Morocco GS Knowledgebase

Tim Cullis

Scotland lover
UKGSer Subscriber
Oct 10, 2004
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Putney, London and the Altiplano de Granada
This thread attempts to consolidate collective GS knowledge about Morocco. It's a work-in-progress and is intended to be added to over time. So please feel free to add to the thread with any information you think will be helpful to others. Your reply will subsequently be merged (with acknowledgement) within other posts in this thread.

If you are recommending a hotel or a place, please say why you think others would like it (rather than just "we went there").


“The earth is a peacock and its glorious tail is Morocco”

Only a short hop from Europe, Morocco is the most exciting biking and 4WD venue that's within relatively easy access of the UK. The roads are generally good quality and great fun, there's not much traffic, and the scenary is awe-inspiring. Time seems to have passed Morocco by, with many cultural practices unchanged since the middle ages. Accommodation and food are good value, a twin room is typically £10 to £30 per night. There is a wealth of well-documented tracks (pistes), the weather is generally sunny and it's a brilliant combination of safe, exciting and inexpensive.

Basically you need to get through France and Spain, then take a ferry to northern Morocco.


There are a variery of ports covering the Spain to Morocco section, see for a map and route details. Most people use the crossing from Algeciras in southern Spain to Ceuta or Tanger in northern Morocco. Other options are Tarifa to Tanger, Malaga to Nador. I've also used the Almeria to Melilla route. Bert used the Sete (southern France) to Tanger ferry in Dec 2005, it takes 36 hours (two nights and a day) and including accommodation and food cost around €400.

Your options in getting to Algeciras are to either ride through France and Spain (1,400 miles from Calais, 1,250 from Caen), or to take one of the overnight ferries to northern Spain which means you then have 700 miles to ride to Algeciras. Brittany Ferries has overnight ferries from Portsmouth and Plymouth to Santander and Bilbao.

Morocco has four main mountain ranges; from north to south these are the Rif Mountains, then the Middle Atlas, the High Atlas and the Anti-Atlas in the furthest south. The best bike roads in the mountains are probably the Atlas ranges, the roads in the Rif are often less well surfaced.

To the east of the Middle Atlas and the south of the High/Anti Atlas lie the hamadas--stony semi-arid 'desert' with excellent pistes (tracks for 4WD cars and bikes). There's a small area of sand near Erfoud and another near Zagora.

The coastal plain to the west of the country is generally flat and uninteresting, however the coastline itself is often pretty.

Morocco is an all-year-round destination, however in the winter the smaller mountain roads can be blocked by snow, and the summer months (mid-June to end August) are normally extremely hot. My personal preference is for April/May--the country is incredibly green and the days are much longer than September/October.

Public Holidays
Secular public holidays are fixed dates in the calendar—Labour Day is 1 May, King Mohammed’s birthday is 21 August, the Green March Anniversary (into Western Sahara) is 6 November, Independence Day is 18 November.

Religious public holidays move with the lunar calendar and slip backwards by eleven or twelve days each year. Eid al-Mawlid (Prophet Mohammed’s birthday) is a one-day national holiday on 15 Feb 2011, 4 Feb 2012, 24 Jan 2013. Having twice experienced Morocco during the fasting month of Ramadan I suggest you try to avoid it, especially if it is your first visit (1 to 29 Aug 2011, 20 Jul to 18 Aug 2012, 9 Jul to 7 Aug 2013). Ramadan finishes with a three day national festival called Eid el-Fitr.

Eid al-Adha (Feast of Sacrifice) is a three-day national holiday marking the time of the pilgrimage to Mecca and begins 6 Nov 2011, 26 Oct 2012, 15 Oct 2013. The Islamic New Year is a one-day National Holiday on 26 Nov 2011, 15 Nov 2012, 4 Nov 2013.

For the last twelve years, Morocco remained on GMT throughout the winter AND the summer, so in summer time was two hours behind Spanish time. This changed in 2008 with the introduction of a short period of summer time (see later post). You can get sunrise/set times as well as expected temperatures for a variety of Moroccan locations at (choose a town, then climate statistics). See also

Although it's an Islamic country, the Moroccan business week is Monday to Friday, with Saturday and Sunday as the weekend. The western calendar is used (i.e. 2006, not 1427). Placenames on signposts are written both in arabic and western scripts. Distances are measured in kilometers.

Morocco doesn't have a huge road network, so a single country-wide map with a scale of 1:1,000,000 is sufficient. This will show most unsurfaced roads suitable for 4WD traffic. With a map of 1:1,000,000 it's easy to get suckered into days that involve huge distances, so it's as well to have an equivalent scale map of the UK to give you an appreciation for what you are planning.

Michelin 742 is probably the best all-round map as it shows scenic routes (in green) and those roads that might be closed due to winter snow (blue). A new version of the UK edition was released in May 2007 but there are only a few differences from the old version.

The IGN map is useful as it has gridlines to enable GPS waypoints to be roughly calculated. The Rough Guide map is also good as it's printed on a plastic-like surface that is more practical for tank bags.

