What women should pack for Morocco in October
I’ll confess, I hate packing. It’s a boring and mundane process, and something I tend to leave to the last minute. However, after making a boo boo during a trip to Jakarta, I was determined to be better prepared in packing for a Muslim country.
What women should pack when travelling to Morocco
When it comes to hot climates, I usually have no problems packing the right clothes. The same didn’t apply to Morocco. As a fairly strict Muslim country, I wanted to dress appropriately and respect the culture. Also, in light of all the stories about the behaviour of some Moroccan men — I preferred to steer clear of any unwanted attention.
If you’re a solo female traveling to Morocco, you may want to consider joining a tour. You get the safety net of being in a group, plus you also see the best of the country with a local guide.
There are plenty of articles on the web that advise women on what to wear. The following items are what I took for 9 nights to Morocco in October. I also break it down by area, so you’ve an idea of the places that are less strict.
What women should pack for Morocco in October
2 pairs of jeans: 1 stonewash, 1 white (to reflect the heat);
4 loose fitting cotton t-shirts: choose a variety of colours to mix and match your outfits. H&M have a great selection, and at reasonable prices too;
2 long skirts: 1 casual long maxi, and another midi length;
3 loose vest tops and 2 blouses: You can wear vest tops, but stick to the loose variety. This way, you won’t draw attention, and can still stay cool in the heat.
1 pair loose trousers: I don’t know the official name for this style of pants, but they’re perfect for Morocco. You can buy similar in the souks, and in different colours and designs too. These are the pair from Topshop that I wore nearly every day!
1 long scarf: I have one in white and yellow. It’s great for protecting your arms if you want to wear a vest top, as well as for covering your head in the Sahara. Another bonus is that it stands out in photos!
2 cardigans: 1 long and 1 short
5 pairs of socks
“As a fairly strict Muslim country, I wanted to dress appropriately and respect the culture.”
FOLLOWING THE RIVERA
As many items as you require! As a rule of thumb, I usually pack 5 extra pairs on top of the number of nights I’m staying.
- Denim jacket
- Military jacket
- Thermal fleece
To be honest, I only wore the first 2 when leaving London as it was cooler. In Morocco, even for October, I found it too hot at times to even wear a cardigan. If you visit the desert, you’ll need one of the 3. However, once again, I didn’t use any of them as the temperature was perfect for me.
A pair of good walking shoes: I took open-toed flat sandals as I like my feet to breathe. Choose a pair with a durable fabric. More likely than not, you’ll be doing a lot of walking, and in some cases, on uneven surfaces.
One pair of flip flops: These are always useful for walking around the hotel, by the pool, or even using them in the shower (if it’s not so clean!)
One pair of trainers: With a terrain encompassing flat, hilly and sometimes inhospitable grounds, a good pair of trainers is a must.
I hardly saw any Moroccan women wearing high heels, so I’d advise to leave them at home. However, if you can’t tear yourself away from your heels, bring a pair of wedges instead. They’re far comfier and stylish at the same time.
What to wear in Morocco
The ultra-touristy city of Marrakech is one place in the country where you can dress more accordingly to western style. Saying this, I still preferred to dress in loose fitting clothes, but saw many western young women in shorts, and crop tops. To each comfort level their own!
In the coastal town of Essaouira, there’s definitely more a relaxed vibe. Being by the beach, I spotted quite a few female tourists in shorts and summer dresses. That said, they were usually with males, so again, how you dress depends on your comfort level.
Driving through the Atlas Mountains and nearing Ait Benhaddou, I hardly saw any females, let alone tourists. The only females I did see were covered top to toe in traditional Muslim dress. Needless to say, I preferred to cover my arms when travelling in this area.
In the desert region of Merzouga, you’ll encounter many Berber people. A strong tribal heritage, they’re a friendly people, and are used to tourists. However, I saw no Berber women when there — zero, zip, nada.
Once in the luxury desert camp, I did meet more female tourists who dressed suitably for the climate. Think loose pants/jeans, with light sweaters or long-sleeved t-shirts. You’ll also want to wear something comfortable to join in the Berber entertainment after dinner!
Before coming to Fes, the manager in our hotel in Marrakech advised me not to show my shoulders. The reason? It’s more religious in Fes than Marrakech. Naturally, I followed his advice, but to be totally honest with you, I didn’t feel much difference.
“The ultra-touristy city of Marrakech is one place in the country where you can dress more accordingly to western style”
FOLLOWING THE RIVERA
Men and women, stare regardless, and actually, the new part of the city in Fes is pretty modern. That’s not to say the women don’t cover up, but it definitely didn’t feel as strict as I’d imagined. In the old medina, most female tourists wear t-shirts, pants, and long dresses or skirts.
Probably my favourite city in Morocco in terms of dress was Rabat. A worker at our riad in Fes told me it was more relaxed here, and she was right. I saw quite a few local girls not wearing a hijab, dressed casually and even drinking alcoholic cocktails with their friends!
That said, I didn’t whip out my shorts or summer dress. On the contrary, I stuck to my long skirt and loose vest tops with scarf. I felt more comfortable exploring the medina and didn’t draw too much attention.
Have you travelled to Morocco in October? Is there anything else you would have packed that I didn’t? Let me know, I’d love to hear it!
Boutique hotels in Morocco
Lavish in design and typically Moroccan, the following choices are ideal if you’re looking for luxury or boutique hotels. Five-star Riad Farnatchi is a hidden oasis in Marrakech and great for couples or families. This boutique riad is a favourite with celebrities and a luxurious way to enjoy Marrakech.
A short walk from the popular market square of Djemaa-el-Fna is the breathtakingly beautiful Villa des Orangers. Enjoy magnificently stylish rooms, a rooftop pool, 18m heated outdoor pool and a lush courtyard garden.
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