Motorcycle touring in Morocco has always been in every motorcycle traveller’s bucket list, and it’s easy to see why. The gateway to Africa offers dizzying diversity and memorable adventure riding, from Saharan dunes to the peaks of the High Atlas and the mesmerising Mediterranean coastline. It’s also a regular route in the annual Africa Eco Race.
This guide is designed to help you plan your ride through Morocco’s epic mountain ranges, ancient cities, and sweeping deserts. Each town and city will embrace you with rich culture, delicious food, and warm hospitality of the Moroccan people
- Routes & destinations
- When to ride in Morocco
- Morocco motorcycle rentals
- Getting yourself to/from Morocco
- Accommodation options
- Fuel price and availability
- Road conditions and other considerations
- Motorcycle tours in Morocco
Top Adventure Riding Routes/Destinations in Morocco
N10 – R203: Taroudant – Marrakech via Tizi n’ Test Road
The A7 motorway takes you to Marrakech from Taroudant more quickly, but remember: you’re in Morocco for an adventure. Going through Tizi n’ Test will reward you with some of the most dramatic and breathtaking sights that the country has to offer, while also providing a suitably interesting and challenging road to ride your adventure bike on.
R704: Boumalne Dadès – Agoudal via Gorges du Dadès and Tizi N’ouano
The R704 is regarded as one of the most dangerous roads in the world due to its steep gradient and hairpin turns. But it will also take you to two breathtaking riding destinations: Gorges du Dadès (A gorge carved by the Dades River separates the Atlas and Anti-Atlas (Lesser Atlas) mountain ranges), one of the most scenic drives in the world, and Tizi N’ouano, one of the highest roads in Morocco. Gorges du Dadès is a great riding destination in Morocco. The road stretches 160 km (100 mi) and connects Ouarzazate, which is in the east, to Tineghir and the Todra Gorge.
R703: Tinghir – Agoudal via Tizi n’ Tirherhouzine
R703 starts in one of the most beautiful oases in southern Morocco, going through one of the highest mountain roads in the country, and ends in an inhabited village at 2,300 metres (7,545.93 feet) above sea level. This route features a pretty steep climb, so don’t travel this way in severe weather conditions.
Agadir, Morocco – Western Sahara – Nouadhibou, Mauritania
If you want to explore more than Morocco, then Mauritania should be your next destination. Because of relations between the two countries, there’s only one road you can take. This route spans 1,516 kilometres (942 miles), with views of the Atlantic coastline.
When to ride in Morocco
Morocco is a year-round destination for motorcycle travel, and deciding on when to visit depends on where you want to go. In general, be prepared for snow and rain in the northern part of the country and for high temperatures in the south.
High Season (Nov–Mar)
Autumn, winter, and spring are the most popular times to visit. Because of this, airfare and accommodations tend to be costly during this period.
Marrakesh and the south are popular destinations during Christmas and New Year, while the north can be chilly and wet.
Because November until February is Morocco’s rainy season, some roads might be impassable due to severe weather conditions. The snow doesn’t normally last very long though. Advised to keep an eye on forecasts if you are travelling into mountain areas and avoid secondary roads crossing the High Atlas mountains – stick to the main Passes.
Shoulder (Mar/Apr & Late Sept/Oct) The best time to ride in Morocco
March and April are a great time for motorcycle touring in Morocco. Sunshine and mild weather, blossoming trees, and snow-covered mountain tops await. Around Easter, accommodation prices tend to go higher due to demand.
Late September, into October is also one of the best times to travel. It has cooled slightly from the summer months, but there is a residual heat that makes it really pleasent.
Low Season (May–Sep)
Because it’s summer, tourists tend to avoid the desert. But this is also the perfect season for riding the coastline and high-altitude roads, as the sea breeze and cool mountain winds mitigate the heat. July and August – just don’t do it, unless you either stay by the coast or in the mountains. Or you travel in a car with air conditioningI
You’ll be able to get discounts in most accommodations and souks, with exception for businesses on the coast where prices remain high.
Getting your bike to/from Morocco
It’s possible to bring your own motorcycle to Morocco instead of renting one when you’re in the country. You have two main options: bringing it with you on a ferry from Europe or having it shipped from your home country.
Overland/Ferry – Border entry points
There are two border crossings open to foreigners who are bringing their motorcycles with them. First is the border between Spain and Morocco, which requires a ferry ride via the Strait of Gibraltar. The second is the border through the Moroccan frontier going to Mauritania.
