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The ultimate guide to solo travel in Morocco

About Morocco

 

Morocco, a country with some of the world’s best architecture, it’s history and culture is unlike any other. Morocco is situated in the Northern coast of Africa. Its neighbouring countries are Algeria and Western Sahara, with Spain across the Atlantic ocean. The capital city is Rabat with Casablanca being the biggest city also known as the economic capital and Marrakesh being deemed the cultural capital.

I found that Moroccan people in general were quite friendly and navigating in the cities very easy. However, there are some people who try and exploit tourists and cat calling and sexual harassment on solo female travellers can happen often which can be a huge negative in travelling in this country.

Transport is easily accessible in each city and between each city. Trains and coaches between each city are cheap, safe, and frequent.

Overall the country is safe to travel to as long as you practice caution, like with every country. If you are lost always go into a shop to ask directions rather than strangers on the street. As a solo female traveller you should also be mindful of your things, whether that’s your bag at a restaurant or drinks at a bar, never leave your things unattended. Also at night, cities like Casablanca can get pretty sketchy and I won’t advice walking around alone. If you’re a woman especially, as you would be the only woman on the street. However if you do go out alone at night there are a lot of armed police/army officers, so if you are feeling scared do feel free to approach them.

Accommodation is surprisingly cheap in many big Moroccan cities with many eco hotels and travel lodges available too. Depending on your budget accommodation in the city centre ranges from £10 – £60 per night. 

 

In Casablanca I stayed in a hostel called International Youth hostel Casablanca which I loved (around £10 for a hostel bed a night with breakfast included).  It was in the heart of the old Medina, super close to the station with lovely staff there too. 

 

But I won’t lie to you the old Medina can become a very sketchy place at night and even the hostel staff advised me against going out at night. If you are a night owl I advise you to arrange taxis around the Medina or stay in more upmarket areas such as Boulevard Al Massira al Khadra or by the beach in Ain Diab.

 

Casablanca is a city often overlooked when people are looking to travel to Morocco.  But the country’s largest city has a lot to offer

 

Here are some of my favourites spots in Casablanca;

Hassan II mosque 

This Mosque is the largest mosque in Africa and the 7th largest in the world! Currently standing at nearly 700 ft tall, this mosque is definitely a must-see in the city. Tourists can head inside to look and take pictures but must be dressed appropriately to do so.

 

The Riverbank by Hassan mosque

I don’t know if there’s an exact name for this area, but just a little walk away from the mosque is a beautiful river bank where people often sit to relax. If the mosque is in the middle of the things you need to see, then I definitely recommend taking a moment to relax here.

 

Casablanca Cathedral

This former Roman Catholic cathedral was closed for renovations when I went (2019) but maybe open sometime in the future.

A beautiful landmark with incredible architecture.

Casablanca Beach

Located in the Ain Diab neighbourhood, the beach here stretches for miles with beautiful calm waves and warm sand. This beach is definitely worth a swim in.

Morocco Mall

This mall is the largest in Africa and a great place to go if you’re wanting a shopping spree, with well known international stores.

 

Old Medina

The old Medina was the first Medina in the city of Casablanca and is still operating today! Though it may not be as big as the ones in Marrakesh or Fez. You can just as easily get lost in the narrow streets.

 

Villa des artes museum.

Though rather small, this art museum is worth a visit to anyone looking for something extra to do in Casa. With a collection of pieces from both Moroccan and international artists.

 

Sky 28 

Now if you’re looking for an upscale bar with beautiful music and scenery, then sky 28 is the place for you. This is the shard of Casablanca with drinks ranging around £12 and food £20.

 

Botanical gardens of Jardin Zerktouni

This spot was one of my favourite places as it was almost an escape from the manic city. It felt like a hidden treasure right in the middle of the city. The botanical gardens are home to a lot of wildlife too so don’t be afraid of a bird decides to come and read with you. This is a perfect place to relax and end your day.

Chefchaouen

Chefchaouen; Home to those beautiful blue houses I’m sure you’ve seen on Instagram but there’s so much more that this city offers.

Why not learn about the history of why these houses are blue at the Ethnographic Museum, stroll through the streets and grab a bargain at Place Outa el Hammam and end the day watching the sunset at Khandak Semmar

Fez

The former capital is a cultural hub.

You can visit the medina, a UNESECO World heritage site and Dar Batha Museum to understand more about Moroccan history.

Additionally there are a plethora of amazing Islamic insitutues such as Bou Inania Madrasa, Al Attarine Madrada, Zaouia de Moulay Idriss and Dar Batha.

