Road Trip in Morocco

If you are planning a road trip in Morocco then you’ve come to the right place…

I’m about to show you the perfect itinerary for a photography road trip in Morocco.

We will stop along the way at some of the well-known sights and cities.

But ultimately this itinerary has been designed to showcase some of Morocco’s hidden gems, alternative things to do and the best places to capture amazing photos.

You’ll find these places on the itinerary:

Renting A Car In Morocco

Renting a car in Morocco can be quite affordable.

The price to rent a basic car for 14 days, including a one-way pickup/drop off surcharge, is around $500 (USD). You can find the latest prices here.

Below is a map with all of the places on this itinerary pinned on it. It’s been arranged in a way that makes it possible to travel from the north of the country to the south, or from the south to the north.

The planned road trip in Morocco itinerary on a map
The Moroccan road trip itinerary planned out on a map. Blue = planned stops, purple = airports, orange = optional detour.

The pick-up and drop-off points will both be airports (marked on the map with purple pins) so that you could fly into one, pick up a rental car and start the road trip ultimately dropping the car off at the airport at the other end and flying home.

The two airports are Tangier (north) and Agadir (south).

To make things easier I will talk about the route as if you were starting it at Tangier airport in the north and heading to Agadir airport in the south.

But you could easily reverse the route and go from Agadir to Tangier if you wanted to.

side note: Check and double check any hire car for damage when you collect it. And make sure you note it down on the paperwork before you are given a copy.

That way both you and the car rental company have the same record and it will be a lot harder for them to try and charge you for damages you didn’t cause.

Car rental companies trying to overcharge for things unfairly definitely isn’t unique to Morocco, but it is quite common there.

Renting a diesel vs petrol car?

The cost of renting diesel cars tends to be more expensive upfront than the cost of renting petrol cars, but diesel itself is much cheaper than petrol in Morocco.

So on a long road trip in Morocco like this, it will probably work out cheaper at the end of the day to rent a diesel car.

You’ll need to get a recent car rental quote (use the link I provided above) and work it out for yourself though.

Is Driving In Morocco Safe?

The short answer is yes, if you’re an experienced driver.

Here is the longer answer:

As you can probably imagine, on a road trip in Morocco you’re going to experience some less than perfect roads, unexpected obstacles and some pretty crazy driving from some of the locals.

By ‘obstacle’ I mean anything from donkeys, camels or even children crossing the road as if they were on a Sunday walk through the park.

Camels in the road
Credit: Chuck Burgess

And then in the cities, you’ll obviously have to share the road with other vehicles who’s driver, let’s just say, ‘might not have the same driving etiquette as you do’.

But like I said, as long as you are an experienced and confident driver you should be ok. Just have your wits about you and don’t get complacent.

If you want to be extra careful, avoid driving at night if you can.

Check out this useful article for more detailed info about driving in Morocco.

The Itinerary

So without further ado, here’s the itinerary for your perfect photography road trip in Morocco…

1st Stop | Chefchaouen

After collecting your rental car in Tangier the first stop is the beautiful Chefchaouen, or the blue city as it’s otherwise known.

The city is found in the Rif Mountains and is famous for its uniquely coloured buildings.

Chefchaouen
Credit: Sathish J

It’s a popular destination for travel photographers but for good reason.

Since you’ll be driving past it anyway, you simply can’t miss the opportunity to add a few photos of such a special place to your portfolio.

The blue allyways of Chefchaouen
One of the many blue alleyways in Chefchaouen – Credit: Manusama
A man painting a house blue in Chefchaouen
Credit: Raul Cacho Oses

Local Tips

  • Lala Mesouda is a very typical Moroccan style restaurant that does a great traditional Tagine that goes down extremely well after a long afternoon walking the small streets of Chefchaouen.
  • An alternative place to eat for people on a tighter budget is Cafe Restaurant Sofia. At the time of writing this article, it sits in the TripAdvisor number 1 spot out of all the restaurants in Chefchaouen.
  • If you started the road trip late, or just want to be in the blue city for a sunrise photo shoot, then Hotel Molino is an inexpensive and beautiful B&B to stay at for the night.

2nd Stop | Fes

No road trip in Morocco would be complete without a stop in Fes.

Fes is a busy city full of life. The fact that it has so much going on makes it the perfect location for street photography.

Alleyway in Fes
Credit: Vince Gx

Explore the picturesque, tiny, narrow streets of Fes old town (the Medina) and you’ll be sure to come away with some great photos and, unless you have exceptionally strong willpower, probably a few things from the local souk (marketplace).

