One of the things that I absolutely love about Morocco is the people. They’re very friendly, welcoming and have a strong sense of pride and culture. Even though this is true it’s important to make sure that you respect the culture, respect the values and learn simple etiquette. This will hopefully make your experience much more enjoyable and you’ll be able to see the beauty of not only the landscape, but also the people.
What To Wear
Moroccan culture and clothing etiquette is decidedly much more conservative than most western cultures so your clothing choices will need more thought and consideration when you visit. In bigger cities like Marrakesh, the clothing choices you make can be a little more flexible than in smaller villages outside the big cities, but that does not mean modesty can be thrown out of the window. Both men and women should wear clothing that is loose fitting and not revealing.
Clothing such as tank tops, short shorts, short skirts and sun dresses are not appropriate and should only be worn at the beach or at the pool if there is one at your hotel or riad. It’s very disrespectful to wear clothing that is revealing and too short. I’ve seen many women and young girls wearing very short/revealing clothing and it shows Moroccan people that you don’t care or respect their culture. It doesn’t make tourists look good and it adds to the negative perception that some Moroccans have about tourists.
Solo Female Travel in Morocco
Traveling in Morocco is different for every woman. Some women have great experiences, and some have horrible experiences. The culture and behaviour of people in the country varies from place to place, but most women seem to have the hardest time when visiting Marrakech. I don’t know why or where this “habit” comes from but some of the men think it’s acceptable to be overly friendly or aggressive with women tourists by following, touching or cat-calling. Obviously this isn’t all of the men, but some of them do. You have to have a really thick skin and be a confident traveler. Don’t be afraid to ignore them or make a scene if they become too disrespectful. Make sure that you dress more conservatively than you would in other countries, this makes a difference.
Travel with common sense and make sure that you are aware of your surroundings. This bit of advice is for every country you visit, not only Morocco. This does not mean travel in fear. Why would you visit a place that you’re afraid of and aren’t comfortable in? We travel to places that are intriguing to us and that we have an interesting in seeing and learning about.
There are only two mosques in the country that are open to non-muslims, Hassan II in Casablanca and Tinmel in the Atlas Mountains. Even though you won’t be able to go inside, the architecture is still beautiful and worth seeing from the outside. Please always be respectful when visiting and remember that these are places of worship. Do not take photos of people entering or exiting the mosque.
Eating Out and Tipping
Whether you’re eating at a restaurant or small cafe if you’re using your hands you should remember to eat with your right hand. Especially if you’re eating from a communal plate with friends or with locals, you should avoid eating with your left hand.
Morocco is a tipping country culture that follows rules similar to Western cultures. Tip waiters, serviced staff, porters, and guides. 5-10 dirham per person in a cafe is usually an acceptable amount, more is ok if you think the service was exceptional. Service staff in hotels and guides, especially those that spend many days with groups, should be tipped around 50-100 dirhams per day, this is what I usually give. Grand and petit taxi drivers do not expect tips but they’re appreciated.
Visiting a Home in Morocco
If you’re very lucky you may have the opportunity to visit a family home during your trip. If you are familiar with the person who has extended the invite or if it is part of your group tour it’s an exciting privilege. The first thing you should when you enter is to greet each person with your right hand, not the left. It is also polite for those of the same sex to give small kisses to each cheek.
For dinner, large family-style dishes will be served in courses, so save room for more. You’ll be told, “eat eat!” by your hosts because this is the custom. Try to take smaller portions so that you’re able to keep up. If you really can’t eat anymore, don't be shy about saying that you’re finished and full.
Moroccan people are some of the most welcoming, warm and friendly people that I’ve met on my travels around the world, which is why I’ve chosen to bring groups here. Your experience in Morocco depends very much on how you travel here and whether you travel with an open mind and why you’re traveling here. Not everyone likes every country they travel to and that’s ok. Most people who travel here rarely see the non-touristy side of the people for various reasons. My trips always include opportunities to meet and talk with local people in more relaxed settings. Interested in one of my trips? Click here for more details.