 

Probably one of the more popular tourist destinations, is home to some amazing architecture in the country! Some include;

 

The Jemaa El-Fna medina

This marketplace is a UNESECO World heritage site, it’s definitely worth a look as you can find almost anything here. Make sure you watch your valuables and keep your wits about you.

 

Jardin Majorelle

Le Jardin Secret was in the 19th century one of the largest riads in the medina of Marrakech

 

Bahia Palace

This is a 19th centaury palace with breathtaking grounds. It’s home to beautiful architecture and ancient Moroccan artifacts. 

 

Koutoubia

This is a noticeable landmark and is a 12th centaury mosque standing tall over the Jemaa El-Fna Medina. It is some to a picturesque garden with beautiful water fountains and benches. It’s a great place to relax and take in the city.

 

Some less-visited but precious destinations are:

Menera Gardens

This is beautiful botanical gardens by the Atlas mountains

 

Riad Yima Tea Room

This is a local hipster art gallery

In the country’s capital, Rabat some attractions include;  

Hassan Tower

This is an ancient tower and interesting monument built in the 12th century and is close to the mausoleum of Mohammed V which is an Islamic architecture with amazing architecture.

 

Chellah

Chellah is a historical landmark which is a medieval fortified Muslim necropolis. This was a built part of the pheonican empire which was later overruled by the romans.

 

Royal Palace of Rabat

This is the main residence of the King of Morocco and is home to amazingly beautiful rooms and architecture. A must visit when in the capital.

 

Mohammed VI Museums of Modern and contemporary Art

This museum us home to modern art and was built in 1956. It is home to over 200 different Moroccan artist’s work and is a great cultural insight.

 

Andalusian Gardens

This is a great, tranquil spot in the county’s capital. It is home to a multitude of plant, flower and fruit trees and perfect for bird watchers and nature lovers

 

Tangier

The oldest city in Morocco, is a hub for cultural lovers. With must visit places like; Dar el Makkhzen (17th century royal palace), Kasbah Museum, Hercules Caves and Park Rmilat. A mixture of the past and the present is in this city and would surely not to disappoint.

Morocco is an excellent example of African cultural preservation with some of the world’s best architecture, its history and culture are unlike any other. Morocco is home to the great Moorish empire.

The Moroccan empire was one of the most important empires in the Mediterranean region, playing many influential roles in both the history of Europe and Western Africa. The empire began in the early 7th century and was officially abolished in the late 20th century.

Some great cultural sites in Morocco are;

Head to the Sahara desert! With so many safari deserts tours, why not take up the experience of a lifetime! Riding camels across the desert and camping out to marvel at the night sky.

Ride a Camel 

This is for an any adventure lovers out there. In cities such as Marrakesh, Camel riding tours are very common to find and can be a great experience here in the country

Hit the sand 

Similarly to camel riding, dune buggying is for an any adventure lovers out there and is a common tourism excursion in Morocco.

Try the food!

Tajine is a popular North African food and a must try if you’re ever in the country. Tajine is a meat stew with vegetables and spices. Vegetable tajine stews are also available. If you’re not a big fan of Tajine some other popular dishes to try are  Couscous and Harira (tomato and lentil soup). Mint tea is a very popular drink, you’ll usually be given this at the end of your meal.

 

Get Cultured

Fez is Morocco’s former capital and its cultural hub. If you’re ever in Fez you must visit the Fez Medina which is the oldest neighborhood in Fez (founded in 859) and also protected as a World Heritage Site.

Fun fact: Fez, is also home to the oldest university in the world! Al-Qarawiyyin was founded in 859AD by a woman named Fatima al Fihriand and is still running today!

Explore Tangier

Tangier is the oldest city in Morocco, is a hub for cultural lovers. With must-visit places like; Dar el Makkhzen (17th-century royal palace), Kasbah Museum, Hercules Caves, and Park Rmilat. A mixture of the past and the present this city is sure not to disappoint.

Rabat is  Morocco’s capital and is home to Kasbah des Oudaias. This is one of the town’s most historic quarters and part of the World Heritage Sites. This historical site was constructed in the 12th century, the kasbah includes an old palace and mosque, small blue homes. A beach and more!

Marrakesh is probably one of the more popular tourist destinations and is home to some amazing architecture in the country. Some must-visit places are;

Jemaa el-Fnaa Square 

This square is located in the Marrakesh Medina. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site.  This square has been used since 1062 and it feels like you’re stepping back in time with narrow windy streets, live entertainment in the main square, and a bustling atmosphere. It is definitely an experience.

Saadian Tombs

Saadian Tombs was constructed in the 16th century. It is home to around 60 members of royal sultans.

