Driving in Morocco is much easier than many think and is a great way to see this stunning country. Here are 12 helpful tips as well as some money saving advice for renting a car in Morocco.


With Morocco’s 35m people largely crammed into its northern cities, the stunning scenery of the much less populated south make for a great road trip destination. And across the mountains and deserts of the south, driving in Morocco is much easier than many think.

Wide-open roads in good condition connect stunning valleys and intriguing towns. An easy to navigate infrastructure with regular petrol stations means you are rarely lost and there is little risk of running out of fuel. With traffic volumes low, the challenges of having to pass donkeys, oxen and mopeds on the road are minimised.

All in all driving in Morocco’s south is a fun and a genuinely stress-free adventure. In fact we love it so much we have visited three times. Twice renting a 2WD car and the third renting a 4×4 to head up into the more remote passes of the High Atlas Mountains.

So here are our 12 really useful road trip tips as well as some money saving advice for renting a car in Morocco.

TIP 1 / GO SLOW AS THERE ARE ALL SORTS OF THINGS ON THE ROAD

Morocco is a fast-developing country and many still live a traditional way of life. As you drive around the country you will find all sorts of things sharing the road with you. Slow moving trucks, small motorbikes, mopeds, bicycles, oxen and donkeys pulling carts and plenty of pedestrians. It means there are lots of things all going at different speeds. Just take your time, go slower than you would at home. Don’t rush to overtake until you are sure the way is clear.

TIP 2 / DON’T SPEED AND DON’T CROSS THE CENTRAL LINES

Another reason not to go fast is the police. They are after your money and not always legally. There are regular police checks, especially on the more touristy roads. The police will stop you if you are speeding or if you cross the unbroken line in the middle of the road. In either case, they will happily take a bribe of your choosing ($7 in our case) in order not to give you an official ticket.

Speed limits in Morocco are 50km/h in towns and cities, 80km/h on open roads and 100km/h on motorways. If someone flashes their headlights at you it usually means there is a police checkpoint just around the next corner.

TIP 3 / KEEP YOUR DISTANCE & DON’T RELY ON INDICATORS

Moroccans have a very relaxed approach to road rules. In particular, they’re not too fused about indicating. The preference is to drift towards their turns rather than formally announcing their intentions with a helpful signal.

So when driving in Morocco leave plenty of space between you and the car in front on you. They do something you’re not expecting. If you’re turning onto a busy road, take it easy – Moroccan drivers won’t necessarily be looking out for your indicator either.

TIP 4 / DON’T WORRY ABOUT ALL THE HONKING

Moroccan roads are noisy, almost everyone is honking, it’s just something you’ll get use to over time. Honking could mean a variety of things including rising impatience levels, letting you know they are there, warning you of danger, saying thank you or simply encouraging you on your way. Although it may seem intimidating at first, you’ll soon be honking like a Moroccan. Whenever the noise level rises just go a little slower and be a little more cautious.

TIP 5 / AVOID THE LARGE NORTHERN CITIES AND OLD MEDINAS

This is the most important tip of all. The main challenges of driving in Morocco all occur in urban areas where the roads get narrow. Old medinas and in heavier traffic in the larger cities, can be a bit stressful. It is here where a lack of indicating, more honking and a variety of speeds on the roads make driving in Morocco difficult.

Ideally rent your car on the edge of town or at an airport where the access roads are good and only after you have visited the city. We flew into Marrakesh took a taxi into town and explored the city on foot for 4 days. Only after we had finished did we take a taxi back out to the airport and hire a car to explore the south. It was much more relaxing than navigating the city in a rental car.

TIP 6 / ALLOW PLENTY OF TIME FOR YOUR JOURNEY

Morocco can be crazy and frantic in the old medina’s and delightfully slow in the more rural areas. The roads in Morocco are no different where journey times can be slower than you might think.

Firstly you could get stuck behind a slow-moving vehicle on a narrow road. Additionally, Morocco is going through something of an infrastructure boom. There is a lot of construction work as they improve and expand the road network to cater for the increased number of vehicles on the roads.

Finally, the paved surface can sometimes be damaged, significantly slow down your journey. So don’t cram too much into each day. The scenery in the south is stunning so take your time, sit back and simply enjoy the show.

