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Car rental in Morocco
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Morocco is perhaps the best tourist destination in northern Africa, with adventures ranging from treks across the spectacular High Atlas Mountains, to the beaches of Agadir, the dunes of the Sahara, or the imperial and local history of metropolitan centers like Marrakesh, Fez, and Rabat. The country is bustling with cultural experiences awaiting your discovery, and there is no better way to live like a local and visit the country’s best sights than by hiring a car.
Morocco is an excellent place to visit year round. Desert nights are cold in the winter and the days unbearably hot in the summer, but July and August is still a good time to visit Morocco’s coastline. April and May will offer visitors the most comfortable weather, regardless of the regions you plan to visit.
Road signs are typically in both Arabic and French, though you will come across signs only in Arabic. Vernacular Moroccan Arabic or Darija is quite different to the Modern Standard Arabic of religious and governmental institutions and specific to the region. Morocco’s second official language is Berber. Many Moroccans still speak excellent French, and speaking French is likely your best bet for navigating travel throughout the country, though some people involved in tourism will also speak English.
The currency is the Moroccan dirham. While larger shops and hotels will accept credit cards, any purchasing you do in smaller stores or markets will require cash. Plan ahead if you know you’ll be in need of cash for a longer period of time, as ATMs often run out of currency.
If you’re arriving to Morocco by air, you’re likely to fly into Marrakesh, Casablanca, or Agadir, all of which are cities that require thorough exploration, and are the best locations from which to rent a car. One-way car rental is also possible from many major rental companies! It takes about five hours to travel from Agadir to Casablanca, along the A7 expressway.
Driving in Morocco
While guided trips and busy local buses are available for tourist travel in Morocco, auto hire is your best bet for thorough and inexpensive exploration! Road conditions are good throughout Morocco, though many streets are quite narrow and will be populated by pedestrians, cyclists, and horses in addition to buses and cars. This is particularly true of city streets, so plan some extra time to enter and exit cities.
- Traffic follows the right-hand side of the road and yields to all traffic coming from the right at intersections, unless otherwise marked by traffic lights or signs.
- Be aware that cars in traffic circles yield to the cars entering the roundabouts from the right!
Speed Limits, Congestion, and Speed Traps
- Be sure to stick to the 40km/h or 60km/h speed limit in metropolitan and residential areas! If you are pulled over for speeding, you’ll likely be required to pay a fine immediately.
- The speed limit on motorways is 120 km/h.
- There are numerous police checks throughout the country, where you’ll be required to slow down so policemen can see you. There is also a likelihood of speed traps at the entrances to cities.
- Be sure to carry proof of insurance, in case you are stopped by the police.
- A lot of Moroccans are in a hurry, so you can help people pass you by using your left turn signal to indicate to cars behind you when it is safe to pass.
- Particularly in downtown Marrakesh, streets are very busy. Keep your eyes on your side and rearview mirrors and don’t worry about frequent honking or beeping of car horns.
- Visitors from most countries require no entry visa for visits up to 90 days; make sure you double-check regulations based on your nationality before you arrive.
- The minimum driving age in Morocco is 18, though you’ll typically have to be 25 years old to rent a car. If you are under 25 or have had your driver’s license for less than two years, you can expect to have to pay extra fees.
- There are no clear rules or regulations when it comes to street parking; keep your eye out for signs and try your best to follow them. You can also pay to park in major cities, if you prefer to have an attendant keeping an eye on your vehicle.
- The major cities of Morocco are linked by expressways that require the payment of tolls. If you’re driving from Tanger to Rabat along the A1 expressway, for example, you can expect to pay around 80 dirhams.
Other Tips for Driving and Travelling in Morocco
- Avoid driving at night, as many areas are poorly lit.
- Bargaining is expected when you buy anything in Morocco, but be sure to fix the price for any services or rental before you leave! Fridays are holy days in Morocco, so most shops will be closed.