Every city in Morocco has a souk but in Fes, their speciality is leather manufacturing.

Leather making process in Fes
Part of the leather manufacturing process – Credit: martinvarsavsky

You can buy all kinds of handmade leather items from wallets to shoes.

Just brush up on your haggling skills before heading into the whirlwind that is buying things from an Arabic market…

Local Tips

  • Fes has hundreds of Hammams (similar to Turkish baths) all over the city. So it’s a great place to stop during your road trip in Morocco and take a soak with the locals.
  • If you’re going to buy something from the Medina don’t look too interested and never accept the first price you are offered. Haggling in Morocco is tough. Don’t feel rude by offering a lower price, it’s just part of everyday life there.

3rd Stop | Ifrane National Park

The next stop on this itinerary is for all the wildlife and nature lovers out there.

Just like in Europe, Morocco is home to some absolutely stunning national parks that lend themselves perfectly to photography.

Ifrane National Park is one of the last remaining places where wild Barbary macaques can be found. It’s home to about a quarter of the total population of the endangered species.

A Barbary macaque sitting in a tree
A Barbary macaque – Credit: Lewis Roberts

It’s an opportunity to get the long lens out and become a wildlife photographer for the day.

The landscape of Ifrane National Park is nothing like what you will see out of the car window in other places during your Moroccan road trip.

It’s lush and green, covered in Cedar Trees, has a more temperate climate than the rest of the country and is home to a whole host of wildlife.

Local Tips

  • You can drive through the national park and there is no entrance fee. It’s also open all year round so no matter when you start your trip, you’ll be able to visit.

4th Stop | Merzouga (Optional)

The reason why I’ve marked Merzouga as optional is because, as you can see on the map at the beginning of this article, it’s a pretty big detour.

Over 700km in fact.

So it won’t be the easiest place on this itinerary to reach but how often do you go on a road trip in Morocco?

No too often I bet.

So you might as well make the most of it while you’re there.

Visiting Merzouga is your chance to experience a real desert.

The Sahara Desert no less.

So if you have the time and motivation to take a 700km detour, it will be worth it.

A sand dune in the Merzouga Desert
Credit: Fernando Paredes Murillo

You’ll have the chance to play with textures and shapes by photographing the undulating sand dunes of the Sahara.

All whilst experiencing the traditional, authentic side of Morocco in the small town of Merzouga. A far cry away from the mania of cities like Marrakech and Casablanca.

Merzouga should be on your road trip in Morocco itinerary
Credit: Uwe Brodrecht

Local Tips

  • For something a little different, book a sandboarding class/excursion and surf your way down the dunes of the Sahara Desert.
  • If you don’t quite feel up to sandboarding, then how about camping in the desert, under the stars in a traditional Berber tent?

5th Stop | Atlas Mountains

We have three stops that are all close by and that are found in the Atlas Mountains on this itinerary. So I’ve grouped them all together under this heading.

They are:

  1. Ourika
  2. Imlil Village
  3. Jbel Toubkal

Ourika

Ourika Valley is just over 50km from Marrakech but worlds apart.

Several small Berber villages can be found here and the Ourika river that runs through the valley is home to some stunning waterfalls.

Waterfall in Ourika
Waterfall in Ourika – Credit: Jeremy Couture

The valley is known for its Argan Oil Co-operatives that are run solely by women. So when you are in the area make sure to pick some up as a souvenir.

You can find Argan Oil for cooking or for cosmetic purposes.

Imlil Village

Imlil is a small village that’s perched on the side of a mountain.

A lot of the houses and fields sit on terraces which is an unusual but fascinating sight to see.

Imlil
Credit: Ben Godfrey

Imlil is a great starting point if you are going to trek to the top of the next place on this itinerary, Jbel Toubkal.

Jbel Toubkal

So far on this photography road trip in Morocco we have only covered places for landscape photography once.

That was in the Sahara Desert of Merzouga.

Well, now we have something else for landscape photographers and not a grain of sand in sight.

Toubkal, Morocco
Credit: Dan Gold

Jbel Toubkal is a mountain peak that just begs to be photographed.

Local Tips

  • The hike to the summit of Jbel Toubkal is definitely one for experienced hikers with a good level of fitness. You will most likely have to stay one night in a guest house along the way and it’s advisable to go with a local guide, however it is possible to go alone if you really want to.
  • Spend at least two/three nights in the Atlas Mountains so you have time to see all three places on this list. Spend one night at Ourika enjoying the river and waterfalls and then the next one/two nights hiking to the top (and back down again) of Jbel Toubkal, stopping off in Imlil village along the way.

