Is it safe to travel to Morocco?

Is it safe to travel to Morocco?
Is it safe to travel to Morocco?

There’s not much that pisses me off. Drivers who leave their indicators on; getting passport stamps on full pages; and the predictability of the British weather all make the cut. Yet there’s one thing guaranteed to irritate me more than anything. Being asked the question “is it safe to travel to Morocco?”.

If these enquirers were simply wondering how to keep safe in an unfamiliar country, I’d have understood. Instead however, thanks to media influence and narrow-mindedness, they believe that Morocco is a dangerous hotbed of terrorism just because it is a Muslim country.

Is it just me who thinks this is crazy?

We’ve been called fools for travelling to Morocco.

People have declared they would never set foot on Moroccan soil, because Islamic countries are ‘all the same’. We know travellers who have gone on cruises and stayed firmly on their ships, refusing to go ashore in Morocco. You could call it racism or bigotism, but I call it pure ignorance. The media have a lot to answer for. By liberally using the Islamic label in conjunction with terrorism, viewers are easily misled and it’s not surprising that so many still ask is it safe to travel to Morocco?.

Perhaps I’m a little biased, having fallen in love with Morocco on our numerous visits over the years. Or perhaps this experience just qualifies me to have an opinion.

Is it safe to travel to Morocco?

Bias or experience? Whatever the case, we love returning to Morocco!

So, in my opinion, is it safe to travel to Morocco?

Lets look at the evidence.

Okay, so 33 people died in the 2003 Casablanca bombings, and in 2011 17 people lost their lives during an attack on the Argana Cafe in Marrakech. Atrocious acts of terrorism, but does that really make Morocco any more dangerous than elsewhere?

The UK has suffered dozens of terrorist attacks over the last few decades (have we already forgotten the IRA?) yet we all happily trundle about our daily lives here without a thought to being affected by terrorism here. Brits have always journeyed down to London without a second thought, yet the July 2005 bombings were much closer to home than North Africa.

Is it safe to travel to Morocco?

The newly rebuilt Argana Cafe all proudly lit up and overlooking the Djemaa el Fna in Marrakech

And I’ll tell you something else. Hubbie and I live in the rural idyll that is the English Lake District. It’s a sparsely populated mountainous region, home to long dead poets and a few sheep. Yet unbeknown to us at the time, just a few miles from our front door a group of terrorists were training in the hills. They were preparing for attacks on London in July 2005.

So it’s not even 100% safe at home!

Is it safe to travel to Morocco?

The rural idyll of the Lake District, ideal for terrorist training apparently!

Yes, Morocco is currently on the Foreign Office list of countries with a high risk of terrorism. But so are destinations like Spain, Germany, Thailand, Malaysia and Australia. Would you think twice about visiting these places? It’s all a matter of perspective, and not allowing the media to influence your decision. Remember that the press affords a disproportionate focus to terrorism because sensation sells.

Is it safe to travel to Morocco? Roof terrace dipping pool at Riad Camilia, Marrakech

Feeling anything but scared in the roof terrace dipping pool at Riad Camilia in Marrakech

Let’s not forget the geography

This leads us to a quick geography lesson. After each new terror attack, most recently for example in Turkey, Tunisia and Egypt, many potential travellers stay away from Morocco too, simply because it’s in the ‘same’ part of the world. Yet I know many of them couldn’t actually locate Morocco on a map, because I’ve asked! In fact Morocco is closer in distance to their own homes than it is to Sousse or Istanbul.

There’s one thing I want to ask these people. Would you travel to France? Would you visit London? The answer is probably yes, yet there have been more terrorist attacks in these places than in Morocco.

Is it safe to travel to Morocco?

Sousse in Tunisia is 2,600km from Marrakech

Geographically, Morocco is separated from Spain by only a few miles, and thus is far closer to Europe than most other North African and Middle Eastern countries. In fact Spanish is still spoken in many northern parts of the country (something that confused me greatly in Chefchaouen), and the clear Andalucian influences throughout Morocco maintain close cultural links with Europe.

Is it safe to travel to Morocco?

Andalucian influences are found all over Morocco, like here at the Heritage Museum in Marrakech

I’ve honestly never felt safer anywhere in the world!

The first few times we visited Morocco were for holidays and exploration, but as the years pass by we find ourselves returning for a different reason. We go there to relax. To enjoy the company of some of the most genuinely welcoming people in the world. And to feel at peace. In Morocco it’s all about honour, something I think we’ve largely forgotten in the West. The hosts always see themselves as personally responsible for the welfare of their guests, and perhaps because of this, we’ve never felt anything other than safe and comfortable.Except that one time when I ate a particularly dodgy tagine, now that was one long journey!

Is it safe to travel to Morocco?

Everyone is so friendly in Morocco, like the lovely ladies at La Maison Arabe Cooking School

I asked some of our friends and hosts in Morocco if they thought it was safe to travel to Morocco, and couldn’t agree more with Nicolas Pawlowski, Manager at Riad Camilia. He says he feels safer in Morocco than when he’s travelling to European capital cities.

