- On January 27, 2020
- In Travel
PREPARE YOUR ROAD TRIP IN MOROCCO
After many trips to Morocco, I share, on the travel blog, a post concerning how to prepare your road trip in Morocco.
More than ideas on what to do in Morocco or provide itinerary ideas in Morocco, this guide on the road trip in Morocco aims to give you some advice to prepare your trip and make a successful road trip on Moroccan roads.
Very often, the idea of driving a car in Morocco frightens. However, after a few hours, you quickly get used to driving in Morocco. And to discover the south of Morocco, nothing like having your own car to be completely free. The road trip is by far my favorite mode of travel to go to the Atlas or southern Morocco.
In this long post, I share all my advice for preparing and having a successful road trip in Morocco.
Don’t be afraid to drive in Morocco
As I said in the introduction, the idea of driving in Morocco scares many travelers. However, after a few hours behind the wheel, you get used to driving very quickly.
First point, it is necessary to differentiate driving in town and driving on the other roads of the country. In town, you have to recognize that driving is a bit chaotic. By staying focused, we get by! And during a road trip, you don’t drive very much in town, especially in Morocco.
On the other hand, outside the cities, driving is very easy. There are far fewer cars on the roads and traffic in small Moroccan cities is much quieter…
As in all countries where you drive for the first time, it takes a few hours to get used to it. But do not deprive yourself of a road trip in Morocco. Having your own vehicle allows you to have a lot more freedom and it is essential to discover the south of Morocco. If you plan to explore the south of the country by bus / taxi, it will not be the same trip at all…
Road Trip In Morocco: Rent A Reliable Car!
I have rented many cars in Morocco and now I systematically opt for international rental companies. For one reason only: the reliability of the vehicle. The cars are more controlled and especially newer than going through local rental companies.
I have had the opportunity to rent cars from local rental companies. The prices are sometimes more attractive but the vehicles are sometimes in a somewhat limited condition: worn and / or deflated tires, HS air conditioning, etc. The difference in price does not, in my opinion, justify going through a local rental company. A problem with the vehicle during your road trip in Morocco could make you lose a lot of time, especially if you travel over a fairly short period such as a week in Morocco.
By using RentalCars to make your rental, you can benefit from very good rates. Indeed, in addition to comparing the rates of international rental companies, Rental Cars allows you to benefit from negotiated rates. Clearly, the price paid on RentalCars for a given rental company and a given car category will be more attractive than a direct booking with the rental company …
A concrete example, on my last trip, I paid just under 30 euros per day for a diesel vehicle (medium-sized road vehicle)! A very correct price and a car in very good condition with low mileage! In addition, the payment being made online when booking the vehicle, you will have no bank charges linked to a payment in currency on the spot, you will not pay anything on the spot …
In addition, the RentalCars comparator allows you to quickly compare the prices of different rental companies, for each vehicle category. The comparator to remember for your road trip in Morocco or elsewhere 🙂
Defining realistic steps for your road trip…
If you are planning your first road trip in Morocco, be aware that it is better to ignore the travel times that you can find on Google Maps. Outside the motorway, you should count on an average speed of 50 to 60 kilometers per hour. In some parts of the country, the average speed may be higher but in others it will be lower (for example between Marrakech and Ouarzazate).
There are highways between some major cities in Morocco but it is a safe bet that most of your trips are made on roads in the Atlas or the south of the country. The maximum speed is often 90 km / h. But during your Moroccan road trip, you will cross many villages, you will have to follow trucks, and this will lower your average speed …
So take this into account when planning your road trip. Do not plan too long stages, at the risk of spending a good part of the day on the roads …
An average of 100 to 150 kilometers per day seems to me to be correct. When you don’t know Morocco and are planning your first road trip, you tend to believe that you can do Merzouga / Ouarzazarte or Fès / Merzouga for one day. So yes, it is technically possible but you spend most of the day driving and you will miss some great places …
It is better to plan a cooler itinerary in Morocco and take full advantage of your road trip!
GPS In Morocco
Having a GPS is preferable for a roadtrip in Morocco. GPS is very useful in Moroccan cities. Outside, it is not essential but it is always a plus to avoid detours 🙂
Renting a GPS with your rental car is often quite expensive. I advise against it for a road trip in Morocco but also elsewhere in the world…
For my part, I use Google Maps because I always opt for a local SIM card during my trips to Morocco. Note that with the offline option of Google Maps, it is possible to download maps and use Google Maps during your road trip, even if you do not have an internet connection.
To have a 3G connection with a prepaid SIM in Morocco, it’s very simple. Go to a shop in any city in Morocco and it will be settled in a few minutes. Count less than 10 euros to have 3G on a road trip of 2/3 weeks.
Should You Reserve Your Accommodation During a Road Trip?
Overall, there are a lot of hotels, lodges or hostels in Morocco. Apart from very special moments, you will have no problem finding accommodation on D-Day.
During my road trip in Morocco, I only reserve a few nights to keep more flexibility. During my last road trip, I booked many days of accommodation on D-Day, on Booking.com or on Expedia. In southern Morocco but also in Essaouira or even in Marrakech. This allows you to adapt the pace of your road trip, according to your preferences and the weather! For example, I had planned 2 days in Merzouga but a terrible wind was blowing … So I shortened this stay in Merzouga to leave earlier than expected to Ouarzazate.
