Up to date: 10/15/2018 | October 15th, 2018
Wandering across the Fez medina, I may really feel the stares. “The place are you going? Wish to go to the tanneries? I’ll take you. No cash. Don’t fear!” the medina’s fake guides stated as they chased me down the road.
“No, I’m high-quality,” I’d reply, attempting to dodge them at each flip. Turning down facet streets, stopping to have a look at a map, or admiring a view precipitated them and any close by vendor to pounce and badger me, inviting me into shops, eating places, and points of interest.
There have been moments after I would flip down streets solely to have my spidey sense inform me to show again. Just a few guys tried to nook me earlier than I managed to slide right into a retailer. Heck, even a little bit child tried to select my pocket. Whereas different cities weren’t as intense as Fez, my go to to Morocco required a thick pores and skin and a watchful eye.
Earlier than my journey to Morocco, I queried numerous mates about their experiences. I’d heard horror tales of touts, harassment, pickpockets, and scams. Whereas that’s frequent in every single place, Morocco journey appeared to take it to a different degree. “Hold an eye fixed out,” everybody warned.
After two weeks visiting Morocco (which is wonderful — see this submit, the place I fawn throughout it!) with Intrepid Journey on their Better of Morocco tour, I may see why folks say Morocco calls for additional diligence in the case of staying protected in Morocco. Touts, scammers, and harassers abound and, whereas it wasn’t unhealthy after I was with my group, after I was alone, it was intense. As I settled into the well-known and secluded Café Clock in Fez to chill out, I messaged fellow writers on-line to ask if I used to be overreacting or in the event that they felt the identical approach.
“No, it’s not simply you,” was the common reply.
How one can Keep Secure in Morocco
Morocco journey requires additional vigilance as a result of it’s simple to have one thing occur to you. You’re unlikely to ever be in any actual bodily hazard in Morocco, however the petty crime and harassment require you to remain on guard — extra so than different international locations. Nonetheless, in case you observe a couple of guidelines, you’ll be able to depart Morocco unscathed and with out incidence. Listed here are my 9 tips about how one can keep protected while you go to Morocco:
- Don’t stroll alone at night time — Whereas strolling in well-lit and busy areas could be high-quality, watch out strolling at night time. You by no means know what lurks across the nook within the medinas. Petty crime is rampant right here, particularly in opposition to vacationers.
- Don’t stroll alone in case you’re a girl — A girl alone will entice quite a lot of unwarranted consideration from males, an elevated likelihood of being adopted, and the probability of groping. Even after I was with the women on my journey, they obtained quite a lot of consideration. I may solely think about how a lot worse it was after they have been alone. And, as a feminine, particularly don’t stroll alone at night time!
- Gown conservatively — Morocco is a conservative Muslim nation, and it’s not applicable to put on skimpy clothes. Hold your arms, shoulders, and legs coated (particularly in case you are a girl) to keep away from any undesirable consideration and conform to native norms.
- Keep away from flashy jewellery — A very good common rule, this takes on extra urgency in a rustic the place theft is frequent and other people will see the jewellery as an indication of wealth and due to this fact strive tougher to rip-off you in shops or rob you on the streets.
- Don’t carry valuables — Since muggings and pickpockets are frequent, take the minimal you want while you depart your resort or hostel. Don’t take your passport with you – depart it within the resort! Just a few folks on my tour carried it round with them and when my information came upon, he appeared like he was about to have a coronary heart assault!
- Keep away from again alleys — The tiny alleys of the medina are stunning to discover however generally they make you simple prey for scammers and thieves. Don’t enterprise too distant from the crowds.
- Look ahead to scams — If somebody asks you into their store for tea, they’ll use that as a pretext to get you to purchase one thing and, because of the engrained psychological thought of reciprocity, you’ll most likely give in. Don’t let anybody ask you to write down a letter or learn a postcard that their “cousin” despatched to them in English/French/no matter your native language is. It’s a ruse to get you into their retailer and put on you down. Identical with letting somebody put henna in your hand. As soon as these distributors have you ever, they are going to be relentless about you attempting on garments, shopping for one thing, or giving them cash. Say “no thank-you” and stroll away.
- Say no to tour guides — The folks saying “no cash” positively need your cash. They are going to attempt to get you into their outlets or take you locations and ask for cash for the service. Be agency and inform them no. It doesn’t matter their age or how useful they’re, if they begin strolling with you, they may ask for cash!
- All the time negotiate taxi costs up entrance — All the time negotiate the value for taxis earlier than you get in, as costs are going to be considerably inflated while you arrive at your vacation spot.
Whereas that is good recommendation for any nation, Morocco is extra intense than your common vacation spot because of the sheer quantity of people that will provide you with undesirable consideration. It takes quite a lot of vitality to at all times be in your guard in a spot the place the easy act of asking for instructions usually leads folks asking for cash.
Is Morocco protected? Sure, for essentially the most half. However visiting Morocco requires you to be a little bit harder and maintain an eagle out for issues. It requires you to be a little bit bit extra skeptical.
I used to be insulated as a result of I used to be on a tour, however after I was alone or with only a few folks, folks got here out of the woodwork, catcalled my mates, grabbed on the women, and blocked entrances to eating places as a way to accost us. Even after a decade of journey, I discovered myself wishing I had a companion to share the psychological burden and desirous to scream, “Depart me alone so I can simply get pleasure from your nation!”
Many individuals have requested me if they need to go go to Morocco alone. My trustworthy reply is: I’m undecided. It was my first time in North Africa and it was an adjustment. I used to be glad to be on a tour and have a information. In the event you don’t have quite a lot of journey expertise or are a girl touring alone, it would simply be an excessive amount of. I would counsel happening a tour first as an alternative of exploring the nation solo. It’s mentally exhausting and there are quite a lot of groping palms. Furthermore, it’s laborious to get into the distant desert and mountains on the general public transportation methods. I wouldn’t drive right here both, as everybody races round mountain curves.
Morocco was a battery on my senses — the meals, the colours, the spices, the smells, and the surroundings have been unforgettable. (Additionally the doorways — they’ve such ornate and colourful doorways in Morocco. I’ve dozens of images of doorways). I’d 100% advocate to anybody that they go to the nation, however be sure to maintain an additional eye out (particularly in Fez) and have a thick pores and skin so that you keep protected and may deal with all of the touts. Morocco gained’t be simple nevertheless it’s definitely worth the go to.
Editor’s Word: I went to Morocco with Intrepid Journey on their Better of Morocco tour. It was a part of my ongoing partnership with Intrepid Journey. They coated the price of the tour, flight, and meals.
E-book Your Journey to Morocco: Logistical Suggestions and Tips
E-book Your Flight
Discover a low cost flight through the use of Skyscanner or Momondo. They’re my two favourite engines like google as a result of they search web sites and airways across the globe so that you at all times know no stone is left unturned.
E-book Your Lodging
You possibly can guide your hostel with Hostelworld. If you wish to keep elsewhere, use Reserving.com as they persistently return the most cost effective charges for guesthouses and low cost inns. I exploit them on a regular basis.
Don’t Overlook Journey Insurance coverage
Journey insurance coverage will shield you in opposition to sickness, harm, theft, and cancellations. It’s complete safety in case something goes incorrect. I by no means go on a visit with out it as I’ve had to make use of it many occasions previously. I’ve been utilizing World Nomads for ten years. My favourite firms that supply one of the best service and worth are:
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