Here, everyone knows everyone, this is our kind of ‘Middle Age’ way of life…just think about living in the European countryside 40 years ago and you’ll know what it’s like to travel here…peace and beauty!

Michele and Grant from Riad Assakina agree that whilst you never know when something is going to happen, they feel safe living in Marrakech, as do their visiting guests.

Is it safe to travel to Morocco?

Quiet medina streets in Essaouira

Behind the scenes the Moroccan security forces work tirelessly to maintain peace in their country, although this receives little media attention since good news doesn’t sell headlines. After the Casablanca bombings in 2003, Moroccan intelligence services stepped up their fight against terrorism, turning their efforts to targeting cells at a grass-roots level to prevent them becoming operational.

Hicham Mhammedi Alaoui, owner of Experience Morocco explains.

Moroccan intelligence services have allocated significant resources to monitor and address potential threats before they become a reality. To give a concrete example, Moroccan authorities were recognised just last month for playing a determining role in helping the French police investigation into the Paris attacks. In addition, local police forces have increased their visibility in major cities, with units patrolling busy areas at all times of day, and private businesses have followed suit with reinforced security measures appearing in malls, hotels, restaurants, and other gathering spots.

We’ve seen the increased police presence ourselves, and it definitely inspires confidence for visitors.

Is it safe to travel to Morocco? Dar Najmat, Mirleft, Morocco

Tranquil rather than terrifying…we loved the infinity pool at Dar Najmat in Mirleft

For those seeking a little more reassurance, Emily Burrows from Wild Morocco suggests getting in touch with local people who live and work in the country. They of course know Morocco better than anyone so are best placed to offer up to date advice about travelling there. And do as Nicolas suggests. Try to learn a bit about the culture to avoid making decisions based on assumptions and misconceptions.

Keep an open mind, or stay at home!

Is it safe to travel to Morocco?

Always ask the locals – they know best!

Despite statistics and common sense, Morocco is still being affected by Western perceptions of terrorism.

In the last decade, tourism in Morocco has been increasing at an impressive rate as more and more people realise just how accessible and beautiful the country is. Yet terrorism is affecting all of North Africa, and there are concerns that Morocco could experience economic loss through a decline of tourism just like in Egypt and Tunisia, simply due to it’s proximity to those countries.

Hicham tells me “the tourism industry has been noticeably affected by the global and regional instability in recent months, as thousands of travellers have delayed or cancelled their trips to visit Morocco. These decisions are guided by a fear and apprehension that is understandable but also completely disconnected from the reality on the ground. Thankfully, not everyone is deterred and the visitors who have maintained their plans have been able to see for themselves how safe and welcoming the country is”.

I have to say that Marrakech felt almost empty on our last visit. True, it was during winter, when visitor numbers drop naturally, but whilst sitting up on the balcony of our favourite cafe in Djemaa el Fna, there was a distinct lack of tour groups snaking through the square below. We usually have a bit of a giggle at them. Sticking closely together whilst following the umbrella or flag being held aloft by the leader, and all wearing the same cheesy group baseball cap or bag.

Is it safe to travel to Morocco?

Our favourite cafe on the Djemaa el Fna was almost deserted! Although it was winter!

Speaking again to Nicolas, we discovered that package tourism has indeed been affected far more than independent tourism. Apparently some of the large resort investors have opted to close rather than to waste money retaining their employees. Plane seats are no longer being filled by package tours, and some airlines have reduced their schedules.

The decline in package tourism has affected Morocco like Ebola has affected Senegal.

Yet Nicolas also reveals that amongst his extensive network of riad owners in Marrakech, independent travellers haven’t been deterred. So now is the time to go folks, avoid the tour crowds and have it almost to yourselves! Indeed, Michele and Grant feel that the tide may finally be changing as tourists begin to recognise that the situation in Morocco is much calmer than previously believed. Business is beginning to pick up again and there is optimism for the future.

I’m not arrogant enough to suggest that by continuing to travel to Morocco we are in our own small way helping to combat terrorism, but every little helps, right?!

Is it safe to travel to Morocco? Breakfast in Erg Chigaga

Why not come and explore the desert in Morocco?

Keeping a sense of perspective

So when people ask me is it safe to travel to Morocco I answer that’s it’s no more dangerous than staying at home. We’re far more likely to meet our demise in a traffic accident on the the way to work (I’ve had a couple such incidents!), or even being struck by lightning (we nearly were last year in our own village!) than being involved in a terror attack in Morocco.

You might get hit by a bus tomorrow. So enjoy your today!

No-one is ever truly safe and because of that we shouldn’t change our plans or our lives. What will be will be, or as they say in Morocco, Insha Allah.

Is it safe to travel to Morocco?

Peace and beauty are nothing to be afraid of.

If I’ve convinced you to head to Morocco, then you might like to read on and find out how to choose the best riad, what to see and do in Marrakech, and where the tastiest places to eat are!

Is is safe to travel to Morocco?

