Driving in Morocco
Are you planning a road trip in Morocco? These are some of our experiences from driving in Morocco for two weeks.
Whenever you are about to visit a new country, one of the first things you check is how to get from city to city. The usual alternatives are always Planes, trains, public transport or by car. We have grown very found of traveling by car because of the convenience of it. You can stop whenever you feel like, you can go wherever you want to whenever you want to, but it obviously has its disadvantages as well.
When we were planning to visit Morocco I checked all the different options for transportation and was a little skeptical of driving in an unknown country. After all you hear is that every country in Africa, Asia and S. America is a nightmare to drive if you are only used to driving in the US or Europe.
After watching videos of crazy people driving in Morocco and reading some crazy stories on travel forums, I got some courage and went ahead to book our car online weeks in advance, I’m glad I did!
We arrived to Tangier from Madrid and right after we left the airport we were greeted by the “greedy” taxi drivers who give you an astronomical price to take you to your destination, after a bit of negotiating we got into the taxi to our airbnb apartment. After a few days of enjoying Tangier and getting the Moroccan cultural shock, we went to Avis to pick up our rental car for the next 2 weeks that will take us to other 5 cities and all the way to Marrakesh where we would return the car.
At Avis it all started with the guy on the counter who wanted to sell us on the Premium insurance, I had already purchased the intermediate insurance on the car that covered accidents but somehow he wanted to upsell us on some other more expensive insurance, after refusing, he said he had to put a hold on our credit card which we agreed to and off we went.
We rented a Small car, after all it was only 3 of us and it was just fine for our needs. After being around in Tangier for 3 days I was a little nervous of driving in Morocco. In the city centers Moroccan traffic can get a little hectic, I was hoping this was not going to be the case for the entire trip.
Our Car Was the Small Black Fiat. As you can see we blended in pretty well!
Driving in Morocco
After we left the car rental agency and drove out of the city, we got on the road to Tetouan for a quick detour and lunch stop on our way to Chefchaouen. I was immediately impressed by the quality of the Moroccan road system between cities. There were times where the highway looked like any American/European highway with Gas/Coffee rest stops, and when we went through smaller inner local roads I was happily surprised by how easy it is to drive on Moroccan Roads.
After spending a couple of days driving in Morocco in 5 different cities we returned our car in Marrakesh with no problem whatsoever. Again I reiterate that driving in Morocco inside of the cities can get hectic at times which is why we did not use the car to move around inside the cities, because of this we found apartment rentals that had parking available which most did. Most of the time we will leave the car in from of the building and on two occasions we paid a few Dirhams to watch the car overnight.
Highways have easy to see Signs in English.
COST: Make sure to do the math. Depending on the places you want to visit it might be cheaper to travel by car than by any other means of transportation (excluding local buses). We divided the cost of the car rental between 3 persons and it was cheaper than flying or going by train between the different cities we wanted to visit.
GAS: A Gallon of gas in Morocco is anywhere between 30 and 40 Dirhams (As of 2016) which comes close to $3.50USD. You can easily do the math based on the miles you are going to drive and the type of car you will be renting.
SPEED LIMITS & TICKETS: Speed limits are oftentimes not marked as well as I hoped to specially in the smaller roads. We got pullover for speeding, only 10KM over and were fined $15 USD on the spot by a very nice police officer. I’m always afraid of bad encounters with local police while traveling abroad, but I was happily surprised by how correct the Moroccan officer was, he also spoke good English and we were not very close to any large city.
SAFETY: As with every travel plan you make, ensure you always take some safety measures. Another reason for renting a very basic car was that it does not call any attention to it. We never left any luggage unattended for long periods of time in the car and always took our passports and valuables with us.
At one point Google Maps took us through a very rural road that lasted more than we were expecting before getting to the main road, and some locals will look at you while you pass by after all they can spot a tourist very easily. We had no problems whatsoever and got to see some very remote villages on our drives.
Overall we enjoyed driving in Morocco and recommend to anyone who is thinking about traveling by car in Morocco.
Check out or packing list of What To Wear in Morocco