6th Stop | Essaouira

Some of you might recognise Essaouira.

It’s where Daenerys meets The Unsullied Army for the first time in Game of Thrones.

I personally have no idea what that means, but I’m sure some of you do.

This coastal port city is also well-known for having amazing fresh fish and other seafood which you have to try.

Fish in the market
Credit: Blue Delliquanti
Port in Essaouira, Morocco
A local fisherman’s port in Essaouira – Credit: waldomiguez

At sunrise or sunset, head to the old defensive wall that surrounds the city along the rugged Atlantic coastline where the ocean’s waves break against it and you’ll be sure to come away with some epic seascapes.

Old city wall in Essaouira
Credit: Olivier & Pascale Noaillon Jaquet

Local Tips

  • For the best seafood experience in town try La Table by Madada. It’s not cheap, but even the fiercest foodie won’t be disappointed.
  • A more budget-friendly option, but still a great restaurant for seafood, is Le Triskala.

7th Stop | Tamri

The 7th stop on this road trip in Morocco is to see, and photograph, something rather unusual.

Morocco is home to a lot of goats. Some of which have a strange habit of perching themselves up high in trees.

Not just one or two, but a whole family of goats can be found sitting up in a single tree.

Goats sitting in a tree
Credit: Twin-loc

And the weirdness doesn’t stop there.

The trees that the goats climb are Argan trees. They climb them in order to eat the seeds it produces.

The goats then poop out any undigested seeds which are harvested and turned into argan oil.

It’s this high-quality oil that people pay a hefty price for and smear all over their bodies.

Each to their own I guess, but it is an awesome photo opportunity if nothing else.

Local Tips

  • You can see the tree climbing goats in other southern parts of the country but Tamri is a convenient stop-off on this Moroccan road trip because it doesn’t involve much of a detour.

8th Stop | Souss-Massa National Park

This national park, which lies alongside the Atlantic coastline, is home to three out of the four colonies in Morocco of northern bald ibis birds.

Along with the fourth colony in nearby Tamri, this is where over 95% of the world’s remaining population of wild bald ibis can be found.

Which means anyone interested in wildlife should make this stop a priority.

Northen Bald Ibis
Credit: Christian Pirkl

Local Tips

  • When you arrive at the entrance of the park there will be local guides there who you can hire for around 200-300 dirhams. They will jump in your car and show you around the park for 3-4 hours. I highly recommend you get one of these guides as there are no signs inside the park and you could easily get lost and end up not seeing anything. Just don’t forget to haggle on the price until you get it down to around the 200-300 mark.
  • Don’t forget suncream and plenty of water!

Last Stop | Legzira Beach

Finally, we get to our last stop on this road trip in Morocco.

Legzira Beach is only 8km long but is beloved by surfers, windsurfers and paragliders for its rolling waves and Atlantic winds.

It’s also a favourite amongst photographers for the stunning rock formations that can be found along its beaches.

Legzira Beach, Morocco
A landscape like no other that you’ll find during this road trip in Morocco – Credit: Rowan Castle

Originally there were two giant arches formed by the sandstone cliffs being eroded when the tide of the ocean brought with it waves which crashed up against its soft and porous structure.

Sadly, one collapsed under its own weight in 2016 leaving just one standing.

The single sandstone arch that is left on Legzira Beach is expected to eventually go the same way.

So if you want the opportunity to capture such a stunning sight you will have to be quick.

Local Tips

  • If you want a cheap bed for the night with breakfast, a traditional Moroccan dinner in the evening AND surf equipment so you can try your hand at taming the waves, then check out Ifni Surf. You can get all of what I just mentioned from €32.
  • Check out the rest of the surrounding Sidi Infi coast. Legzira Beach is just one beach in the area.

A road trip in Morocco isn’t without its challenges

Whether it’s uncomfortable roads or the constant need to haggle on price, it’s easy to get frustrated when touring this country.

But the beauty of the people, the landscape and the things you’ll come across along the way makes it all worthwhile in the end.

As long as you can appreciate that what you are doing may be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and that you are a guest in another culture, one that you want to experience, then all these frustrations become happy memories that will last you a lifetime.

Once you get back, or if you have already been, we would love to see your images!

On Instagram, use the hashtag #WTPFeature on your best shots and we will share the best.

Likewise, if you have any more questions feel free to either leave a comment below or get in touch on social media.

Goodluck and thanks for reading!

LOVE TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHY? SIGN UP FOR THE NEWSLETTER AND GET SPECIAL OFFERS, TIPS AND INSPIRATON FOR YOUR NEXT ADVENTURE

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here