About Morocco (MA)
The North African nation of Morocco (MA) is a popular destination for tourism, particularly among European visitors. The country is steeped in historical traditions informed by its borders with Algeria, the Strait of Gibraltar, and its Mediterranean coastline. Morocco’s most visited attractions are found in the cities of Tangiers, Casablanca, Fez, Marrakesh, and the capital of Rabat. The country can be divided into four main regions: Mediterranean Morocco, the North Atlantic Coast, the Atlas Mountain region, and Saharan Morocco. Each region offers variations of Arabic and Berber culture found throughout North Africa: laid-back beach resorts, ancient souks (markets), mosques, medieval villages, and of course, the desert.
Public transportation in Morocco is slow, uncomfortable, and inconvenient, and therefore, the majority of visitors will need to rent a car in order to get around. The road network between major cities is in fairly decent condition. Highways are well-maintained and clearly marked, if not fairly narrow, even by European standards. Infrastructure is based on the French model, which should be familiar to many international visitors. However, a basic knowledge of French and/or Arabic will go a long way toward easing the stress of navigation in a place where the majority of local drivers disregard the rules of the road. Road services (fuel, food, rest) are scarce in rural areas, and GPS is an absolute necessity for driving around the country, although in the remote areas connectivity reception is poor to nil, leaving you to use road signs for navigation. Note that major destinations are linked by toll roads with numerous police checkpoints along the route.
Choosing your car
Car rentals in Morocco are furnished by major international brands such as Alamo, Budget, Europecar, Hertz, and Thrifty. Choose your car hire from among the following vehicle types: minicars, compact and economy sedans, estate wagons, standard, premium, and luxury 4-door sedans, SUVs and 7-12 seater minivans.
Tips and advice
Moroccan roads are fair game for anything with wheels or legs. You’ll be sharing the roads with pushbikes, camels, bicycles, donkey carts, and rickety trucks teetering with cargo. The scene in Marrakesh is best described as a free-for-all.
Your car hire agreement most likely won’t be in English, and your vehicle most likely has some existing damage. It’s a good idea to take pictures or video of the car before driving off the lot.
Generally speaking, most car hire vehicles are not allowed on unpaved surfaces. Some companies allow SUVs to go off-road, but they’re the exception, not the rule. Be advised that your Collision Damage Waiver usually doesn’t cover damage sustained from off-road conditions.
Cheap car rentals in Morocco are plentiful during off-season. Be advised that car fleets tend to have a few years and plenty of miles/kilometers on them.
Most high-traffic tourist destinations around the world involve the risk of scams and unscrupulous business practices. However, Morocco has a persistent reputation for taking advantage of unsuspecting visitors. The general rule of thumb in Morocco is: don’t trust anybody you don’t know personally. Anybody offering unsolicited help is most likely angling to rip you off.
It’s recommended to carry small amounts of cash to pay for parking and tolls, since credit cards aren’t widely accepted outside of major destinations.