What to pack for Morocco — a packing list for women
I’ll confess, I hate packing. I find it boring and mundane, and it’s something I tend to leave to the last minute. However, after making a boo boo in Jakarta, I was determined to do better in packing for a Muslim country.
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 also respect the culture. Also, given the stories I’d read about the behavior of some Moroccan men — I didn’t want to attract any attention.
There are plenty of Morocco packing list 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.
A packing list for women — what to pack for Morocco
- 2 pairs of jeans: 1 stonewash, 1 white (to reflect the heat);
- 4 loose fitting cotton t-shirts: choose a variety of colors 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 colors and designs too.
- 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.
Shoes for Morocco
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 pack for Morocco — visiting different parts of the country
Marrakech — what to wear
The 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, just because it suited my comfort level. We did, however, see many women in shorts, and crop tops, making Marrakech more accepting in terms of dress code.
Essaouira — what to pack for Morocco
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. While they were usually with males, it’s possible to dress more liberally in Essaouira.
Ait Benhaddou / Ouarzazate
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 traveling in this area.
In the desert region of Merzouga is where you’ll meet many Berber people. A strong tribal heritage, they’re a friendly people, and are used to tourists. However, I saw no Berber women when in Merzouga — zero, zip, nada.
Once, during our stay in the luxury desert camp, I did meet other female travelers that dressed suitably for the climate. They too were wearing loose pants/jeans, with light sweaters or long-sleeved t-shirts. Temperatures can dip during the evening, so don’t forget to bring light outerwear . You’ll also want to wear something comfortable to join in the Berber dancing and music after dinner!
What to pack for Morocco in October — Fes
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. I did follow his advice, but honestly didn’t notice much of a difference when wandering the city.
Men, and women, stare regardless in Fes. Also, the new part of the city is pretty modern with plenty of modern shops and outlets.
“The ultra-touristy city of Marrakech is one place in the country where you can dress more accordingly to western style”
FOLLOWING THE RIVERA
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 travelers tend to wear t-shirts, pants, and long dresses or skirts.
Rabat — what to pack for Morocco
We saw quite a few local young women not wearing their hijab. What’s more, they were dressed casually and even drinking alcoholic cocktails with their friends.
That said, I still didn’t whip out my shorts or summer dress. Instead, I stuck to my long skirt and loose vest tops with scarf. I felt more comfortable exploring the Old Medina and didn’t draw too much attention.
Best 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 favorite with celebrities and a luxurious way to enjoy Marrakech.
A short walk from the popular market square of Djemaa-el-Fna is the breathtaking Villa des Orangers. Enjoy magnificently stylish rooms, a rooftop pool, 18m heated outdoor pool and a lush courtyard garden.
Have you traveled 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!
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Welcome to my site! I'm Lisa, founder of Following the Rivera. I write primarily for a ‘flashpacker’ audience; a demographic (late 20s onwards) that enjoys glamping over camping, staying at boutique/luxury boutique hotels, sampling the local food and wine, cultural activities, and indulging in a spot of wellness on their travels. Read more here…