Morocco Driving Guide
Morocco is a unique beautiful country. Explore all of it by driving when you get your International Driving Permit
Morocco is a mountainous country at the northern tip of Africa that attracts millions of tourists every year. From historical monuments and vibrant cities to relaxing beaches and gorgeous gorges, Morocco is a dream destination country you should include in your bucket list. With the preservation of cultural heritage and modern development, Morocco is a country where the past meets the present halfway.
Getting a sun-kissed tan is possible in Morocco, with several beautiful beaches across the country, where you can also enjoy fun beach activities and water sports. Paragliding is one of the most popular water sports tourists try on the beaches. If you’re interested in Morocco’s history and culture, driving to Casablanca and other medinas is the perfect trip for you. Just make sure you have your International Driving Permit to go to these beautiful destinations.
How Can This Guide Help You?
It can be disastrous to travel to a foreign country without knowing the necessary information about the country, especially in countries with mountain passes. Aiming to help your trip be more manageable, this guide provides you the essential information you need to keep in mind before you book that flight to Morocco. In this guide, you'll learn about road trip travel trips, things you can do for a long-term stay, and the do’s and don’ts when driving in Morocco.
Morocco is a country famous for the mesmerizing sand seas, exotic beaches, historical monuments, and fascinating medinas. In the main cities, you’ll find colorful souks adorning the cobbled streets in the country and modern towns called Ville Nouvelles, where French influence is evident in the structures. Before you start planning a Moroccan trip, you need to know the travel restrictions imposed in the country.
Morocco is a country located in western North Africa, and it borders Algeria to the east, Mauritania to the south, the Atlantic Ocean to the west, and the Mediterranean Sea. It has a strategically important location. That’s why it’s not a surprise that the country has a blend of various cultures, such as Arab, Berber, European, and African. Morocco is a mountainous country with a Sahara region in the west that boasts picturesque scenery.
Morocco lies in the north-western part of Africa with a total land area of 446,550 square kilometers, which makes the country slightly larger than Canada and marginally smaller than Sweden. This land area excludes the unresolved sovereignty of Western Sahara with a land area of 252,120 square kilometers. This. Its land boundaries have a total of 2,018 kilometers, while its coastline has 1,835 kilometers. Morocco’s capital city is Rabat, and Casablanca is the largest city.
Moroccan Arabic, known as darija, is the country’s official language that varies in every region. Knowing standard Arabic may not help you much when driving in Morocco, especially when asking for directions. French is also widely spoken in the country, particularly in cities, since the 1900s when France and Spain controlled the country. You can also find some road signs in French when driving in the country.
On the other hand, Spanish is commonly used in northern Morocco, particularly in Chefchaouen and Tetouan. Some Moroccans speak English, especially in larger cities and tourist destinations. You don’t have to worry about communicating in tourist destinations since they usually hire staff who speak and understand English to accommodate the guests. Morocco also has indigenous languages spoken in the country, including Tamazight.
Moroccos has a strategic location near both the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. That’s why its location shaped its history throughout. In the 1800s, different European countries were interested in the region, and the United Kingdom officially recognized the country as part of France’s sphere of influence in 1904. Then, Morocco became France’s protectorate in 1912 under the Treaty of Fes.
It was only following the end of World War II that Moroccans sought independence. They established an Independence Party or Istiqlal in 1944 to lead the movement for independence. On March 2, 1956, the country gained its freedom from its colonizers and took over some Spanish-controlled areas. Today, Spain still controls two coastal enclaves in Northern Morocco, which are Ceuta and Melilla.
Morocco is North Africa’s only monarchy with the most inclusive and stable political systems. It has an executive branch with a chief of state and head of government (prime minister). As for its legislative branch, Morocco has a bicameral parliament which consists of the Chamber of Counselors and Chamber of Representatives. For the judicial branch, there is a Supreme court. The government based its legal systems on Islamic law.
The country is also an international trading center with a relatively open economy that attracts foreign investors. Morocco has become one of Europe’s trading partners, and it has undergone several changes in its economic policies to allow the country to be more stable. Morocco’s primary industries are rock mining, food processing, textiles, construction, and tourism. It is currently working on its industrial and service sectors.
Morocco is a charming country with lots of tourist destinations that speaks their culture and history as you wander in the country. Morocco attracts millions of tourists every year as more tourist destinations become more accessible. The Moroccan government plays a significant role in improving its tourism industry by improving leisure facilities and developing infrastructures.
The government aims to be less dependent on their agricultural sector to boost its economy by exerting more time and planning on their tourism industry. Morocco offers different tourist destinations, including exotic beaches, imperial cities, hiking destinations, and more. Driving in Morocco makes the experience more memorable and fun.
Driving a car in Morocco is a fulfilling experience as you navigate the roads in cities and towns. However, you need to know the driving requirements in Morocco to avoid delays and penalties. An International Driver’s Permit makes it easier for you to deal with the police and to rent a car in Morocco, so it’s essential to bring an IDP with you. It translates your driver information to a language that the Moroccan authorities can understand, reducing the time to verify your identity during a checkpoint.
An IDP is merely a translation of your driver’s license, so it doesn’t replace your local driver’s license. You can’t use your IDP as a suitable replacement if you lost your driver’s license. It is only a translation of your local driving license into the 12 most widely-spoken languages, including Arabic. Moreover, car rental companies do not accept an IDP alone, so don’t forget to bring your IDP and your local driving license when driving in Morocco.
