Some countries like Morocco, Jordan, and Senegal are ranking more and more highly on the list of places to visit. And, if you are wondering where to travel in 2021 I confirm that you should definitely consider these countries.
And road trips are the most beautiful way to discover any country in the world since besides being fun and adventurous, they also allow you to plan your holiday in complete freedom. Moreover, to be truthful, it is the only way to discover the real world.
The first ever road trip I took abroad was in Morocco.
Now the question is, road trips possible in Morocco? Oh sure, driving in Morocco is simply fantastic as soon as the initial shock wears off.
Before I hop into our lovely Morocco road trip from Fes to Marrakech, let me give you some background on the rental procedures we had to face. Read it all before you decide to rent a car in Morocco.
How to rent a car in Morocco. Must Read!
This was definitely one of the riskiest things my friend Katrina and I (two girls) could ever do in Morocco. Excited for stepping out of our comfort zone for once, we booked a car online through EconominyBookings.com for our 4 day Morocco road trip itinerary.
We paid a deposit of € 56.38 online and the rest of € 107.38 was to be paid locally to the car rental company in Fes upon delivery of the car. Everything seemed to be done perfectly, but what happened was particularly curious.
There was no Economy Bookings office at the airport. While we were wandering around, a Moroccan man came up to us asking if we had rented a vehicle with Economy Bookings.
The greatest memories are made of unplanned adventures! LOL
We walked together with him across the large parking lot in front of the airport and reached another where our alleged car was parked. We three settled in the car to finish the rental procedures. The vehicle was bigger than the one we had rented.
Here came the fun!!! He asked us for € 900.00 as a deposit, by cash or by credit card transaction. As I wrote before, while booking online we had given them the debit card details which were written on the papers he was holding in his hands, but it was not enough. We certainly did not expect this request because it was not written anywhere. At that point, we had to change all our plans because we didn’t have all that money with us. Neither of us had a credit card and we especially didn’t understand the reason why we had to pay such a big amount of money if it wasn’t indicated on the rental papers.
Since it was the first time for us to rent a car were we just ignorant of the rules already known all over the world? I don’t know! All that we could do was ask the man to drop us in the City Centre, close to the Medina. He agreed to do this favour.
Our first day in Morocco in a taxi. Terrible experience!
Fully trusting him, we left the airport in Fez. Suddenly he stopped the car somewhere off the road, in the middle of nowhere, where there was a hut full of men. He said he wanted to watch the football match along with the others because his favorite team, Barcelona, was playing right at that moment.
He left us there saying that he would take us to the Medina in Fez if Barcelona won. (What??? What would happen if Barcelona lost?)
To be honest, I started to be slightly nervous. I didn’t like that place at all. The hut where they were watching the match was full of men. Only men, not a single woman, and there were no other buildings around. My friend tried to calm me down saying that nothing bad would happen but believe me, it was not that easy to believe her, especially because he clearly did not care about us at all. I was going terribly mad. In trying to convince him, we begged him to at least call a taxi which would have taken us to our hotel in Fez, but he wouldn’t listen to us. Eventually, thank God, another man was about to leave and he took us to Medina in Fez.
Finally, when we reached the walls of Medina, we were really happy. We lost the deposit of € 56.38 which we paid previously online to rent the car but at least we were safe.
Our self-driving experience in Morocco didn’t start yet.
Upon arrival at our riad in Fez (Lalla Fatima Ouedghiri), the manager helped us to find another solution. The next day he took us to a friend who owned a local car renting company in Fez. We finally got our car rented for a cheap price. They didn’t even ask for a credit or debit card.
After all that had happened the day before, I still don’t know how I was able to trust again, but we had to try because our road trip itinerary in Morocco was previously planned and all our hotels were already booked.
The vehicle they gave us had very little gas, so we immediately had to go around and around to find a gas station. Once we did this, we were finally ready to start our Morocco road trip.
Morocco road trip.
