Morocco

Guide to Marrakesh and tips for Solo Female Travellers

Morocco is a vibrant and beautiful country. It’s one of the closest African countries to travel to from the UK, with no time difference, meaning no jet lag, that’s always a bonus! Arriving into Marrakesh Menara airport you start to get the feel for the place, there’s a buzz around and you immediately feel welcomed into the city…. later to possibly be identified as the Moroccan hassle!

I loved my time in Morocco and would definitely visit again. This is a guide for anyone travelling to there to give you a bit of a heads up on what to expect from Marrakech, especially if you happen to be a solo female traveller.

Arriving into Marrakesh

From Marrakesh airport, the majority of people jump in taxis but I opt for the airport bus (number 19). My first chance to try out my Arabic/French – both which are pretty rubbish but hey the driver lets me on. He’s really helpful and waves at me when we arrive at the main medina, near where my hostel is.

I love that part of travelling, I’ve only been in the country less than half an hour and already the locals are being friendly and helpful.

Becky’s Tip – I later found taxi negotiations could be a bit of a pain so I would recommend buying the  return bus ticket so you have a stress free departure and cheaper if you’re travelling solo (Dh30 single or Dh50 return)*

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Koutoubia Mosque a few minutes walk from Marrakesh’s main Jemaa El Fna Square

Exploring the Souks – be prepared to get lost…. very lost!

There’s nothing more exciting than arriving in a new destination and wandering off to explore your new surroundings. If you are going to do this in Marrakesh, be prepared, you will get seriously hassled, as a solo female I literally could not walk a step with someone trying to entice me into their stall “Come look at this… your shoes are so pretty (they weren’t)… I like your dress…. where are you from”. I’m a polite person but after a day in Marrakesh, I ended up adopting the walk fast option just to escape.

Becky’s Tips 

  • Always take a bottle of water.
  • Look for the signs back to the Jemaa el Fna square (I didn’t spot these the first time)
  • Walk confidently, I promise you will make it out!
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Exploring Marrakesh’s souks and getting seriously lost!

A 24 hour buzz in the famous Jemaa el Fna Square – the main medina

For me the Jemaa el Fna Square is a combination of things I love and things I hate. The atmosphere and buzz around the place is absolutely amazing, not to mention the fresh orange juice stalls, which for some reason there are over 20 all competing against each other. I  visited the same one each day, I don’t think he remembered me but I like to think I was a loyal customer for 3 days ha ha!

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Hanging out with my favourite Orange Juice seller in Marrakesh’s Jemaa El Fna Square!

Amongst the crowds of people selling various products and services there are sadly a few things I really hated. It’s common in the medina to dress monkeys up in outfits to pose for photos. I just can’t bear seeing things like this, even worse is watching tourists handing over money, encouraging it to continue. Please think before you do this.

It’s the same with the cobras, which have been drugged to perform. I just don’t agree with it and it saddens me when I see so many people still lining up for photos :(.

No photos are free in Marrakesh, as I found out after these guys insisted (I said ‘no thanks’ about 5 times) I take their photo, then demanded money.

Becky’s TipS 

  • Just walk and smile or failing that run…. ha ha only joking 🙂 
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Nothing is free in Marrakesh, these guys insisted I take their picture and then demanded money

Nightlife in the main medina

At night the Jemaa el Fna Square comes to life (even more); metal stands are transformed into food stalls with numbers against them all selling pretty similar food. It’s mainly BBQ style but there are huge menus to choose a range of different things from. It’s great to wander around to decide where you want to eat but some of the Moroccans can start to get a bit annoyed if you don’t pick their stall and I found some even a bit aggressive.”Come here eat my food, no you can eat more, you are too skinny you need more food……”. Arhhh chill guys!

Becky’s Tips 

  • If you’ve already eaten still be expected to be hassled just as much, so maybe best to just avoid! 
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Marrakesh by night – Jemaa el Fna Square

There is storytelling and musicians playing all in little groups over the medina at night, some with huge crowds and some with just a few. I preferred the smaller groups, they made you feel welcome and part of the group, some of the larger groups came round asking for money, even when you had only just arrived. There’s no filming or photography so be prepared to be told to stop if you try…. better still just enjoy the entertainment!

Becky’s Tips 

Take some small change with you so you can tip the artists/musicians that you love because they don’t offer change if you only have large notes!

*Book your Morocco flights now: Skyscanner

Stepping away from the Marrakech madness at Jardin Majorelle

Jardin Marjorelle is a beautiful garden hidden behind a wall from the main road, it’s about 40  minutes walk from the main medina, entrance fee is Dh70*. It is a real treat once you step inside, huge bamboo towering above you as soon as you enter.

As you carelessly wander around Jardin Marjorelle you forget all about the hustle and bustle of Marrakesh life outside the walls. Inside there’s also a Berber museum (you can pay extra to visit). And a café so you can take your time and spend a few hours there relaxing.

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Beautiful Jardin Marjorelle you forget all about the hustle and bustle of Marrakesh

On reflection from my time travelling in Morocco, like any big city Marrakesh was a great place to visit and experience. For me though, there were other places to explore. And it’s one of the reasons after summitting Mount Toubkal in the Atlas Mountain, instead of spending my last 3 days in Marrakesh.

