Top 5 Great Moroccan Road Trips for A Lively Pickup Truck Adventure

Every adventure enthusiast would love an enthralling one-in-a-lifetime expedition journey in a strange landscape. Morocco is, by far, the liveliest country on the planet, featuring epic landscapes, from the Atlantic coastline to the craggy mountains and the Sahara Desert.

These are just a few of the country’s many natural attractions, making it a road trip-worthy territory. The vertiginous cliffs, breathtaking valleys, and indigenous people in Morocco are some of the reasons you should explore the North African country.

5 Moroccan Road Trips for a Memorable Driving Escapade

But to enjoy the fun and make it a lifetime memory, it has to be at your own pace. Here’s a compilation of the best picks of roads worth driving your pickup truck on a road trip.

5. Tizi n’Tichka Mountainous Pass

If you’ve only heard about the Atlas Mountains but haven’t visited them, a road trip through the vertiginous Tizi n’Tichka will give you a better view of the region. The mountainous pass has scenic views worth exploring.

The road trip starts at Marrakesh, a former imperial city, cruising to Ouarzazate, about 120 miles. That’s a whole 4 hour’s drive if you don’t make any stops.

This mountainous pass features high mountains rising to 7,415 ft above sea level and offers a more challenging driving experience. The route goes through meandering roads, rocky mountain scenery, and desert, making it a worthy escapade. You’ll also come across Berber villages to give you a glimpse into the locals’ way of life. You’ll also come across the ksar of Ait Ben Haddou, an iconic UNESCO World Heritage Site, located about 20 miles from Ouarzazate.

This route is quite challenging. So, make sure your 4WD pickup truck has a good ground clearance. Don’t forget to bring snacks, plenty of water, and phone power banks.

4. Tangier – Chefchaouen Route

The 80-mile road trip cruises through northern Morocco, starting at Tangier and going to Chefchaouen. Tangier was once a renowned haven for famous names in Morocco but has undergone restoration to its former glory. New buildings are coming up while the old ones are undergoing restoration.  After exploring the scenery in Tangier, drive southwards to Rif Mountains to experience the calm traditional lifestyle of the locals.

The route is also famous for its rolling hills, verdant landscapes, and dotted Riffian farms and villages. The road condition here is averagely good, but you’ll encounter narrower and meandering sections. You’ll need a capable truck and good handling skills to maneuver the terrains.

As you reach Chefchaouen, the inviting blue-painted houses and an ancient-themed town will give you a lively reception. Take a moment to explore the local market and narrow alleys, and invigorate your taste buds with traditional Moroccan cuisines. You can explore the Talassemtane National Park trails and capture the scenic views in the area for a lifetime memory.

3. Marrakesh – Essaouira Route

The road trip from Marrakesh to Essaouira is a 3-hour journey on a 118-mile-long terrain coupled with meandering paths. The Marrakesh town is a little chaotic, full of crowds, taxis, and motorbikes, but once you exit it, the real adventure experience kicks off.

On your way to Essaouira, you’ll encounter the fascinating goats climbing the argan tree branches. If you have some time to spare, explore the area and view the products made from argan oil by local women.  As you get closer to Essaouira, about 19 miles away, there lies the Bbio Organic Farm worth visiting.

Along the way, the exciting little fishing villages with boats lined up on the shore create an enchanting view. Take a moment to see the historic city walls featuring distinctive white and blue painted buildings portraying indigenous architecture.

The charming medina will welcome your arrival in Essaouira, coupled with the narrow streets, cafes, and souks. Make sure you spare time to explore the old fortifications and a busy harbor to buy some fresh seafood.

2. Rabat – Essaouira

The hustle and bustle at Marrakesh aren’t welcoming to all. If you want a peaceful road trip from start to finish, you can opt for Rabat as your starting point instead of the rowdy Marrakesh. The scenic route is about 218 miles and will take up to 5 hours of nonstop driving.

The trip starts at Morocco’s capital Rabat, following the Atlantic coast route to the south towards Essaouira. You’ll be amazed by the dramatic landscape transformation from urban to rural, coupled with farmlands, rolling hills, and dotted villages along the road.

As you move southwards, the road will lead you through El Jadida town, featuring picturesque views of the old Portuguese architecture and stunning beaches. Proceed along the coastline route to Safi, the famous fishing and pottery city in Asfi province. As you move forward, you’ll come across the argan forest’s rugged hills, known for its unique ecosystem and argan oil production. From here, the city of Essaouira lies a few miles ahead. The stunning beaches, historic medina, and cultural scenes create an unforgettable welcoming experience.

1.      Skoura – Dadès Gorge Route

If there’s a route that will take your breath away with its enchanting views, it’s the 62-mile Skoura – Dadès Gorge drive. The steep rock formations, stunning Berber villages, and old fortresses will amaze you.

Start your trip in the small town of Skoura in Ouarzazate province, famous for picturesque palm grooves and qasbas (Berber villages). After leaving the settlement, the rugged road will lead you through Draa Valley, full of lush greenery. The landscape here is covered in almond and date palm trees, giving the place a scenic view.

As you meander through the valley, you’ll come across the traditional Aït Youl village and settlements portraying the unique lifestyle of the North Africans. The road gradually winds up to the Atlas Mountains as the view becomes more rugged and dramatic. If your pickup truck has lifted suspensions with extra large tires, you’ll realize how wise of you to have chosen it for this ride.

While approaching Dadès Gorge, the dramatic twists and narrowing of the road become more thrilling. Here, you’ll be amazed by the spectacular canyon carved out over thousands of years by the abrasive action of Dadès River.

Things to Note Before Starting Your Moroccan Road Trip

A road trip in Morocco is exciting, especially if driving during the day. But as it gets dark in the evening, it will be challenging to have a smooth drive. The roads in the routes discussed have speedbumps and potholes.

Driving at night becomes even more difficult because the oxen and donkey carts move through the darkness without reflectors. Also, don’t be drunk while behind the wheel;  this could end you in trouble with the police.

Most importantly, always carry your documentation to avoid trouble with local authorities. Have your valid driver’s license and passport with you. Although most places in these areas don’t accept credit cards, car hire companies will need them for the excess charges in case of damages to the truck.

If you intend to explore the mountain passes around the Atlas Mountains, it’s best to do it during summer. The mountain passes can be difficult to cross as snow from the mountain usually comes down to cover the roads. Sometimes, the roads may be closed temporarily following heavy downfalls. From December to March, passes like Tiz n’Tichka, are usually closed to prevent possible skidding accidents due to snow.

Final Thoughts

Morocco is full of adventure if you‘re looking for an unfamiliar landscape to explore on a pickup truck. The North African country has fascinating sceneries worth exploring. Whichever route you choose, don’t forget to cover the Atlas Mountains region for an experience of the traditional way of life of the Berbers.

Remember, the remote areas of Morocco can be hard to drive through and require a powerful off-road truck. When hiring, go for a 4WD  pickup truck if visiting more challenging terrains. It’s the only way your road trip will be exciting as you cruise the rugged landscapes. It will also present an exciting chance to explore the diverse Moroccan culture, history, and natural beauty.

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