Gay & Lesbian Travellers

Marrakesh is Morocco's most popular destination for gay travellers. Same-sex couples usually have no problem when requesting a double bed in midrange and luxury accommodation.

Despite this, be aware that homosexual acts (including kissing) are illegal in Morocco. If prosecuted and found guilty, jail terms of up to three years and/or a fine can be handed down. Historically, the Marrakesh authorities have 'turned a blind eye' to the laws in regards to gay travellers; foreign same-sex couples are unlikely to encounter any hassle or problems when out and about, as long as they're discreet.

Unsurprisingly, there is no advertised 'gay' nightlife. Many of the ville nouvelle's European-style bars and clubs are part of a very discreet local gay-scene but as businesses can lose their alcohol licences if this becomes common knowledge, the scene can be very difficult to tap into.

Solo gay travellers should be aware that due to poverty, a distinctly unpleasant but very real element of the Marrakesh gay scene is the number of young male prostitutes in the city. This has led authorities to crack down on mixed foreigner-Moroccan gay couples in recent years. Solo gay travellers should also be very wary of using social media apps to attempt to tap into the local scene. There have been several cases of foreigners being robbed and physically assaulted after having used the apps to meet up.

Overall, for gay travellers discretion is key. Same-sex couples shouldn't show affection in public and gay male travellers should be wary when approached by local men in bars or at the Djemaa El Fna.

Lesbian travellers are far less likely to encounter any problems.