You might like to read: 15 reasons to trek Mt Toubkal

I jumped on a bus and visited a gorgeous place called Essaouira on the coast and experienced my first Moroccan Spa/Hamman. For me Morocco is a country I would love to go back to, there’s the famous blue Chefchaouen which I would love to see. And of course, Casablanca looks amazing. Read Study Hard Travel Smart’s blog for inspiration on this beautiful city.

Are you visiting Marrakesh or have you already been? What was your experience like? Tell me about in the comments below and share any more tips for solo travellers or ask me any questions.

*Prices correct at time of writing February 2017.

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Travelling to Marrakesh? Check out this useful guide including tips for solo female travellers visiting Morocco. What to see and do whilst you're there.

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Comments (30)

    1. Ah that’s fantastic, Morocco is lovely you will have a great time. I have also just written a post about visiting a Moroccan Hamman, which is a must do experience too 🙂

  1. Oh I so did not know that they have the same time zone as UK! I’ve always wanted to go. Flight used to be so cheap there but I think it’s not the case anymore 🙁

    1. Ah you should still go, it’s pretty cheap when you get there, food, accom and travel so it kind of evens itself out 🙂

    1. Ha ha thanks Shaun, I like purple… hope it didn’t put you off!!! Yes it’s a great place to visit, you kind of get used to how the vendors hassle you, I just thought it was nice to prepare people then it’s not as much of a shock!!!

  2. I would love to visit Marrkesh! I want to wander the median! I’m pretty brace but I think I would be nervous to be there as a solo female though.

    1. Ah I hope I didn’t put you off, honestly I am sure you would be fine. I think it’s just important to act confident even if you are not and ask for help if you need it not from those that are hassling but from others. I met many a kind person, one who directed me out of the souks the first time I got lost!!

  3. Great article. We have been in Morocco last year and we LOVED IT ! Good to see others opinions about the same place. Good photos too.
    Please have a look at our Morocco post and write what you wish you have done from our list 🙂

    1. Great thanks very much. Yes it is really a lovely place, just wanted to give people a head’s up on what to expect, it’s useful to be armed… especially with small change! Yes I will take a look thanks 🙂

  4. Not really been on our radar, Marrakech By Night would be a wonderful experience. Thanks for the share.

  5. Wow, this looks like an interesting trip! Good tips about taking a bus to prevent having to negotiate a taxi, and about photos not being free. The Jardin Marjorelle looks like a nice change of pace after visiting the market.

  6. Hey Becky, these are some really practical tips. A lot of them would apply to India as well. Glad you shared your experience and learning along with it. Makes it easier for anyone heading here. Well done!

  7. Marrakesh sounds like quite the bustling city! I think I’d be like you, and love the square but also hate it. Here in Mexico the vendors can be insistent in their sales pitches, but not nearly at bad as you describe! It looks beautiful though, I’d love to visit it one day.

  8. I love reading about solo adventures. I haven’t been to Morocco yet but it will likely be solo or on a photo tour. Good to know in advance that people will expect payment if you take their photo. I love street photography so that’s always challenging and a bit awkward for me.

  9. Such a great read. I would love to travel to Marrakesh and this made me more eager to go…apart from the hassle… why is there always the hassle!!!!

  10. Marrakesh always struck me as a colourful and a vibrant place. It’s lovely markets to the beautiful architecture, Your tips for travel are indeed sensible and practical and sure to make the Marrakesh experience something to cherish for a long, long time.

  11. Your pictures are beautiful. I completely enjoyed going through your post and some of the tips are really really helpful. My personal opinion is that these business vendors push you for buying in all the countries and it is damn annoying.

    1. Ah thank you so much, glad my tips were helpful. I completely agree that you have people push you into buying their products, I have experienced this myself too but I think Marrakech has to be the worst so far!! I know they are doing it because they are promoting their business but if they chilled a bit more I would be much more inclined to browse in the shops and maybe even buy things!

  12. Some good tips, especially about being prepared to pay everyone for everything! I remember walking past a band playing in Jemaa el Fna, I glanced at them, they then insisted I tip them as I’d looked! Is the dentist guy still there?
    That garden looks amazing – I love the blue building set in the green gardens. And you’re right about visiting Essaouira – a lovely town. Toubkal mountain is also great!

    1. Hi Emily, great thanks, yes useful to know about having small change. ha ha so funny I remember to dentist, I actually took a photo of all the teeth and no one was there but as soon as he heard the click he came running over. I just offered to delete photo, what was I ever going to do with it ha ha!!

      Jardin Marjorelle is gorgeous, would recommend a visit if you are going back, so relaxing too. Did you climb Mt Toubkal too? I am just writing my post about my adventure!

  13. Bookmarked this, Becky! I plan to go to Morocco this year as part of my travel bucket list this 2017. I usually travel alone as a backpacker and being female, this article sounds interesting and helpful for me. Aside from Marrakesh, any other points of interest you would like to recommend?

    1. Hi Monica, that’s great to hear, whenabouts in 2017 are you hoping on visiting? Glad you found it useful, I think a lot of things you figure out after a day or two but sometimes it’s just nice to know a bit more information in advance! I also did a trip in the Atlas Mountains, climbing Mt Toubkal if you like adventures. I am just writing my blog post on so feel free to look out for that in the next week or so.

      I also visiting a place called Essaouira, my recent blog post on visiting a Moroccan Hamman/Spa shows a couple of photos from there but again I will be writing up about soon. I would defintely recommend a visit, it’s a lovely little place, like a mini Marrakech but also on the coast so has a great fishing market too.

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