Driving in Morocco 2017 – roads & tips!

We have just driven over 1,600 km through wonderful Morocco – that’s during October 2017 – so wanted to give you this up to date guide on the roads, our overall experiences en route along with a few important and handy tips too!

OUARZAZATE TO MARRAKECH

JOURNEY TIME : it took us around 4 1/2 hours with a couple of short stops en route!

SPEED LIMITS : the maximum speed we could ever hit on this route was 50 km per hour and you do need to stick to the limits as they are very hot on speeding!

ROAD TYPE : most of this route is single carriageway with a couple of very short runs that allow overtaking! You do travel over mountains so lots of hairpin bends, twists and turns so there will be stretches where you get caught behind a heavy lorry that is crawling along or a slow agricultural vehicle which can be very frustrating as there is so little opportunity to get past. Do be warned that the locals overtake on blind bends so extra care and patience is really needed on these roads! There is also much to distract you as you see large live animals in cars, people hanging off of trucks hitching a lift, livestock on top of vans and seriously overloaded vehicles that just do not look safe! There were no tolls on this road at the moment but there are long stretches of roadworks that will be on going for months as they cut away the mountain rock to make the roads wider!!

WHAT WE SAW : the landscape up and over the mountains was of course spectacular with the most gorgeous panoramas displaying the richest of red coloured soil. Our favourite parts though were when we drove through many a tiny, remote and fascinating village – stepping back in time was our over used phrase whilst we travelled throughout the whole of Morocco – but these villages were particularly untouched and rural but at the same time so vibrant, colourful and full of bustling simple life! On the approach to any village there is more often than not a police check point where in most cases they just wave you straight through but if stopped make sure you have all of your car hire paperwork to hand – they were always quick and super polite!

Driving in Morocco 2017 with Seen by Solomon travel and lifestyle blog

MARRAKECH TO FEZ

JOURNEY TIME : it took us around 6 1/2 hours with 3 short stops en route!

SPEED LIMITS : the maximum speed was 120 km per hour which was so much faster than any other roads we took!

ROAD TYPE : opened last year a lovely brand new, smooth, wide and fast motorway literally the whole journey … which was great for comfort and speed but really super boring on the scenery front! It did however have many large and modern petrol stations all the way along at sensible intervals which was reassuring and all of them had restaurants, modern toilets and shops. There are tolls to be paid en route but they were all very cheap and there was always a person in the booths (not automated) at each and every toll gate which makes things easy … but do make sure you have notes and coins as we saw no options for credit card payments!

WHAT WE SAW : compared to all of our other drives in Morocco this was by far the most boring and uneventful drive as being on a motorway you don’t get to see any life, villages or even much scenery … it was all really quite flat and barren.

Driving in Morocco 2017 with Seen by Solomon travel and lifestyle blog

FEZ TO TANGIER

JOURNEY TIME : it took us around 4 1/2 hours with a couple of short stops en route!

SPEED LIMITS : you really need to keep an eye out on the speed limits on these roads as they chopped and changed throughout!

ROAD TYPE : this journey was very much in two halves as the first part was much more rural with slow single lane roads that were at times in quite bad condition … but then suddenly opening out onto a brand new, smooth and fast motorway which was great in the latter part of the journey!

WHAT WE SAW : the landscape was very beautiful and was more about crops and farming than we had experienced further south … again the small villages delighted us with colour and bustle as we passed through them.

Driving in Morocco 2017 with Seen by Solomon travel and lifestyle blog

OUR TOP TIPS BEFORE YOU HIT THE ROAD :

* leave with a full tank of petrol as on many of the roads there are super long gaps before you’ll see a hint of a service station! You may also come across a diversion so it really is best to have as much fuel on board to start with!

* not joking here when we say on collection of your rental car that you check firstly that there is actually a spare tyre on board!? Ours was present but flat so the first stop we made was to get that pumped up and ship shape!

always best to have tissues in your bag and/0r pockets as more often than not toilets don’t have paper … wet wipes and plenty of bottled water are also handy!

* local currency in notes or coins is needed for any tolls you come across … we never saw the option for a credit card payment!

have to hand all car rental paperwork along with your driving licence in case you are waved over at a police stop – they are super polite and it is just a quick random stop and nothing to worry about at all!

make sure you ask at your car rental collection point for a ‘constant amiable’ form … required if you have an accident as both parties need to fill in this form & take a copy each to send onto insurance companies so important to have one on you but it isn’t a given that the rental companies supply it – you do need to ask for it!

* always a good idea to have a phone charger on board … we had the cigarette lighter adapter which didn’t actually work in the rental car we had but as a back up we always have a full chargered power bank with us too – it’s only a small one but it’s really very useful!

here we must mention the amazing app Maps Me which works off line and was absolutely priceless to us as mobile data in Morocco is crazy expensive. So simple to use, you just download the country’s map that you are in when you have wifi then after that you can use it off line whilst driving, walking around a city or it even got us out of one of the confusing and disorientating medina – brilliant!

* be ready for men on scooters that may drive up to your window wanting to help you with directions … also if you slow down or stop in populated areas kids may come up to your window asking for food or money … we never once encountered anyone of any age that was aggressive but they are super persistent! Be polite & just say a few ‘Merci, no’ or the polite ‘No, la choukram’ (pronounced Schoocram) … Note that all of these approaches by people will always be directed to the ‘man’ so it was David’s patience that was tested on occasion with their persistence – I on the other hand I had a wonderful time taking in the scenery unobstructed!

last but not least just embrace the slow pace you may have to take at times, enjoy the amazing villages that you pass through, marvel at the astonishing landscapes all around, take in the crazy sights you will see of packed vehicles, animals & people … it really was an absolute joy to drive through Morocco & we will back to discover more just as soon as we can!

Driving in Morocco 2017 with Seen by Solomon travel and lifestyle blog

 

We think we’ve covered everything that we noted down during our trip worth sharing with you …

BUT if you have any further questions please don’t hesitate to get in touch!

D & A 

 

 

 

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