Morocco By Adam Smigielski

Morocco Driving Guide

Morocco is a unique beautiful country. Explore all of it by driving when you get your International Driving Permit

2023-12-15 · 17 min

If your impression of Morocco is limited to Sahara Desert escapades, prepare to be pleasantly surprised!

Morocco is a diverse destination brimming with opportunities, a reason it's a favored item on many travelers' bucket lists.

Beyond its iconic deserts, the country boasts numerous stunning beaches ideal for sunbathing and trying out water sports, including the popular paragliding. A drive to Casablanca and exploring its various medinas should also be on every history and culture buff's itinerary.

Renting a car can be convenient for navigating your preferred destinations. However, driving regulations and culture are definitely different, which might seem daunting for first-time visiting drivers. The country is also known for its busy traffic varying across different Moroccan cities.

In general, driving rules in Morocco remain the same as everywhere else in the world – stop at the red light, let pedestrians pass the street etc.; it’s just that in Morocco, these rules are rarely followed. Besides sneaky scooters and bikes, you always need to be aware of pedestrians, as in Morocco, it’s normal to cross the street anywhere. The most hectic traffic in Morocco is in Marrakech and Casablanca cities.

Rasa, an expat living in Morocco, shares in her post Driving in Morocco – a detailed guide for a safe road trip, as published on Blondie in Morocco.

Have a Moroccan Road Trip Adventure

Don't fret – safe and enjoyable driving in Morocco is entirely achievable! Despite the seemingly chaotic traffic, accidents are fewer than you might expect. This guide is designed to help you get acquainted and ready for your Moroccan journey. Stay vigilant on the road; you'll be all set for a fantastic adventure!

All in all driving in Morocco 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 on our 10-day road trip.

Paul, an award-winning travel blogger, shares in their post DRIVING IN MOROCCO – 15 ESSENTIAL ROAD TRIP TIPS + CAR RENTAL ADVICE, published on Anywhere We Roam.

Let's Take a Closer Look at Morocco

Before diving deeper into Morocco's driving culture and etiquette, here are some interesting facts about this North African country:

Geographical Position

Situated in the western part of North Africa, Morocco shares its borders with Algeria to the east, Mauritania to the south, the Atlantic Ocean to the west, and the Mediterranean Sea to the north. Its strategic location contributes to the country's rich blend of Arab, Berber, European, and African cultures.

Morocco is known for its mountainous terrain and the western Sahara region, offering stunning landscapes.

Size and Land Boundaries

Morocco, located in the north-western segment of Africa, encompasses an area of 446,550 square kilometers. This size places it slightly larger than Canada and a bit smaller than Sweden, not including the disputed territory of Western Sahara, which spans an additional 252,120 square kilometers.

The country's total land boundaries stretch to 2,018 kilometers, complemented by a coastline of 1,835 kilometers. Rabat is its capital city, while Casablanca is the largest city.

Linguistic Diversity

The primary language of Morocco is Moroccan Arabic, or darija, with variations across regions. Due to France and Spain's historical influence in the early 1900s, French is also widely spoken, especially in urban areas.

Road signs in French are common in many parts of the country. In northern Morocco, Spanish is prevalent in areas like Chefchaouen and Tetouan. English is increasingly spoken, especially in major cities and tourist areas. Indigenous languages, including Tamazight, are also spoken in Morocco.

Historical Background

Morocco's prime geographical location near both the Atlantic and Mediterranean has significantly influenced its history. In the 1800s, European powers showed interest in the region, leading to the UK recognizing Morocco as part of France's sphere of influence in 1904.

Morocco became a French protectorate in 1912 under the Treaty of Fes. Post World War II, the Moroccan independence movement, led by the Istiqlal Party, gained momentum, culminating in independence from colonial rule on March 2, 1956. Spain still maintains control over the coastal enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla in Northern Morocco.


Morocco is unique in North Africa as a monarchy with a comprehensive and stable political system. The executive branch includes the chief of state and the prime minister. The legislative power is vested in a bicameral parliament, consisting of the Chamber of Counselors and the Chamber of Representatives, while the judicial system includes a Supreme Court. The country's legal framework is based on Islamic law.