El Badi Palace 

This palace is an interesting cultural experience. The palace was crafted with some of the most expensive materials of the period. The palace’s construction is in gold and onyx, with marble colonnades and crystal embellishments.

Morocco has relatively good year climate all year-round but the best time to go is in the spring seaspm which is between March – May. 

In the summer the country recieves the most amount of tourists making attractions quite crowded. The temperatures are also much higher in this season and so if you’re planning to go to the sahara, be prepared to sweat buckets.

The cheapest time to go is during the winter season (December – February) which I have done before. The temperatures during the day are cool and not too bad but the night times can get pretty chilli.

– Protect your skin! This country’s makeup is mainly desert and so you can imagine how hot the country can get. Remember to stay hydrated and pack lots of sunscreen on.

– Modesty is a must, especially as a woman. As the country is a Muslim country, foreign women and men should dress modestly to respect the culture.

– Learn the language. It may be useful to learn a little Arabic or French as English is not commonly spoken in smaller cities.

– Once the sun goes down in the desert, it can get very cold, so make sure you take this into consideration when booking your tour.

– As goes with any place, keep your wits about you. Especially in places like the medina

– Depending on where you are, I would suggest solo female travellers taking taxis to their destination after dark.

– In Casablanca, there are both shared taxis (5 seater yellow cars which are cheaper) and private taxis (white taxis) do be sure you know which one you’re getting into before you are getting in.

-Taxis are usually metered so you won’t have to worry about haggling (sometimes). In Casablanca and Marrakesh, this haggling with taxi drivers may be needed, and be mindful of taxis! (Make sure they are legitimate).

-If you are in Casablanca be mindful of the old Medina as it can become a very sketchy place at night and even the hostel staff advised me against going out at night. 

-If you are a night owl I advise you to arrange taxis (Casablanca) around the Medina or stay in more upmarket areas such as Boulevard Al Massira al Khadra or by the beach in Ain Diab.

This country is slightly harder to make friends especially those of the opposite sex due to the culture.

However people are often very friendly and intrigued by foreigners and want to get to know more about you and your culture. I often had people in the street stop me because they heard I spoke English and wanted to sit and talk with me about being from London. 

You can also take a tour. There are so many experiences and tours in Morocco, especially in nig cities such as Marrakesh as a great way to also meet fellow wanderlusters and who knows. They may even be able to share with you some hidden gems in the country.

Online forums and clubs may also be a great method to meet people. Using sites like Facebook and joining groups is a great way to get the ball rolling, meet locals and see their city.

There are over 25 different airports in Morocco with the main ones being Mohammed V International Airport in Casablanca, Menara Airport in Marrakech, Al Massira Airport in Agadir, Nador International Airport in Nador, Ibn Batouta Airport in Tangier, Saïss Airport In Fes        , Rabat-Salé Airport in Rabat.

Morocco has so much to see and do so it’s not uncommon for tourists who come here to want to stay forever. I have personally visited the country 3 times (2 weeks at a time in different cities) and still don’t feel like I have fully seen all Morocco has to offer!

Depending on your itinerary, I’d say 2-3 weeks is a good amount for excursions only. 4-5 days per excursion i.e. Sahara tours. 3 days to explore the city you are in. A few more to travel to other cities or have day tours.

Can I drink the water? yes

Is tipping expected? No

Fixed price or barter? Most things are fixed priced but if you are in the medina do make sure you haggle!

Any ATMs? YES! In the capital Rabat and in many of the cities. You’ll find a lot of ATM machines accepting VISAs, Mastercards and others. There are also many exchange rates. 

Which side of the road do they drive? Right

Good for vegetarians? Yes (you may be offered fish a lot as they think vegetarian means no meat) For vegans however, it will be very difficult to find restaurants

Any seven wonders of the world? Yes

Plan a trip to Morocco

If you are ready to solo travel Morocco here are some useful links to help you plan your travel.

Facts

Budget – £10 – £40 per day minus accommodation

Capital – Rabat

Population – 37 million

Language spoken – Arabic and French

Local Currency – Dirham

Do I need a visa? – No

Flying time to Morocco  – 3 hours from London 

Did you know? Some of your favourite films are being shot in Morocco! This country is home to the second-largest film set in the world!

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    Adeola is a world traveller and influencer focusing her area of travel on the continent of Africa, being her passion at her core. The aspiring writer wants to use her story to educate those about what different African countries are really like through the gaze of a first-generation British Nigerian. Her solo travels through the continent aim to inspire others giving not only her stories but useful facts about each country.

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