For my birthday, my friends and I decided to book a trip to Morocco, just a hop and skip across the Mediterranean, a 1.5 hour flight with very reasonable prices from Europe’s favourite bare bones airline, Ryanair.


We flew to Tangier, a city in northwestern Morocco, on the coast of the Mediterranean. When we arrived at the airport, we were handed declaration forms in English, French and Arabic which we had to sign, stating that we had no symptoms. This was our first interaction with any COVID-19 protocol, and our first indication that anything might be coming our way. It was early March and the outbreak in China had recently spread as close as Italy. We had started to pay some attention, but had no idea what was coming.

Coronavirus release form from March 2020.

We stayed in an Airbnb in an apartment building across Avenue Mohammed VI from plage municipale, or the municipal beach along the coast of the Mediterranean. The location was fantastic, as was the view from the balcony. After settling in, we made our way to the Medina for lunch and my first of many cups of Moroccan mint tea.


Although at home in Canada one of my favourite teas is called “Moroccan Mint”, it did not do justice to the real thing. I maintain that it is one of the best teas I have ever had, and it didn’t matter where it was from – homemade or from a restaurant, they were all fantastic.

Tangier’s Medina.

After our lunch (I had a vegetable couscous dish), we decided to walk through the Medina and try to find our way to the Kasbah Museum. While walking through the markets, we noticed a man had started to follow us. As we continued on our way, he approached and asked if we needed directions. After assuring him that we were fine, he tried to offer us a tour or his navigational services. We kept trying to thank and dismiss him, but he persisted. We realized throughout our stay that a group of 5 foreign women was bound to gain attention from the local men. All of this attention was unwanted, and much of it felt dangerous.


The man introduced himself and told us he was a student at an international US school in Tangier. We lied and told him we were Americans, when in reality we were two Canadians, one American, a Mexican and a Belgian – we just didn’t want to encourage further conversation. He followed us to the Kasbah Museum which was unfortunately closed. Our unrequested tour guide then convinced us to let him show us to a viewpoint over the city. He then led us to his family’s home and shop. They led us up to the terrace where we had a view of the medina and the Mediterranean.

The view from the terrace.

After showing us the view, he brought us back to the second floor of the house which was filled with rugs. They offered us tea and began showing us dozens of the handmade rugs, despite our protests. We tried to explain that as students we had neither the space or the money to make any purchases and finally agreed to look at the shop on the first floor in order to leave. They grew impatient with us and our lack of purchases, though we had not requested or shown interest in buying anything at any point. When we finally made an exit from the shop, our unofficial tour guide followed us again to ask for tips. We reminded him that we did not want the tour to begin with and we had told him from the start that we wouldn’t be paying him. He pressed again and one of my friends got angry and demanded he leave us alone. He returned to his home and we walked unfollowed back towards the beach.


We learned an important lesson about travelling alone as women that day. We had to be more than vigilant, we had to be assertive and be sure not to lose one another. After further encounters with men the ranged from uncomfortable to downright terrifying, I have to say that Morocco, though beautiful and full of amazing sights and experiences, is not a safe place to travel as a woman alone, especially as a noticeably foreign woman.

Returning to the plage municipale.

Published by immersivetraveller

I am a recent graduate with a BA in Honours English. I enjoy creative writing and language learning as well as travelling and exploring.

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