Morocco is a key international trade hub with an open economy that draws global investors. It has strong trade relations with Europe and has reformed its economic policies for greater stability. Key industries include rock mining, food processing, textiles, construction, and tourism, with ongoing efforts to enhance its industrial and service sectors.


Tourism in Morocco is a captivating experience, showcasing rich culture and history at every turn. With increasing accessibility to numerous tourist destinations, millions of visitors are drawn to the country each year. The Moroccan government actively contributes to the growth of its tourism industry by enhancing leisure facilities and infrastructure.

International Driving Permit FAQs

Carrying an International Driver’s Permit (IDP) is important in Morocco, as it facilitates interactions with local authorities and car rental agencies. An IDP serves as a translation of your driver’s license into several languages, including Arabic, simplifying identity verification at checkpoints.

Remember, an IDP does not substitute your native driver’s license but complements it by providing a translation. It's essential to carry both your IDP and your original driver’s license when driving in Morocco.

Do I Need an International Driving Permit for Morocco?

For drivers with foreign licenses, an IDP is necessary for driving in Morocco, especially for short stays. An IDP is vital for licenses not in Arabic or without a photo.

Obtaining an IDP can be quick, with digital copies available within a few hours and physical copies delivered at varying times, depending on your location.

How do I Get an International Driving Permit?

Applying for an International Driver's Permit (IDP) is a simple and convenient process that can be done online anytime. To start, visit the application page of the International Driver’s Association.

The process is designed to be user-friendly and quick, allowing travelers to obtain their IDP efficiently. You can typically complete your IDP application in just 20 minutes through three straightforward steps: filling out the online application form, uploading a digital copy of your driver's license, adding your photos, and then waiting for approval.

Is a UK Driving License Valid in Morocco?

Holders of a UK driving license can use their license in Morocco for up to a year. For temporary residents, acquiring the 1968 version of the IDP is necessary, as earlier versions are not valid. Obtaining an IDP in the UK can be done at numerous post offices or online for convenience.

How Long Is an IDP Valid?

An IDP's validity can last up to three years, depending on what you apply for. In Morocco, however, an IDP is only valid for a year.

The International Driver’s Association offers IDPs with varying validity periods, suitable for frequent and one-time travelers. No additional driving tests are required in Morocco for IDP holders. The renewal process for an IDP follows the same steps as the initial application, accessible to anyone over 18 with a valid driver’s license.

Car Rental in Morocco

Before renting a car in Morocco, familiarize yourself with the essential information and requirements, including the need for an International Driver’s Permit (IDP) and your native driver’s license, for both driving and car rental purposes.

Car Rental Options

Accessing car rental services in Morocco is convenient, with online booking options available. For better deals and a more comprehensive selection, it’s recommended to reserve your car in advance. Last-minute bookings, particularly in peak seasons, can be costly and limit your choices.

Well-known rental companies like Europcar and Avis offer reliable options in Morocco. When choosing from the best car rentals in Morocco, consider their vehicle safety features and insurance policies. Some of the car rental companies to explore include:

  • Aster Cars
  • Alamo
  • Auto Rentals
  • Avis
  • Budget
  • Europcar
  • Expedia
  • Imjad Car
  • Highway Car
  • Hotwire
  • Priceline
  • Thrifty

Documentation Requirements

Car rental companies typically require a valid driver’s license, passport, and an IDP for drivers with licenses not in the Roman alphabet or without a photo. The IDP is recommended for all international drivers. Once your documents are in order, you can pick up your rental car at a location of your choice, though one-way rentals may incur extra fees.

Vehicle Selection

Car rental agencies offer a range of vehicles, from economical sedans to spacious SUVs and minivans. For city driving, a smaller 2WD vehicle is usually sufficient, whereas a 4WD is recommended for regions like Atlas Mountain and Merzouga. For budget-conscious travelers, diesel cars offer better fuel efficiency.