Do I Need an International Driving Permit for Morocco?
If you’re driving in Morocco with a Canadian license or any foreign license, you need an IDP to travel on the Moroccan roads for a temporary stay. You can only use an IDP for a year in the country, so if you plan to stay in the country for more than a year, you need to secure a Morocco driving license.
If your driving license is not in Arabic, you need to secure an IDP before driving in Morocco. Car rental companies also require an IDP for those drivers with driving licenses without a photo. Getting an international driver’s permit from the International Driver’s Association can take two hours or less. After a few hours, you can already get the digital copy of your IDP. You can get your physical copy in 7-15 days if you’re within the US and 30 days if you live outside the US.
Is the UK Driving Licence Valid in Morocco?
If you have a UK driving license, you can drive in Morocco for only a year. If you temporarily reside in Morocco, you need to get an International Driver’s Permit that is valid for one year of your stay. Take note that you need to have the 1968 International Driving Permit drive on Moroccan roads since the previous IDP versions are outdated. You can get an IDP in over 2,500 UK post offices, or you can apply online for faster processing.
You can apply for an IDP online anytime you want. Just visit the International Driver’s Association application page. The instructions to get an IDP is straightforward, making it more convenient for travelers to secure one in a short time. You can get your IDP in 20 minutes in three easy steps. All you need is to fill up the application form on the website, submit the digital copy of your driver’s license, upload your photos, and wait for approval.
How Long Is an IDP Valid?
An IDP is only valid for up to three years, depending on the validity period you applied. However, an IDP is valid for only a year in Morocco. International Driver’s Association issues International Driver’s Permits for one to three-year validity. The validity period depends on how often you visit the target country. You don’t need to take a test or driving lessons in Morocco to apply for an IDP as your driver’s license already proves your competence to drive on Moroccan roads.
If you take frequent business trips to Morocco or any other country, it’s best to obtain an IDP valid for three years. It saves you time and costs by applying once for an International Driver’s Permit for Morocco. On the other hand, if you only need to travel to Morocco as a tourist, you can apply for an IDP with one-year validity. You can renew your IDP by following the same steps you did in applying in IDA. As long as you are at least 18 years old and have a valid driver’s license, you can apply for an IDP.
Renting a Car in Morocco
Driving a car in Morocco is the most efficient way to navigate the country’s roads, especially if you plan to go outside the cities and visit unexplored destinations. Besides knowing the driving tips in Morocco, you also need to know some information before renting a car in the country. Take note that you need to have an International Driver’s Permit along with your driver’s license, not only for driving but also for renting a car in Morocco.
Car Rental Companies
Renting a car in Morocco is more accessible now, thanks to the internet. You can book your rental car online or book in the location when you arrive in Morocco. It’s advisable to book your rental car in advance before you arrive in the country to avoid higher prices on the market and to get better options. Last-minute bookings, especially during peak seasons, are stressful and leaves you with less desirable vehicles.
Choosing a car rental company is crucial, so you need to consider several factors before booking. Renowned car hire companies like Europcar and Avis have locations in Morocco if you want peace of mind when driving in Morocco. Ensure they equip their vehicles with safety equipment and also insurance. Here are some of the car hire companies you can check out:
- Aster Cars
- Auto Rentals
- Imjad Car
- Highway Car
Car rental companies will require you to show a valid native driver’s license, passport, or other government-issued documents to verify your identity and an IDP for drivers with driving licenses that are not in the Roman alphabet. Some car rental companies may not ask for an IDP if the driving licenses are in languages they can understand and with drivers’ photos. It’s still highly recommended to bring an IDP with you.
Once you have already completed the documents required, you can pick up your rental car at your car rental supplier’s location or the airport. You can also choose other pick-up locations that are more convenient for you. If you select another pick-up location, you need to specify your pick-up and drop-off locations when you book your rental car. One-way rentals can be costly, so it’s best to drop off the car where you picked it up to avoid additional charges.
Car rental suppliers rent out different types of vehicles ranging from SUVs to minivans to accommodate their customers’ needs and budgets. Smaller vehicles, like a 2WD car, are more suitable if you’re only staying in larger cities with no intention of visiting other regions. If you’re planning to visit Atlas Mountain and Merzouga, a larger vehicle is a more appropriate vehicle to rent as some roads in these regions require 4WD cars.
If you’re conscious of the cost, it’s best to rent a fuel-efficient car, so you don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on fuel. Diesel cars are more cost-efficient in gas consumption than gasoline cars. Vehicles with a long driving range are perfect for a road trip in Morocco. The type of cars you can rent entirely depends on where you’re heading to in Morocco, so it’s essential to choose rental cars wisely.
Car Rental Cost
Car rentals may cost around $25-$40 a day, depending on the type of vehicle you rent. Larger vehicles usually come at a higher price than sedans, so it’s important to know what destinations you’ll visit in advance. If you’re only staying within larger cities in the country, sedans are enough to drive from one destination to another. On the other hand, larger vehicles are more suitable if you’re going to villages and towns.
Several factors also affect a rental car’s costs, such as add-ons, insurance coverage, and market prices. Rental cars are typically more expensive during peak seasons as more travelers check out rental vehicles in the country. Some car rental companies may also offer a few add-ons such as car seats, GPS, and additional driver fees. Some car rental companies may also provide full tank options and toll payment.
