Driving in Morocco

Travel Forums Africa and The Middle East Driving in Morocco

1. Posted by Ange and Adam (First Time Poster 1 posts) 2y Star this if you like it!

We are heading to Morocco in Sep/Oct this year for about 5 weeks. My hubby and I have a 6 year old daughter. We will have already been travelling i Portugal and Croatia for 6 months prior.
He wants to hire our own car and drive from town to town - Casablanca, Marrakesh etc down south as far as Essaouira. I am concerned about
driving on highways on our own. I am worried about the safety of it, being without a 'local' and being taken as a 'tourist'.
Should I be concerned?
Any experiences or advice would be appreciated.

2. Posted by berner256 (Moderator 1492 posts) 2y Star this if you like it!

I went on a road trip in Morocco in October 2015, traveling from Marrakech to Djebel Sarho, Mhamid, Icht, the Dra Estuary and Tarfaya before entering Morocco-occupied Western Sahara to Dakhla, Cap Barbas and on to Banc d'Arguin, Mauritania. The roads were good; and we encountered no problems. There were checkpoints along the way. Make sure you have an adequate amount of fuel as stations sometimes run out. Don't drive too fast, particularly when sands drift onto roads.

YouTube has videos of road trips in Morocco.

3. Posted by Bennytheball (Budding Member 74 posts) 2y 1 Star this if you like it!

Driving in Morocco is no safer or dangerous than anywhere else, but there are a few caveats to observe........

The main cities, Tangier, Casablanca, Marrakesh and Fes are very congested and traffic can be heavy during the day and especially on Fridays, the day of prayers, when the Muslim faithful make their dash to the nearest mosque, anxious not to miss the start of the diktat, marked pedestrian crossings only indicate where pedestrians normally cross the road, there is no requirement for drivers to give way to them, the only noticeable exception being Avenue Pasteur, Tangier, during the Paseo ( traditional Spanish evening walkabout) when due to congestion all traffic is obliged to proceed at a snails pace and it's possible for pedestrians to quickly dart in between slow-moving moving bumpers and arrive safely at the other side.

The northern Rif Region around Chefchaouen is the centre of cannabis production, so drug and drink driving is endemic, it's not advisable to give lifts to any hitch hikers in case they are transporting large slabs of Hashish concealed under their Djelabas, there are many Gendarmerie road blocks ( Barrages) and if drugs are discovered in your car be prepared to reach for the bail money!

On the subject of Gendarmerie ( highway police) roadblocks, these are located everywhere and anywhere, ostensibly to catch speeding drivers but also to search vehicles for contraband or terrorist items e.g. suicide belts and weapons, speeding offences are punishable by spot fines so again have the bail stash to hand, often corrupt police will reduce the fine in half if no receipt is requested, but this places you in a sticky position, it's illegal to offer a bribe and also illegal to accept one, so just roll over and pay the fine making sure you get the receipt.

If you are contemplating using a hire car, make sure you check its condition carefully before driving away noting any obvious defects, you will have to pay a substantial cash deposit as surety for the safe return of the car in the same condition as it was rented to you, avoid "piste" driving in rural localities ( gravel single track road) where the centre of the track is elevated and can easily catch and rip off the exhaust, another potential wallet-draining experience.

Overnight city parking can also be problematic, safe sites are supervised by Gardiens wearing yellow vests, the charge is around ten dirhams but expect this to be double because if you pay in advance the day shift man will not tell the night shift man and when you arrive to pick up the car in the morning he will demand another ten dirhams. I know this is extortion, but it's also third world procedure so I advise going with the flow and paying up without an argument, it's better than having the car vandalised or wheels stolen during the hours of darkness.

Despite all these downsides it's still possible to enjoy a motoring holiday in Morocco, just let common sense be your best advisor.......

4. Posted by Bennytheball (Budding Member 74 posts) 2y Star this if you like it!

I've split this post in two in case over-zealous spam filters muscle in and dump my original text, you can see some of my TP blogs on Morocco by dialing up the following url's.....