Car Rental Cost

Rental prices vary from $25-$40 per day, influenced by vehicle type, season, add-ons, and insurance coverage. Sedans are cost-effective for city travel, while larger vehicles are more suitable for rural or rugged terrains. Additional costs may include add-ons like GPS, child seats, additional driver fees, and full tank and toll payment options.

Age Restrictions

The minimum age for renting a car in Morocco is typically 21 years, requiring a driver’s license for at least two years. Some companies may rent to younger drivers for an additional fee, and drivers over 75 may also face surcharges.

Car Insurance Cost and Policies

Car insurance is mandatory in Morocco. As per NerdWallet's 2021 analysis, the average monthly insurance cost is around $133, varying based on the driver's profile and insurance type.

Rental cars usually come with a Collision Damage Waiver (CDW), covering up to 10,000 dirhams ($1000) in damages. Insurance like theft protection and personal accident insurance is often purchased for extra security. When choosing from the best car insurance in Morocco, booking insurance online can be more economical than purchasing it over the counter.

Understanding Road Rules in Morocco

For a safe driving experience in Morocco, especially for those new to its roads, adhering to the country's driving regulations is key to avoiding legal issues and accidents. Being familiar with these rules is crucial for a smooth self-drive tour.

Minimum Age for Driving

In Morocco, individuals must be at least 21 years old to drive, which is higher than the age limit in many countries. If transitioning from Spain, where the driving age is lower, ensure that drivers are at least 21 to comply with Moroccan law. When renting a car, list all potential drivers for insurance purposes.

Driving Orientation

In Morocco, as in most European nations, driving is on the right-hand side of the road. For those accustomed to right-side driving, this will feel familiar. Newcomers to this driving style should remember to keep the steering wheel near the curb and take time to adjust, particularly when navigating rural roads and various terrains.

Alcohol Consumption and Driving

Morocco enforces a strict no-tolerance policy towards drinking and driving, with a legal blood alcohol limit of 0 mg. Public consumption of alcohol is also discouraged. Violations can result in severe penalties, including fines, license suspension, or imprisonment.

Parking Regulations

Street parking in Morocco often involves parking meters, with typically one to two hours of allowed parking time. Sundays usually offer free parking. Be aware of local parking attendants ('gardiens de voiture') and avoid parking in areas marked with red and white stripes.

Seatbelt Use

Seatbelt usage is mandatory in Morocco for all passengers in front and back seats. Drivers are responsible for any fines resulting from passengers not wearing seatbelts. Child safety is paramount, so ensure children are under appropriate restraints. Check with car rental agencies for availability of child seats.

Preparation Before Driving

Ensure you are in good health and well-rested before driving, particularly for longer journeys. Regularly check your rental car’s condition, including windows, mirrors, and lights. Carry necessary documents like your passport, insurance, car registration, IDP, and driving license. Also, remember to refuel before heading to remote areas.

On the Road

Always drive on the right side and be cautious at intersections. Headlights should be on at all times, day and night. Use mobile phones only with hands-free equipment and approach traffic lights cautiously.

Speed Limit

Morocco uses the metric system, so speed limits are kilometers per hour (KpH). This is crucial to remember to avoid speeding fines. Speed limits vary by area, with urban limits typically at 60 KpH and rural areas allowing slightly higher speeds. On highways (autoroutes), the maximum speed is usually 120 KpH. Police strictly enforce speed limits, and fines can be imposed for minor infractions.

In Morocco, you'll encounter major and more minor toll roads. The key toll roads, known as autoroutes, are marked with an ‘A’ and connect major cities nationwide. Notably, in Rabat, Morocco's capital, three main toll roads lead to other significant urban centers. The primary autoroutes in Morocco include:

  • The route from Tangier along the Atlantic Coast to Safi, passes through Casablanca and Rabat.
  • The inland route from Rabat to Oujda is via Meknes and Fez.
  • The southern route from Casablanca to Agadir is via Marrakech.
  • The road from Tangier to Oujda passes through Tetouan and Nador.

