Many guidebooks offer tips for females visiting Morocco, but many seem to err on the very conservative side.  For example, one guidebook claims that women should not even wear sandals to avoid exposing too much flesh.  This is absurd.  Almost all Moroccan women wear sandals, even those wearing the headscarf.

 

The trick is to strike a balance between comfort and modesty (as defined by Moroccan social norms). A head scarf is by no means required or even recommended - many Moroccan women do not wear one. Revealing and very tight clothing is a no-no. In the winter months, there is really no problem as it is cool enough that you wouldn’t want to expose much flesh anyway.  In the summer, however, it’s a different story.  In general, low-cut tops that reveal or emphasize your breasts are a bad idea.  If you have large breasts, you will get more than your fair share of attention and comments, so be aware.  Same thing for shorts or skirts above the knee.  I wear knee-length skirts, and that seems to be fine.  Spaghetti straps, backless or mid-riff baring shirts are also not recommended – though you will see young Moroccan girls wearing them.  Loose cotton and linen clothes are best for hot days.  Jeans, T-shirts and Capri pants are perfectly acceptable. 

 

In the larger hotels (and many riads), you can be more casual with your dress.  Bikinis are fine at hotel pools, as are shorts, tank tops, etc. Light layers are always convenient as you can throw them on if stepping out in the medina ,and then strip them off again once back at the hotel. Topless sunbathing is really not acceptable – though, again you will see some tourists who do.

 

There are not many tips for personal safety that are Morocco-specific…just your usual common sense stuff: don’t walk alone at night in dark or unfamiliar places, don’t reveal your personal information or where you’re staying to strangers, if you’re traveling alone, make sure someone knows your rough itinerary, and above all, trust your gut instinct.  Many visitors are so concerned about making a social gaffe or offending their local hosts that they act against their better judgment and find themselves in awkward situations.  If something doesn’t feel right to you, you can opt out or refuse in a friendly and polite way.  If this is met with persistence and/ or aggression, then its best to remove yourself from the situation.

 

At some point during your visit to Morocco, you will probably be stared at, or have some guy make a comment to you, or even be offered a “berber massage” (a euphemism for intercourse).  The best response is no response.  Take nothing personally, even try to laugh it off.  Some days it wont bother you – other days it will.  A persistent pest should be confronted with a loud and firm “Seer” (go away) or “hashouma” (shame on you).  Appealing to other Moroccans will usually take care of anyone who simply will not go away.  

 

Above all, it is important to not be scared.  Violence and aggression against female tourists is rare here – the worst you’ll probably encounter is a group of pubescent juveniles trying to impress their friends with some vulgar English and sniggering.  Moroccans are a very welcoming and open people, so try not to let the few bad seeds ruin your experience.