The best way to have absolute freedom in your visit is to rent a car.
It is fairly easy to rent a car in Morocco. We suggest using an internationally known organization to rent the car such as Hertz, Sixt , or Europa Car.
After driving in Morocco for 7 years, from an American perspective, it’s important to be aware of the following:
- Morocco does not require an international drivers permit, just a valid drivers license from the home country.
- Road signs are in Arabic and French.
- Some other car companies (not European or American) will require a 10000 MAD ($1100) deposit to rent a compact car they charge $25 a day for.
- Make sure to rent from a location at an Airport as it’s more convenient and usually never done through a 3rd party.
- ALWAYS GET FULL COVERAGE INSURANCE
- Unlike the United States pick up and drop off at separate locations doesn’t usually double the rate.
- Unlike the United States a lot of rental agencies will rent you the car with an empty tank, so make sure to have your cash in hand so one can fill up at the next available fuel/petrol station.
- Most credit cards have issues at petrol stations. A lot of cards will not swipe either requiring the attendant to key in the number. Paying in cash is suggested.
- Every petrol station has an attendant that serves you. You cannot pump your own gas. Make sure to tip the attendant as they also usually clean your windows. 20 MAD is fair tip.
- The car can not be brought into Spain via Ferry or a rental car from Spain to Morocco.
- Rental Cars are available at the Port of Algeciras through Europa Car. Also note Spain does require an international drivers permit. In the United States these can be obtained from one’s local AAA auto club branch. One can be fined up to 400 euros for not having one present.
- Follow the flow of traffic.
- Do not expect Moroccan drivers to follow the rules. (See example below)
- Follow the rules yourself.
- Be aware everyone uses the road including donkey carts or anything that can be used to transport items.
- Do not drive outside the city limits into the country at night unless it’s on one of the large toll roads that are well maintained. (Example: the toll way that goes from Tangier to Rabat)
- Some Moroccans drink and drive just like Europeans
- Police stand on the side of the road to take pictures of speeders, so follow the speed limit.
- Be aware of the road at all times as the road conditions constantly change and sometimes are unmarked.
- Be aware some roads at night can have bandits, it’s best not to travel at night outside the city unless you are with a local. (I can’t stress this enough)
- Try not to drive in bad weather conditions outside the city as road visibility is a must.
- A lot of the roads in the Medinas are designed before cars came about. It is suggested to avoid taking a car into a Medina area.
- Rent a smaller car, if you aren’t an excellent parallel parker.
- The upside is if one has a larger car people will move out of the way, and treat you better on the road.
- Be prepared to squeeze into some tight spaces. (watchmen can help direct you)
- If one is lost, you can always pay a taxi to guide you to your destination and clear the way.
- When you park in the city, always make sure to pay the watchman. A few small dirhams will due. They will also help direct you into the available parking. Paying the watchman is part of the culture and is normal, unlike Spain where it’s illegal.
- Learn how to use roundabouts. (The driver on the inside of the circle has the right of way)
- No right hand turns on red
- Keep a bit to the left to leave space for non automobile traffic.
- A blinking green light means yield.
- When a policeman is directing traffic follow the directions of the policeman.
- If you get pulled over play the clueless foreigner act. Some police will have sympathy.
- Traffic tickets will not apply to your record back home.
- A speeding ticket is usually about 300 mad. ($30-35)
Morocco has a bad reputation as one of the highest fatality to driver ratio in the world. You will see this in travel warnings. Personally I feel this is truly dependent on the city and area. I haven’t witnessed an accident in Tangier in the 8 years I have been traveling there, but I have seen many in other parts of the country.
Tangier itself isn’t too dangerous to drive in the city and around to Hercules cave ,as long as one takes certain precautions and uses common sense.
Some choose not to go around…