Our Morocco road trip route included the following cities: Fez, Rabat (via Meknes), Casablanca, Marrakesh, and Fez again from where we had the flight back home.
We realized immediately that driving in Morocco does not require an experienced driver except in the areas close to the cities where there is a lot of traffic. Here you have to honk nonstop to make yourself understood even when following the rules properly. We also learned that there are very few gas stations in the country. Following the golden rule of never having less than half a tank at any point on the road trip was useful. Once these two aspects were well understood we felt pretty confident.
How to drive along the Moroccan highways.
Contrary to what one might think about the Moroccan highways they were designed to make the traffic super-efficient. Moreover, there were only a few cars on the road so we could drive smoothly. We were tempted to drive fast, but many people in Italy who had already driven themselves in Morocco recommended that we would have faced fines for sure for going over the speed limit. So we always kept our speed under control during our Morocco road trip itinerary.
Their method to catch speeders was cruel indeed, and we didn’t want to risk it. The Moroccan police were very fond of speed traps; plenty of them stay hidden behind the trees along the highways dressed often in camouflage with cameras. When they detect a vehicle exceeding the limit, they inform the policeman at the next exit who stopped the driver. Yes, we saw a policeman standing in the middle of the highway waiting for the vehicle to stop.
During our Morocco road trip, we saw this so many times. We didn’t want to waste our time and money by speeding so we maintained the limit as requested, which if I’m not mistaken was 120 km/h for highways and 60 km/h in urban areas.
One more thing we needed to be aware of on the highway was people who walked across in the rural areas. It happened frequently.
And, in case you want to try a walk along the highways in Morocco as locals do, know that all bridges have a hole in between the lanes of the opposing direction; they are not connected with each other. So pay attention when wanting to cross the highway.
Furthermore, know that there are no food options along the highway in Morocco; you need to exit and look around.
Parking in Morocco.
Parking in the Moroccan cities is almost like a game. Most people, I’m talking about the locals, parked wherever they liked, but parking attendants patrolled many streets in the big cities looking for cars that they can ticket. People in the cities seemed not to follow the traffic rules while driving or walking and so we found it hard to manage, especially in the crowded areas. I strongly advise that you check the road signs before deciding where to leave your car.
In my experience, I found it convenient to leave our car close to the highway and get into the city by taxi, which was not only cheap but also the easiest way to manage both the parking and the crowd.
Does Google maps work in Morocco?
Morocco is Google maps friendly. It helped us a lot. Upon arrival to the country, we bought a Moroccan sim card in order to use internet services fully without spending too much. This way we could use Google maps to guide us. It worked perfectly, except once when it took us wrongly right inside the walls of Medina of Marrakech. Heavy motors were not allowed inside the Medinas, only carts, mopeds, and scooters were allowed there, so imagine what happened when they saw the two girls self-driving in Morocco.
Know however that while on your road trip in Morocco what seems to be a 15 km distance can sometimes take up to an hour due to the bad road conditions in some areas.
Returning the rental car in Fez.
Finally, when we finished our road trip and drove back to Fez from Marrakesh, I don’t hide the fact that we finally felt relaxed. Both of us knew very well that something could have gone wrong and if it had, we wouldn’t have known what to do. By the way, our car probably had a small problem; it was a bit noisy when using the brake. It seemed like the tire could become detached at any time. But neither of us ventured to say this simply because we didn’t want to scare each other.
Thankfully, everything went better than we thought. Our road trip in Morocco which started with a bit of panic turned into an amazing trip. If I were to give you advice, I’d say to rent a car and self-drive in Morocco, but of course it depends on what kind of traveler you are and what you are aiming to take back home.
In my case, journey matters a lot, so let me say that driving in Morocco was the best decision I could ever make.
Self-driving in Morocco is the only way to see some of the best parts of the country. If I ever return, I will for sure rent a car again!!! There is nothing compared to what we saw along the way: wonderful nature, lovely rural villages, cute little children, donkeys at work, and on and on! I can now honestly say that it was definitely a unique experience that we will never forget.