Driving in Morocco


Jun 15th, 2003, 12:25 PM
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Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 14
Driving in Morocco

Just a quick question regarding driving, and more importantly parking, in Morocco. We will be in Tangier, Marrakech, and Fez, and are strongly considering renting a car. What about the roadsigns? Are they in English/Spanish, or only Arabic/French? Also, any suggestions on what to do with parking once inside the medina would be greatly appreciated. Thanks you.

shulse is offline  
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Jun 16th, 2003, 12:43 PM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 162
Roadsigns are in Arabic/French, but with just a basic knowledge in French and a basic idea of where you are going, you will have no problems.

As for parking, best of luck. Technically, you will be unable to park inside any of the medinas in the cities that you mentioned, however, you will be able to park close by and either walk or take a petite taxi.

It sounds like the three cities you mentioned are going to be end destinations, meaning you probably will have/are planning to have hotel accomodations lined up. In this case, I would recommend parking at your hotel and exploring the cities by foot.

Just one word of advice. Driving in Moroccan cities is unbelievably confusing and just about as close to a near death experience as you are going to get (this coming from a New Yorker), however the open roads are much better (so long as you don't mind buses passing you at breakneack speed around hairpin curves high in the mountains). When in the cities, get your hotel to give you the best way out of the city to avoid getting lost (don't worry you still will). However, learn a little French and a broad smile and you'll be fine.
travelbear is offline  
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Jun 18th, 2003, 06:10 AM
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I posted a question about parking in the medinas a few months ago. I'll top it for you.
In some medinas we could drive a bit and park (Tangier: not easy; Marrakech: easy; Meknes: partially), and in some we could not (Fez). In Fez we had were in Pension Batha, near Hotel Batha, which has parking and is just a short walk from the medina. It's a good idea to reserve hotels in advance and ask them specifically about parking. I was very worried and we never had any problems, except for three or four boys or young men wanting 5 to 15 dirhams for 'guarding' the car. Make sure you know who really has done it - sometimes one will actually sleep next to your car; he has earned your tip!
Driving was MUCH less frustrating and difficult that I had been led to believe. The very worst part was the uphill drive into the medina of Tangier to the Hotel Continental. The street was just too narrow and steep...then again, we made it.
Road signs are in Arabic & French, but most of them just say the names of towns anyway so even if you don't speak French it shouldn't be a problem.
When you come into some big cities, there are 'guides' on motorcycles or even bicycles (Marrakech) who will take you to their uncle's hotel if you don't have one yet, or lead you to your hotel or destination for a small fee. We found these guys to be extremely helpful. Some of them are pesky and stick to you like glue, but they are never nasty and they always give up eventually.
Do be careful driving in the countryside, especially in the mountains, as there are lots of men, women & children on the side of the road trying to sell you something (mushrooms, geodes, roses, strawberries, flower chains, fossils, whatever), and as you approach they start to yell, jump around, and even run alongside the car. It's very entertaining but don't drive too fast. I also closed my windows to keep kids from grabbing ahold of the car through the open window - not that I was afraid of theft or attack, but I hated the idea of someone holding on to the car while it was moving!
All in all, it was great to have a car.
jenviolin is offline  
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