If you’re planning a trip to Morocco soon, chances are you’ve Googled something like “traveling to Morocco” or “travel tips Morocco” recently. And chances are you’ve come across articles about safety concerns in Morocco, detailing how to navigate this Muslim country as a non-Muslim or warning you about bargaining too much in this developing country.
Well we’re here to set the record straight. Below, we take a look at some of the most common myths about Morocco and give you the hard facts.
Myth #1: Morocco isn’t a safe country to visit.
There is no reason to fear traveling to Morocco. Moroccans are well known for being a hospitable and open-minded people which makes traveling through the country a much more enjoyable experience. That said, the conservative nature of the local culture does mean that traditional customs should be respected in public in order to avoid less desirable situations. As with many other countries, tourists are a special target of pick-pockets and faux guides so being aware of your surroundings and belongings is general common sense. Click here for more information on general safety concerns in Morocco and here to learn more about culture and etiquette in Morocco.
Myth #2: All Moroccans are Muslim Arabs.
Morocco is a diverse country. The majority of its population identifies as Berber or Arab and the country’s official languages are Arabic and Amazigh (Berber). French is also commonly spoken and understood. The overwhelming majority of Moroccans (99%) identify as Sunni Muslim, but religious minorities are widely respected.
This is mostly due to Morocco’s multicultural history. Throughout the centuries, Morocco has been called “home” by many different people. In addition to the indigenous Amazigh (Berbers), the country has hosted a variety of cultures coming from the East (Phoenicians and Arabs), the South (Sub-Saharan Africans), and the North (Romans and Spanish Andalusians – both Muslim and Jewish) throughout history.
Myth #3: Women traveling to Morocco must wear headscarves to be respectful of the local tradition.
Moroccan culture is more conservative and both women and men should dress modestly in order to respect local customs. As a general rule of thumb, you should always attempt to cover body parts considered “private”. For women, this means covering the arms (or at least the shoulders) and the knees up. For men, it requires covering up the shoulders and above the knee. A hijab (headscarf), however, is not necessary as it is associated with Islam and non-Muslim women are not expected to wear one in Morocco. Want to know more about traveling as a woman in Morocco? We’ve got you covered.
Myth #4: Bargaining is considered rude because of Morocco’s struggling economy.
Morocco is considered a developing nation by the World Bank. It struggles with significant economic and social issues. But all of that is as good as forgotten once you step into one of the country’s famous souks.
In these winding alleyways, bargaining is the name of the game and you’re expected to play your part. Once you lay your eyes on the souvenir of your dreams, don’t be surprised by the extravagant quote offered by your street vendor. Now is your chance to shine; take your time, and you’ll be walking out of that souk triumphantly. Of course, as a foreigner, you’ll be at a slight disadvantage to grab the best price. However, nothing is stopping you from perfecting the art of the haggle with our best tips.
Myth #5: Morocco is all desert and then some.
Yes, Morocco is one of the best countries to visit if you’re looking to have an adventure in the Sahara Desert. But there’s so much more to Morocco besides the desert. You have the Atlas Mountains where you can hike to your heart’s delight; a plethora of coastal towns perfect for beach bums and surfers alike; the incredible Imperial Cities; and even some pretty intriguing Roman ruins. Your possibilities in Morocco are endless. Head over to our itineraries section to get a brief overview of all there is to explore in this diverse country.
If you want to debunk even more myths about Morocco, why not come visit! Our team of experts in Morocco will help you plan an amazing adventure across this unique country!