We can tell you how to choose the perfect riad

Huge thanks to the following lovely folk who contributed to this discussion:

Nicolas Pawlowski, Director at Riad Camilia
Hicham Mhammedi Alaoui, Owner of Experience Morocco
Emily Burrows, Owner of Wild Morocco
José Abete of La Maison Arabe
Michele and Grant, Owners of Riad Assakina
Is is safe to travel to Morocco?

There’s so many unexpected sights to experience in Morocco


Further reading:

Is it safe to travel to Morocco? – Mountain Voyage Morocco
Why Morocco has remained a safe country for tourists – Cindy Basha, Morocco World News

Found this post useful? Why not pin it for later…

Is it safe to travel to Morocco

 

88 Comments

  • cee gee says:

    thank you for posting this! your most irritating question is exactly what i typed into the search engine, haha. yours was the first link that wasn’t government warning pages (which i’m not interested in reading at all). i’ve always longed to travel to morocco but didn’t know what to expect. a few times i’ve heard from friends who were from several countries i’ve wanted to visit that it wasn’t so safe for outsiders any more, and it took me as surprise each time, so now it’s something i search up front regardless. not because of the religion or region, but just because i have found myself surprised before. anyway, this confirms exactly what i wanted to know, and this seems like a very stable country where that probably won’t change any time soon. thank you!

  • Winfried Schulz says:

    Thanks for the article! Really good read. Personally, I think Morocco is pretty safe. But… like most locations (or anywhere really) you just need to be weary of your surroundings.

  • Agness says:

    You elaborated on a topic which is very important but not so discussed, Heather! This was truly an educational post!

  • Morocco tours says:

    Great article and so much information about Morocco, thank you so much for sharing this article and 100000 welcomes to Morocco.

  • Katharine sullivan says:

    I am going to India, and I am in my 60’s, so I was thinking of stopping 1/2 way for a few days to break up the long plane ride. I am assuming from the comments and the blog that as a single old lady I will be fine as long as I dress appropriately and have respect for the customs of the host country. It looks incredibly beautiful.

  • Lou. says:

    We’ve been to Morocco some fifteen times and always enjoyed it, both for work and leisure. In terms of wilderness, it is not as ‘wild’ as some places in Algeria, but the natural and cultural diversity in Morocco is second to none. We haven’t returned for a while now and have been toying with the idea of a driving holiday across the Fez, Meknes, Ifrane regions and then down to Marrakech and Toubkal (flying in and out of Casablanca). Question to you is: how safe are some of these off-the-beaten track routes we are considering nowadays? Do consider that we will drive in remote/rural areas only during daytime and, in addition, I speak Arabic. Any advice would be welcomed.

    • Heather Cole says:

      Wow, 15 times, you must love it too 🙂 We haven’t yet visited Algeria, but would love to experience, as you say, that wilderness touch. We did a road trip around the Fez, Meknes, Ifrane, area and across to Marrakech a couple of years ago (we hired a car and driver rather than self driving), and didn’t encounter any problems whatsoever. These routes might seem off the beaten track compared to the environs of Marrakech, but it’s still a popular route for visitors. I think the language is the main barrier to a smooth self drive experience, so if you speak Arabic that will help a lot. If we spoke Arabic or even French then we’d be comfortable doing this trip ourselves, today. Of course you should check current Foreign Office advice, but if it was us, we’d go for it. Have a great trip, do let us know how you get on.

  • Ria says:

    Hi, thank you for this blog! my husband and I are headed to Morocco in May and cannot wait! I have been asked by a few people if it is actually safe to go because it is a Muslim country and I’ve always said yes, and this just reaffirms it for me!
    We are staying in a resort that is all inclusive and plan a few trips out, do you have any recommendations? Our hotel is near Marrakech! We will be exchanging our £’s for dirham when we arrive but was wondering how much you would recommend to take for a 10 day stay? I know its hard to judge depending on what you want to do etc but we intend to spend a lot of time just relaxing!
    Thanks

    • Heather Cole says:

      Hi Ria, I’m sure you’ll have a brilliant time in May, it’s a good time to go. Some ideas of what to do in Marrakech…http://www.conversanttraveller.com/senses-marrakech/ I can’t really recommend how much money to take, it really depends on what you do, and how often you’re away from your resort (and they do take cards in some places too). This site might help…http://www.budgetyourtrip.com/morocco but you’ll need a lot more if you’re planning on eating out in restaurants than they suggest. There are plenty of bureau d changes in the souks, so maybe don’t change all your cash on arrival, as it will be easy to take out more later. Entrances to museums etc are cheap, most between DH 10 and DH60. A 3 course meal in a decent restaurant would be about DH300 without drinks. In the souks you’ll spend however much you can barter down to! Have a lovely time!

  • Marilyn says:

    Thank you so much!! I will be traveling to Morocco in November 2017. This page is truly a blessing to me. By the way thank you for the beautiful pictures; specifically the Dar Najmat in Mirleft.

    Kind Regards,
    Marilyn

  • Miriam says:

    Such helpful info. I’m trying to convince my husband right now that Morocco is safe!!…but he’s not buying it *eye roll*

    • Heather Cole says:

      That’s a shame, hope you manage to convince him otherwise, after all, it’s probably more dangerous going about every day life at home than it is travelling to Morocco 🙂 Good luck!

