Dades Gorges
Africa,  Destinations,  Morocco

8 Useful Things to Know About Driving in Morocco

Last Updated on December 9, 2020 by Lina

Driving in Morocco. Is that really a good idea?

If someone asked me about the best way to travel around Morocco I would definitely say by renting a car. I mean how else could you get the real and authentic experience if not by discovering the untouched places that lay far away from the tourist routes?

Even though our road trip was the best idea we ever had, driving in Morocco was completely nerve-racking at the same time. So before you book that rental car, there are a few helpful and important things to know about Morocco and its traffic.

(This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a certain percentage of a sale if you purchase after clicking.)

1. You Need to be a VERY Good Driver

… or have a person with you who’s a skilled driver. Luckily, my friend had way more experience in driving than me so I was solely passenger.

Seriously, most of the streets in Morocco were no joke. Either it was the super bumpy and mostly unpaved road of the Tizi n’Tichka mountain pass or the windy and narrow streets in Chefchoauen.

All of them cost us a lot of nerves and I really wonder why our car didn’t get any damage.

GOOD TO KNOW: Driving in Morocco is only allowed if you have an international driving permit.

TIP: If you still need a car you should check out rentalcars.com. We booked ours on that website and it was super fast and easy!


2. Have Your Eyes on The Street … All The Time!

The road itself wasn’t the only challenge tho. We had to be really careful to not bump into something.

Whether it was a horde of sheep appearing out of nowhere, a donkey mama with her kid or simply some crazy people who were tired of life.

You can find almost anything on the streets while driving in Morocco.

Camels on a road trip in Morocco
Camels are lovely to see – as long as they’re not blocking the road

Moreover, you should be very careful about potholes. Especially on countryside roads, there are countless of them and it’s better to avoid them.

Otherwise, it increases the chance of a tire blowout and that’s definitely not what you want on your road trip in Morocco.


3. People Drive as They Want

At least most of them act as there were no traffic rules at all. However, as a tourist, you need to be very careful because otherwise you’ll get fined by the police – even though it wasn’t your fault.

But that’s another story I’ll tell you a bit later! 😀

The fact that people use their turn signal just as they want makes driving not really enjoyable. It almost seemed that the majority simply didn’t know the real purpose of indicators.

I mean why else would someone switch on their turn signals without ever changing the traffic lane?

… and leave it on for like 15 minutes.

Road Trip in Morocco

Of course, it was the other way round too. Some cars went from one lane to another without ever using indicators.

Moreover, you should be very careful when approaching a roundabout. Even though a lot of them – especially in big cities like Casablanca – have traffic lights, people often ignore them.

So keep your eyes open and NEVER rely on traffic lights or signs!

Oh and I almost forgot: Driving in the middle of the road is a very common thing too.


4. Don’t Underestimate Distances on a Road Trip in Morocco

There are two reasons why you should always plan more time than Google Maps says you need from one place to another.

First, Morocco is an incredibly picturesque country with landscape sceneries changing after every 20 kilometers. At least that’s what it felt like. Trust me, you’ll have the urge to stop the car endless times so you can soak in the views offered to you.

Second, 300 kilometers can take you almost 6 hours to drive because of all the construction sites, winding roads, and traffic restrictions.

Winding Road in Dades Gorges
Winding Road in Dades Gorges

If you drive along the coast you can get from one place to another pretty fast thanks to the highway. Whereas if you want to explore the inner part of the country, the same distance can take you almost twice as long to drive.


5. There Are Police Men Around Every Corner

Well, not around every corner but before every town – no matter how small it is. The good thing is that you’ll know exactly when to expect some because there were signs in advance telling you to approach slowly. As long as no police officer waves you on, you’re allowed to pass.

While driving in Morocco, we got stopped four times in total. The first time we had to pay a fine because we drove too fast (and we definitely did). Reluctantly, we paid the fee because we didn’t want to discuss it and it wasn’t that expensive.

However, you need to be very careful because often police officers try to scam people, especially tourists. Thus you should always insist on seeing the data from the speed-gun or at least they should prove what you did wrong in another way.

One time we got stopped because of “traffic violation” which was complete nonsense. The officer wanted us to pay a fine without us doing anything wrong. After discussing for around 10 minutes he finally let us go.

Sometimes it’s also really helpful if you pretend that you don’t have any cash with you.

All in all, most of the police officers were very polite and friendly and let us pass without any problem.

Desert Driving in Morocco

6. Traffic Signs Are Often Confusing

Either they are super confusing or simply missing so you don’t even know the speed limit anymore. Sometimes we drove for a very long time without ever seeing a sign telling us whether our speed was appropriate or not.

However, if you stick to the general speed rules in Morocco, you’ll be definitely on the safe side! You’re allowed to drive 60 km/h within urban areas, 100 km/h outside urban areas and 120 km/h on highways.

Another quite confusing part was traffic signs showing a crosswalk or school kids even though we were in the middle of nowhere. It gave me the feeling that people simply placed signs somewhere without even knowing their purpose! 😀

Tizi n'Tichka mountain pass

7. Driving at Night is no Fun!

By all means, please avoid driving at night. All those things I mentioned above are pretty nerve-wracking during the day. You really don’t want to know how bad it is in total darkness.

Of course, it’s not that bad in a city like Casablanca or Marrakech but driving in the middle of nowhere during the night can be very dangerous.

I’m speaking of experience because we had to drive almost an hour in complete darkness on our way to Chefchaouen. The road was really bad, very curvy with a lot of potholes. Plus on one side there was a slight abyss without any guide rail protecting you from falling down.


8. It’ll be an Adventure of Your Lifetime

Now you probably think our road trip wasn’t enjoyable at all. Trust me, despite all the slight mental breakdowns (haha) we got while driving in Morocco – it was definitely my favorite one so far!

Thus I really recommend you to take that step, rent a car and explore the country on your own. Planning a road trip in Morocco can be exhausting but I can guarantee you, you won’t regret it. 😉

Road Trip in Morocco

Need the perfect route for your road trip? Check out my 9-day itinerary so you don’t miss anything!


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Do you want to travel like me?
Here are some of my favorite travel tips and resources:

Flights: I prefer using CheapOair or Skyscanner to book flights. The destination everywhere feature is perfect for finding some cheap deals!

Accommodation: Booking.com is my favorite site to find some great hotel deals. I do love staying at a local place as well, thus I book an Airbnb every now and then.

Travel Insurance: There are many reasons why travel insurance is important and I never travel without having one. I use the simple and flexible one from World Nomads to be protected against unforeseen events.

Tours: I love taking tours to explore destinations like a local. My favorite website to book them in advance is GetYourGuide.

Camera Gear: I use a Nikon D5300 camera with an 18-105 mm and a 10-20 mm wide-angle lens to take my photos.   

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