Once again, I found myself at the city’s beloved landmark of beauty: the Kasbah des Oudaias. A Kasbah is a fortified area that once housed the ruling family, its guards and everything needed for living under attack. Nowadays, Kasbahs are still a beautiful place to live, with its traditional whitewashed and brilliant blue blue painted buildings and stunning, winding alleyways with gorgeous, lush gardens and views of either the landscape or in Oudaias case, the magnificent blue sea.

With Khadija as our tour guide, we spent the afternoon exploring the lovely Kasbah and all its splendors, including the hidden Moroccan dating game. As mentioned in my earlier post (Islam 101), dating is forbidden in the Islamic world. Premarital sex and even kissing the opposite sex is a no-no. However, with the advent of modernity and the constant throng of romance seen on the Internet, TV and Western movies, a new kind of dating in Morocco has been created: Secret Dating.

When walking through the lush gardens of the Kasbah, I was shocked and stunned to see young lovers, somewhat hidden from view, in the process of making out. Per Khadija, this is the new secret dating game that can be found throughout urban Morocco.

Here are some examples:

The lush gardens offer the perfect place for hidden romance:

The gorgeous flowering trees offer perfect protection from the sun:

Per Khadija, this is what is going on. For Muslims, dating is strictly forbidden. If you are interested in getting to know someone from the opposite sex, then technically you need to meet them in a public place with a third person present, usually a member from the family such as a brother. Thus if you are in love with someone or even just like them a lot, generally in Morocco you skip the whole dating game and go directly to marriage (of course after asking the young woman’s father for her hand).

However, for some Moroccans, this is beginning to change, especially among the young generation (like the ones seen smooching in the photo above). Dating is done completely in secret, meaning the parents have no idea, yet it always takes place in a public place such as the Kasbah or another favorite, the beach.

Here is a photo of the beach dating scene. Note the hijabs and jellabas, not your typical beach wear in a western country:

Another interesting fact Khadija told me about dating: It is only done IF there is a future of marriage ahead. You do not date just to date. Instead, you start at the end game of a relationship. You start when a man tells you that he wants to marry you. Once it is determined that you will get married, then you can start going on your secret dates. During the secret dating process, you always go to public places and never go to a private location because to do so may dishonor the woman. Normally the secret dating game goes on for about six months until an engagement. Finally, it is never acceptable in Morocco for a woman to ask a man out. It simply does not happen.

Khadija herself has been involved with a man, who she has been secretly dating for two years now and will eventually get married. Her parents do not really know about him however her friends do. She is an educated, career-driven woman yet she remains traditional at the same time and respects her religion.

Khadija told us a very interesting fact. Apparently over the last four years that CCS has been open in Morocco and had volunteers, six volunteers have met and married Moroccan men! One even met her future husband in only two weeks and neither one could speak the same language. Amazingly enough, they are still married today (and hopefully they can at least communicate now). Thus, bottom line: Love can happen anywhere, even in Morocco!

(Note: Non-Muslims can intermarry. However, a non-Muslim must convert to Islam in order to marry a Muslim).

Here are some more lovely photos of the Kasbah as well as the beach in Rabat. Two romantic places for a public secret date!

Coming up next….more posts on Morocco!


  1. Lovely photos! My daughter and I volunteered with CCS in Morocco at this time last year – what a joy for me to read your blog and get to relive our experience a little. In fact, I have some of the same photos as you! 🙂 I’ve been really enjoying reading your blog in general and look forward to finding out about your future adventures.

    1. Thanks for the comment Tami! Wow, what a great experience to volunteer with your daughter. That is so wonderful! I hope to do the same someday as my children get older. Where did you work in Morocco? Are you going to do another CCS program? I am commited to volunteering abroad each year as long as I have babysitting help and support from my family. Thanks again for reading!

      1. My daughter (who was 13 at the time) and I were placed at the children’s hospital in Rabat. We got to play with/entertain the kids who were mainly there for asthma treatments. It was a great experience. I definitely want to do another CCS program as it is such a well-run organization. I want the next one to be with my younger daughter (age 11 now) but I think we’ll wait a year before doing it. Thinking of going to Costa Rica or Guatemala with her. On my own, I’d like to do their Tanzania, South Africa and Thailand programs. So much traveling to do! All of your travels are inspiring – I am heartened to read about another mom who shares my passion for traveling and not just being a “tourist” – really getting to know the places you are visiting.

  2. Wow! That is so great that you did this with your teenage daughter! What a great thing to do, especially in somewhere like Morocco! I also got a chance to visit the Children’s Hopital for one day in the Asthma ward. I LOVED it and had actually wished it was my placement because it was more interactive than teaching English. It really helped that I speak French as I was able to chat with the doctors and staff as well as some of the parents of the kids. It really left a powerful impression on me. I also did the CCS Cartago program (see earlier posts if you haven’t) and truly loved Costa Rica. A special place and very beautiful. I would think your younger daughter would love it there. I want to do the Ghana program next as I’m thinking it is right up my alley. But I may (if I can get my fundraising going and act together) hope to actually return to Nepal if I can raise enough money to help build a new school with HANDS IN NEPAL. I’ve been working on it and have already raised $800 by selling Nepali scarves! I am trying to get my kids (4 and 6) involved in the fundraising so we will see. That is really awesome that you do this with your daughters. Once my kids get a bit older, it is my dream to show them the world and especially give back to others. We are so fortunate! Anyway, thanks again for reading. After I finish Morocco, which is now, I plan on going back to write about past travels. I’ve kept over 20 journals and love to write and share about what I’ve found and learned in other countries. It is truly therapeutic! If I can get my mother to help with the kids, I hope to travel again some time within the next year but we will see. Do you write a blog? If so, I’d love to hear your stories too! Thanks again for writing and sending your comments! It is from readers like you, that I keep writing! 🙂

    1. Your fundraising for the building of a school in Nepal is amazing! Good for you! I hope you meet your goal and are able to successfully involve your kids in the process. Educating kids on the importance of thinking globally and being open to new and different cultures is so important to me, so I definitely want to continue exposing my girls to the world as much as time and money will allow. How wonderful that you’ve kept journals of all of your travels over the years. It sounds like your parents exposed you to the travel bug early on – that’s so great. I am a late-comer to traveling internationally – in fact, Morocco was my (as well as my daughter’s) first time out of the country! We both thought if we were going to do it, why not go big and go somewhere utterly different from our own culture. Morocco quickly became our top choice thru CCS. A friend of ours worked for CCS at the time we went and had been to Morocco the year before. Once we heard his stories and saw his photos, that sealed the deal. Now that I’ve been to Morocco (as well as parts of Europe – we visited a friend in Germany after our time with CCS), I am itching to do more. This summer – Italy. Next year? Hopefully a CCS trip with my younger daughter. Africa in general interests me greatly so I know I’ll keep dipping in and out of there for many years. The CCS Ghana program sounds great as well. I do have a blog – a fledgling blog in it’s infancy stage – so I’m a little shy about getting it out there yet. But when I do, I’ll be sure to send you a link! It’s going to be a combo of the process/journey of writing (I am an aspiring writer) as well as the telling of my travels. I am inspired by reading your blog – not only for the travel stories, but just in how you express your joy when you are traveling. Definitely keep writing and keep inspiring!

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