  • Kim says:

    Hi Heather, thanks for all the info. My husband and I and another couple are actually going to southern Spain in a few weeks. We are going to take the boat over to Morocco for a day or night visit. Any advice you can give to us?

  • Julie says:

    Hi, I am thinking of going to Agadir with my 15 year old daughter during the Easter holidays so she can relax ahead of her GCSEs. I visited Morocco when I was in my 25 years ago and some aspects were a little scary (I was pulled in to shops as I passed despite being with a male), I guess I am trying ot find out how suitable it will be for a mother and daughter to travel there now without a male in the party and also, will be we ok to wear bikinis around the hotel pool/on the beach without being harassed? Obviously I realise we will need to cover up outside of the hotel complex, but will shorts be ok or will we need to cover our legs and shoulders too? Thanks 🙂

    • Heather Cole says:

      You really don’t need a male to feel or be safe in Morocco. These days there are so many travellers out there (including lots of solo female backpackers) that you won’t be an ‘anomaly’ or stand out from the crowd simply because you’re female. I would suggest all the usual common sense things like not wandering around by yourselves at night, and of course dress more conservatively when you’re outside your hotel/resort. Swimwear is fine inside your accommodation/complex, but definitely not outside of it. You would then attract attention. Shorts are ok, but nothing too short…around Morocco I tend to wear crops (just below the knee) and a kaftan top, although Agadir is a very touristy place so you will come across people wearing all sorts. I’d suggest normal t-shirts will be fine, though personally I wouldn’t wear spaghetti straps (again you probably will see people around Agadir flaunting their skin). You don’t need to dress like a nun, just be aware that the more skin you flash the more likely you’ll be noticed. Hope that helps, and that you have a fabulous time (and good luck to your daughter with the GCSEs!).

    • Farid says:

      Hi Heather,

      My name is Farid and I’m a Moroccan French guy living in France and who just got back from a week holiday in Agadir in February. Thanks for your well documented topic about the situation in Morocco. I know how it is quite complicated to explain how Morocco is a safe country despite being a muslim country with all the bad news coming from that part of the world.

      Morocco is litterally the most westernized country in the whole arab world. We share a lot with the rest of Europe (even 2 borders). Moroccan people are known to be very welcoming, hospitality is not a myth. By tradition, we must take care of foreigners. They are considered as guests.

      I have never felt unsafe in Morocco. You can see people from all over Europe travelling through the country without any risk. Many retired people spend the winter time in Morocco with their campervans. You’ll find them up in the Atlas Mountain, down in the desert or in a lost valley.

      During my last stay in Agadir, the hotel was full of tourists from UK, France, Germany, Poland, Russia (retired people, families with kids…). The souks (local markets) were full of people. There was no agressivity and no sensation of fear on people’s faces. Just enjoy your stay in this country. Remember that in Morocco our Intelligence Service is really efficient and acts before things happen.

      Driving in Morocco is may be the real risk you may face (except on motorways).

      Thanks again to Heather and sorry for my bad English. Welcome again to your 2nd homeland.

      • Heather Cole says:

        Hi Farid, thanks for your lovely comment, and for helping me show that Morocco is just as safe (and in many cases safer!) than other countries in the world. And yes, the only time I have ever felt unsafe was driving over the Tizi n Test, and that was thanks to a mad driver coming in the opposite direction around a corner a top speed (on the wrong side of the road!). And that’s the only time in 7 years of visits 🙂
        It is true Moroccan hospitality is not a myth, and is there to be enjoyed by those who venture to this wonderful country.
        PS Your English is excellent!

  • Robert Hinde says:

    Thanks for the reassurance. I’m travelling to Agadir next Monday and I was a bit worried because of all the current preoccupation with events in Tunisia and the feeling we British get that all Islamic countries hate us, for understandable reasons. But I recognise the irrationality of all this and I shall travel with an open mind and a desire to experience a country I have not yet visited.

    • Heather Cole says:

      Hi Robert, thanks for your thoughts, and I’m glad that you feel travelling to Morocco will be a positive experience for you. Islamic countries don’t hate us at all. In fact right now, they welcome us more than ever because tourism has taken such a hit. I can’t think of a better way to show our support than by continuing to visit. Hope you have a super time in Agadir!

  • L says:

    Hello,
    A group of 5 girls and I want to travel to Morocco.
    I am wondering if it is ‘safe’ to travel during ramadan (end of may-june 2017)? due to ramadan being the most religious occurring thing that happens each year in morocco, will this have any effect on the safety in being there? I have read it is a very quiet time there, will people look at us differently because we will ‘stand out’?
    thank you

    • Heather Cole says:

      Lots of people travel during this time, the only thing I would mention is that you may find it more difficult…e.g. eating, transportation etc. You should eat in the privacy of your accommodation and be aware that people may be a bit more irritable than usual due to the fasting. It will be very quiet, most tourists avoid this time, but it’s also a real insight into local culture, and it’s rather special to spend time with people during this period, and you could even join in and do as they do to better understand what it’s all about. In terms of ‘safety’, it’s no different from other times of the year, but yes, you may ‘stand out’ a bit simply because there are fewer visitors. As long as you are respectful you’ll be find. Also bear in mind that in June it will be very hot, so you probably won’t want to move about much anyway.

