanting land of spices, sunsets, and souks, consider my list of 15 pretty pressing reasons to steer well clear. From hordes of horrible hustlers to harems of hammam-shamers, there is an altogether pretty fucking awful side to Majestic Morocco that the tour brochures opt not to mention. 

While this country isn’t always awful, they certainly do a good job of making sure the dark side of Morocco is easy to find. You often don’t have to look very far to see where their bad reputation comes from (especially if you’re landing in Marrakesh). 

So, buckle up and prepare to be thoroughly discouraged from embarking on what could be the adventure of a lifetime – or dare to prove us wrong. 😉

An Arabic stop sign in Morocco.
Do you need a bigger sign?
Image: Nic Hilditch-Short

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Why You Shouldn’t Go To Morocco

As you’re about to find out, I didn’t have a great experience in Morocco. Some people I know have the most incredible experiences. 

Does that mean that I would I give it a second chance? Nope. 

Does this mean that I think you should “try it for yourself”? Perhaps.

But first, let me enlighten you on some of the worst things I found when travelling this strange land.

1. Moroccans can be awful

Ok, so I may as well dive straight in and get the ‘offending 37 million people’ bit out of the way. There is no nice or even measured way to say this, but I encountered a lot of the most awful people I have ever come across on my travels in Morocco, especially when I stayed in Marrakesh.

square in Marrakech morocco street food
Shady as.
Photo: Ana Pereira

From aggressive officials to hordes of hustlers (see reason 2) to disturbingly dangerous cab drivers, I had far too many bad interactions with far too many different people in this country for it simply to be my bad luck or ‘my own karmic energy’.

All I can say is try not to take it personally. From what I could see, Moroccans are not just awful to tourists, they are often unpleasant to women, animals (more on these points later) and even to each other. OK… maybe even especially to each other.

2. Nasty hustlers and tasteless touts

By far the worst of the worst of the people of Morocco are the hustlers and tours who plumb new depths of annoyingness. Every time you leave your riad or rental, you will be shouted at, harangued or even chased down the streets by people trying to sell you some kind of souvenir, service or scam.

A shop selling bronze lights and pots in Marrakech, Morocco.
Scamming central.
Image: Nic Hilditch-Short

Seriously, if you are a traveller in Morocco, do not expect to enjoy a single minute in this country without somebody trying to either flog you something or fleece you. They work hard to ensure Morocco’s reputation as one of the worst countries to visit is upheld. Don’t expect them to be remotely nice or polite about it or to display any gratitude if you decide to take them up on whatever it is they are soliciting. 

3. The summers are revoltingly hot

If you visit Morocco in the summer months (June – August) then expect it to be punishingly hot. I mean man, I like the heat, but the Moroccan summer is seriously uncomfortable, especially in areas like Marrakesh which get very little in the way of breeze relief.

A dead sheep's head lying out on a piece of cardboard
I need not describe the smell.
Image: Nic Hilditch-Short

Of course, the simple workaround here is to visit in any other season. So it’s kinda on you if you rock up in July and die of heat stroke.

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4. Cats are treated badly 🙁

One of my absolute personal mantras is that you can tell a lot about a society by how it treats its cats. And in Morocco, (some parts more than others…) they are treated quite badly.

Sometimes cats treated me badly.
Image: Nic Hilditch-Short

I do love a city with a good street cat scene (check out Istanbul, Koto, Tel Aviv) but in Morocco, my joy at being surrounded by random kitties was often sharply pricked by seeing the sorry, skinny, scabbed state that some of them were in. I even witnessed the occasional local kick them.

Granted, it’s not everywhere and everyone in Morocco. Some cats are well looked after and loved. But that brings me to point 5…

5. Marrakech…

The grand city of Marrakech is a reason not to visit Morocco all in itself. This mysterious and charming city surrounded by majestic mountains is sadly, just not a very nice experience.

Men wandering through the souks of Marrakech, Morocco.
How to get overstimulated in Morocco…
Image: Nic Hilditch-Short

Besides Marrakech, being an intensely overwhelming experience, it’s Morocco’s epicentre of scams and harassment. That said, you can pick up some ace leather wares if you don’t mind getting lost in the Souks while local kids deliberately send you the wrong way.

6. Rampant Misogyny

Since we are having frank conversations, I may as well come out and acknowledge that some countries are just not ideal destinations for solo female travellers owing to culturally embedded hyper-misogyny. 

Well, Morocco may not be the worst but it is certainly fighting for its place in the Champions League. If you’re travelling with a man, you’ll likely have a much easier and more enjoyable experience – because Moroccan men would rather deal with your male companion. 

Three Moroccan men in traditional clothing
Guilty.
Image: Nic Hilditch-Short

Female travellers in Morocco can look forward to being leered at, jeered at, patronised and expected to be married with children before they turn 22. My girlfriend and her friend were abandoned in the desert on a camel tour after she refused the advances of the tour guide… unless it’s actually because they were French?

Which brings me to my next point.

7. It’s full of French tourists!

Perhaps because of old colonial ties or perhaps because of a strange desire to be amongst equally rude people, the French seem to flock to Morocco like Brits to Benidorm. Yep, French tourists are everywhere in Morocco.

Here to fuck shit up.

I will tell you what though, I found that by pretending to be French I got less attention from the aforementioned hustlers so practice nonchalantly saying “Non Monsieur” and waving your hand dismissively in the mirror before you fly.

(Don’t be offended here. French jokes are our hereditary, ancestral right as Englishmen. And besides that, my girlfriend is French, so chill…)

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8. LGBTQIA+ unfriendly

Like much of North Africa and the Middle East, Morocco is a conservative, Islamic culture and as such, it ain’t OK to be gay here.

LGBTQIA+ travellers in Morocco are well advised to conform as much as they possibly can to “hetero-normative standards” during their visit. 

9. Lack of decent nightlife

Did you know that on average, half a human lifespan is lived at night? 

Yes, while a good chunk of this is usually used for sleeping, most of us like to have at least a little something to do once the sun sets. In fact, I am sure most of you agree that the dark hours are usually when the most fun is had.

Traditional Moroccan tea
Nights only get so wild when we’re drinking tea.
Image: Nic Hilditch-Short

Well, Morocco has barely any nightlife to speak of at all. This is mostly down to Morocco’s dismissive view of alcohol and its suspicion of music, dancing and the mingling of the sexes. 

Now there are some pretty elaborate clubs in Marrakech and Casablanca but sadly they are soulless, expensive bro-ins. And the only women you will see in these places are working in one form or another…

10. Bland food

Normally when I travel, I like to get stuck into local cuisine and usually come home raving about it with a couple of new recipes to add to the Freeborn Cookbook.

However, Moroccan grub is amongst the least remarkable that I have come across. Don’t get me wrong, it ain’t bad and I do love a good tagine from time to time, but by far and large the local food is just bland and boring.

A vegetarian tagine in Morocco
I’m sure they reserve the best for themselves.
Image: Nic Hilditch-Short

If you manage to get off the beaten path, you may be lucky enough to come across their olive oil and bread that easily rivals that of their European neighbours. But this quality food isn’t offered out to tourists unless you work hard to find it .

11. Aggressive animal handlers 

Animal lovers and especially ethical vegans will not approve of the standard of animal rights on display in Morocco. In most Moroccan tourist hubs, tacky backstreet animal tourism is big business with men wandering around with monkeys on leashes and snakes in jars.

A donkey pulling a cart in the streets of Morocco
Poor babies.
Image: Nic Hilditch-Short

And get this, if you politely decline to lubricate the wheels of animal cruelty by declining to watch their sorry show, they may not react well. One of our writers even complained of having a snake thrown on her by its handler after she refused to tip for waving it in front of her face.

12. The Sahara desert… it’s just a load of sand!

I eagerly anticipated our trip to the windswept romantic, balmy majestic Sahara.

But when we got there I was disappointed to find that one of the biggest deserts in the world is actually just a load of sand. I don’t know what I really expected, but you know, maybe a Starbucks or something.

sossusvlei namibia desert curves
How disappointing.
Photo: Ralph Cope

In fact, I was so bored I even tried counting how many grains of sand there were in the Sahara. I lost count at 22 but it’s definitely a lot I can tell you.

As you can tell, I’m not a desert person. After I visited the Sahara, I definitely am not a desert person. If you are a desert person, please enlighten me… what’s so great about sand and only sand as far as the eye can see?

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    13. The Shame of Hammams

    I like hammams, you like hammams, we all like hammams. But some of our team had some pretty bad times in the steam rooms of Morocco.

    Now normally if you say you are not up for getting stark bollock naked and being aggressively scrubbed down in a hammam by a total stranger, then your freedom of choice would be respected.

    “Sure, you do you. A naked hammam scrub ain’t for everyone”.

    Well, not in Morocco. When we declined the invitation to cast aside our garments and get scoured by a dirty cloth by Johnny Random, we were met with nothing less than derision and shaming as if I’d we had just taken a massive, sloppy, smelly shit all over some time-honoured tradition.

    14. Dirty Ole Streets

    Yeah Morocco has some of the dirtiest, most litter-strewn streets I have walked upon. And I have been to Athens.

    It’s not as bad as India – but that’s not saying much, is it?

    I mean, at least there’s some nice hostels in Taghazout, but that’s about it!

    15. Everything feels like it is about money

    Finally, and unfortunately, I think the worst thing about Morocco is that every single encounter you have with anybody feels shamelessly transactional. They make no effort to hide the fact that all they see in you is a walking wad of dollars. 

    will holding a stack of cash/ US Dollar in venezuela
    How Moroccan sellers see me.

    Although it’s a place where budget backpackers can stretch their budget far, many locals don’t seem to understand that not everyone is arriving with a fat stack of cash. I felt like a walking ATM in Morocco and encountered near to zero human connection during my visits.

    But more than this, it feels like the entirety of society is just a huge hustle with everybody trying to get a few coins out of everybody else. 

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    Final Thoughts

    I expect that if you made it this far it’s because either (1) you fully and entirely agree (2) are red with rage and want my name and address or (3) you found this funny.

    I will be honest, it doesn’t exactly feel great to shit on a country like this… but we feel it all had to be said. We have talked about the happier side of Morocco elsewhere on this site and perhaps for balance you should go and look over some of that stuff now. 

    Personally though, I cannot imagine myself ever visiting this country again.

    See you anywhere else guys.

    A man in traditional robes walks along the street in Marrakech, Morocco.
    Happy to see the back of it.
    Image: Nic Hilditch-Short
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