Is Morocco Safe To Trek?
Is Morocco Safe To Trek?
We get asked this question a lot – where terrorism is concerned, Morocco it is way safer than the UK.
Many reading this will still not be convinced! It is subjective and perception being a wonderful thing, the public will make their own minds up from what they read and see on the news outlets. And that generally paints a negative picture.
Let me give you the quickest of examples. Did the Manchester concert arena bomb incident in 2017 make the entire UK unsafe? No. Then why should any single incident in Morocco or an incident involving a person born in Morocco make that country unsafe?
The UK’s Foreign & Commonwealth Office’s Travel Advice is the place to go to check on such things as it provides information on the terrorism threat, entry requirements, etc… for countries world wide. Given the nature of such information, it is going to appear negative; it will never say it’s safe! To quote former MI5 Director General Sir Jonathan Evans, “risk can be managed and reduced but it cannot realistically be abolished”.
Morocco is a Muslim country and it has been attacked by terrorism, the last incident being in Marrakech (Apr 2011). That’s about where most people’s research ends. The current advice (dated 1 Nov 2018) on the FCO website is ‘Terrorists are likely to try to carry out attacks in Morocco. You should be vigilant at all times.’ The key word in there is ‘likely‘. That may appear to be bad news but it has to be taken in context with the table below. It places it between ‘MODERATE’ and ‘LOW’; almost the lowest level. Compare that with the UK’s ‘SEVERE’ threat level.
London has been targeted many more times since 2011 and so has Manchester.
What the threat levels mean:
Threat levels are designed to give a broad indication of the likelihood of a terrorist attack.
- LOW means an attack is unlikely.
- MODERATE means an attack is possible, but not likely
- SUBSTANTIAL means an attack is a strong possibility
- SEVERE means an attack is highly likely
- CRITICAL means an attack is expected imminently
Read more on MI5’s threat levels
Reading those levels above, Morocco’s ‘likely‘ falls in between the ‘MODERATE’ and ‘LOW’ levels. The UK’s ‘SEVERE’ is substantially higher.
Still not convinced?
Like it or not, we do live in a world faced with global terrorism on a daily basis. It is your personal choice of where you choose to travel to and if you feel safe, but I would put it to you that the chances of experiencing any incident in the Moroccan mountains or Sahara is extremely LOW. See just how the remote Sahara can change your own life.
We Do Not Rely Solely On The FCO – We Still Take Practical Measures
An attack on a specific point in any given city is not an attack on the whole city. We are practical people and take common sense measures should something happen in Morocco whilst our clients are there:
- If an incident occurred within Marrakech, clearly we avoid the area affected and if required, we move out of the hotel and drive out of the city to a safer place. That said, it is likely to be safe there given that lots of Police would be there post incident.
- If our local colleagues in Marrakech considered it unsafe to stay in the city on the return, we simply remain outside of the city and when the time came, drive straight to the airport for your departure.
Such is the remoteness of the Sahara (and indeed parts of the mountains), it is unlikely that you would even be aware of an incident let alone the details! The threat of an incident on trek is extremely low; what on earth would a terrorist be doing out there!