  • Aileen says:

    Hi Heather,

    I’m planning to visit Morocco in December 2017. Is it safe for a woman to go and explore different tourist destinations there alone?

    Thank you in advance.

    Regards,

    Aileen

    • Heather Cole says:

      Hi Aileen, thousands of women travel solo to Morocco each year, and as long as you apply a bit of common sense (i.e. dress conservatively, especially in more rural areas, don’t wander around alone after dark etc) you should have a great time. If you do get hassled then just be polite, a firm ‘la’ (no) usually does the trick, and in the souks, don’t feel pressured into buying anything you don’t want. Just enjoy the banter, treat it as a bit of a joke (they do too!) and it won’t seem half as intimidating. It won’t be mega busy in December, and we’ve found travelling there in winter that many vendors and street acts are a lot less motivated in bothering tourists for sales, and in fact it was more relaxing than during the more peak times. If you’re travelling around the country, it would be better to use public transport so you’re with other people, safety in numbers and all that. But honestly, it’s one of the countries where we’ve felt safest on all of our travels, the people are lovely and helpful, so hope you have a fab time!

  • Adil says:

    I am a moroccan guy . If any one has a dought that morocco is dangrous he is wrong . There is many country in europ are not safe . I’v been i europ and usa i was always scated for my life . Life in morocco is quit . 99% are muslims and we have church and mosque christianity a and jews all live in freedom and peace. Just one thing be respect most women dress tall clothes not be nude show there legs . Cus is shame .and no kissong in public then you are fine .
    And be aware for prices if you want to buy somthong ask price before buy it. Thats all .you can go to marrakesh red city with delecious food and pass beatifull night in atlas mountains or go to warzezet to see place where most famous movie in the world filmed in this city Lawrence of Arabia . Babel.gladiator.sex in the city.mission in possible.The Mummy . And more. And you can go to ifran to catch the snow city it looks like switzerland. Or go to moroccan sahara to ride camels .or go to beatifull beachs like asila and agadir and saidia golden sands . Or go to fes most oldest city it is civilization of morocco.
    There you go and enjoying. Gooood trip

    • Heather Cole says:

      Hi Adil, thanks for your comment. We agree (as you can see) that Morocco is a fabulous place to visit. I’m hoping with this post I can give people a balanced view that Morocco is certainly no more dangerous than places in Europe and the US, like you say, where people don’t think twice about visiting. You have a wonderful country, and it’s an honour to visit!

  • Found this blog from a google search if it was safe to go to Morocco. I was considering do a tour this coming summer that includes Morocco but articles like this make me feel good about it.

    • Heather Cole says:

      Thanks Michael, glad to help! There’s a lot going on in the world right now, but we all need to keep a sense of perspective. You could do far worse than include Morocco in your travel plans 🙂 Have a great trip!

  • Omar says:

    Hey thank you for these useful info !

  • Amanda says:

    Hi Heather, myself and my partner are thinking of going to Morocco I’m March. I’ve read somewhere hotels ask for proof of marriage and if you can’t provide evidence then you are given separate rooms. How true is this? Thanks

    • Heather Cole says:

      Totally not true! Never been asked that in all the years we’ve been travelling there. If you’re worried, just wear a ‘wedding ring’.

  • Ankica Matijevic says:

    Hi
    thanks for great advices. I have been in Morocco as a solo traveler in Oct 2013 for 2 weeks ( quite good looking blond lady) :-). I stayed in Guelitz but visiting old Medina often and traveling through all Morocco , was even for 2 days in desert. I did not have any problem!! I just respect their culture, have been dressed a bit more conservative then usually and been very polite to people. If someone was somehow strange or pushy I just refused to have any communication and they leave me alone. I have plenty of nice memories and can say that this was a best of my vacations ever. This year I am going again for full month in October, again alone and I just can not wait. So, Morocco is safe, it is well recommended for vacation, just go and enjoy!

    • Hi Ankica, it’s great to come across another Morocco lover!! 🙂 Glad you’ve had such a good experience that you’re deciding to return. Hope you have another wonderful trip, a month will be amazing! Enjoy!

  • daisy says:

    hi heather thanks for the lovely article…..just planning a family holiday and was wondering about the security…but this has out my mind to ease…
    could you possibly recommend any 5 star family friendly resorts. confused with the reviews as most people are complaining even after going to 5 star places….

    • Hi Daisy, glad to help! As for resorts, we tend to stay in small, intimate places rather than resorts, so if you’re talking about the Palmeraie, I’m not the best person to ask. Though I think the kids would love staying in a riad in the medina, lots of secret passages and somewhere totally different from the norm. I think a lot of people who stay at resorts and complain afterwards are those who are comparing their experience directly with trips to Europe, or the US. This is Africa. It’s different (in a good way). Try not to depend on sites like Trip Advisor…people rarely bother leaving reviews of a good stay, it’s only when they want a moan that they take time to review.