It's important to note that driving distances can be lengthy, averaging around three hours. Therefore, it's advisable to allocate extra travel time. Road conditions may also impact travel duration. Key driving distances are as follows:

  • Marrakech to Casablanca: 242km (approximately 2 hours and 35 minutes).
  • Marrakech to Rabat: 323km (about 3 hours and 20 minutes).
  • Marrakech to Fes: 525km (around 5 hours and 30 minutes).
  • Casablanca to Fes: 289km (approximately 3 hours and 15 minutes).
  • Agadir to Marrakech: 252km (about 3 hours).

Traffic Signs

Traffic signs in Morocco align with European standards for ease of understanding. Most signs are in Arabic, and some are in French. Recognizable signs include the standard red octagonal stop signs. Roads are marked with white lines for single-carriageways and yellow lines for dual-carriageways.

You will also encounter familiar signs like Give Way at roundabouts, triangular Yield signs, and warnings for potential animal crossings in rural areas. Familiarizing yourself with these signs is essential for smooth navigation.

Right of Way Rules

In Morocco, the general rule is to give way to traffic from the right at intersections. Yield to vehicles already in the circle at roundabouts unless signage indicates otherwise. Understanding and respecting these rules helps avoid misunderstandings and accidents.

Overtaking Laws

Overtaking in Morocco is performed on the left side of the road. Caution is advised, especially for those unaccustomed to right-side driving. Overtake only when necessary and safe to do so.

Driving Your Vehicle in Morocco

To legally drive your car in Morocco, you must fulfill specific requirements:

  1. Obtain a green card as proof of insurance.

2. Display a number plate indicating the country of registration.

3. Carry proof of ownership for document checks by the police.

4. Keep a warning triangle in your vehicle and a constat amiable form available at


5. Present a valid MOT certificate to verify your vehicle's roadworthiness.

6. For UK-registered cars, a V5c registration document is required.

Adhering to these guidelines ensures a compliant and smooth driving experience in Morocco.

Driving Etiquette in Morocco

Understanding local driving etiquette in Morocco is crucial to navigating roads smoothly and avoiding issues with fellow drivers and authorities. Knowledge of local driving customs marks a confident and responsible driver.

Handling a Car Breakdown

Even with a well-maintained car, breakdowns can occur due to unforeseen circumstances. Should your vehicle break down, move it off the road to avoid obstructing traffic.

For rental cars, contact the rental agency immediately for assistance, as they typically provide roadside help. If you're in your vehicle, ensure your breakdown cover is valid in Morocco. For minor issues, local mechanics can be a helpful resource.

Dealing with Police Stops

In Morocco, police presence is common at roundabouts and checkpoints, where they monitor speed with radar guns. Always adhere to speed limits, especially near these areas. If stopped by the police, be prepared to present your documents, including car registration and insurance, and answer their questions courteously. Fines for violations like speeding are usually paid in cash on the spot.

Asking Directions

Moroccans are generally welcoming and helpful to tourists seeking directions. Be cautious of individuals who offer guidance for a fee, as they may charge exorbitantly. When in doubt, seek assistance from police officers. Learning basic Arabic phrases can aid in communication:

  • Hi! (singular) - Marhaba!
  • Thank you - Shukran Lak
  • Please - Law Sahaht
  • Goodbye - Ma al Salama
  • Where? - Ayn?
  • Where is… - aynaajedo…
  • Excuse me, where is the hotel? - Law samaht, aynaajedo al fondoq?
  • Right - yameen
  • Left - Yasar
  • Forward- amam
  • Straight ahead - amamakmobasharatan
  • At the corner - ala al zawiya
  • After the stoplight - baadesharat el moroor
  • Can you help me? - Hal beemkanekmosa’adati?
  • I’m looking for… - Abhatu ‘en…

Checkpoints are common in Morocco. Approach them at a reduced speed, heeding the warnings from other drivers who might flash their lights. At these checkpoints, police typically check documents and may perform breathalyzer tests. Maintain composure and cooperate with the police to ensure a smooth process.

