Major cities in Morocco are connected by a good network of relatively uncongested roads, but driving within Marrakech is not recommended due to almost constant traffic jams of trucks, cars, daredevil scooters, clueless pedestrians and stubborn donkeys. Many of the new roads in the Palmeraie (palm grove) outside Marrakech aren’t yet paved, and a 4-wheel drive is recommended. Traffic drives on the right in Marrakech, and the minimum driving age is 18 years. The official speed limits are 100kph (62mph) outside towns and 40kph (25mph) in urban areas. There are frequent road blocks once you get outside Marrakech, so drivers should keep their papers accessible. The Moroccan authorities acknowledge most foreign driving licences, but an International Driving Permit is recommended.
Emergency breakdown service:
There is no general breakdown service – hire cars should have emergency breakdown details on board. For accidents, contact the police (tel: 19).
Marrakech is linked to Casablanca by the P7, to Fes by the P24, to Ouarzazate by the P31, to Essaouira by the P10, and to Agadir via the P10 then P40.
From Casablanca – 3 hours; Agadir – 3 hours and 30 minutes; Fes – 7 hours; Essaouira – 2 hours 30 minutes; Atlas Mountains – 1 hour 8 minutes.
Most services between Morocco’s major cities and towns are run by CTM (tel: 05244 47420; www.ctm.ma ), the national coach company. CTM’s urban and intercity routes leave from Marrakech’s Gare Routière (central bus station), on the northwestern edge of the old city. Bus tickets can be purchased in advance from the main bus station or at the Guéliz CTM office on Boulevard Mohammed Zerktouni. It is no cheaper but it will guarantee a seat, which is particularly advisable on routes that run a limited service.
Eurolines (tel: 0871 781 8181; www.eurolines.co.uk ) runs services to Marrakech from destinations all over Europe. International buses arrive and in the Guéliz CTM office on Boulevard Mohammed Zerktouni.
Supratours (tel: (05244 35525) provides comfortable, air-conditioned express bus services from Essaouira, Agadir and Laayoune. Buses depart and arrive from the Supratours station next door to the train station. You can purchase tickets in advance at the Supratours station or via your hotel or riad.
By TrainTrains run regularly between Marrakech and Casablanca. The trip takes about 3 hours. If you want to go to Fez, Tangier or Meknes then you can take the train through Rabat (4 hours from Marrakech). More about train travel in Morocco and specific information about the overnight train between Tangier and Marrakech. It’s best to take a taxi to the train station in Marrakech, since it’s quite far from the old town (if that’s where you’re staying) or see www.oncf.ma .
By BusThere are three national bus companies that operate between Marrakech and most major towns and cities in Morocco. They are Supratours, CTM and SATAS. According to recent traveler accounts on VirtualTourist.com SATAS doesn’t have a very good reputation. Long-distance buses are comfortable and usually air-conditioned. You can buy your tickets at the bus depot. Supratours buses are handy if you are traveling onward by train since they stop at the Marrakech train station. The other bus companies arrive and depart from the long distance bus station near Bab Doukkala, a 20 minute walk from Jema el-Fna.