Self-Drive Holiday in the South of Morocco

There are many benefits to hiring a car when on holiday. It gives you the ability to set your own schedule and explore areas that are not serviced by public transport. Morocco is certainly a destination that benefits from taking your time. There can sometimes be so much to do that taking a step back and enjoying a glass of mint tea whilst people watching can be a captivating experience.

Morocco is perfectly geared up for self-drive holidays as road surfaces are mostly smooth and only in the most rural areas can it become slightly challenging. Additionally the main highways have regular rest stops available where you can buy refreshments.

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What do you need?

One of the many benefits of driving in Morocco is that there is very little fuss when hiring a car. You’re not required to carry any special items apart from your rental documentation and driving license. There are numerous suppliers that work in the country and depending on your starting location, there is lots of choice.

There can be long stretches of driving between the major cities, so an additional driver may be useful to share the burden. Additionally, the traffic in cities can be particularly congested with very little space between cars. Make sure you take your time in these areas and cover yourself with adequate insurance. Economy Car Hire is a leading online car hire broker that offers a free additional driver and built-in excess protection in all of its prices. It also works with only the best suppliers so you are guaranteed a good quality vehicle.

Where to start?

Depending on your desired itinerary there are multiple options for starting your adventure in Morocco. The most popular starting points are Marrakech and Agadir due to their large international airports and are perfect for those wishing to explore the natural beauty of southern Morocco.

Marrakech

Southern Morocco offers a completely different experience to the north and given the chance, a visit to both areas would be perfect. However, most people don’t have an unlimited amount of time and there is more than enough diversity to keep you occupied in the southern areas of Morocco. There is a slightly more relaxed atmosphere in the towns and cities of the south, which is dominated by Marrakech.

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It is likely you will visit Marrakech at some time during your time in Morocco and the Jamaa el Fna square in the medina comes alive at night and is the highlight of the city. There is everything you could possibly imagine here, from snake charmers and story tellers to musicians, food stalls and dentists displaying teeth they have pulled like trophies. Also, make sure you take some time to stroll round the souks and haggle with the vendors in order to get a bargain and visit the numerous palaces and mosques in the city.

The High Atlas Mountains

A visit to the High Atlas Mountains is particularly easy from Marrakech. It takes around 2 hours to find yourself in a changed landscape with lush vegetation all around you. The locals in these parts are mainly Berber and they are always friendly and welcoming. There are some great walking routes with fantastic scenery here, including Mount Toubkal, the highest peak in North Africa.

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In order to cross the mountains you will have to drive over the Tizi n’Test Pass, which is the highest road in the country. The view from the top is staggering, you’ll see the roads cutting through the landscape as they traverse the surrounding mountain sides.

Ouarzazate and Ait Benhaddu

As you cross the High Atlas Mountains coming from Marrakech, you will come to the filming capital of Morocco. There’s a considerable amount of filming that happens here and it has provided the locations for Gladiator, Game of Thrones and Kingdom of Heaven.

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Ait Benhaddou is a particular gem and the hillside town is one of the most famous images of Morocco. The mud houses cling the hill and overlook the river and surrounding landscape. In Ouarzazate you can visit the Atlas Studios to see the sets that have been used in some of the areas illustrious productions.

The Sahara

If you continue south from Ouarzazate you with approach the great Sahara. It is the largest hot dessert in the world and it provides a unique environment. In the summer temperatures can be very high so be prepared for the heat during these months. You can organise special off road tours or ride a camel into the dunes for a once in a lifetime experience.

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Essaouira

The beachside city is on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean, and is a popular spot for wind based water sports. The city has a genuinely laid back feel and the vendors here hassle you much less than in other cities. There are more tourists here, so consequently there are more restaurants which have slightly higher prices.

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Essaouira is a great place to spend a couple of days relaxing and people watching as you recover from considerable time on the road. It is only a short 2 hour drive to Marrakech from here so even if you don’t have much time in Morocco, you should be able to fit it in.

Anything Else?

Of course there are so many brilliant attractions that we haven’t been able to fit in. If there is somewhere you’ve been that we’ve missed, please leave a comment below telling us how great it was. Morocco is such a diverse country that you could visit it 20 times and have 20 different experiences. Whatever you choose to do there, make sure you get on the road and explore at your own pace.

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4 comments

  1. Yassine Laaroussi

    Essaouira, Marrakech are so beautiful, If you get the chance to Visit North then Tetouan and Chefchaouen are not to miss, not to forget Fes as it is the oldest city In Morocco and has very old souks.
    I actually was planing on going to ouerzazate as I’ve never been there yet, But as you said it would be so hot and probably not a good idea to go there in Summer time.
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