Updated Summer 2020
Money Moroccan dirham exchange rates. In some places you can pay in euros.
Price of fuel
About 10.6dh for unleaded, 9.3dh for diesel. In Western Sahara 30% cheaper except at the last fuel station at the Mauritanian frontier (but still cheaper than Mauritania). In the Spanish port enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla the price in euros is about the same as Morocco.
World fuel prices.
Costs Moderate. It’s easy to get a basic hotel down south for 200 dirhams half-board per person. At that price I don’t bother with camping on a moto.
Languages Arabic, Berber, French, English.
Visas In most cases not required in advance. South Africa is an exception.
The border with Algeria has been closed since 1996 and although Morocco may wish otherwise, it’s unlikely to open. If it does, it will probably be limited to locals and not foreign tourists (as with many other Saharan borders). Plus there’s the Algerian visa business to get round.
Mountain and Desert pistes
Morocco is more popular than ever and rightly so; it’s the best place to explore the fringes of the Sahara without a trans-Saharan commitment. And while not long, some of the routes are as scenically impressive as anything in the Sahara.
Over 10,000-km and 65 routes: it’s all in the full-colour edition of Morocco Overland.
The ability to roam through the ‘Western Sahara‘ south of Tan-Tan is limited, but off-roaders do go there.
The N1 Atlantic Highway passes Laayoune and Dakhla on the way to the Mauritanian border north of Nouadhibou. There is a temptation to shoot through, especially if you’re heading for West Africa, but slow down, look around, and you’ll find a few places to explore.
Here in WS there are pistes and now roads going inland until you come across the militarized Berm (wall; right) which separates the Moroccan-controlled coastal portion of Western Sahara from the Polisario Free Zone inland (see this). Other people’s travel in WS here and here and here (with maps) and here, but be aware there are landmines in this area which are not always clearly marked.
In the Western Sahara (coast road or elsewhere) checkpoints are frequent and handing out a pre-printed form with your details saves time. You can download a Word template for the form (as left) by clicking this.
From Morocco to Mauritania
There is now a fuel station right on the frontier at N21° 21.8′ W16° 57.6′, 80-odd kms south of Motel Barabas where there’s also fuel and food. The next fuel is up to double the price at the junction for Nouakchott. Because of this, the Mauritanians may not take well to piles of Moroccan fuel in jerricans.
For full details on the Moroccan-Mauritanian border see the Mauritania page.