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.
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