  • We’re headed to Morocco on Monday!!! Really really excited about this trip! 🙂 Thank you for your lovely article, and information.

    • Thanks Diego, it’s a pleasure…hope you have a fab trip!

    • hajrah says:

      hi
      I’m thinking of visiting morocco in april inshallah with my children, is it child friendly and also what district should we stay in?

      thank you in advance!!

      hajrah

      • Morocco is a great place for kids, they love children out there and seeing the hotel staff interacting with them and even looking after them whilst the parents have some chill time is lovely to see. I’d definitely head to the desert, it’s a great adventure for children, camping out under the stars and riding camels. http://www.conversanttraveller.com/chebbi-or-chigaga/ (check out this post on desert trips). If you’re heading to Marrakech definitely stay in the old medina – our favourite area (easy to navigate, feel safe etc) is the Mouassine district.

    • oussama says:

      realy i hope to be your friend in this is country but we need peace people 🙂 welcome any time

    • Alicia says:

      I was planning a trip to Morocco until Trump started making ridiculous Executive orders against Muslim countries. What is the general feeling towards Americans? Do I need to worry about stupid decisions our government is making and how that may impact our experience?

      • Heather Cole says:

        I think the important thing to remember is that not all Americans are Trump, and Trump isn’t all Americans, that much is pretty clear from what’s been happening over there lately. I can’t speak for the entire world population, but I think most people will realise this, and treat you as an individual, rather than as a representative of the Trump madness. Moroccans are a very welcoming, open minded people, and will probably sympathise with you against Trump rather than blame you for it. This is your chance to go over there and represent your country, and show people that many of you don’t subscribe to these ridiculous orders. After all, if you did, why would you even be in Morocco? We were travelling in Europe just after Brexit, and were a bit worried about how people would perceive us, but every single person we met was totally sympathetic to the situation, and just curious about it. In fact it was refreshing to talk about it with the Europeans, and made us feel better realising that they don’t hate us!!

      • Todd Lyon says:

        Considering Morocco has similar travel bans against some of the same war torn countries Trump does, your comments are completely unfounded. Most of us realize that the travel bans are NOT designed to target muslims, they are specific to countries that currently offer no cooperation to US immigration, Interpol, etc … .

        • Heather Cole says:

          Hi Todd, thanks for weighing in. I think it’s unfair to label Alicia’s question as completely unfounded…the whole world is talking about Trump and his executive orders at the moment, and it’s only natural that people want to know how this affects them as travellers. Most of us take our information from the media, so it’s really difficult to know the true reasoning behind the travel bans. Hopefully they are, as you say, just in line with countries that don’t cooperate with US immigration, but who really knows for sure? It’s sensible not to believe everything we hear in the press, but difficult not to be sceptical at the same time. I just hope people will continue to travel the world, heeding government advice but not letting politics get in the way.

  • Melanie says:

    What about women travelling through Morocco? We are planning a trip in June and we are 2 friends, grown up women in our 30s. How safe or unsafe may it be for us, what do you recommend?

    • You’ll be fine if there are 2 of you, just be sensible and dress appropriately (skimpy clothing will get you unwanted attention). Just be aware that it is very hot in June, so lots of long flowing clothing to keep the sun off is advisable. Also just be firm with people if they are too persistent…a strong ‘la’ (no) does go a long way!

  • Donny says:

    We are thinking of going right at the end of the year, to Marrakech.

    What you’ve wrote does make sense about misconceptions. But I’ve travelled to many places over the years including a number of major European cities, I still can’t help but feel like we will be more exposed and vulnerable in Morocco though, especially at a quieter time of year when security etc. might naturally be more relaxed.

    I’ve never changed travel plans before due to either specific events or just general worry but it’s still at the back of my mind that all it takes is one bad person to target you and then you’re a news story of a tourist who went missing abroad.

    I like to explore on my holidays rather than just sitting by a pool but feel like I’d be mostly hotel bound through worry (Which is unusual for me). I actually feel safer at busier times of the year due to more people being around I’m less likely to specifically be targeted.

    • Hi Donny, thanks for commenting! But let me just ask you this. When was the last time you heard about a terror attack in Morocco? Today we awoke to the horrific news about the attack at Berlin’s Christmas markets. Nowhere is 100% safe. Not even our home towns. Like you say, all it takes is one bad person. Unless you’re the sort of person who just sits at home, scared to go anywhere ‘just in case’, I’d suggest you go to Marrakech and make up your own mind. There are still tourists around at that time of year, so you won’t stand out like a sore thumb. The place is a lot quieter, but you could argue that would make it less of a potential target to any dick heads out there. Really, just go for it. And if you don’t feel confident to leave your hotel/riad, then you should know that the accommodation over there is superb, and one of the main reasons for any trip to Marrakech!

