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Getting around Morocco
Increasingly, visitors are self-driving rental vehicles to travel around Morocco. We offer guidance on self-driving in Morocco on our post here. A 4×4 is not necessary for normal road driving in Morocco. However, please see below for travel to Erg Chigaga dunes in the Sahara desert.
Renting a 4×4 vehicle to self-drive will be more expensive than taking a vehicle with a driver. We include fuel costs and driver incidentals in our daily rate for the 4×4. Please enquire with us for pricing of self-drive tours to travel around Morocco including vehicle rental, accommodations with meals, and desert camping.
When renting, be prepared to leave a large ‘caution’, or deposit guarantee, up to 10% of the value of the vehicle.
Most of the international agents have branches in Morocco. However, if you book to collect a car at Ouarzazate airport or Zagora airport, chances are there will be a fee for the car to be driven down to you from Marrakech. Likewise for a drop-off at these airports.
If you plan to self-drive, don’t underestimate distances and travel times. Although Morocco is smaller than Spain, travelling in the South, where there are no highways, can lead to long driving hours due to the nature of the terrain/speed limits. Be prepared to travel on average 5 to 6 hours per day between destinations.
If you aim to self-drive to the Erg Chigaga dunes, we provide a local guide to join you in your vehicle at the end of the tar road (he will navigate you from Mhamid, and back, or on to Foum Zguid; prices will vary depending on whether you drive back to Mhamid, or leave the desert via Foum Zguid). You will need to rent a reliable 4×4 vehicle as there are approx. 5 hours (150km) of off-road driving between Mhamid and Foum Zguid. The models we advise you rent are Toyota Prado, Mitsubishi Pajero, or Jeep Wrangler. Anything smaller is not robust nor has the correct height clearance for the desert.
Always check the condition of the tyres before taking a car, including the spare. Invariably, you will receive the car with a near-empty fuel tank, and return it empty.
We recommend that you don’t drive at night. Rural roads are poorly lit. Pedestrians/vehicles without lights/animals may suddenly appear in your path without regard for passing traffic.
During the day, take care to follow the speed limit in built up areas and especially near schools. Children may walk in the road, and tend to cycle two to four abreast.
Flights to the desert frontier are possible from Marrakech and Casablanca. If you are travelling down from Fes, you will need to route through Casablanca.
Flight timetables may be subject to seasonal/short-notice changes.
Royal Air Maroc operates an internal direct flight from Casablanca to Zagora. Royal Air Maroc flights depart 3 times per week.
Zagora airport to Mhamid is approx. 1 hour 20 minutes by taxi.
Royal Air Maroc operates internal flights to Ouarzazate, from both Casablanca and Marrakech.
Ouarzazate airport to Mhamid is approx. 4.5 hours by taxi.
The bus network is extensive for travel around Morocco and is served by two national operators, CTM and Supratours. Supratours is affiliated to the national train operator ONCF.
The rail network operates in the North of Morocco, Marrakech is the furthest southern point. Morocco has recently opened a ‘TGV’ line (Al Boraq) between Tangier and Casablanca cutting journey times to around 2 hours direct.
There are plans to expand the high speed rail network further South, linking to Marrakech and eventually to Agadir.
Al Boraq www.oncf.ma/en/Al-boraq and www.seat61.com/train-travel-in-morocco.htm#high-speed_trains
The cheapest way to travel to the Sahara desert is by public bus. This is a 10 hours direct journey from Marrakech, although you can join the same bus earlier at Casablanca, or further on at Ouarzazate. The bus operator that travels directly to Mhamid, for the Sahara desert, is CTM with one daily departure. The online destination is ‘Lamhamid Ghozlane’. CTM and Supratours offer a schedule to Zagora if the CTM Mhamid timetable isn’t suitable. Travel time from Zagora to Mhamid is approx. 1 hour 20 minutes by local taxi.
We recommend you purchase bus tickets online in advance, especially for services which only run once per day.
Train tickets may be purchased in advance (NB: sleeper train tickets which are limited in number) or once you are in Morocco if your itinerary is flexible.
Why come to Morocco?
Unforgettable exotic experience
Morocco is a colourful mix of golden Saharan sand dunes, turquoise Atlantic water, rugged snow-clad peaks of Atlas Mountains and welcoming Berber people. The place where ancient history hides just around the corner. This is where the adventure begins.
Flights to the Sahara
Fly to Zagora (or Ouarzazate) from Casablanca.
Flights are operated by Royal Air Maroc.
Driving route highlights
Tizi n Tichka Pass and High Atlas
Telouet Kasbah and Ounila Valley
Ait Ben Haddou
Draa Valley and palm oases
Anti-Atlas and geology
Iriqui National Park
Tizi n Test Pass
Dades Gorge and Valley
By exchanges of email and phone calls, Wild Morocco arranged an itinerary and places to stay tailored to our preferences. Yahya is an excellent guide and expert driver. He delivered us into the hands of wonderful local Riad staff at each stopover. We thoroughly enjoyed both the desert wild camping and then a night in a luxury camp on my wife’s 70th birthday. Yahya even managed to arrange and deliver a chilled cake and champagne to that remote site! Following the heavy rains (floods) of winter 2014 the desert and valleys were in bloom, adding to the glorious variety of landscapes that we were travelling through. We were finally dropped off at a Riad in the High Atlas mountains for a few days walking before returning to Marrakech. Yahya’s calm, courteous manner, and his caring knowledge of the society, culture and environment, added enormously to our enjoyment of this naturally beautiful country. It was a magical tour. We thoroughly recommend Wild Morocco to discerning travellers, and wish Yahya and Emily every success with the business.Peter & Angela / 4×4 Tour & Trek 7 Days via Erg Chigaga Great Dunes
We are now in Marrakech and hope we'll get the chance to do more tours with Wild Morocco. It was an unforgettable experience. Thank you millions.Mariana & Stu / 4x4 Marrakech to Fes 5 Days via Merzouga
We've been meaning to get in touch to say thanks so much for the most amazing experience! Yahya was fantastic – he really looked after us but was also extremely relaxed, which made for the perfect holiday. He was also a really safe and smooth driver, which made us feel really at ease. We had a blast and will be highly recommending you!Jess & Henry / 4x4 Tour Coast to Desert 5 Days with 2 nights Deluxe Desert Camp Erg Chigaga
We loved our tour and will highly recommend you to our friends and to tripadvisor.Dorothy (group 7 pax) / 4x4 Marrakech to Fes 4 Days with Deluxe Desert Camp Erg Chebbi
Mohammed and Abdul were wonderful and our accommodation and guiding was top rate. We hope to deal with you in the future. Thank you for a great trip and itinerary.
Thank you to you for all of your help in making Benjamin and J.T.'s trip an unforgettable, outstanding experience! They had a fabulous time!! They said that sleeping in the desert was awesome!! The whole desert trek was their favorite part of the trip! Every person they met was so nice and friendly, particularly you, Yahya, and also the driver that they had! They said that you were both such nice guys!!! They also said that the food was delicious, and the accommodations were great. They also loved the hotel in Marrakesh, so thank you for reassuring me that that was the right choice! Thank you for working so closely with me, as I was very unsure as I began this process. The kindness and consideration of your correspondence really put my mind at ease! Your guidance was so valuable to me every step of the way! You can be certain that I will work with you again and again in the future, and recommend you VERY highly!!! I can't say enough good things!!!M Koubek / 4x4 Tour 3 Days with Berber Desert Camp