Thinking about self-drive in Morocco?
If you have a particular desire to deal with the car hire company only speaking French, sign the 17 copies of legal contract papers and head fearlessly into the mayhem and madness that is Marrakech on a quiet day – good luck to you, you’re going to have such an adventure.
Remember to brush up on your Arabic in order to read the road signs and understand that daredevil scooters, 1950’s cars and stubborn donkeys have no mirrors and wouldn’t use them even if they did. If you make it out of the city, ensure you carry your papers with you at all times in order to get through the constant police speed traps and road-blocks and pray that you were allocated a roadworthy car as there are no emergency breakdown services in Morocco, evident by the large numbers of buses crammed with red-faced tourists seen on the side of the roads in the heat of the summer.
Now you’ve left Marrakech you can enjoy the scenery as you head up into the High Atlas Mountains via the infamous Tizi n Tichka Pass, North Africa’s highest mountain pass. You’ll require a steady hand and even steadier nerves as you swing your way around the tight mountain turns and the kids will have great fun looking out for the trucks barrelling towards you, sticking it out to see who will flinch and give way first.
There is an excellent road network in Morocco of mostly paved roads with familiar lines painted down the middle. Do not pay attention to them as they do not exist to actually indicate when you ought to pass or stay in your own lane. This is because “staying in your own lane” is a concept not remotely entertained in Morocco.
Approaching rural villages is a cultural treat as the road doubles as a souk, football pitch and grandma’s gossip corner. You can learn all about the nomadic way of life as you find your car sealed in by livestock and if you’ve ever wanted to buy a camel, I can’t recommend a better way to enter negotiations.
Finally arriving at the dune line, I hope you’ve remembered to let the air out of your tyres and rent a large engine to move your luggage laden car through the power sapping sands or perhaps you were thinking that completing the last leg of your journey in the dark of night would be a fantastic opportunity to teach the kids to navigate by stars alone.
Wishing all you fearless warriors of the road – happy holidays.
Alternatively – So Morocco will provide you with a solution made up of professional driver, luxury air-conditioned 4×4 and a family who are still speaking to you on arrival at your destination.