The following is an interview with Gina Cambridge about solo female travel in Morocco.
Born and bred in New Zealand, I’ve had a passion for travel as long as I can remember. But as all my friends were doing their big OE’s I was working and saving for my first home. Then life and work seemed to overtake my dreams.
On the verge of turning 40, I found myself single and with no children, I suppose you can say I had an “Eat, Pray, Love” moment. I sold up everything at the bottom of the housing market and came out with enough money for a one-way ticket to Paris, 500 pounds, 500 euro and not much else but a lot of passion and determination.
I celebrated my 40th birthday under the Eiffel Tower with a bunch of backpackers I had met earlier that day… and I’ve never looked back! I have now traveled to 19 countries and 6 continents. Egypt, Morocco, Brazil, US, Thailand, Cambodia and Turkey are some of my favorites. Now I’m trying to travel as much as possible, often doing volunteer and working holidays.
Why did you decide to travel to Morocco by yourself?
I was coming to the end of backpacking in Europe and spotted some really cheap flights to Marrakech. I also was running out of money! I did some quick emailing around to see if I could get some WWOOFing work in Morocco and booked my ticket. I wasn’t going to wait for someone to go with and miss out on an amazing experience to a place I had always dreamed of going to. I was sure I’d quickly met people once I was there.
Did you have any trouble traveling alone in Morocco?
Over all no, but I did have one bad experience on my second visit back to the large souk in the centre of Marrakech. A young guy started following me, politely I said “no thank you” in local language to him, but he continued. I ended up taking a wrong turn and got lost in the back alleys…not a good move!
His advances became more direct until he was asking for sex and would not leave my side. In amongst the private dwellings I came to a cross roads and at the top of my voice in a very un-lady like manner told him to “#$&%” off. An older man asked if I was ok and I told him I was lost – the young guy legged it.
It cost me a tip to the young boy who lead me out of the maze of alleys and a blow to my ego as I was sure I wasn’t going to be the one to get lost in the souk!
Did you ever feel unsafe?
Other than the above experience no. In saying that, some of the drivers can be a bit crazy!
Tell us about one of your favorite experiences from traveling solo in Morocco.
It’s hard to pick one. WWOOFing here was amazing. But a highlight was riding camels out into the Sahara Desert with the Bedouin and spending the night around a camp fire and seeing one of the most spectacular night skies I’ve seen outside of NZ.
We then got up ridiculously early the next morning to watch the sunrise… magic.
Were there any special precautions you took to feel safer while traveling solo?
Not drawing too much attention to myself, dressing as much as possible like a local, and where appropriate dressing modestly. Also when I left to go WWOOFing up in Temara, I left details with the people who owned the Riad I was staying at and a date I intended to return, just to be safe as I wasn’t 100% sure of the place I was going to.
Did you meet any other solo female travelers while you were there?
I did meet one or two but more guys traveling solo or girls traveling together.
What luggage did you bring with you to Morocco?
I had my Kathmandu Overland 60L backpack. I was trying to travel as light as possible. When I went up to WWOOF in Temara I only took a small bag I’d brought in the souk and left my backpack in lock up at the place I was staying.
>>Read about one HPL reader’s experience traveling in Morocco with carry-on only.
Were there any items you were glad you brought with you or that you wished you had brought?
I was glad I brought my first aid kit! While with a group of some other travelers over the Atlas Mountains. a few got sick. I played Mum with my kit of painkillers, Nodia, and re-hydration powder. Also a wool poncho as it got really cold in some places.
What’s your number 1 tip for females traveling solo to Morocco?
Be respectful of their culture. Despite other tourists not covering up and showing as much flesh as possible, dress modestly but as comfortable as you can. Taking a light shawl is a great way to cover up quickly where you need to!
>>Read more about packing for conservative countries.
About the author: Gina Cambridge is a 40 something Jack of all trades, Master of none. After owning her own business for 9 years, she now turns her hand to anything that funds her travels, and tries to get away as much as possible. Currently she is driving heavy earth moving machinery and in charge of health+safety. Traveling to Spain, Italy, Croatia, Cuba and Bali in 2016. Get inspiration to follow your dreams by following her on Gina Does Wanderlust. You can also follow her on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.