The minimum age requirement to rent a car in Morocco depends on the car rental supplier. Most car rental suppliers’ minimum age requirement is 21 years old and must have held a driver’s license for at least two years. Some car rental companies may allow drivers below 21 years old to drive the rental car, but you need to pay an underage driver’s fee. Drivers over 75 years old are also required to pay a surcharge to rent a car.
Car Insurance Cost
Car insurance is a legal requirement when you are driving on Moroccan roads. As per NerdWallet’s 2021 analysis, the average car insurance per month is about $133. The car insurance cost depends on many variables such as the driver’s information, good credit, clean driving record, and the type of insurance you want to get. Before you get car insurance, ask the representative about the coverage and the full cost to know how much you need to pay for it.
Car Insurance Policy
Rental cars in Morocco have a necessary Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) that covers up to 10,000 dirhams ($1000) worth of damage. The CDW protects you from financial liability for damages incurred in accidents. The CDW may not be enough insurance coverage, so most tourists buy extra insurance coverage such as theft protection and personal accident insurance.
Theft protection provides a sense of security in a foreign country, covering your belongings’ costs in case of theft happens. Personal accident insurance gives you peace of mind as it protects your medical expenses incurred from an accident. Book your excess car insurance online to save a few dollars since buying insurance over the counter is quite expensive.
Road Rules in Morocco
It’s essential to practice safe driving in Morocco, especially if you’re unfamiliar with their roads. One of the tips you should follow when driving in Morocco is to obey the driving rules in the country to avoid trouble with the police and accidents. Knowing these official rules can help avoid trouble on your self-drive road trips.
Drivers without a valid driving license are not allowed to drive in Morocco. It’s important to always bring your passport and license with you when going to Morocco, mainly when the police conduct random checkpoints to ensure everyone on the road is competent to drive in the country. Driving without a license can get you in serious trouble with the police, and you can face an on-the-spot fine up to 400DH.
If you’re unable to pay the fine, the police will confiscate your license and take you to court. Your license and passport are essential driving requirements in Morocco that you always need to bring with you wherever you go. Moreover, drivers under the influence of alcohol or drugs are not allowed to drive in Morocco.
Drink drive laws
Driving under the influence of alcohol is strictly prohibited in Morocco. The country’s blood alcohol limit is 0 mg, which is significantly lower than its neighboring countries. Drink-driving has been a pertinent problem over the years worldwide, causing thousands of road fatalities yearly. Morocco is particular with their drinking laws where drinking in public is frowned upon, and drink-driving can put you in jail.
It’s essential to adhere to the drink-driving law, not only for the severe punishment you’ll face but also for your road safety. Driving under the influence of alcohol, especially at night and in the countryside, is hazardous, with only a few streetlights to light up the roads. If local authorities caught you drunk-driving, you can face a hefty fine, get your license suspended, or get imprisoned, depending on the severity of your violation.
You’ll find parking spaces with parking meters along the streets, where you’re allowed to park for one to two hours. Parking is usually free on Sundays. The car park attendants wearing blue coats referred to as gardiens de Voiture monitor the parking areas. Some establishments and tourist destinations have parking garages where you can park for longer hours. Don’t park on curbsides painted in red and white stripes.
Seatbelts are essential when driving in Morocco as it protects you in crashes and sudden stops. The government implemented these laws for all road users’ safety, so it’s necessary to adhere to this rule. All passengers, front and rear, must wear seatbelts when on the road. If a local authority catches a passenger without a seatbelt, the driver is responsible for the passenger’s fine.
If you’re out on a road trip with your family, it’s vital to ensure everyone’s road safety, especially the children. Road accidents are one of the leading causes of death in children, so it’s essential to put them in child restraints to make them secure and safe when you’re driving in Morocco. Before booking your rental car, it’s best to ask your car rental supplier if they provide child seats, so you don’t have to purchase them yourself.
General Standards of Driving
All locals and tourist drivers need to observe general standards of driving in Morocco. The driving standards are common, so it’s more manageable for most drivers. Take note of the things you should do before and when driving in Morocco.
It’s essential to be in good condition before driving on Moroccan roads, especially if it's a five-hour drive. Don’t force yourself to go if you’re ill or tired, as it increases your risk of accidents. Car breakdowns in a foreign country are stressful, so it’s essential to check your car’s condition before your trip, especially if it'll be a long drive. Rental cars are generally maintained, but it’s still advisable to check their condition before using them especially if you're going to spend hours of travel. Also, make sure the windows, mirrors, and lights are clean.
Always carry your passport, insurance documents, car registration certificate, IDP, and license when driving in Morocco. Moroccan police typically conduct random checkpoints to check your documents and sometimes for breathalyzer tests. It’s crucial to remember this rule to avoid hefty fines. Also, fill your tank if you’re planning to drive to the countryside or the desert, where you’ll find only a few gas stations on the road.
When you’re driving, always keep on the right side of the road. You may encounter some motorcycle riders suddenly appearing at intersections, so make it a habit to look at both sides of the corner before crossing. You’re also required to turn on your headlights during the day and at night. You can use your horns to tell the driver to move forward, so use your horns sparingly.
When driving, you can only use your mobile phones when hands-free. Using handheld mobile phones while driving causes road accidents, so it’s best not to use them unless necessary. You can face a fine as high as 8000DH (730 euros). You need to slow down at traffic lights, even if they’re green.
