Travel Safety in Morocco
Before you travel to any foreign country it is always advisable to check before you travel, use your own governments travel advice website and check the region you intend to travel. The websites offer a vast amount of advice and information which will help to put your mind at ease and prepare you for your adventure in Morocco.
Crime in Morocco
Crime in Morocco does not pose any significant risk to tourists however like any populated area petty crimes such as pick-pocketing and bag snatching are more common. Hustlers and con artists may also target tourists. Politely refuse their services and be sensibly guarded against strangers.
You may come across a faux guide however these are few now, be vigilant and aware what people are telling you faux guides may want you to go to their destinations by telling you the place you want to go is closed if you spot a faux guide, hustler, or con artist trying to trick you Avoid eye contact and ignore them. This will usually suffice to discourage them.
In general, to be safe, it’s best to simply never accept the services of people who approach you and avoid eye contact when you see someone drawing near always use a recognised tour guide from a reputable tour / travel agency or tourist information centre. Once these men start talking it can be difficult to get rid of them. A firm and strong “no”, however, can do wonders.
Beware that the majority of crimes against tourists is mainly in the main tourist locations in larger cities such as Marrakesh, Casablanca, Tangier, Fez, and Rabat.
Hashish or kif as it is called locally has been enjoyed for centuries in Morocco especially in the Rif Mountains it is not uncommon to find men smoking hashish. However the drug is illegal and the penalty for breaking the law can be up to ten years imprisonment in an uncomfortable Moroccan prison.
Most often penalized are foreign travellers smoking cannabis on a street or being careless when buying from an undercover police officer if you find yourself in this situation see if you can pay a fine on the spot.
If you are made to go with the police to a local police station avoid signing papers you do not understand and ensure you have a competent translator and lawyer have them contact your embassy as soon as possible if you are unable to do so. If you are set free and given a court date consider leaving the country.
Civil Unrest and Terrorism
As with any foreign travel as well as the current climate regarding terrorism it is always best to check before you travel using your own governments travel advice website.
Civil unrest in Morocco is uncommon however between 2011 and 2012 some peaceful demonstrations gathered tens of thousands of people nationwide but violence between police and protesters was minimal.
Moroccans are in general a peace-loving people and will always stand strong together against any group or individuals who attempt to dismantle peace.
You will be welcomed to Morocco by honest, friendly, and open-hearted Moroccans no matter which country or nationality. Our team of guides, drivers and local professionals we work with we will work hard to ensure you remain safe throughout your trip, the local people are aware of any potential trouble and our team will ensure we listen and act on any local news or events.
Safety on the Road
The road types and quality in Morocco varies from region, time of year as heavy rain and snow can create more hazardous driving conditions as would be expected. In Morocco you will say many different road types from high-speed toll roads to secondary roads which may be more poorly maintained.
Drivers behaviour would be more different to what you may be used to in your own country all kinds of vehicles from bicycles to donkey carts share the road. Road accidents are a concern and happen often so as you are traveling by road remain vigilant when using the road crossings or walking near roads.
Child safety in Morocco
Morocco as well as most other Islamic countries are very family-oriented one you will be sure to witness this especially if you travel with children it is normal for local people to hug or touch children to show their love children are typically spoiled elder relatives and children usually stay up later than is normal in the West while being allowed to play freely indoors and on the streets.
When you travel with smaller children local people may frequently come up to you and admire your children by affectionately caressing or possibly kissing their cheeks you will have many invites inviting in to shops and cafés often even offering free tea. This is all normal friendly behaviour and please do not feel uncomfortable or unsafe about it bringing your children along on your travels may even be an advantage allowing you to interact with the locals and explore the Moroccan way of life first hand.
Women Traveling to Morocco
Women traveling to Morocco will notice without a doubt it is different than traveling in a western country. Gender roles are much more defined with traditional views of a patriarchal society women will have to take extra precautions when venturing around the bustling streets.
Men in Morocco have little contact with women outside of their family whilst growing up and with a misconception of Western sexuality can sometimes lead them to misinterpret the behaviours or actions of Western women. Sometimes Cat-calling and lewd comments may be targeted frequently to both Moroccan and foreign women.
Just ignore this behaviour and it will often require no further action and be taken any further but if sexual advances becomes physical respond how you would at home screaming, yelling and calling for help are all normal and helpful ways to react. This will probably shame your aggressor and alert locals who will rush in to help you (especially if you yell out “Ha-Shooma!” which means “Shame on you!”). Whenever possible report the harasser to the local Brigade Touristique or police.
Women traveling to morocco tips
Use common sense, Dress modestly, Look confident, behave appropriately, Mention your “husband” If things start to feel uncomfortable when you are talking with a Moroccan man, lastly keep your cool and enjoy your trip.
Jewish Travelers to Morocco
Morocco has historically been culturally diverse with Muslims, Christians and Jewish people living side by side although today it is a majority Arab Muslim country the Jewish and indigenous Berber populations actually predate the Arab immigration this heritage and significant contribution can still be seen today.
Today some 2,500 Jewish people remain however for centuries before them this number was much greater it’s easy to find remnants of the historical Jewish presence in Morocco usually in the fascinating Mellahs (Jewish quarters) or in the only Jewish heritage museum in the Arab world in Casablanca Moroccans take pride in their Jewish heritage and recognize its importance in their country’s history.
Morocco strives to be a place of acceptance making it safe for Jewish travellers to visit and discover the countries incredibly diverse history.
LGBT Travelers and community
LGBT travellers are another group of people who need to take some precautions while traveling throughout the country.
Homosexuality is illegal in Morocco however in practice the law being applied varies throughout the country and poses little or no real threat to gay travellers to Morocco.
Homosexuality is not uncommon but it is largely unacknowledged but is almost completely unacceptable among women Police tend not to get involved if the homosexual couple is however may intervene if one of the partners is a Moroccan citizen.
Tips for LGBT travellers
As is recommended before you make any foreign travel you should check before traveling anywhere, and find out which LGBT rights exist at your destination.
Be discrete; Get to know the locals, Opt for foreign-owned accommodation, Book with a special LGBT travel agency.
As long as you respect the local customs the locals are generally quite tolerant, Morocco remains a popular destination LGBT travellers from all around the world. Cities like Tangier (allegedly the world’s first gay resort), Marrakesh, and Agadir attracting the LGBT community offering beautiful beaches and even a small gay scene with bars and clubs in these cities.
In the case that an emergency does arise and you become a victim of crime or for any police enquiries or emergency’s the Tourist Police (Brigade Touristique) these are often found in popular urban touristic areas They are usually easy to find on almost every street corner or you can usually ask your hotel or tourist information centre for information on the nearest police office.
Police Emergency Dial 19 to reach the police in urban areas, 177 for the Royal Gendarmerie (the police service in rural areas)
Ambulance or Fire Dial 15
Some good advice is to ascertain your National embassy’s contact details and location within Morocco before you travel so you can quickly make contact if needed.
Morocco is safe to explore and be discovered but to ensure you have a safe and pleasant trip remain vigilant, respect their customs and local culture use common sense in regards to your personal belongings as tourists are attractive to petty criminals and pick pockets globally, be aware of your surroundings and enjoy the magic and mystery Morocco has to offer.