There are larger-scale maps available but these are extremely out-of-date and, given the rate of road sealing going on in Morocco, are practically useless for ascertaining road conditions. Stanfords is an excellent mail order resource for maps of Morocco.

The coverage of Morocco included in the Atlantic basemap loaded in Garmin Streetpilot/Quest units is actually more detailed and extends further south than the coverage shown in Mapsource. Compare them side-by-side to see.

The best solution is the free-of-charge Marokko Topo maps at I have travelled extensively with these maps and found the roads and tracks are accurate. The most recent version is December 2007. For best results on the road only download the street maps to the GPS unit (i.e. remove the topo overlay from the download) as otherwise you can get confused between contour lines and tracks. :eek:

The Marokko Topo map segments don't take up much storage space as they don't include routing information. Consequently, when you come to plan a route using roads, you'll find the GPS will only use the original basemap roads. Which leads to the second point, that GPS navigation in Morocco is best done as 'off-road' straight lines between known waypoints.

Don't bother buying tracklogs of Moroccan pistes, the vast majority of the pistes are already on Maroc Topo.

When planning Ceuta to Fes, be aware that Issaguen (called Ketama on some maps) in the Rif Mountains is the centre of the cannabis trade, and it's advised that you don't stop for people waving you down. I used to recommend avoiding the area but it has great biking roads and the situation is much better since the King's visit in 2012.

Gandini's series of six books on Moroccan pistes is the best resource for piste information. The High/Middle Atlas edition was updated in 2006. Written in French but not too difficult to understand
Voyages 4x4 is a french website with a variety of suggested pistes and waypoints.
Chris Scott's Sahara Overland 2 is another acknowledged resource for advice and information about pistes throughout the Sahara area and includes 12 pistes for Morocco.

Edit: Chris is currently working on a new book, Morocco Overland, with 40 detailed tracks for Morocco which is due to be published early 2009.

Google Earth
If you have a recent version of Mapsource you can check the validity of waypointed routes by parsing them through Google Earth. To see what this looks like (needs Google Earth but not Mapsource), click here to download (save, then unzip) Chris Scott's M6 route in .kmz Google Earth format. You can zoom in on the route and in some cases follow it on the ground.

Morocco has been described as a 'cold country with a hot sun' and temperatures can vary suprisingly. The all-time coldest temperature recorded in Morocco was -24°C (-11°F) at Ifrane in the Middle Atlas. On the other hand it regularly soars to 50°C in the area around Figuig. Summer night temperatures can be awfully sticky in non-mountainous regions.

In 2006 Morocco has received large amounts of rainfall and the effects in terms of plant growth and water table height are likely to last a couple of years. In June very heavy rains in east and south-east Morocco (from the Mediterranean coast to the Tafilalt region) killed 6 people. Merzouga (in what is regarded as a semi-desert region) had 105 mm of water (over 4 inches) in 2 hours, and the Hassan Addakhil reservoir received 39 million cubic meters. 2008 has been another wet year and some of the more remote tracks may not be in particularly good repair.

As of April 2009 leaded fuel has practically disappeared in Morocco and all fuel stations serve super unleaded and Eurodiesel 50. Afriquia is the best chain of petrol stations in Morocco with modern services and normally with an onsite cafe. Other chains are Total, Ziz and CHM. Petrol costs about 10.5dh/litre which is about 75p/litre.

Getting small change is often a problem in Morocco, so I often fill up asking for 120dh at a time (cent vingt dirham, SVP), this way I get change of a 50 and a 20 dh notes plus a 10dh coin.

Until recently it was practically impossible to get unleaded petrol south of Tan Tan. This may well have changed but I don't have any reliable information. Fuel prices in Western Sahara are roughly half of those elsewhere in Morocco.

'Loco for Motos' points out that Marjane Hypermarkets in major cities will take credit cards, however this can add ten minutes on to your stop. Marjane is also a good place to stock up on European items, wine and beer.

Mobile phone coverage
Morocco has jumped a technology generation and the market penetration of mobile phones is something like eight times than of landlines. This market penetration could only be achieved by the phone companies installing cellphone masts along all the normal traffic routes, whether tarmac or piste. Consequently you can be in really remote areas which in the UK would be signal-less and get all the bars on your phone. Make sure you have roaming enabled on your UK phone before leaving.

Jan 08: Vodafone and Orange don't have roaming agreements with suppliers in Western Sahara and Mauritania but O2 is said to be OK.

To make the best of the Moroccan coverage (and overcome the problem above), take a spare mobile with you to Morocco and buy a local SIM card (~£2). If the mobile isn't unlocked there will be someone who will do that for you. Now top the card up and use it to keep in touch with your fellow travellers, make hotel bookings ahead, and so forth.

Your passport will need to be valid until your return ticket, or for three months which is the longest for which you can get entry. A visa is not required for British nationals. You don't need an international driving licence, but should take your British driving licence. You don't need a carnet but will need your vehicle logbook (V5) and check the address matches that of your driving licence!