Excessive speeding is strictly prohibited in Morocco, especially in crowded areas and rural roads. The speed limits in Morocco vary, depending on the road condition. The speed limit on urban roads is 60 KpH since more pedestrians and more vehicles share the road with you. The speed limit in rural areas is slightly higher than in urban roads as fewer cars drive on these roads.
When driving on autoroutes, you are expected to drive below 120 KpH. Speed traps are installed on autoroutes to monitor the drivers’ speed. The police are incredibly strict with speeding, so don’t be surprised if a police officer stops you while you’re driving. You are expected to pay a fine of up to 400DH when you receive a speeding ticket. The police can fine you for as little as 5 KpH over the limits. Going beyond the speed limit is also prohibited on open roads.
Driving directions in Morocco may include the main toll roads and minor roads in the country. The main toll roads in Morocco are called autoroutes and identified with the ‘A’ symbol, connecting the country’s main centers. When you’re driving in Rabat, the capital of Morocco, you’ll find three toll roads leading to the other main cities. Below are the main routes in Morocco:
- From Tangier down the Atlantic Coast to Safi (via Casablanca and Rabat)
- From Rabat inland to Oujda via Meknes and Fez
- From Casablanca south to Agadir via Marrakech
- From Tangier to Oujda via Tetouan and Nador
On the other hand, the driving distances in Morocco are quite long, a three-hour drive on average, so you have to allow extra time when driving from one point to another in Morocco. The road conditions can also affect how long it will take you to reach your destination. The driving distances in Morocco are as follows:
- Marrakech to Casablanca – 242km (2hrs 35mins)
- Marrakech to Rabat – 323km (3hrs 20mins)
- Marrakech to Fes – 525km (5hrs 30mins)
- Casablanca to Fes – 289km (3hrs 15mins)
- Agadir to Marrakech – 252km (3hrs)
Traffic Road Signs
Traffic road signs in Morocco comply with European standards so that they will be convenient for you. Most traffic road signs are in Arabic, while you may find a few traffic road signs in French. Stop signs are in Arabic, but they’re easily recognizable as red octagonal signs. When driving in Morocco, you’ll notice white and yellow lines on the road. Single carriageways are marked with white lines, while dual carriageways are marked with yellow lines.
Besides the stop sign, you’ll also find common road signs in Morocco, such as Give Way signs at roundabouts and the triangular Yield signs. You’ll also notice warning signs, especially in the countryside, to warn the drivers to slow down for cattle or deer on the upcoming section of the road. Deciphering traffic road signs in Morocco is a common struggle among tourists initially, but once you become familiar with them, it won’t be challenging to navigate the roads.
Right of Way
The right of way in Morocco is always to the right when approaching an intersection. You are expected to give way to the vehicles already circulating the roundabout unless indicated otherwise at roundabouts. Following the give way rules is essential to avoid confrontations with other drivers and accidents. Giving way can lead to stressful disagreement, so it’s necessary to know who has the right of way in a foreign country before you hit the road.
Legal Driving Age
Drivers who are at least 21 years old are allowed to drive in Morocco, a higher driving age than most countries. If you’re crossing Morocco from Spain, remember that Spain has a lower minimum age than Morocco. So if a driver under 21 years old is operating the car, it’s best to switch with a driver who is at least 21 years old to avoid trouble with the police. Don’t forget to list additional drivers with your car rental supplier for insurance coverage.
Law on Overtaking
Since driving is on the right of the road, you are expected to overtake on the left. Overtaking is allowed in Morocco, but you need to exercise caution when doing so. Overtaking can be hazardous, especially if you’re not used to driving on the right side of the road. If possible, overtake only when necessary.
It’s a common concern for tourists on which side of the road they’ll be driving in Morocco or any foreign country. Moroccans drive on the right side of the road like most European countries, so if you’re from a right-side driving country, it’s easier for you to navigate the roads. You don’t have to sweat on your first try.
If you’re not used to driving on the right, one of the tips when driving in Morocco is to keep the steering wheel closest to the curb. It will take a few days to get used to it, so take it slow on your first tries. Once you get used to driving on the right, it will be easier for you to drive on terrains and rural roads.
Driving Etiquette in Morocco
Certain situations can inevitably happen to you in a foreign country. You need to observe certain driving etiquette in certain conditions to avoid a few frowns and glares from other drivers. Not knowing the proper driving etiquette can also cause trouble with the authorities and other road users. Confident drivers know the driving etiquette of a foreign country to avoid trouble.
Maintaining your car in good condition can help you reduce the chances of breakdowns, but sometimes external circumstances can still cause car breakdowns. A car breaking down in a foreign country is stressful when you don’t know what to do. If your car breaks down in the middle of the road, try to move the vehicle to the side of the road to avoid blocking the incoming traffic.
It’s best to contact your car rental supplier about your situation immediately so that you can get assisted. If you’re driving your own car in Morocco, make sure your breakdown coverage can apply if you’re in another country. Don’t attempt to fix the vehicle on your own if it’s a rental car. Car rental suppliers usually provide roadside assistance for you. You can also ask for help from local mechanics for basic repairs.