  • Sue Wilkes says:

    Just back from two weeks in Marrakech. My first trip there but will certainly not be my last. Absolutely loved every minute. The people were so friendly. Several people tried to put us off going but am so glad we ignored all the negative comments. If anyone is considering going to Morocco, don’t think about it, do it.

    • Hi Sue, glad you enjoyed your first trip and ignored all those trying to persuade you not to go, it’s really not a scary place is it! 🙂 Definitely agree it’s one of the friendliest places in the world. Thanks for your comments!

  • Monica Mcavoy says:

    My daughter and I wanted to travel to Morocco June of 2017. Thank you for this information.

    • Glad it was helpful! And hope you have a great time!

      • Mohammed LAMGHARI says:

        I am glad to hear what you said and your husband about my Country (Morocco).
        you are always welcome to visit it again,
        Next time try to visit “Chefchaouen City” almost located north of Morocco,

        i’m Passionate about “Camping” i camped in many places in Morocco

        It is a safe country are you see…

        have a great day,
        Mohammed

      • Timegharine Ahmed says:

        You are more than welcome to Morocco anytime you wish!

  • Emel says:

    Hi! Brilliant blog. I’ve been wandering about going in October and the only thing stopping me has been the fear at the back of my mind of targeted terrorism. I guess I just needed to put it into perspective, and you’ve really helped with that.
    Turning to a more sensible concern, what are your views on visiting Marrakesh as a solo female? I’m completely fine with harassment that I can ignore, but the reaction of many when I mention a trip is slightly incredulous. I’ve travelled solo before and I’m usually quite happy in a hostel meeting others.
    Thanks

  • Christine says:

    Amazing pictures and great article. I loved Morocco it is such a beautiful country and the people are so welcoming.

  • I love this. You have inspired me to want to travel to Morocco!

  • Frank says:

    Hi Heather,

    I’m of minds about this.

    One the one hand I’m reminded of a conversation with my mom about 18 months ago when discussing where we should meet for our annual holiday together. “How about Tunisia” she said. We had both both to Tunisia about 20 years ago and had good memories. But I didn’t have a good feeling about it and had heard some rumblings. Barely 2 months later they had those attacks at the museum then the massacre on the beach.

    Last year we had planned 2 months in Turkey, the culmination of slow travelling through the Balkans. We really looked forward to seeing Turkey, everyone has always said great things about it. During our time in Budapest things started heating up with the migrant crisis and Turkey suddenly at war on 2 fronts. We decided to cancel and go to South Africa instead. “Stupid” other bloggers were telling us, “Turkey is perfectly safe”. I got shit from a lot of people on facebook. Funny enough, I haven’t heard anything from them since the 2 terrorist attacks both in Istanbul and Ankara. I think it was the wise choice.

    Things can happen anywhere and statistically we are, I agree, much more likely to get run over by a tram crossing the street where we are right now (in Prague) than get caught up in a terrorist attack. Statistically the chances of getting mugged in Cape Town are much higher than ever getting robbed in Morocco. BUT my issue is with being a tourist in a place where I am intentionally targeted for death by some Islamic extremist. We might get mugged in South Africa, but the guy wants my money, he doesn’t want to kill me because he’s a religious fanatic.

    My other issue is that I’ve always had issues with religion and I’ve had it to my eyeballs with people and their religious shit. Doesn’t matter the religion. It’s part of the reason I have no interest in going to the Middle East, whether Muslim, Jewish or Christian (if there’s any left). I can’t take the religious arguments. It’s the equivalent of fighting over Santa Claus or the Easter bunny as far as I’m concerned. Am I intolerant? Maybe, but I’ve had personal issues in the past with religious people not accepting me because of my non-belief. You might enjoy this post: http://bbqboy.net/religion-morality-and-the-guiding-principle-of-shit-happens/ (sorry, tacky to link but so you know where i’m coming from because it’s relevant to this post).

    On the other hand: we’re planning to be in Spain/Portugal in late summer/early autumn and I want to include time in Morocco (I was there about 20 years ago). I also want to go back to Malaysia (in December) where I’ve also previously been. I don’t have problems with Muslims or Muslim countries, I have problems with radicals. Both these countries have always been very moderate in the past (can I call it Muslim-lite or is that offensive?) and I’m comfortable enough. But like Tunisia and Turkey our final decision is going to be made as we get closer because, as recent events have proven, things change fast and Morocco has contributed its fair share of radicals.

    I fully understand all your points Heather and they’re all logical. No argument with any of them. I know my geography and I don’t think I’m ignorant. But I think the feeling with a lot of people is that if they’re going to go on vacation they want to go to a place where they’ll feel welcomed and where they won’t be targeted. A lot of people are also angry and you can’t blame them for that. Of course it’s not fair to blame all Muslim countries, 99.9% of people just want to live life and make a living for their families. But I’ll leave it to you to ask a Frenchman or Belgian to go a Muslim country right now, I’m sure they’re not really in the mood.

    Ok, next up I guess – Brazil, a country we see 100% eye to eye on….