Motorcycle insurance: ideally you should get fully comprehensive green card coverage from your own insurer, however please note that many insurance companies reduce the green card cover from fully comp to third party for the Moroccan part of the trip. Theft of large-capacity bikes isn’t a concern as locals can’t register them or get parts, but you would be liable for own-fault crashes. If you don’t organise insurance in advance you will have to purchase border insurance (third party) when you enter the country. The current rates are something like 60 euros for 2 weeks and 89 euros for 4 weeks.

Essential: Tetanus and polio
Strong recommendation: Hepatitis A
Recommended: Typhoid, Diptheria, TB, Hepatitis B, Rabies

The vaccinations are only suggested, not mandatory (you won't be turned away if you don't have them). They are similar to those needed for other countries, so if you plan to travel a lot it's a good idea. Some of these injections can be combined, e.g. Hep-A/Typhoid, Diptheria/Tetanus/Polio. You would need a booster for Hep-A six months down the line. Then a typhoid revaccination after three years, the others after ten years. Malaria is practically eliminated, but avoid mosquito bites by using cream/nets.

Travel/medical insurance: check it covers motorcycling over 125cc. Take the policy document/booklet with you plus a note of your policy number. UNAT (tel 020-8662 8145) used to administer the BMW Travel Insurance and will provide motorcycle cover for an additional £15 per person. provides motorcycling cover for Morocco (any country bordering Med), 10 days = £11.40 standard, £14.72 super cover.

Currency: You can’t buy Moroccan Dirhams (MAD) until you get to Morocco, and the exchange places at the border only take cash, so you will need some money in sterling or Euros. Once within Morocco the easiest way to get MAD is from ATMs (cash points). Most ATMs take credit cards rather than Switch. Make sure you have your PIN codes for the card(s) and if you don’t normally use them, check now that they work by withdrawing some cash before you go!

French for ATM is 'guichet' (counter). At Tanger there's a couple of ATMs and banks on the right immediately after customs, at Ceuta you need to ride on a couple of km to Fnediq where there's an ATM on the right by the second roundabout. Some ATMs will automatically switch to English when you put your card in, others you need to select the Union Flag.

1 MAD is about 6.3p. £1= 15.75 MAD. Petrol is slightly cheaper than the UK. Petrol stations and other places won’t take credit cards, and when they do there’s often a 5% surcharge.

Speed limits are 40 kph (25 mph) in towns and 100 kph (62 mph) in open country. As you approach a town the limits will go 100 -> 80 -> 60 -> 40. You MUST give way to traffic from the right, even though it’s a smaller road. Police impose on-the-spot fines in an attempt to reduce road accidents. Radar traps are increasingly used.

[edit: Oct 2014] Radar guns are used throughout Morocco to control speeding. The fine used to be 400 dh, but things have changed recently and it's now a three-tier system, if you are between 1 and 19 kph over the limit it's a fine of 300 dh, between 20 and 29 kph it's 500 dh and 30 kph or over it's 700 dh. The radar detectors now store images of the vehicles and the speed recorded, and the officers have to account for any shortfall in revenues collected, so the old days of offering a 100 dh 'gift' to forget the incident are over.

The town police (Sûreté Nationale) have a dark blue uniform with light blue shirts. The provincial police (Gendarmerie Royal) have light grey uniforms and you will often see pairs of gendarmes examining traffic on the main roads in and out of towns.

Recovery insurance: BMW European recovery services don't cover Morocco. If there's a breakdown and a bike is unrepairable locally, the only thing is to get it onto a van back up to Ceuta or Algeciras. The rider (and V5) will need to be with the bike/van to get it through the border and get the vehicle exit stamp in the rider's passport.

For assistance within Morocco, contact
Ouarzazate: Bikers Home (Peter/Zineb) +212 707.856.40
Ouarzazate: Wilderness Wheels (Peter) +212 24 88 81 28
Casablanca: BMW Smeia, +212 22 50 07 00 (BMW bike dealer) N33 35.881 W7 34.952
Casablanca: Moto Plus, 86 Rue Hadj Ammar Riffi, Mers Sultan +212 522 20 38 15, N33 35.149 W7 36.854.

Construction has started on a Marrakech BMW dealership which is likely to be open in 2010.

112 is an internationally recognised GSM emergency number and, irrespective of which country you are in, calls should connect to the local emergency telephone number. From landlines the emergency police telephone numbers are
- 190 in urban areas for city police
- 177 in countryside for Gendarmerie Royal
British Embassy in Rabat: +212 37 63 33 33

Due to high demand for cellphone numbers, Morocco will move to a 10-digit numbering system with effect from 6 March. Fixed-line phone numbers starting with 02 or 03 will change into 052 and 053. Mobile phone numbers starting with 01, 04, 05, 06 or 07 will have a 5 after 0, while those starting with 08 or 09 will become 080 and 089.

To dial, from abroad, a Moroccan land-line number starting with +2122 or + 2123, add 5 before 2 or 3 (i.e. 21252 or 21253).