TIP 7 / 2WD IS FINE UNLESS YOU TAKE THE MINOR ROADS IN THE ATLAS MOUNTAINS

When renting a car in Morocco you don’t generally need a 4×4 rental. Almost all roads in Morocco can be navigated in a small 2WD. With the rate of construction that is going on this is only going to increase.

The only exception is the remote Atlas Mountains. Although the major passes, Tizi-n’Tichka or Tiz-n’Test (which are paved and in good condition), can easily be traversed in a 2WD, the more remote roads into the mountains cannot.

These more remote passes vary from gravel tracks to disintegrating paved roads to narrow rocky ledges. Depending on weather and road conditions sometimes a 2WD will make it and sometimes you will need a 4×4 rental. For more information about a more adventurous road trip, keep an eye out for our Atlas Mountain road trip article which will be out soon. You can follow us on Instagram to get notified of our new material.

TIP 8 / DOWNLOAD GOOGLE MAPS AND MAPS.ME OFFLINE BEFORE YOU TRAVEL

There are not that many roads in the south so navigation is relatively easy. Google has extensive coverage of the country but reception in the valleys will be patchy. So make sure you download Google Maps for the area you intend to explore before setting off.

We also highly recommend Maps.Me. This app also allows you to download maps for the area, but has better offline functionality and more accurate estimates for journey times.

TIP 9 / AVOID WINTER IF YOU INTEND TO DRIVE OVER THE MOUNTAIN PASSES

Snow comes to the Atlas mountains every winter. Although the major roads are open all year, the high passes can be blocked for short periods after heavy downfalls. If you intend to take one of the high passes such as Tizi-n’Tichka or Tiz-n’Test then be aware that from December to March they may be closed while snow is cleared. It’s a long drive round if you can’t go over!

TIP 10 / DON’T DRIVE AT NIGHT AND CERTAINLY DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE

While driving in Morocco during the day can be straight forward, it gets much harder at night. Potholes and speedbumps can be difficult to see and donkeys and oxen won’t have reflectors. In some more remote areas, streets are rarely lit. So driving in night should be avoided.

Furthermore never drink and drive. Driving in Morocco under influence is illegal and you may be fined or thrown into jail. So completely avoid all alcohol before any journey.

TIP 11 / COMPARE NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL CAR RENTAL IN MOROCCO

There are many national and international companies offering car rental in Morocco. Fortunately there is a good way to compare them. AutoEurope.com provides an excellent grid showing the cost of different types of cars from different companies. Even though it is more expensive we have always chosen a well-known international company and never had any issue renting a car in Morocco.

At the end of this article we have more advice for booking your rental car and how to avoid expensive extras.

TIP 12 / GET THE CAR CLEANED BEFORE YOU DROP IT OFF

Morocco is a dusty sandy country. It will be impossible to keep your car clean as you drive along its roads. In this dusty country, you might find that most car hire companies charge you an excessive fee to clean the vehicle. Fortunately many large petrol stations will clean your car (inside and out) for only a few dollars. So save yourself some cash, and an argument with your car rental place, have your car cleaned before dropping it off.

HOW EASY IS IT TO DRIVE IN MOROCCO?

If you plan on just visiting the cities, there is no need to rent a car in Morocco. It is easier to get around using a mix of walking and taxis. Additionally, plenty of buses, coaches and trains connect one city to another.

But if you want to explore the less populated southern region then renting a car in Morocco is the best way to see the country. Not being bound by irregular local buses or organised tours, you’re free to experience this amazing place on your own timetable. Many of the destinations you’ll want to see are slightly off the beaten track. Therefore, aving your own wheels means you can design your own schedule and explore more.

Despite some of the unconventional road practices mentioned above, driving in southern Morocco is easy. The roads are good and navigation is a breeze. Car hire is relatively cheap, and fuel is easy to come by. With all this – plus some spectacular scenery and an interesting culture – it’s classic road trip country.

2WD OR 4×4 RENTAL IN MOROCCO

For the vast majority of trips to Morocco, a 2WD is perfectly adequate. You may have small stretches where you are bouncing over gravel roads or through bumpy road works but they will not last long. As an example our entire 10 day Morocco itinerary can easily be done in a 2WD.

