Is traveling to Morocco safe right now?
On September 8, 2023, a devastating earthquake hit near Marrakesh, claiming more than 2,000 lives and causing unspeakable amounts of damage.
The historic city of Marrakesh is the most-visited destination in Morocco, receiving over 12 million visitors per year, and the country was on track to break tourism records in 2023.
But is it still safe to visit this North African nation right now?
Here’s what travelers need to know about the impacts of the earthquake, as well as other travel safety considerations in Morocco:
Earthquake In Morocco
Many travelers with upcoming trips to Morocco are wondering if it’s still safe to visit after the devastating earthquake that occurred on September 8.
The earthquake’s epicenter was located about 44 miles south of Marrakesh. The effects of this 6.8 magnitude earthquake were felt in dozens of cities, towns, and villages, including Marrakesh.
There is significant damage to Marrakesh’s historic quarter, known as the Medina, famous for its winding alleys, mosques, and markets. Other smaller towns and villages nearby were almost completely destroyed, with the death toll estimated to be above 2,000.
Although flights are still running as usual at the Marrakesh airport, it is not recommended to travel there in the coming weeks due to the immediate humanitarian crisis and emergency aid efforts.
Other destinations, like northern Tangier or the coastal town of Essaouira, experienced minimal impacts from the earthquake and are okay to visit right now.
Morocco Travel Advisory
Prior to the earthquake, the U.S. State Department had given Morocco a “Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution” travel advisory.
This is one step above “Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions” but far less severe than “Level 3: Reconsider Travel” and “Level 4: Do Not Travel” warnings.
The U.S. State Department recommends that travelers exercise increased caution due to the threat of terrorism in Morocco. Although it’s highly unlikely to impact the average tourist, it’s always a good idea to maintain situational awareness and vigilance while traveling in Morocco.
Most tourists in Morocco won’t have to worry about terrorism — it’s more likely that the worst you’ll experience is street harassment or getting ripped off by a travel scam.
Safety For Female Travelers
Although Morocco is overall a safe destination for travelers, female travelers, particularly those traveling solo, should take extra precautions in Morocco.
Morocco is not going to top the list of the best destinations for solo female travelers any time soon.
This is because street harassment is a huge problem in Morocco. It’s not uncommon for women to receive constant verbal harassment from local men in Morocco, even when dressed modestly. This can even escalate into physical harassment or intimidation.
For this reason, solo female travelers will need to stay on high alert and develop thick skin in order to travel in Morocco. Traveling with an organized group tour is one of the best ways to experience Morocco if you are worried about going on your own.
Avoiding Travel Scams
One of the biggest things that travelers in Morocco actually need to worry about is getting scammed.
Travel scams are abundant in Morocco, and if you aren’t careful, this highly affordable country can quickly start costing you a fortune if you fall victim to any scams.
The best way you can avoid scams while in Morocco is to familiarize yourself with the most common ones so you know what red flags to look out for.
You may need to keep your guard up more in Morocco than would be necessary in other countries around the world, but just take it in stride and don’t fall into the negative mindset of thinking that everyone is out to rip you off.
Overall, Morocco is a safe and rewarding (if somewhat challenging) destination to visit, and most of the country is still open for tourism right now. Once immediate aid has been provided to Marrakesh in the wake of the devastating earthquake, it will also need the return of tourists to help rebuild.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com