You will often find police officers stationed at the roundabouts, monitoring the flow of traffic. The police often use their radar guns to check for speeding, so always drive under the speed limit, especially when approaching checkpoints and roundabouts. The police are strict when it comes to speeding and can be unforgiving in speeding violations. If you’re pulled over when there’s no checkpoint, you possibly made a violation.
You will be asked to pay the fines in cash, so it’s essential to be aware of the rules imposed in the country. The police will ask for your documents, including the car registration certificate and insurance documents, and ask where you’re going and where you’ve been. It’s essential to answer their questions politely and as specific as possible so you can get back on the road in no time.
Asking for directions in Morocco is easy since Moroccans are accommodating to tourists. However, you should be careful in asking random locals in the streets. Many faux guides will ask an outrageous amount of money to help you get to your destination, usually in a Moroccan city. You can politely decline their offer and ask police officers instead. If a local doesn’t ask for money in return, it means it’s safe to ask for directions from them.
Although it’s not necessary to be fluent in Arabic to ask for directions in Morocco, it’s still helpful to learn a few basic phrases that can help you communicate better with the locals. Here are some of the essential words you need to remember:
- 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…
You may encounter random checkpoints during your trip to Morocco, so it’s best to know how to handle the situation beforehand. When approaching checkpoints, drive under the speed limit. Other drivers will warn you by flashing their lights, so you have time to slow down. The police often conduct checkpoints to check your car documents and let you go quickly. They may also conduct breathalyzer tests, so don’t drink and drive.
Remain calm when there’s a checkpoint. Checkpoints are conducted to ensure everyone’s obeying the country’s driving rules, so if you think you’re strictly following the rules, you don’t have to panic. The police are quite friendly and polite, so hostile confrontations with them is rare. Politely answer their questions and follow their commands, so you don’t have to spend an hour arguing with a police officer.
Aside from the driving situations mentioned above, it’s essential to know what you need to do in case of emergencies. Most of the time, people freak out and lose the sense of mind and control when dealing with unfortunate scenarios. Read more to know what to do in accidents.
What if I Get Involved in an Accident?
It’s common to get a constat amiable form at corner shops in the cities if you get involved in an accident, especially if you’re driving your car in Morocco. You need to fill up the necessary information such as your name, date, time, and place of the accident with the other people involved in case of accidents. After completing the form, you must submit it to your insurer.
If it’s an accident resulting in injuries and damages, you must remain at the scene and report the accident to the nearest police station. The police will arrange assistance for the injured persons and settle the problem. You are not allowed to move the vehicles until the police arrive. You can call the emergency hotline in the country if you need immediate help.
Driving Conditions in Morocco
Knowing the driving situations and conditions in Morocco can help you mentally prepare for possible obstacles you may encounter in the country. The driving situation and condition in Morocco are generally manageable, so you won’t have a hard time driving on the roads. It’s also safe to go to Morocco since the government strictly implements the driving laws and comes up with different measures to make the streets safe for everyone.
Vehicle accidents are not as frequent as in European countries despite a lesser pleasurable road condition. The 2018 World Health Organization report revealed that Morocco ranked 81st among the countries with the highest death rates in the world, meaning the country is performing well in terms of road safety. Morocco has a 19.87 per 100,000 population death rate with 4.01% of total deaths.
Since road accidents are one of the leading causes of death in Morocco, several measures and laws are implemented to ensure all road users’ safety. Thus, Morocco is experiencing a steady decline in road fatalities yearly. Loss of control, excessive speeding, failing to yield, and driver and pedestrian irresponsibility are the common causes of road accidents.
You’ll often share the roads with motorcycle riders, passenger cars, and cyclists. Most of the vehicles you’ll see are economy cars fit for travel and work purposes. You’ll also find mopeds, vans, and trucks on the road. When driving in Ville Nouvelles in Morocco, you’ll often find branded and luxurious cars since the wealthy Europeans and Moroccans reside in this area. In any type of car, it’s essential to prioritize your safety on the road.
Morocco has extensive toll road systems, which private enterprises usually run. If you are driving in Rabat, Casablanca, and Tangiers, you’ll find toll roads between these major cities. If you are using Morocco’s highways (autoroutes), you can pay the toll per use basis on the toll booths located along the network’s 1,100 miles of road. Tolls are inexpensive compared to Europe and the US. Here are the current toll roads in Morocco:
- A1: Rabat – Tangier
- A2: Rabat – Fes, Fes – Oujda
- A3: Casablanca – Rabat
- A5: Casablanca – El Jadida
- A6: Tétouan – Fnideq
- A7: Casablanca – Marrakech, Marrakech – Agadir
The road condition in Morocco differs on every road in the country. The main highways are well-maintained with speed cameras and traffic lights installed. You’ll also find several traffic signs on the main toll roads, so it’s more manageable to navigate these roads. On the other hand, roads marked as R and P usually have no road lights, making it hazardous for drivers to drive at night.
It’s best to drive safely on these roads since not all R and P roads are sealed and maintained in good condition. You’ll also encounter beaten tracks, called pistes, in Morocco, where you need to exercise caution. These beaten tracks are usually appealing to thrill-seekers, but they can be dangerous during the wet months. Expect potholes and lots of hair-pin bends on some roads in Morocco, so it’s advisable to rent a 4WD drive.
Also, be careful when driving in remote passes of the High Atlas Mountains where Morocco's highest mountain pass is. If it's your first time driving on such roads, it's better to hire a private driver instead. Generally, roads in Morocco's south places and northern cities are in good condition.
