I was planning a trip to Marrakesh in October this year. However, after the earthquake that recently happened I am not so sure anymore.

I am worried with seismic replicas and general security conditions, but above all I don't want to be an extra person adding to a probable existing chaos. I don't want to represent an extra source of problems to a recovering city/country.

So essentially my question boils down to:

  1. personal security: is it a good idea to visit the city and surroundings (high Atlas, I was planning some hiking) after the earthquake? can there be replicas or building that may fall and represent a personal hazard after 1 month?
  2. Most important, by travelling there am I helping, in the sense that I will keep the touristic activity running, or at this moment ideally the less people the better to properly recover.

I would appreciate a concrete answer to this situation. Knowledge may exist on progress of operations and security. A more generic and abstract answer for such type of travel after natural disasters is also welcome. Note that I am not interested in going there to do catastrophe tourism. Taking pictures to fallen buildings or anything alike. I intend to stay away of affected areas as much as possible to let people work as freely as possible.

  • 2
    I heard on the news yesterday that aftershocks potentially could still happen up to a month after the main quake.
    – Peter M
    Commented Sep 11, 2023 at 21:46
  • Look for reports about visiting the southern coastline areas of Turkey, 7 months after the 2023-02-06 7.8-magnitude earthquake nearby. Commented Sep 11, 2023 at 22:18
  • 1
    I experienced a 7.something quake in 2010, and aftershocks continued for years slowly abating over time.
    – Criggie
    Commented Sep 13, 2023 at 23:18
  • @PeterM After the 2 big quakes in Japan in 2011, the country recorded a total of nearly 20,000 earthquakes that year.
    – Clockwork
    Commented Sep 14, 2023 at 11:48
  • 1
    Hi @RichardSmith, I followed the general consensus here. I didn't go. Specially because my main goal was to hike on the atlas and that was one of the most affected areas. I might still plan something in the near future but preferably away from where this happened. Not so much afraid of replicas, but mostly because conditions are difficult on the area right now. As far as I understand a lot of goods are missing at the affected regions and I might be competing for resources with locals.
    – nsn
    Commented Nov 2, 2023 at 0:00

4 Answers 4


I can't find a reference but on the BBC TV news a spokesperson of Morocco said they need tourists to keep coming, because the revenue they bring into the country is even more essential now. Tourism contributes around 7% of their GDP.

The epicentre of the tremor was in the High Atlas mountains, so that area is the worst affected. Unless you want to volunteer help, it might be better if you make an itinerary that avoids the region, perhaps visiting Tangier, Fes and Meknes in the north of the country.

If you want to visit the Atlas mountains, they form a broad X-shape, accessible from the north.

Re the question edit about hiking.

This page discusses good hikes, which are mostly in the High Atlas mountains, but the Rif mountains in the north and the Middle Atlas are also mentioned.

  • 4
    I heard something similar on Dutch news. Go, but don't get in the way.
    – NL_Derek
    Commented Sep 11, 2023 at 21:58

Short answer: no, don't go to the Marrakech area yet.

I had a very similar dilemma about visiting Kathmandu a few days after the 2015 earthquake. I did go there in the end, but only because I couldn't find any other way of getting out of Bhutan before my visa expired. I spent a little over 24 hours there. I'm guessing the situation in Marrakech now will be very similar to Kathmandu back then. The following advice is based on my experience there, and also being familiar with Marrakech and the High Atlas area.

Most tourist attractions will be shut. Many of those hotels, cafés and restaurants that are structurally sound will have been repurposed to help aid workers and people rendered homeless. Others will be closed because their workers are needed elsewhere, or are injured or missing. Many roads will be impassable due to debris, collapsed bridges, and so on. There may be problems with the water and electricity supplies, food and fuel shortages, and diseases like cholera or typhoid may start appearing. There will very likely be significant aftershocks which may bring down further buildings, though probably not by October.

If you have a specific relevant skill, for instance if you are a doctor and can speak Moroccan Arabic, then your presence may be valued. If not, the small amount of money you inject into the local economy – and it will only be a small amount as so much will be closed – will not outweigh the inconvenience you cause simply by being there. In a month's time things may be different, but not yet. Exactly when in October your trip is will be relevant. The start of October is not very far away.

If you really can't avoid being in the Marrakech area in the next few weeks, try to rearrange your plans as best you can to minimise the time you're there. Other parts of Morocco will probably welcome you and the money you spend, and are well worth visiting. (And quite honestly, I reckon Fes is a much more interesting city than Marrakech anyway.)

Be prepared not to be able to find any accommodation in Marrakech, even if you have a recently confirmed booking, or not to be able to reach it. A big modern hotel in the New Town around the station is much more likely to be open than a small hotel in the Medina. Make sure you have food, water and cash with you when you arrive, so you can be self-sufficient. Above all, if you keep out of everyone's way and minimise your expectations of actually doing anything, you may be able to have a safe, interesting and thoroughly unforgettable trip. But it would be better all round not to go.

  • Thank you Richard. The trip was planned to mid October. Not sure if this helps your answer in any way.
    – nsn
    Commented Sep 13, 2023 at 22:22
  • @nsn – It's very hard to say how fast things will progress and when things will start improving materially. I think you'll have a better, safer, more stress-free holiday if you can avoid the area altogether, or at least defer the decision for a couple of weeks. If that's not possible, it might help us to know why. Commented Sep 14, 2023 at 9:34

If you want to help, please donate at ifrc.org see also redcross.org

Pretty much all of the money that tourists spend ends up in the pockets of those who own hotels, shops or taxis in the bigger cities (relatively rich people), and not the areas most affected and the people who need it most (who live in difficult to reach places and have no goods or services to offer in return).

Distributing money and resources to those who need it most is a very complicated task, and the Red Cross/Red Crescent is probably better at it than you.

If I visit your city, does the local homeless population profit? Or the person who owns the hotel I stay at, the owners of the restaurants I eat at and the local taxi drivers?

Don't go into that area. Unless you have training as a rescue worker/medical expertise you probably won't do much good. Aftershocks can be very dangerous. Morocco is big so there are plenty of other places to go if you don't wanna cancel the trip.

  • 1
    Comments have been moved to chat; please do not continue the discussion here. Before posting a comment below this one, please review the purposes of comments. Comments that do not request clarification or suggest improvements usually belong as an answer, on Travel Meta, or in Travel Chat. Comments continuing discussion may be removed.
    – Willeke
    Commented Sep 13, 2023 at 13:48

I just came accros an interview with the owner of a small guest house in the Atlas mountains. He tells that his private home was destroyed, but the guest house still stands. He and his family will move in there as soon as is it safe to move back to the village.

q: Do you have any idea when you will be able to welcome guests again at all?

a: Tourists can come to us in Ouirgane at any time - not to relax, of course, but if they want to, to help. There are hotels with free rooms in the area.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .