We are an American family of three with an 8-year old. Would it generally be considered safe for us to drive the 3-4 hours from Casablanca to Marrakesh?
The A-7 is a divided highway with two lanes in each direction, so it should be easy driving. Do drive defensively. The greater risk, from my experience, is out near the desert when you're on a 1.5-lane-wide road and come face to face with a large truck taking its half out of the middle.
But unless you need the car both before and after this leg of the trip, I recommend the direct train ride, 3h 20m.
You may also want to have a look at this website, especially the "Travel & Transportation" section.....
It would also be good to read the "Safety & Security" section.
Thank you Laura and Ken.
Driving in Morocco is something like I've never seen before in my life!!
On the main road, Casablanca to Marrakech, it was much like the USA's interstate, except our experience is that drivers will come right up to the car in front of them....shockingly close!! We had a professional driver (who was arranged by the riad in which we stayed....a top-rated one with excellent reviews), and we could not believe the experience.
At night on the road, we also saw farm trucks (which were the size of typical pick-up trucks in America) loaded...and I do mean loaded, as in at least twice the width of the truck and double the height with what appeared to be hay. When I inquired, the driver explained they were not supposed to be on the road, so they transported the hay at night. It was fascinating, and I expressed an interest to my husband (who was in the front seat) to get a photo the next time we saw one. The driver then got (what seemed like) five feet behind the next truck and put on his bright lights. WOW!!
It appeared the method of signaling to a driver that you wanted him to pull into a lane so one could pass was to pull RIGHT UP to their bumper (no matter how fast one is driving).
In Marrakech, we have photos of some of the most creative vehicle combinations we have ever seen......part motorcycle, part used refrigerator, etc.
I personally would not recommend driving, but I'm sure many many folks drive without problems. And, yes, definitely check the State Department advisories.
Visiting Morocco was an experience we will never forget.
You didn't ask about safety in the market places. But, in Marrakech we were approached twice by men claiming to have been our breakfast waiters (we had female servers), offering inexpensive tours, etc. Hotel warned us in advance. Prices in the shops wee unbelievably high.....$1900 for a box, which we then saw for $300 (exact same thing) at another shop. Lots of pressure to buy things.
A young man who was on our balloon trip, told us someone in the market place threw a monkey on him and then what appeared to be a dead snake (I have to admit I'd much rather have a dead one thrown at me than a live cobra). I asked our guide to be sure no monkeys or snakes came my way :) An true experience!!! You will see everything, things you never dreamed you would see. And, it is a lesson in just how diverse our world is.
I know that Casa to Marrakesh isn't the same, but beware of what can happen if there's any accident.
Many, many years ago while visiting a French friend who was teaching in an Atlas Mountains town we came upon a fatal accident on a small road. My husband left us at the road to slow any approaching traffic while he went to the closest town to get the police. The officials showed up once they had finished their lunch but started questioning us, native French speakers, more than any other person who had stopped to help or rubberneck. We realized they were trying to pin the accident on us. The only thing that saved our hides from Legal troubles over the men's deaths was that the truck driver who had hit the two bicyclists had abandoned his truck in a field next to the road and the police could see it. Not my favorite place to drive-- never again.
I appreciate all the advice and resources. Thank you.