When calling a mobile phone starting with +2121, +2124, +2125, +2126 or +2127, a 6 should be added before 1, 4, 5, 6 or 7. For international calls to numbers starting with +2128 or +2129, replace 8 by 80 and 9 by 89.

The changes won't affect international calls from Morocco, special service numbers and emergency numbers.


Although there are some organised camping grounds, there's little saving to be made, given the low cost of local accommodation, and the weight of the additional equipment involved makes bikes rather heavy for piste riding. If you really want to sleep under canvas, many hotels offer permanent 'bedu style' tents set up in the gardens or roofs as a cheap option which is certainly viable in the summer months.

Camping 'wild' (away from towns without a tent) at the time of the new moon is a great experience and as well as more stars than you have ever viewed, you will see satelites and maybe even the space station pass overhead. Just take a thermarest and sleeping bag.

If you still want information on sites, check out Gandini's 'Campings du Maroc' with details of 160 sites: or this campsite list ( in German):

Low-price local hotels in towns seldom have alcohol or swimming facilities, however most have the basics of western-style toilets, hot water and clean sheets with typical rates in the region of 120-200 dirham (£8-£13) per night for a twin room.

If you want a rest from local culture--something predictably 'western' with pool and bar that you can book over the Internet--the Ibis hotels in Meknes, Fes, Marrakech, etc are conveniently located in the modern quarters of towns, often next to MacDonalds! Go to and stick Morocco in the search box. Typical rate of 420 dirham (£28 ) for twin room.
Tanger: N35 42.888 W5 54.215
Fnediq: N35 51.384 W5 20.904 (Moroccan side of Ceuta border)
Oujda: N34 40.894 W1 55.339
Meknes: N33 53.739 W5 33.242
Fes: N34 02.771 W5 00.246
Rabat: N34 01.107 W6 48.913 (est)
Casablanca: N33 35.412 W7 35.460 (Gare Voyagers)
Casablanca: N33 35.898 W7 36.764 (City Centre, no pool)
El Jadida: N33 14.717 W8 29.434
Marrakech: N31 37.782 W8 01.111 (City Centre)
Marrakech: N31 40.703 W7 59.972 (Palmeraie)
Ouarzazate: N30 55.237 W6 54.243
Agadir: N30 24.620 W9 34.970

Often you will be approached by locals on the outskirts of a town offering to show you a hotel (and coming with you to collect their reward from the owner). Their objective of maximum commission might not align with your objective, and a more informed choice can be made by asking a local traffic duty policeman. He's likely to direct you to a fairly upmarket hotel, but at least won't be coming with you.

Recommended accommodation (sorted north to south) - thanks to Timolgra, Activmoto, Jochser, Petercul and others. If you are recommending a hotel or a place, please say why you think others would like it (rather than just "we went there").

Algeciras - Hotel Reina Cristina: N36 07.391 W5 26.696
Custard Tart/Stormchaser: grand Victorian-style hotel, reasonable rates

Asilah - Al Khaima: N35 28.493 W6 01.527
Tim: Close to Tanger, seaside hotel with pool and bar. Tel: +212 39 41 74 28

Larache - Hotel España, Av. Hassan II No 6. Tel +212 39 91 31 95/Fax 39 91 56 28.
Petcul: Right in the Middle of Larache near the seafront and the old quarter. Comfortable, clean and ensuite/shared bathroom facilities. From 122dh a night. Estimated N35 11.703 W6 09.185.

Sidi Kassem - Hotel el Magreb: N34 13.568 W5 42.788
Tim: basic but fine for overnight stop and only 70DH single ensuite

Fes - Hotel Batha: N34 03.621 W4 58.916 (NEW)
Tim: Graceful building next to Bab Boujeloud (western edge of medina). Beware: hotel has a track record of overbooking, so make sure yours is confirmed. Tel: +212 55 74 10 77

Azrou - Gite Ras El Ma: N33 27.803 W5 08.814
Tim: set in lovely countryside with English speaking couple and great food. 300 dirham half board

Khénifra - Riad Zayane N32 56.099 W5 39.757
Tim: clean and modern but rather boring. Tel: +212 35 58 60 20

Marrakech - Hotel Ali: N31 37.477 W7 59.396
Tim: right next to Djemma El Fnaa square, 250 dirhams for twin incl b'fast, Internet and hamman. A trekking hostel that can organise anything!

Marrakech - Riyad Nora: N31 37.340 W7 58.941
Old town, close to Djemma El Fnaa square, quiet elegant retreat.

Ouarzazate - Bikers' Home: N30 53.864 W6 54.083
Tim: run by Peter (dutch guy) and Zineb (moroccan wife). Also offers recovery service. 300 dirham half board. Tel: +212.707.856.40

El Kelaa M'Gouna - Itran Kasbah: N31 15.501 W6 08.146
Tim: perched on a cliff in the beautiful Valley of the Roses. Tel: +212 62 62 22 03

Gorge of Todra - Auberge le Festival, aka Chez Addi (N31 37.297 W5 33.677)
Tim: a small auberge/campsite situated 4km north of the high part of the gorge. Solar panels feed batteries for 12v lights at night. Great b'fast. Tel: +212 61 26 72 51

Tinerhir - Hotel Tomboctou: N31 30.913 W5 32.029
Timolgra: A beautifully restored riyad

Tinerhir - Hotel Bougafer: N31 30.199 W5 32.476
Tim: modern hotel with bar, pool.

Adgz - Auberge Berbere D'Ouriz: N30 40.848 W6 25.668
Tim: an inexpensive and rather basic small auberge, great for atmosphere

Zagora - Sahara Sky: N30 14.204 W5 36.478
Kasbah-style hotel with observatory on the roof. Laid-back German owner.

Tafroute - Hotel Tafroute
Timolgra: watch the sunrise from the terrace

Tafroute - Hotel les Amandiers, N29 43.018 W8 58.528
Tim: modern, rather soulless, but clean. Tel: +212 48 80 00 88
Timolgra: very posh

Tafroute - restaurant Star of the South (L´Etoile du Sud)

Midelt - Timnay: N32 45.090 W4 55.145
Tim: About 25 km north of Midelt, specialises in 4x4 type groups. Tel: +212

Midelt - Auberge de Jaffar: N32 38.672 W4 46.351 NEW
Tim: 7km west of Midelt in the foothills on the Cirque du Jaffar road. Pool and sometimes evening entertainment.

Erfoud - Auberge Erg Chebbi
Timolgra: in the dunes

Erfoud - Desert Inn (aka Auberge Kasbah Derkoua): N31 17.390 W4 05.532
500 MAD half board. Tel: +212 35 57 71 40

Erfoud - Palm Club: N31 24.584 W4 14.941
Tim: edge of town, pool and beer

Erfound - Xaluca: N31 29.211 W4 12.790
Spanish-owned theme hotel. Some may think it's tasteful, others kitsch. Expensive, and food not so good, but nice pool.

Merzouga - Kasbah Mohayut: N31 07.887 W4 00.953

Merzouga - Kasbah Panorama: N31 06.873 W4 00.765

Taliouine - Auberge Souktana: N30 31.546 W7 54.309
Tim: Run by Michelle (French) and Ahmed who knows the surrounding area very well. French-inspired decor and good food. Tel: +212 48 53 40 75.
Petcul: Great Auberge to stay in. Inexpensive and very comfortable. Food is great. Ahmad Jadid is both extremely knowledgeable and helpful. He is a mountain guide. Highly recommended.

El Ouatia (Tan Tan Plage) - Villa Ocean Maison D'Hotes: N28 29.343 W11 20.638
Tim: Relaxed place on the beach run by French couple. Tel: +212

Laayoune - Le Roi Bedouin Campsite: N27 39.033 W13 04.750
Petercul: Idyllic site run by Belgian couple, Luc and Martine

This is the latest release of the hotel and campsite waypoint collection with more than 220 listings. Some of the entries include telephone/email/web contact details, also an idea of price, and sometimes the facilities (pool, bar, wifi etc). It's in .gpx format so should be usable with all GPS receivers.

Post #5 on this thread


This is a placeholder (post not yet finalised)

GSHeaven has three 1200GS Adventures for hire in southern Spain and is happy with them being taken into Morocco. Contact Russell Howard on 0845 0046398,

MotoAdvenTours offers bike, van and trailer storage in southern Spain along with offroad and road tours of Spain, Morocco and Czech Republic,

BikesHome in Ouarzazate can organise trail bikes. Contact Peter Buitelaar at

Bike hire in Marrakech
Marrakech Deux-Roues:
Loco for Motos (F650GS):
Marrakech Hotels:


World of BMW
Wildcat Tours
Moto Morocco
A great place to stay- warm welcome & 'Marseilles' hospitality and great food too!

Contact : Patricia
GPS N31 27.297 W009 44.747
Km 7, route d'Agadir Ghazoua, Essaouira
Belle de Mai

Arrived late with the stranded Brits in the landy and could not find anywhere- despite the hotel being full, we were allowed to set up our tents in the courtyard and use the showers too.

Heartily recommend it if you're headed down that way and she's got great dogs too! keep the gate shut!!
Border procedures - police form and customs form

Copied from another are the three forms you'll need to complete on entry (and hand one in on departure, see below) to Morocco.

This is the Police one....often available on the boat where a police little bloke will sit with a laptop and get all the forms stamped up.
You can also get them from the place you get your tickets from usually.

NOTE...if you've been before, you will get a CIN number...written into your passport......if you have one, write it across the top and bottom of this form nice and saves them work and also shows them you know what you're doing...they like that ;)

(Write in French style numbers though or your '1' and '7' may confuse them)


PS we always write 'Fez' in any destination/address in Morocco boxes........just makes life easier all round so you're not working out how to spell Ouazazarte etc...if they ask if it's a hotel, say it's the 'Hotel Fez' (it's a genuine hotel ;) )

Keep the 'coming from' simple as well.......'London' will do, and it's easily recognisable for them.