    Frank (bbqboy)

    • I think what it all boils down to is common sense. Travellers should take into account the current climate and official advice and then make an informed decision. You were clearly right for deciding against Turkey and Tunisia at the time, and indeed if the same happened with Morocco I’d probably decide not to go either, despite how much it hurts to say so. The thing is, Morocco hasn’t suffered in the way that many of it’s ‘neighbours’ in the Middle East/Eurasia have (and even Europe!) and until that time (which hopefully will never come) there’s no more reason to stay away from Morocco than there is many commonly visited places in Europe.

      As for other bloggers saying you were ‘stupid’ for not visiting Turkey, that’s just as ignorant as those who believe in avoiding Muslim countries purely because of their religion. And it’s irresponsible too, given a blogger’s position of influence over their readers.

      I get where you’re coming from with religion, although I haven’t personally been affected by it like you (agree that there’s as much chance of belief in Star Trek as the Virgin Mary!). I’m not at all religious, (Charles Darwin all the way!) and think the world would be a happier place without it (think of all the wars), but I do love the way it has shaped many countries. A lot of the things I love about Morocco are a result of the religion. The architecture. The calls to prayer. The way they live their lives. Even the food! Yet in Morocco we’ve never felt religion shoved down our throats. It’s such an ingrained part of life you hardly even notice that it is in fact ‘religion’ rather than just another ‘culture’.

      I think everyone should make up their own minds, and respect each other even if those decisions differ. If you decide not to go to Morocco I won’t hound you for it (too much!), as you’ve clearly given it a lot of thought and been far from ignorant in the process. If you do go however, you know where to come for ideas 🙂

      • Frank says:

        HA! Thanks Heather. Plan is to go and I’m actually excited about it because I love the geography and actually know a few Moroccans.
        I totally agree with you places of worship and some of the cultural aspects of religion. We always visit churches/mosques/synagogues when travelling – it’s the best of art and architecture and what’s going to happen in 1000 years when some of those buildings no longer exist and all they have is shitty modern architecture?
        All going well, I will definitely ask you for some Morocco tips!
        Frank

        • Fingers crossed it’s still all fine come the end of summer and you get to go (now luck, that’s an interesting concept…). Might even see you there, we’re thinking about going back at the start of Autumn.
          Can’t imagine people visiting our tower blocks in 1000 years, we’re not a very inspirational century are we!

  • shivansh says:

    Poor geography leads to ignorant and biased opinions, rightly pointed out!

  • Sally says:

    Thank you for posting this! As an Arab traveler, it gets so frustrating having to explain that just because a country is in Africa or the Middle East, doesn’t mean it is unsafe. Morocco is not Egypt which is not Syria. Each country stands on its own. I love Morocco and think it’s beautiful! And I never felt unsafe there. Thanks for sharing your perspective 🙂

  • Rob says:

    I wish the loud voices were ones like this, showing that the world is fine to be a part of. And like you said, are we 100% safe at home? Particularly in the USA where I could start a rant about everything… I’d happy travel through Morocco with my family.

  • Mags says:

    Thanks for writing this. I hate when people are afraid of a place without having been there or even doing a little research! So ignorant! And the passport stamp on a full page thing is inexcusable!

  • Natasha says:

    We just spent 6 weeks in Morocco, and although I got harrassed a little more than I would in a Western country, I never felt dangerous. Just wrote a few posts about it actually. We spent a week with a Berber family at their guesthouse in a small village and he even said that ever since the Paris attacks there has been no one at his guesthouse. Made me feel very sad. I can say that I felt safer in Morocco than I do in many places in the world.

    • That’s such a shame, it’s the smaller guest house businesses that will probably suffer more than the larger establishments, at least you went and gave them a week! Thanks for the support, as you say Morocco is a place where many travellers feel safe and people shouldn’t knock it till they’ve tried it!

  • Hannah says:

    Great post! I haven’t (yet) been to Morocco but it’s one of the places everyone warns me against going solo. But- exactly as you indicated- home (Canada) isn’t always safe either! And I’m not (and can’t) spend my life living in a bubble.

  • Tonya says:

    I’ve actually wanted to go to Morocco for years. Working and living near Walt Disney World we have the Moroccan pavilion in Epcot and I’ve met many wonderful people from that country. I did not however, know how much greenery and hills there were in the Lake District. Your photo there is beautiful. Thanks for teaching me a bit more about it!

    • The Lakes is one of the greenest places in the world (we have the most rainfall in England up here!), which I think makes us appreciate the green oases of Morocco when we’re there! Hope you get to go for real some day, I didn’t know there was a Moroccan spot in Epcot!

  • Brilliant article – I completely agree. Many people who say that Morocco is dangerous have no idea where it is on a map, and many have gone to Paris or London without question. I was in Marrakech, Ouarzazate and Essaouira last summer and had an amazing time. It felt completely safe.

    I think that we have to accept that in this day and age, there is a risk anywhere you go. And, it is all relative. The media, as you have suggested, doesn’t really help! We should base our travel research on fact, not jaded or bigoted opinion.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CAPTCHA
Change the CAPTCHA codeSpeak the CAPTCHA code