Morocco, more than just a place to see, is a place to feel. The colors, the spices, the sounds of the bustling souks (markets) and the calls to prayer -- it will overstimulate you in a way only certain special places can. Few cultural meccas are more eclectic than Morocco, located at the confluence of not just the country’s North African neighbors, but of Portugal and Spain, of the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean sea.
Upwards of 10 million tourists visit every year, but most of their time will be spent in big cities like Casablanca, Marrakech, and Fes. Yet the country is as geographically diverse as it is culturally diverse, changing from deserts to rugged mountains to coastline sprinkled with surf towns. These regions outside the city centers are, naturally, not as easy to travel around by comparison -- especially for those traveling alone. And especially for women, who must navigate compounded factors like appropriate dress, and restrictions on where women are allowed to go and what they are allowed to do.
Joining a guided tour group seems like the obvious solution, but co-ed tours in male-dominated spaces still present challenges. The presence of male tourists precludes the female ones from having meaningful interactions with locals, and from seeing how local women really live. And in Morocco, the tourism industry itself is extraordinarily male-dominated; of the approximately 4,000 tour guides here, only around 4% are women. But in the past year, Moroccan women have been taking the industry into their own hands. For the first time, a travel company is now offering women-only expeditions in Morocco, led exclusively by local women tour guides.