Just keep it consistant and simple :thumb


This is the Douane form (Customs) for the temporary import of a's as important as your passport to them, so DO NOT LOSE IT!!!!!

It's in triplicate- White (you keep, permanently) Green (They keep on the way out of the country ) and Yellow (they keep on the way into the country)

You may be asked for the white copy at any police checkpoint, and at some hotels as well...keep it with your passport.

If you lose your white copy, you may be liable for importation taxes on the vehicle when you leave...and MAKE SURE YOU KEEP THE WHITE COPIES AND TAKE THEM BACK EVERY TRIP!

(It's the only proof you took the vehicle out next November, it turned out they hadn't signed the Landy out a couple of weeks they were asking me how I was bringing IN a vehicle that was already IN the country....luckily, I had the previous white copy, all stamped up, to prove it had left the previous month!!)

The front is for you to fill in, the back for them.



Copied from my previous thread about entry/exit procedures at the Fnediq border (next to Ceuta). The layout of the cabins changes regularly, but the concept is the same...

When purchasing your ferry tickets at Algeciras, ask for white Moroccan immigration forms. You need two varients of these, one for entry, one for exit. Use the time on the ferry to complete them. [If you get the boat to Tanger the immigration/passport procedures are done on board. Look for a queue of people holding passports.]

As you leave Spanish Morocco, you will be directed into a holding area for processing your entry into Morocco. You can safely ignore anyone not wearing either a gun or a pale blue customs uniform. There are lots of touts who are there to relieve you of money in exchange for smoothing your entry, but it's much more of an achievement to get through without 'help'. Also it's often quicker as the touts make everything seem very complex to show you how you need their help. The 'helpers' are often relatives of the officials, who then get a kickback on the fees. :eek: Personally, I never make payments and I make a game of getting through faster than the groups who do. :bounce1

1. Find an office that has the green triplicate import form for the bike (Declaration d’Importation Temporaire de Moyens de Transport). Write down your name (first, family), your nationality, passport number, and number of nights you are staying. Then the bike registration and country (GB), the manufacturer and model, and the chassis number from your V5.

2. Go to the passport window and hand in your passport and white immigration form. You will get a stamp and a number in the passport. Add the number onto the green import form after your nationality (second line).

3. Go to the BMCE bank and change some money. If you don't already have green card cover go to the Assurance Frontiere office to arrange. This will cost 59€ or 558MAD for 10 days and about 80€ for a month.

4. Now go back to the office where you got the green form and hand in the passport, green import form, your V5 and either the green card or the border insurance. The forms will be stamped.

5. Now find the head honcho in the pale blue uniform (probably sitting down somewhere in the shade) to let him see and initial everything.

6. You can now ride forward to the actual customs post, but don't put anything away as you'll need to show everything again.

The return trip is much easier. You need to queue with your passport and white exit form. Then queue again to hand in the two remaining sheets of the temporary import form, one of which will be returned to you.

I prefer Tanger myself, it's a short ride to the dual carriageway leading out of town, and then to the motorway to Larache.

Just as an update to the layout at Cueta now......

They're using the two huts under the covered area.
Confusingly, they are both marked up as being Douane (customs) but they seem to swap and change randomly- a cynic might suggest it's so the 'helpers' can get involved as they know the people and can identify which booth to go to first by the person in it.

The Inpsector who has to give you the second stamp once everything else is completed 'floats' in the area...just look for the smartest uniform or the bloke everyone else seems to be kowtowing to most and that'll be him.

The insurance office is set in the buildings to the left, IE the side closet to the sea- one big change though, the company providing the insurance now say you can't get it for a named number of days, it's got to be 5 days, a month or a year.....I suspect this is B.S though because you can still stipulate the number of days you want with the same company at their main office in Marrakech :spitfire

On busier days, you'll now find the Police part of the procedure happens on the boat and is announced on the tannoy- you'll find a Police guy sitting with his helper over a laptop with his stamps on the table in front of him- quite convenient because you can do that part of the process in the 'dead time' on the boat.

In Tangiers it's park up under the canopy and have to wait for them to come to you- this makes it a less confusing process but the 'helpers' are in more control- if you pay them, they'll expedite things, if you don't you'll be waiting until last before the officials get to you.

It's for that reason (and the risks of driving through crime ridden Tangiers city centre) that we use Cueta...there, as long as you know what you're doing, you are in control and can get through quickly because you're not waiting for them to come to you.

As has been mentioned though, don't park up just outside the compound in Cueta where all the taxis are waiting unless you want non-stop hassle from the beggars and kids selling single cigarettes and gum- make sure you glove up and ride out of the vicinity rather than stopping.
I prefer Tanger myself, it's a short ride to the dual carriageway leading out of town, and then to the motorway to Larache.

On a bike I'd probably is a less stressful route through, and certainly quicker to get south.

We had some fun in the Landy in October though.......luckily I've got a camera mounted to point down at the back doors (it can be moved up to watch the trailer when we're towing) and three times at traffic lights going through Tangiers, we had blokes jumping on the back of the landy and wrenching at the back doors trying to get in..we could see them perfectly on the screen on the dash......Tim slammed the brakes on the first time to make them fall off, then I got out at the next lights and chased them the third set of lights we were getting a bit pissed off with it so MrIfan and I jumped out of different doors and charged round the back bellowing rather loudly.....