However, if you have good addresses recommended by relatives or have found them on blogs like mine, it is best to book to avoid disappointment. By reserving D-day during your road trip, you will necessarily find accommodation but not necessarily the one you had in mind if it is full …
Note, if you buy a local SIM card, you will have internet everywhere in Morocco and you can make your reservations from your phone!
Last remark, if you opt for homestay, it is better to warn a little especially if you plan to have dinner there.
A Travel Guide Can Be Helpful!
Buying a travel guide before you leave can be a good idea. Indeed, there are a lot of things to see (and to know) in Morocco.
Traveling with a travel guide allows you to get useful information about the villages visited or things to see in the places where you are.
For my travels in Morocco, I opt for the Morocco guide from the Library of the traveler collection. This collection also provides a great deal of historical or cultural information about the countries. A big plus for understanding the culture, a must to understand the country!
In addition, in a road trip in Morocco, a guide can be very practical because it gives you the information you need to know about the villages crossed. During the preparations for his road trip, we are often interested in the big stages and we sometimes miss small villages which have as much interest as Skoura which is one of the most beautiful villages in southern Morocco in my opinion and which is not a flagship stop for many travelers during a road trip.
Road Trip In Morocco & Cities
During a road trip in Morocco, you are bound to cross cities. It must be admitted that the car in town is not very useful, in Morocco or elsewhere. If we add the slightly chaotic driving in the big Moroccan cities, it is certainly better to park your car at your hotel and to move on foot or by taxi!
Being used to driving in Morocco, I still use my car in cities where it is useful like Marrakech for example.
If you don’t need it or if you prefer to drive as little as possible in town, leave your car in a parking lot. There are often parking lots near the medinas. Sometimes paid.
Avoid Bank Charges During A Road Trip In Morocco
When traveling to Morocco, by car or not, there are quite a few expenses that can be paid by credit card. Even if having dirhams on you is absolutely essential, it is possible to pay by bank card in many places: hotels, car rental, upscale restaurants, train tickets, …
In order to avoid bank charges, I recommend that you open an N26 account (completely free) if you don’t already have one. Account opening, account maintenance and bank card are free. Absolutely nothing to pay, whether at the opening, or afterwards. And what are the advantages of an N26 card?
For a stay in Morocco but also elsewhere in the world, this card will offer you 2 advantages:
- 0% fee on payments in foreign currency
- 2% fee on cash withdrawals outside euros
It is for me the most interesting bank and much more interesting than the classic offers of French banks.
On site, during your road trip in Morocco, prefer payments by credit card when possible. You will have no fees. When you have to pay in cash, you can opt to change your euros to Moroccan dirhams or use the N26 card to withdraw cash from ATMs. In the end, for these 2 solutions, the cost is almost identical (around 2%).
In addition, the latest asset of the N26 card, it allows you to withdraw cash upon arrival at the airport rather than going through the airport exchange offices which offer a very disadvantageous rate. Even if Morocco is not one of the countries where it is possible to pay almost all of its expenses by bank card, traveling there with a CB N26 remains very interesting. If only to pay large expenses (accommodation, …) with the bank card and therefore with 0% of fees.
South Moroccan Road Trip: Living The Homestay Experience!
During a road trip in Morocco, I recommend that you stop for one or two days in a small town or village in Morocco to spend one or two days with the locals. It is truly a unique experience to live in Morocco.
My favorite place for that is in Skoura, in the Kasbah la Palmeraie cottage located on the edge of the Skoura palm grove, often considered the most beautiful in Morocco!
The cottage is accessible with a classic car and Mohamed also offers tours of the palm grove and the surroundings. In priority, the visit of the palm grove allows to better understand the way of life in the small villages of southern Morocco. And it can take you to places that it is impossible to discover for yourself, in the heart of the palm grove …
A break to do during a road trip in Morocco!
What Route For A Road Trip In Morocco?
Difficult question ! There can be as many routes for a road trip in Morocco as there are travelers. It all depends on what you want to see.
Overall, to define your itinerary, I would recommend that you first visit the cities of Morocco, before or after your road trip. In the north of the country, it is very easy to travel by train, especially between Tangier, Fez, Meknes, Rabat and Casablanca. No need to rent a car to visit these cities.
For a first trip to Morocco, I will recommend a flight to Fez and a return from Marrakech. After visiting one or more cities in the north (depending on the length of your stay in Morocco), you can start your road trip towards the Middle Atlas then Merzouga to go to the desert. On your return to Marrakech, you can go by the 1000 Kasbah route. Don’t miss Skoura or Aït Ben Haddou.
Pay attention to the rhythm! If you want to go to Merzouga, you will want at least 10 days of travel in my opinion. Going back and forth from Marrakech / Merzouga or Fez / Merzouga over a few days is of little interest. There are so many things to see on these roads…
A road trip in Morocco is certainly the opportunity to discover an authentic country and breathtaking landscapes. A completely different trip from a city trip to the big cities of Morocco. Hoping that this ticket gives you the desire to embark on a road trip on the Moroccan roads!
Do you have questions or comments about this travel blog post? Are you going to Morocco soon on a road trip? Feel free to respond with your comment. I respond quickly to comments posted on my travel blog, on Morocco or on other destinations 🙂