However, we have also used a 4×4 rental in Morocco and headed along the minor roads of the Atlas mountains to explore less visited Moroccan villages. Here we were bumping over gravel tracks, degraded roads and along remote rocky ledges to places that do not see many tourists and don’t speak much (if any) English. It’s great fun, but not for everyone. If you want to learn a bit more about driving on these more challenging roads then read our Atlas Mountain road trip post.

DRIVING IN MOROCCO / HIRING A CAR

The best portal we’ve found for booking hire cars is AutoEurope. They have access to cars from all the major companies which are compared on a grid format that clearly displays the prices for different car sizes across each provider.

They also display what is and isn’t included in the price and offer good value insurance options. With a great interface and 24-hour customer service, we highly recommend them.

Check Morocco car rental prices here based on your home location.

EUROPE CUSTOMERSUSA CUSTOMERS

DRIVING IN MOROCCO / HIRING A CAR

The best portal we’ve found for booking hire cars is AutoEurope. They have access to cars from all the major companies which are compared on a grid format that clearly displays the prices for different car sizes across each provider.

They also display what is and isn’t included in the price and offer good value insurance options. With a great interface and 24-hour customer service, we highly recommend them.

Check Morocco car rental prices here based on your home location.

EUROPE CUSTOMERSUSA CUSTOMERS

EXTRAS & INSURANCE WHEN RENTING A CAR IN MOROCCO

In our opinion, there is no need to hire a GPS as an extra when renting a car in Morocco. Many cars now come with GPS and if they don’t, Google or Maps.Me is just as easy. Often, these solutions are more up to date as well.

If you book through AutoEurope the upfront rental cost comes with basic insurance covering theft, third-party damage and liability. However, this option includes a large excess (about $1,000). There are 3 ways to deal with this:

1 / Take the risk and stick with the basic insurance. In this case if you have an accident the car hire company will charge you the first $1,000 of any damage.

2 / Purchase a refundable excess guarantee package from either AutoEurope or insurance4carhire. In this case the car hire company will charge you for the first $1,000 of any damage but you can claim it back from AutoEurope or insurance4carhire.

3 / Purchase an annual refundable excess guarantee package from insurance4carhire. This makes sense if you are likely to hire a car 3 or more times a year as it will be cheaper than continually buying a one-off package.

Purchasing a refundable excess guarantee package is MUCH cheaper than the amount you will pay for insurance at the car rental company desk when you pick up the car. But it does involve the extra hassle of claiming the excess guarantee back from your insurer.

WHAT ELSE DO YOU NEED TO RENT A CAR IN MOROCCO?

When picking up your rental car in Morocco make sure you bring your passport & valid driver’s license. You will also need a credit card as the car hire company will hold the ‘excess’ on your credit card in case it needs to charge you for damages. Check your credit card is accepted by your rental car company and has enough limit to cover the excess.

Keep all your documentation with you when you are driving. There are regular police checkpoints, especially on more touristy roads.

Finally, there is a minimum age of 18 for driving in Morocco but many car hire companies will require you to be at least 21 – 23.

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We are Mark & Paul. Curious + Adventurous. Anywhere We Roam is the story of our travels – the world as seen through our eyes.⁣⁣⁣

If you found this article helpful and you’d like to see more of our photography, head over to Instagram and follow our journey.⁣⁣⁣

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WHERE NEXT?

If you found this guide useful, please head over to Instagram and follow us to stay up to date with our adventures.

For more Moroccan adventures read about the village to village hiking we did in the Aït Bouguemez Valley – one of the highlights of our trips to Morocco. We’ve also covered some other great things to do in this stunning valley here.

The other area that’s ideal to explore on a road trip is Ouirgane – a beautiful untouched valley that still operates a very traditional way of life.

If you have any questions please leave them in the comments section below – we will always reply. To stay up to date with our travels, follow us on social and signup to our NEWSLETTER.

Planning a road trip to Morocco? Here are 12 useful tips for driving in Morocco and some money saving advice for renting a car. #morocco #roadtripmorocco #travelmorocco

Planning a road trip to Morocco? Here are 12 useful tips for driving in Morocco and some money saving advice for renting a car. #morocco #roadtripmorocco #travelmorocco

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