Moroccan drivers are relatively safe drivers, although you may encounter a few overspeeding drivers on the road. You don’t have to follow suit as it can get you in trouble. You may also face some aggressive drivers on the road, especially during the ftoor or breaking of the fast at sundown during Ramadan. You may also encounter motorists winding on the lanes, trying to insert themselves in the traffic, so always check your side mirrors to avoid them.
Aggressive drivers are not common in the country, so you don’t need to be scared to drive to your destination. Moroccan drivers are also polite and helpful, flashing their lights to warn you when there are checkpoints and speed cameras or helping you find your destination.
Besides knowing the driving situations and conditions in Morocco, you need to learn the unit of speed used in the country to check if you are driving below the maximum speed. You also need to note if it is safe to drive at night or drive in winter. Read more to learn relevant information.
Are They Using KpH or MpH?
Morocco uses the metric system like most countries, so you’ll find speed limits in kilometers-per-hour units. It’s important to remember this vital information if you don’t want to pay a massive amount of fines. Confusion between the measurement units can sometimes cause drivers to drive over the speed limit, mainly if used to the MpH measurement.
Some speed limit signs may not indicate the measurement unit, so always remember that Morocco uses KpH. Your car speedometer will tell your speed in KpH, so be aware of it when you’re driving. You may confuse a 120 KpH speed limit with a 120 MpH that could get you in trouble with the police.
Is Driving in Morocco Safe at Night?
Driving at night in Morocco is highly discouraged because of inadequate lighting in some areas, particularly on rural roads. You may also encounter cattle and deer in the countryside at night that you won’t notice immediately. If you must drive at night, it’s essential to drive slowly, so you have time to step on the brake of the vehicle if there are obstacles on the road. Remember, it’s legal to drive under 20 KpH without lights in Morocco.
Is Winter Driving in Morocco Hard?
Driving in Morocco in winter is hard, especially on the routes leading to the High Atlas mountains. The routes are usually impassable and closed due to the weather, so it’s best to check the road condition if you’re planning to try out winter sports in skiing regions. You should also exercise extreme caution when driving to desert regions in winter.
Things to Do in Morocco
It’s not surprising to make a significant decision to move to Morocco and start a new life after touring around this fascinating and eccentric country. However, moving to another country is not as easy as it sounds. If you wish to live and drive a car in Morocco, you need to know what requirements and processes you need to undergo before you can permanently reside in Morocco.
Drive as a Tourist
A tourist can drive in Morocco with their local driver’s license and IDP for a year. If you’re planning to stay in Morocco beyond the allowed timeframe, you need to convert your local driving license to a Moroccan driving permit. So, if you’re driving in Morocco with a Canadian license, you need to obtain a Moroccan driving permit if you’re staying in Morocco for more than a year.
If you’re applying for a driving license in Morocco, you must take test and driving lessons in Morocco to ensure you’re competent to drive on Moroccan roads. A Moroccan is also essential if you’re applying for driving jobs in the country. The requirements to obtain a driving license in Morocco are your driving license, passport, or any government-issued identification document, medical certificate, and an accomplished form IIIa.
Work as a Driver
If you want to settle and work in Morocco, you need to get a work visa within your residency’s first three months to operate legally. Getting an employment contract is the main requirement you need to get a work visa in Morocco. So if you want to work as a driver in the country, check out these few basic requirements to obtain any kinds of work visa:
- Application form
- Photocopies of passport
- Passport-size pictures
- Return flight ticket
- Proof of accommodation
- Proof of sufficient funds
- Travel insurance
- Paid visa fee
Work as a Travel Guide
Morocco is a mix of different traditions, cultures, religions, and modern sensibilities. The country is genuinely for tourists all over the world. As a travel guide, you need to have excellent knowledge about the people, places, heritage, history, and culture that will allow a real connection between you and other travelers. If you think you are accustomed to any itinerary and can tell about Moroccan traditions, this job is for you.
There are many travel companies in the country that you can apply to as long as you secure the work visa to work in Morocco legally. You can also look for a part-time or a full-time travel guide to maximizing your potential opportunities and potential in the country. Just know that you should be proficient in Arabic and English to converse with both the locals and the tourists easily.
Apply for Residency
You can apply for residency if you own a Morocco property, are married to a Moroccan, or work in the country. Otherwise, you can only apply for a temporary visa for 90 days. The first application for a residency permit, also called Certificat d’Immatriculation, is good for one year and can be extended yearly or five to ten years. It’s a national ID card for foreigners that grants permission for you to live in Morocco legally.
You must submit a medical certificate to confirm you don’t have any contagious disease and bank statements from your Moroccan bank to check your local checking account balance. Moreover, you need to provide proof that you don’t have any criminal record or convictions in your home country. Once your application is approved, you will receive your provisional residency card, or Récépissé, for temporary use.
Other Things to Do
Morocco is a place full of wonders and opportunities. Many things are waiting for you here if you just take the time to know the country. Aside from working as a travel guide and driver, you can also check out other work opportunities waiting for you here.
Are There Other Work Opportunities in Morocco?
In the country, the economy’s key sectors include tourism, textiles, phosphate rock mining, food processing, construction, and even agriculture. You can also find a job for English speakers. If you think you are fit for these industries, you may check out the job opportunities list. If you are working in Morocco, you can earn around 19,400 MAD per month, including housing, transport, and other benefits. The salaries range from 4,910 MAD to 86,700 MAD.