Usually there are several ferry routes between Morocco and Spain, France, and Italy, which from 4 to 12 times a week. Most travellers pre-covid (especially riders from the UK) crossed over on the Algeciras – Tangier (Med) route. However, with Morocco’s covid lockdown, all ferries from Spain have been stopped. Check out this thread on Horizons Unlimited for latest details.
Overland to/from Mauritania
The second is the border through the Moroccan frontier going to Mauritania. Here, you need to ride all the way to the south and through Western Sahara in order to cross the border. Check out the guide to this route on Sahara Overland.
Riding to Mauritania is the only way to travel to other African countries as the border between Morocco and Algeria has been closed since 1994 and is therefore not passable.
Moroccan law requires motorcycle travellers to have a Green Card (or International Motor Insurance Card) as proof of insurance, which you can get from your insurer before you leave your home country. If you’re not able to get this, you can buy local insurance at the border counters and offices, which costs about 600/950 Dirham for 10 days / month. 10 days is around £53/EUR 61/US$73. If you are travelling on your won insurance, make sure you have a translation into French or Arabic, as English isn’t as widely spoken.
Bike Permits, Carnets
Aside from insurance and your passport, you also need a TVIP form (temporary vehicle importation declaration), which you can get and fill out at the port or on the ferry. You can also download this form from Morocco Customs’s website, where it’s called D16TER. You’ll need to present this form when you and your bike leave the country.
A carnet de passage en douane is not needed if your bike will be in Morocco for less than six months.
You will also have to present proof that the bike is yours, which is usually an original copy of your motorcycle’s registration certificate (source).
If you’re bringing in a rented bike, then you need to present the rental agreement, which should specify the rental company’s approval that the vehicle in question will be taken to Morocco. A Power of Attorney from the owner of the vehicle is also required, which must be legalised by the local authorities of the place where you rented the bike, or legalised with the Moroccan consular services there.
Getting yourself to/from Morocco
Morocco has eight international airports scattered throughout the country. Casablanca-Mohammed V is the busiest, and likely to have the most international flight options. If you do fly in to rent a bike, we recommend flying in to Marrakesh and renting a bike from there, as much of the best riding is in the south.
Flight times & costs
The cost and flight times displayed below are based on flights as of April 2021. Note that actual airfare may depend on the season and how far ahead you book from your desired travel dates.
Flights to Marrakech airport
|Origin||Flight Time||Airfare cost|
|London||3h 30m||Around £146|
|New York||10h 33m||Around US$ 798|
|Los Angeles||17h 4m||Around US$ 797|
|Toronto||12h 55m||Around US$ 783|
|Vancouver||16h 43m||Around US$ 943|
|Auckland||31h 50m||Around US$ 1,543|
|Melbourne||27h 13m||Around US$ 1,808|
Passports and Visas
American citizens only need to have a valid passport at the time of their entry into Morocco and by the time they leave. They won’t need a visa if they’re staying in the country for less than 90 days.
Australian citizens don’t need a visa to enter the country either. Their passport must be valid for at least six months from their date of return to Australia. Also, there must be an empty whole page in their passport to accommodate the entry stamp. Otherwise, they could have problems when leaving the country.
UK, EU, EEA, and Swiss citizens don’t need a visa to enter the country if they’re staying as tourists for up to three months. Their passport must be valid for the duration of their trip. It must also be stamped correctly to avoid any inconvenience when leaving the country.
Where to stay in Morocco
Morocco is a camp-friendly country. Campsites can be easily found outside cities, but if you go off the beaten path and in mountainous regions, then you’ll have to bring your own camping gear and set up camp along the trails.
Hostels & Guesthouses
If you want to save money during your trip but don’t feel comfortable camping or are riding alone, then staying in a hostel would be more suitable for you. Staying in this type of accommodation will let you meet new people and explore more of Morocco. Their rates start at US$31 per night.
Hotels are also found everywhere in Morocco, in case that’s your preferred accommodation. You can find established five-star hotels such as Movenpick and Sofitel. But if you want to experience true Moroccan living, then stay in a riad instead, which is a traditional Moroccan house built around a central courtyard.
Riads-turned-hotels will give you the best of both worlds: you can immerse yourself in Moroccan culture while experiencing the comforts and hospitality that you’re used to in your home country. Most riads are found in Marrakech, and the rates start at US$94 per night.
