Morocco at a Glance
Culture shock: 6 / 10. Non-western food, conservative dress, Muslim religion, higher police presence, poor infrastructure and poverty can be exciting or shocking depending on your own attitude. Alcohol is not freely available and some hotels can be “dry”.
Road conditions: Very varied, so be alert to unpredictable road surfaces and new hazards. Potholes, diesel spillages, camels and checkpoints are regular occurrences
Experience level: Intermediate – get European motorcycle touring under your belt first and be prepared to put advanced riding skills and some techniques for dirt/gravel roads to the test.
Why you should go!
For a European rider, Morocco offers possibly the most culture shock you can get for the least distance travelled, so it’s great for those who want the experience but have limited time and budget – the range of accommodation is immense, from £10 per night to hundreds! Morocco has something for everyone: stunning views in the High Atlas and Rif mountain ranges; rugged Atlantic coastline, spectacular waterfalls, caves and forests to explore; and the hustle and bustle of Marrakech, Essaouira and Fes.
What’s it like to ride there?
In cities the traffic is chaotic. You will be competing for space with lorries, taxis, pedestrians, hawkers selling trinkets or snacks, and donkeys pulling carts, as well as people weaving in and out on small scooters. It’s fun, but maybe not if you’re not used to it. Outside built-up areas, look out for camels ambling across the road in front of you, shiny and rutted surfaces left by heavy traffic and hot temperatures, landslides & rocks on the road in mountainous areas and large potholes on minor routes. Diesel spillages are a serious issue too, as many local vehicles are old and don’t get serviced.
Fuel is plentiful (in fact new fuel stations are popping up all the time) and it’s normal for someone to fill your bike up for you, especially in remote locations. Expect to pay around £0.90 / US$1.15 per litre for unleaded fuel.
The dirt tracks on the Dades / Todra Gorge loop; the twists and turns leading up to the Cascades D’Ouzoud – the highest waterfall in Morocco; and the narrow hairpins and stunning views on the 2,100-metre Tizi-n-Test pass.
Regular ferries run from Spain (Tarifa or Algericas) to the Moroccan Mediterranean coast. There’s other locations, but these are the two ports with the most crossings, cheapest prices and shortest duration. You can check here for your ferry options. You can enter Morocco via the Spanish enclave of Ceuta, meaning you can come off the ferry without immediate border formalities, stop there overnight and then prepare for the border crossing the next day. Alternatively the new port of Tangier Med is a good entry point, as when you disembark, you do the Moroccan entry formalities within the border compound, meaning no hustlers!
If you don’t fancy riding all the way through Spain, freighting your bike is possible: check out www.flyandride.co.uk who will get your bike to a collection depot in Malaga. It’s then only an hour or so to ride to the Spanish ports.
When to Go
Morocco is at its best mid-March to mid-June or September to November, when the climate and temperatures are moderate for both the mountains and the coast. It gets intensely hot during the summer in the lowlands. During winter the coast will still be pleasant, but the mountains will be cold and probably snowy. Look out for Ramadan – the Muslim month of fasting and purification – as during this time many restaurants and cafés close during the day and general business hours are reduced. In 2020, this is from 23 April to 22 May – it’s not a problem, but you just need to manage your time better.
What documents you’ll need
- Passport – British nationals don’t need a visa and simply need to present a current passport, which must be valid for at least six months beyond your date of entry. You will normally be provided 90 days duration of stay.
- Driving Licence – Take your UK licence and a 1968 International Driving Permit (in the UK, visit your main Post Office to get one)
- Motorcycle Registration Document / Motorcycle Title – For UK riders, you must travel with your original V5C Vehicle registration document (other nationalities need the equivalent). We recommend having copies of this in case you are stopped at police of military checkpoints.
- Temporary Vehicle Import Permit: No need to do the DT16-TER online anymore! Morocco Customs will issue you with a temporary card for your bike with a QR code. Don’t lose it as when you exit, the card is scanned to allow your bike to leave.
- Green Card – To be legal, you must have third party motorcycle insurance cover to ride in Morocco. This can be satisfied by possessing a ‘Green Card’ issued by your UK insurer as proof of third-party motorcycle cover in Morocco and this must be presented to the Moroccan Customs as part of the entry procedure. In our experience, many UK insurers refuse to provide this (especially if you have a cheaper policy). If you cannot get a Green Card, at most points of entry to Morocco, there are booths selling local insurance, which can be bought to ensure that you are legal on the road. In 2019, costs were approximately €65 per motorcycle for 3 weeks. However, they can be closed at weekends. Buying at the border (if available) can be time-consuming and the quality/level of cover is questionable.
- Travel Insurance – Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel to cover your medical or repatriation costs in case of illness or injury. Consider Campbell Irvine who are adventure travel specialists. Tell them are you touring by motorcycle.
We are passionate about travel by motorcycle and whether you decide to travel with us for two weeks or five months, our aim is to give you a great touring experience, supported by years of relevant expertise.
Book Morocco in Springtime with us today!