An exploration of Morocco in a road trip will take you closer to this magical, exotic and diverse country.
I have been travelling to Morocco several times, some of them by car. However, in 2013 I decided to make a real road trip through the country that lasted three weeks, crossing its diverse landscapes ranging from the beaches to the splendid High Atlas Mountains, passing through the golden Sahara Desert and ending in its frenetic cities.
Starting in Europe, it is quite easy to reach Morocco by car. I usually drive until Algeciras, in Spain to cross the Mediterranean Sea. Once there, if you’re planning to start by the coast, buy your ferry ticket to Tangier, otherwise just choose Ceuta. If you’re not travelling from Europe, you can always fly and then rent a car in Morocco.
Here are some tips, result of my experience while travelling by car in the country.
Avoid the beginning/end of Ramadan and weekends to cross the Mediterranean sea
It’s great to visit the country in and out of Ramadan as you can testify the change in the daily lives of Moroccan people and the whole cities. However, to cross the Mediterranean Sea, it’s the worst time to do it.
Most of the Moroccan emigrated in Europe come back to the country to celebrate the beginning/end of Ramadan with their families resulting in a massive movement of people and tens of cars at the port.
My advice is to avoid the first and last week of Ramadan as well as the weekends when all the trucks are crossing the sea with goods.
Watch your speed limit
Keep in mind that the Moroccan Police is “always at the corner”. The speed limit is strictly controlled, and they won’t miss a chance to apply you a fine for exceeding the limit speed, even if it’s just for 2 Km/h.
Avoid the months of July and August
If you only want to road tripping the coastline, there’s nothing to worry about in what concerns the hot weather. But if you’re planning to head the desert or the mountains, you should avoid the months of July and August.
Besides being months of more traffic, it’s also the warmest time in the country. Be prepared for temperatures above 45ºC, a real pain in the ass I must say.
Take extra fuel with you
A road trip can take you to the unknown, far away from the civilisation. And that’s the best part, right? Well, most cities and many towns have fuel stations but don’t expect this to be the case everywhere. In some regions, you may go for kilometres without seeing anything more than a herder and his goats. So why don’t prevent and take some extra fuel with you? It’s wise not to be caught out at night with an empty tank.
Choose wisely the car that you’re taking
Oh well, the Atlas Mountains are the most spectacular landscapes of Morocco and cross them is a must do! However, you should have an excellent car to do it. The best option is a 4×4, or you may find yourself stuck in the middle of nowhere.
In what concerns the rest of the country, the roads are well-paved and easily navigable, so you don’t need a specific car.
Use GPS or a good roadmap
A roadmap will be indispensable as you try to explore some of the larger cities, or suddenly find yourself in a region devoid of any visible signposts.
Bear in mind that unmarked dirt tracks, teetering donkey carts, speeding motorcyclists and the ubiquitous “grand taxis” will undoubtedly put your reaction times and driving skills to the test.
Have a nice trip!