Touring Morocco on a motorcycle doesn’t cost a lot compared to traveling to European countries. Here are some details to help you with your budget, based on an eight-day trip, with seven days on the bike (airfare not included):
- Getting to/from the airport:
- Bike rental:
- BMW R 1200 GS 2008 = MAD 8,963, EUR 835, £725, US$1,008
- Honda Africa Twin CRF 1000 L = MAD 11,952, EUR 1,114, £967, US$ 1,344
- SWM Superdual = MAD 7,513, EUR 700, £608, US$ 845
- Yamaha Super Tenere 1200 = MAD 10,308, EUR 961, £834, US$1,159
- Algeciras, Spain to Tangier Med, Morocco = €75, £65, US$91 return
- Marseille, France to Tangier Med, Morocco = €607, £526, US$738 return
- Genoa, Italy to Tangier Med, Morocco = €385, £334, US$468 return
- Camping (own gear, no electricity) = MAD 0
- Camping (rented tent, sleeping bag, mat and stove, no electricity) = MAD 740, €69, £60, US$84
- Hostels (dorm) = MAD 525, €49, £42, US$60
- Hostels (private room) = MAD 825, €77, £67, US$94
- Hotels = MAD 2,406, EUR 225, £195, US$273
- BMW R 1200 GS 2008 (140 litres) = MAD 1,316, €123, £107, US$148
- Honda Africa Twin CRF 1000 L (132 litres) = MAD 1,241, €116, £100, US$139
- SWM Superdual (126 litres) = MAD 1,184, €110, £96, US$133
- Yamaha Super Tenere 1200 (161 litres) = MAD 1,513, €141, £122, US$170
- Food (moderate spend and no booze): MAD 798, €74, £65, US$91
Access to Money
Morocco is a cash society, so you may not be able to use your credit card as much except in big, tourist-friendly shops.
Because dirham is a restricted currency, you can only exchange your money within Morocco. Euros are the easiest currencies to exchange and are sometimes accepted as payment. US dollars and British pounds can be exchanged at banks and bureaux de change, but are rarely accepted as payment. Meanwhile, other currencies are not exchangeable in Morocco.
You can find ATMs (also locally referred to as “cash machine” or “cashpoint”) in most towns and cities, but they sometimes run out of cash if it’s been a busy period for the local bank. Also, most ATMs only accept 4-digit PINs, so try to change your card’s 5- or 6-digit PINs before traveling.
Additionally, loose change is hard to find in Morocco, so try to save smaller bank notes (10 and 20) and coins, which you can use for tipping and paying for small goods like bottled water.
Fuel (access and quality)
All towns in Morocco have a fuel station. However, you might have a hard time finding one in the southern part of the country on the way to Mauritania. If you’re going there or in another remote location, make sure you have spare fuel on hand and refuel at every opportunity.
As of May 2021, fuel in Morocco (per litre) costs around MAD 9.40, EUR 0.88, £0.76, US$ 1.05.
The roads in Morocco are generally smooth especially in the main cities, and there’s an existing motorway network that’s continuously expanding and improving. Expect tolls on the motorways; the fee depends on where you exit.
In the hamada or stony desert, the paved roads can sometimes be covered by sand and gravel or be damaged with potholes. If a strong wind (also known as chergui) is blowing and carrying a lot of dust, you must stop and wait for it to end or else your bike might get damaged.
Police control points are common on main roads going in and out of big towns. Foreigners are unlikely to be stopped, but it’s still a good idea to slow down.
Roadblocks are common in the Western Sahara, the Rif Mountains, and the road to Figuit near the Algerian border. Police are also more vigilant in these areas, and they will most likely stop you and ask for your documents and about the purpose of your visit and your destination.
Road accidents are very common in Morocco, so it’s best to ride defensively and assume that every vehicle you encounter is ready to go out of lane and cut you off at the worst moments. Also watch out for cyclists and pedestrians.
Lastly, avoid riding at night. It’s legal and common for vehicles to travel under 20 kph without any lights.
Maps & Resources
- Morocco Overland (3) by Chris Scott – THE guide book for motorcycle and car travel in Morocco, with routes, advice and all the info you need. Chris’ site Sahara Overland is equally useful.
- Garmin TOPO North Africa v4 Light – OSM Maps do the job, but for £20, it’s worth getting the extra detail.