In Case of an Accident

Obtain a constat amiable form from nearby shops for documentation if involved in a traffic accident. Fill out details such as names, dates, and accident specifics, and submit this to your insurance provider. Stay at the scene for accidents with injuries or significant damage, and contact the nearest police station. Do not move the vehicles until the police arrive. Use the emergency hotline for immediate assistance if necessary.

Driving Conditions in Morocco

Knowing Morocco's driving environment and challenges can prepare you mentally for the road ahead. Generally, driving in Morocco is manageable and safe, as the government rigorously enforces traffic regulations and takes various steps to ensure road safety for everyone.

Accident Statistics

Compared to many European countries, Morocco experiences fewer vehicle accidents, despite less ideal road conditions. The 2018 World Health Organization report ranks Morocco 81st worldwide in death rates from road accidents, indicating a relatively safe road environment.

With a death rate of 19.87 per 100,000 population, Morocco is steadily reducing road fatalities each year. Common causes of road accidents include loss of vehicle control, speeding, failure to yield, and irresponsible behavior by drivers and pedestrians.

Common Vehicles on Moroccan Roads

In Morocco, the roads are commonly shared with motorcycles, passenger cars, and cyclists. Most vehicles are economy cars, suitable for travel and work, but you can also find mopeds, vans, and trucks. In more affluent areas like Ville Nouvelles, luxury cars are more prevalent. Regardless of the vehicle type, road safety should always be a priority.

Toll Roads

Morocco features an extensive system of toll roads, primarily operated by private companies. These toll roads connect major cities like Rabat, Casablanca, and Tangiers. The autoroutes span approximately 1,100 miles, with tolls being relatively affordable compared to Europe and the US. Key toll roads include A1, A2, A3, A5, A6, and A7, covering various routes across the country.

Road Conditions

Road quality in Morocco varies. Major highways are well-maintained, with traffic signs, speed cameras, and lights. However, roads designated as R and P may lack lighting and are not always in good condition, posing challenges at night. Additionally, unpaved tracks, or pistes, can be treacherous, especially in wet conditions. For challenging routes, such as in the High Atlas Mountains, hiring a private driver or renting a 4WD is advisable.

Driving Culture

Most Moroccan drivers are safe and courteous. However, instances of speeding and aggressive driving can occur, especially during Ramadan. Generally, aggressive driving is not widespread, and many drivers are helpful, often signaling upcoming checkpoints or speed cameras.

Night Driving

Nighttime driving in Morocco is generally not recommended due to poor lighting and potential hazards like animals on rural roads. If you must drive at night, proceed cautiously and be prepared for unexpected obstacles.

Winter Driving Challenges

Winter driving in Morocco, especially towards the High Atlas mountains, can be difficult. Weather conditions often render mountain routes impassable, so planning the best time to visit Morocco is crucial. checking the road status is crucial if planning activities in ski regions or desert areas during winter.

Top Destinations in Morocco

Once you're set to explore Morocco, it's time to map out your travel itinerary! Here's a guide to the must-visit destinations in Morocco:


Rabat, the capital city of Morocco, is home to cultural heritage and historical sites. The city's medina offers a more relaxed and accessible experience than others in Morocco and is ideal for purchasing traditional Moroccan souvenirs.


Casablanca offers a unique experience with its bustling medinas and local life. Highlights include the central marketplace, fresh seafood, and the iconic Rick's Cafe.

Fès-Meknès Region

Fez, known for its University of Al-Qarawiyyin and vibrant Medina, alongside Meknes with its blend of old and new, offers rich cultural experiences.


Located in the Rif Mountains, Chefchaouen is famous for its blue-painted streets and buildings, creating a picturesque and charming atmosphere. This serene town provides a unique and tranquil escape for visitors.


A coastal gem, Essaouira is known for its stunning beaches, historic medina, and vibrant arts scene. With its strong maritime history, the city offers a laid-back ambiance and a perfect blend of culture and relaxation.

Get an IDP to Explore Morocco

Set out on an unforgettable road trip through Morocco and immerse yourself in its desert vistas, breathtaking beaches, historical sites, and captivating medinas. Obtain an International Driver's Permit to turn this dream journey into a reality. Here's to a delightful and adventurous trip!


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