Can I Drive My Car in Morocco?
You’re allowed to drive your car in Morocco, but you need to comply with specific requirements to drive your vehicle in the country legally. First, you need to obtain a green card as proof of insurance before driving your car in Morocco. You must also display your plate bearing the number and country of registration. Moreover, you must also bring your proof of ownership since the police will need to check your car documents.
Besides car documents, you must also carry a warning triangle in your car as compulsory equipment and a constat amiable form that you can purchase in tabacs. You are also required to present a valid MOT certificate to prove the roadworthiness of your car. The roadworthiness test will determine if your vehicle meets the Moroccan standards. If you’re driving a car in Morocco registered in the UK, you need to present a V5c registration document.
Top Destinations in Morocco
Driving in Morocco guarantees a fulfilling and fun experience, so it’s essential to obtain an IDP to drive freely in the country. Now that you’re ready to drive in the fascinating country of Morocco, it’s time to plan out your road trip itinerary. Here are the top destinations you should definitely not miss during your visit to Morocco.
As Morocco’s capital city, Rabat preserves its cultural heritage, where you’ll find several historical attractions throughout the city. Like most Morocco cities, Rabat’s medina is not something you should not miss on your trip. The medina is less chaotic and more accessible than other medinas in Morocco, making it desirable for tourists. The old medina in Rabat is also one of the best places to get Moroccan souvenirs.
Besides souvenir shopping in the medina, you can also drive around and visit historical attractions in the city. With its rich history, it’s not surprising to see several historical buildings throughout the city. Check out the ruins of Chellah, the majestic Hassan Tower and Tomb, Kasbah of the Udayahs, and the Andalusian Gardens. You can visit Rabat all year-round, but August is the best time to visit the city if you want to avoid crowds.
- From Casablanca, Get on A3 from Route des Oulad Ziane.
- Follow A3 and A501 to Avenue Shaheed Deya Errahman in Rabat.
- Continue on Avenue Shaheed Deya Errahman. Take Avenue Shaheed Diya Errahman and Avenue Mehdi Ben Barka/P4017 to Avenue A.
Things to Do:
Morocco is an exotic country that offers a variety of activities in every region. Make Rabat, the capital city, your first stop to witness the wonders of the country. Read more to discover different activities you can do in this city.
1. Visit the glittering Mausoleum of King Mohammed V.
King Mohammed’s tomb chamber has a zellige tile work around the grand marble tombs. This kind of architecture and style is genuinely a Moroccan design. If you want to enter the mosque, you need to follow the rules and protocols before entering and when you are already inside. You need to dress with shoulders and knees covered, and you need to respect Muslim customs and traditions.
2. Check out the remnants of the 14th-century town of Chellah.
Chellah is a medieval fortified city in the heart of Rabat. It stands as a pre-Islamic city that people abandoned in 1154, but then Merenid Sultan rebuilt it. You can see the ruins of mosques and mausoleums, abandoned buildings, bathing pools to a madrasa, and overgrown plants in the public pathways. The atmospheric place is full of history and charm.
3. Try to ride in the fishing boats in Merja Zerga National Park.
The Merja Zerga National Park in Moulay Bousselham is known for its bird-spotting activities, beaches, and bobbing fishing boats in the port. If you are ready for these kinds of adventures, you can visit the place for a day and go into the national park’s lagoon to see different bird species. After that, you can relax and swim on beaches or go on a boat trip.
4. Go to the Hassan Tower.
They never completed the tower, so it may appear that the building split in half when it’s not. The locals built the Hassan Tower for the ruler, Yacoub al-Mansour, which intended to be a majestic mosque. The intricate designs and the Moroccan architecture are a must-see.
5. Check out Kasbah des Oudaias and Andalusian Gardens.
Kasbah des Oudaisas occupies the oldest part of the capital city, predominantly a residential area now. Just wander around the place and the white-washed streets, and don’t forget to check out the ocean views and stunning rivers. Meanwhile, the Andalusian Gardens is the home to the Palace Museums, which exhibits different Moroccan art and culture. It is a refreshing retreat away from the crowds.
Casablanca is the perfect destination to get lost as you mindlessly wander in narrow alleys and get a glimpse of the Moroccans’ daily lives. Instead of colorful and vibrant souks, Casablanca’s medinas are full of regular businesses. You can visit the central marketplace to check out local products sold and eat fresh grilled seafood, or head to Rick's Cafe, the famous restaurant in the movie Casablanca, to enjoy great food or a cup of coffee.
- From Rabat, Take Avenue Oulad Said to Rocade S/A501.
- Follow A501 and A3 to Route des Oulad Ziane in Casablanca. Exit from A3.
- Continue on Route des Oulad Ziane. Take Boulevard de la Croix to Via Pian Della Genna. The trip will take approximately an hour from Rabat.
Things To Do
Casablanca is often the overlooked city in Morocco since most tourists quickly go on with Fes and Marrakech. Instead of immediately going to towns and other areas in the country, it’s worth spending at least a day or two visiting Casablanca, which is Morocco’s biggest city. Here are some activities you can try.