40 stone of angry, travel dirty blokes charging at them made them back off quite nicely :D

I must admit I've not gone through Tangiers on a bike yet, but I'd certainly not be wanting to stop's a nasty, aggressive place (unusual for Morocco) and has been the only place we've seen blatant attempts at robbery on the street anywhere in the country.:mad:
Update on Gorge of the Todra

Following the floods experience by Timolgra, Steptoe et al in November, I've received an update from the owner of Auberge Le Festival (Chez Adi)...

Hello Tim

The road is ok up to where we are. There is just about 40 meters distance off-road when you drive past the Hotel Yasmina up towards Le Festival and it is fairly good. I am myself driving on it on a daily basis with a normal car - a Mercedes 190. However the road to Tamtatoucht starting from Le Festival is a bit difficult for small cars as there is a distance of about 3 km on the river bed, unfortunately for the projects up in the village.

The weather now is nice though cold in the mornings. We hope it will continue as it is now, otherwise it would be tough for me to cover my expenses, especially with the finishing works in the troglodytes [Ed: caves]. Hope everything is fine with you. And with all my best wishes for the coming new year I say bye to you.


Excellent site which will be essential viewing for Morocco and beyond.

You dont have to be gentle with me - I like a bit of rough.......

I recommend the CTM Hotel in Jmaa el Fnaa with secure bike parking beside hotel entrance.
In Essaouira try the Hotel des Remparts, and park your bike inside the hotel.

Big Fun!
Just returned from 4 week trip. I'd strongly recommend the following two places. Found them both to be very friendly, English speaking, excellent value for your Dirhams ....... and importantly full of 'atmosphere'.

M'Hamid (south of Zagora): Hotel Restaurant Sahara / Chez Habib Naamani, B.P. 1 M'Hamid 45400 Tel. +212 (0) 61 87 16 44 . Email:

Baddou, Tamtattouchte (18k des Gorges du Todra). Provision for camping, and rooms with or without showers. Food is EXCELLENT and good value. Atmosphere Funky / off beat! Place is managed by Ahmed Abaz (speaks English). Part-owned by German couple (often there), Irma & Guri Sils. 00212(0)72521389. Fax: 00212 35884405

pic: Baddou.


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Earthmover's 'You had to be there' tour, Apr 2007

Moto Morocco inaugural tour, Nov 2006:

Tart’N’Bear Tours Soft core to Morocco and Back, Mar 2006:

Four French thumpers, Apr 2006:

Tim Cullis et al
May 2007 - Stairway to Heaven:
Jan 2007 - Sleeping beside the bike:
Apr 2006 - A piste too far:
Jan 2006 - Carry on Dakar:
May 2005 - Marrakech Express:

Nov 2006:
Apr 2006:

Steptoe's Moroccan Dash, Apr 2006:

Spanish Bob, Apr 2005:

Snoopy, Apr 2006:

French GSers, Jan 2005:

Czech bikers: and

Mike Werner, Jan 2005:

Greg Masters, May 2003:

Paul (Wildebeeste):

Swiss GSer:

BMW K75S rider who’s a bit naive at times:

Renault 19 hits the pistes:

Common hassles (and how to avoid them):

Worldly wise write-up:

Mainly by car, but good for atmosphere:

Notes from a Belgian guy:

Picture library:

GSers on world tour:

timolgra said:
This six and a half minute film clip I've made was of two Moroccan trips with GSs in the spring of '05 and '06.

Turn the sound up and start planning for your next trip.
I must admit I've not gone through Tangiers on a bike yet, but I'd certainly not be wanting to stop's a nasty, aggressive place (unusual for Morocco) and has been the only place we've seen blatant attempts at robbery on the street anywhere in the country.:mad:

I would agree with you there Fanum. I headed for Tanger after a couple of days in Essaouira(i had left you in Marra on the Sunday) with the intention of arriving late afternoon and booking into a hotel for the night...then up early for a little Tanger Tour before getting the ferry to Tarifa.As soon as i got into Tanger my plans melted away as the feel of the place was quite intimidating......lots of young men dressed in western style clothes just hanging about on street corners.....absolutely no women to be seen at all....thats a bad sign in my book.i found the ferry terminal so parked up and went in for a ticket for the last ferry to Tarifa......a few choice words to the arrogant looking youth eyeing my bike seemed to have kept him away from it as it was untouched when i came out with my ticket.The young men wearing the dayglo jackets with the ferry companies name's on the back were not employees of the company so some more choice words kept them away from me...the fact it was Ramadan meant things were delayed by 2 hours whilst the police and ferry employees had their dinner.I managed to fill in all necessary forms and eventually got on the ferry quite relieved to be leaving Tanger.....though not Morocco in general.On the whole i had no problems whatsoever after almost 3 weeks and 3 thousand miles in the country.As you say Tanger is an exception to the rule.......its bloody horrible...and after a long day in the saddle the last thing most people would want are some arrogant youths eyeing up your motorbike and shackles.Having said that i hear Ketama too is abit lawless by all acounts.