1. Check out the city’s essential buildings in Place Mohammed V.
The central plaza in Casablanca is the Place Mohammed V, where you can see official buildings such as the Central Bank of Morocco, Prefecture, Palace of Justice, French consulate, and post office. A visit to the administrative hub of Casablanca is your chance to experience architect Henri Prost’s work. The buildings’ facade has neo-Moorish style with a central fountain dating back to 1976.
2. Look for the gorgeous Cathédrale du Sacré Coeur.
The blend of Moroccan and European style makes the Cathédrale du Sacré Coeur. The government is restoring the cathedral built in the 1930s due to its dilapidated state. If you are lucky, the guard will allow you inside and check out its past glory and intricate designs. If not, you can just look at it from the outside and even go to the nearby church list by a stained-glass window called Notre Dame de Lourdes church.
3. Visit the Hassan II Mosque.
Beyond the northern tip of Casablanca’s medina, you’ll see the iconic Hassan II Mosque, the second-largest mosque in the world. It has the world’s tallest minaret, which reaches over 200 meters high, and it has a total land area of two hectares. Non-Muslims can go inside the mosque as long they are on guided tours. Make sure you respect the rules before going inside and when already inside. The prayer hall can accommodate 25,00 worshippers every day.
4. Try our different local cuisine in restaurants in La Corniche.
In the Ain Diab suburb, you’ll see Casablanca’s Corniche, which is the beachfront district. The shoreline is a home to different restaurants and luxury hotels that offer vast dining experiences and beach access. It’s best to go here on a sunny weekend since many people head to the sand for promenading, picnicking, or just walking near the shoreline.
5. See different artworks in Villa des Arts.
Villa des Arts are part of Morocco’s primary cultural foundations, and it is one of the largest museums in Casablanca. It features around 800 artworks permanently and other temporary exhibitions of both international and local contemporary artists. The building itself boasts an Art Deco architecture that dates back to 1934. Go to this museum to have a fresh perspective of Moroccan culture and tradition.
Founded in the 19th century, Fez is the home of the University of Al-Qarawiyyin, the oldest university globally, and several historical monuments. The Medina in Fez is a feast for the eyes where you’ll find colorful souks lining up the narrow alleys and winding streets. Besides the Medina of Fez, It’s also highly recommended to visit the historical sights, such as the Jewish Quarter, Batha Museum, Jnane Sybil gardens, and the religious schools called me. The region is a great road trip destination.
Like most Morocco cities, Meknes has medina and Villee nouvelle, where old and new meets halfway. Wander in the Medina and enjoy a cup of tea in the teahouses in secret courtyards to add a romantic flair to your wandering. You can also visit the historical sights to add a little spice to your Meknes trip. Lastly, your Meknes trip won’t be complete without visiting the Roman ruins of Volubilis, just 40 minutes away from Meknes.
- From Rabat, take Avenue Mehdi Ben Barka/P4017 and Avenue Shaheed Deya Errahman to Rocade S/A501.
- Continue on Rocade S/A501 to N6. Exit from A501 and continue to A2.
- Follow A2 to the entrance of the city of Meknes in Fès-Meknès. Exit from A2.
- Take entrance and exit of Western Highway, P1/N6, Ave Zitoune, and Olive street to your destination in Meknes.
Things To Do:
The Fes-Meknes region features the locals’ vibrant culture and daily activities. Visiting this region is highly recommended if you want to learn more about the Moroccan culture. Here is a list of activities you can do in the region.
1. Visit the world’s oldest tannery, Chouara Tannery.
Chouara tannery is the oldest tannery in the world and the most iconic place in Fez. The locals make leather in a massive tannery surrounded by shops and houses. Discover hundreds of earthen pits full of various colored dyes. Bring a handkerchief to cover your nose since the dyeing process has an intense and robust smell. The locals will also give you a mint to rub under your nose.
2. Hike in Mount Zalagh.
Just north of Fes el-Bali, you can see Mount Zalagh. Take the time to hike to see the fantastic views and picturesque landscapes full of soaring birds and olive groves. At the top, you’ll see the entire old medina and its surrounding area. Take the time to refresh your mind and soul, and you feel closer to nature.
3. Go to The Magical Bou Inania Madrasa.
You’ll find the iconic religious building in the center of the medina, the Bou Inania Madrasa, constructed in the 14th century. Have a look at the intricate wood carvings, mosaic tile work, marble courtyard, and the mosque’s beauty. There’s no doubt that this madrasa in Fes is the grandest in the city, so don’t miss it out on your trip.
4. Take a look at Morocco's most famous Roman remnant.
The main tourist attraction in Meknes is the ancient Roman ruins of Volubilis sitting atop a hill. You can see the temple fragments and the surviving columns of Volubilis. Many distinct floor mosaics give you a glimpse of the grandeur of wealthy Roman life.
5. Drive to the Imperial City.
There are many breath-taking old ruins to explore in Imperial City, starting with the Koubat Al Khayarin and the nearby Moulay Ismail Mausoleum. The Mausoleum is the 17th-century palace of Moulay Ismail known as Dar el-Kebir.
If you’re into shopping and handcrafts, Marrakech is the perfect place to go with lots of Souks in the city. If you crave heart-thumping adventures, the Sahara Desert region offers fun desert camping activities, while the mountainous areas offer hiking and snow-skiing activities. If you want an endless driving journey through Morocco, securing yourself with an International Driver’s Permit would be necessary. That’s why before your travel date comes, remember always to get one from the International Driver’s Association.
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