Every time you check into a hotel you are asked to complete a registration form. Save yourself some time and make up some 'fiches' to hand over instead. The registration staff will staple it to the form.

The main purpose, however, is for travelling in the south of Morocco, Western Sahara and beyond where every five minutes there's someone wanting to know all your details.

The attached spreadsheet is designed to print four fiches per A4 page. Trim them and they are just the right size to fit into your passport.

Fiche Spreadsheet

Obviously you can't complete the date of entry into Morocco, town of entry and Police Number in advance...


From Santander head directly south for Burgos on the N623 (rather than the A8 via Bilbao). The N623 a fine road for bikes. Once you get to Burgos you are on an autovia (free motorway).

You come into Madrid on the A1 (Autovia del Norte) and leave on the A4 (Autovia del Sur). Traverse Madrid using either the M30 or the M40. You will probably find it signposted Bailén.

Bailén is an otherwise insignificant town north of Jaen where the route splits and you can either follow the A4 via Cordoba or the A44 via Granada.

Stop overnight at one of the excellent hostels in the 'via del servicios' (motorway service roads). Typical cost of €20-25 single ensuite room with TV and aircon. Bar and restaurant downstairs. Evening meal (menu del dia) might be as low as €10 including a bottle of wine!

Between Málaga and Algeciras you have the choice of the A7 (free autovia) or the AP7 (toll autopiste). The A7 is by far the most dangerous bit of road you will face on your Moroccan adventure and is often referred to as the 'Autovia del Muerte' (death road) so I would advise spending some money and taking the AP7.


I rode the route further west via Valladolid, Salamanca and Sevilla in 2006 and again in 2008. There's been substantial road improvements on this route. Although not shown on Garmin CityNav 2008 much of it is now Autovia and I reckon it's now faster than going via Madrid.

Both these routes are fairly scenic and considering they are main roads/motorways they are fairly interesting.


Some notes from QuePasaJero from the Horizons Unlimited forum. He's lives near Madrid, so obviously knows the area...

I thought I'd mention that a less-busy route to take around Madrid (particularly the southern part), is the M45. It starts sometime after the A5 (when coming from the north on the M40, and starts right off the M40) and goes all the way around till past the A3 (not sure if it reaches the A2 though). It's a 120kmph motorway (rather than the 100kmph limit on the M40) and there tends to be a lot less traffic on it. Plus the turn onto the A4 is further from the city so you'll skip a few kms of hellish traffic.

You might also want to add a note on the R4 (the toll-road parallel to the A4) in case people end up leaving/entering the madrid area during rush hour (anytime from about 5-10pm). It goes on for quite a bit and once it spills onto the A4 again you're well away from the city and much of the traffic.

Three more little tidbits I thought I'd mention:
1: Might want to point out Despeñaperros (on the A4 - the slow-driving and extremely curvy bit downhill) as a place to watch out (particularly with all the heavy traffic there).

2. A great place to stop, and with some amazing views, is the Bar Pepe... it's like a timetravel machine into the Franco era with all kinds of francoist parafernalia. If I'm not mistaken it's only accesible on the way south and it's near the top of Despeñaperros. Anyway, if you find that a worthwhile piece of info just tell me and I'll make sure on all the details.

3. A little road safety tip in Spain: If you're on the road when it just starts raining, particularly in the southern half of the country, be extremely careful on the road. Because it rains so little, there's often months worth of grime, dirt and oil that comes loose off the tarmac, so that what appears to be just a regular wet road like you're used to in northern europe can actually be much slippier (I lived for about 8 years in Holland and the difference in grip of your tires can be quite big). It's incidentally also the reason why locals slow down a LOT just when it starts to rain, and within a couple of hours are driving like they always do. Generally this is only the case on the first rainfall after the summer.

I agree Casa Pepe and its falangist memorabilia is certainly worth seeing, it's on the A4 south at N38 25.114 W3 30.045
Two more places to stay both in


Auberge Du Dernier Lion De L'Atlas
Villa no. 16
route de Meknes.
gsm 0021262156488
It's worth checking ahead as the auberge caters for groups of Peace Corps volunteers and is sometimes full.
There is secure parking

Ecole Hoteliere Privee EPAIG
Place my Hachem ben Salleh
Azrou Centre
gsm 002162064242
This is a lovely old riad in the centre of town that also runs as a hotel school.


Hotel Taiba
Bv. Hassan II
A comfortable hotel with wi-fi
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So you don't waste time sitting around as I did. If you've been through the Atlas area of Morocco (middle bit) you can't give blood for 6 months from return date.
Insurance at Ceuta/Fnediq crossing is still not possible. I believe there is somewhere in Fnediq just after the border, otherwise

Assurances Randa S.A.R.L.
Siége Social 2
Ave. Mohamed Torres
Tel: 039 965602


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