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driving versus hiring taxi

DC
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driving versus hiring taxi

We are 2 couples going to Morocco in November and trying to decide between renting a car to drive to different cities ourselves or hiring a grand taxi with a driver. The main portion of the trip I'm concerned about is from Marrakech to Ait Benhaddou to the Sahara Desert (Erg Chebbi) and then to Fes.

I was wondering if anyone could give me information and advice as to which is better in terms of the following:

1. Price: Since there are four of us, I thought a grand taxi with a driver might be much more economical than a car rental, which I've heard is pretty expensive, especially compared to regular American prices. Is this true?

2. Flexibility: Renting a car would probably give us the most control over our schedule. I am wondering how it works if we hire a grand taxi and driver -- will the driver be able to stay with us over several days and drive us according to our itinerary?

3. Safety: I am wondering how safe or difficult it is to drive in Morocco if you are normally used to American roads and traffic. Is it hard to find your way around?

I was also wondering about the logistics of renting a car or hiring a taxi & driver. What car rental companies are recommended and about how much is the cost? If we want to hire a taxi and driver, is it better to do this before we arrive so that it is already planned? How much does this usually cost?

Marrakech
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1. Re: driving versus hiring taxi

For car hire prices it would be best to do a search online. Look at the websites of the well known companies i.e. Avis, Europcar, Alamo, Sixt, etc, that offer breakdown cover and assistance, just in case you should need it!

If you were to use a grand taxi you would have to negotiate a price with the driver, and if he was willing to do a tour you would have to cover his accommodation and food costs.

As for safety, the standards are not the same as European destinations. A number of roads are narrow with no edging and no lighting - it is not recommended to drive at night. Whether you will find it difficult or not depends on your driving experience. The places that you mention are all on main roads.

The other option is to look at companies that arrange tours. If you do a search on this forum you will find a number of previous questions and responses on this topic.

East Gwillimbury...
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2. Re: driving versus hiring taxi

Hi jch!

It's true that car rental in Morocco is more expensive than in N. America. I did lots of research to verify this (unfortunately).

Rental (self-drive) for a car that seats 4 comfortably will probably cost about $100/day, incl. insurance (but not gas, of course). This is for a manual-transmission car. Auto-trans would be significantly more $, and not very practical on hilly/mtn roads, which you will be on.

The cost of fuel is comparable to N.America. You know...Expensive.

Driving in Marrakech is a bit complicated and frantic by Western standards, but outside of it, the roads are in good shape and well marked, with very little traffic. If you normally drive in DC, there is nothing going on that you can't handle.

Between Marrakech and Ait Ben/Ouarzazate is only about 4 hours, and from there, it's another 4/5 hours to Erg Chebbi. Half-days, each. I didn't do any night-driving, because I didn't need to.

There were no problems driving myself to Erg Chebbi and back to Marrakech along the northern route (Tinghir & Erfoud), and also along the southern route (Agdz & Nkob). I imagine you're taking the northern route, yes?

Naturally, you give yourselves optimal freedom if you are driving yourselves instead of hiring a driver. You can get a package tour price, but of course you will then be paying the expenses of the vehicle rental & gas, PLUS the cost of the driver, his food and his accoms for days/nights spent with your group, etc.

Driving yourself is the more economical (& fun) choice, for sure. Of course, if no one in your party ENJOYS driving then things are different...

morocco
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3. Re: driving versus hiring taxi

If you hire a car from a local company that offers brake down cover you will be able to get one for 300 dirhams per day (£20) if renting for more than one day. Car hire with local companies is normaly cheap due to the insurance offered, if you have an accident you will have to pay up to 20% of the value of the car before the insurance s used, so try not to have an accident. Fuel is about 50 pence per litre around 1 usd per litre.

Hope this helps.

DC
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4. Re: driving versus hiring taxi

thanks, everyone! this is all really helpful and gives me some more to think about as i look into the options. thanks so much!

New York City, New...
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5. Re: driving versus hiring taxi

JCH: My husband and I drove from Casablanca to Fez, south to Merzouga, and then west to N'Kob, Marrakech and north to Safi and El-Jadida, ending up back in Casablanca for our flight home. We had a little more than two weeks. We rented a car from an American company, Avis, I think, and it was only about $60/day. I don't know if it was cheap because of the length of time we were renting. (We booked through cheaptickets.com) It's better to drive yourself. The only hair-raising ride was around Fez--you can't find reliable city maps--and of course in the small towns where there are lambs, donkeys, horse-drawn carts, pedestrians and no traffic lights or cross-walks. It was perfectly safe, all the roads were fine, although there were graded roads only in Merzouga. Having your own car gives you the most freedom and it will be half the price of hiring a driver even after you budget for gas. Also, if you have never had a driver, this is what happens: Your driver suggests something and you don't want to offend him, so you go there even if you're not interested. It happened to two friends of mine, both in Morocco. You also worry about whether the guy is eating, if he has to stop for prayers, etc.

DC
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6. Re: driving versus hiring taxi

thanks, NewYorkCityStickler!

with everyone's suggestions, i think we will likely get a car rental for the portion of the trip i mentioned above. i am thinking that we'll pick up the car the day we leave marrakech and return it the night we arrive in fez, which will help keep cost at a minimum. for the actual time that we spend in the big cities the car probably won't be necessary. does that sound about right?

as for the remainder of our trip, which will be from fez to chefchaouen to tangier (and then we plan to ferry into spain), i have heard that buses are pretty easy, reliable, and cheap. and since those are shorter distances, i think we won't mind it being less comfortable than our own car.

thanks so much everyone for all your helpful advice and suggestions!

Marseille, France
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for Morocco
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7. Re: driving versus hiring taxi

We don't recommend to any of our clients that they take the bus in Morocco unless it is the CTM or Supratours lines. The cheaper, local busses are notorious for breaking down or having accidents.

Rent from a reputable company just as you would in the states. Yes, the price will be higher, but you get what you pay for. Rent from some local budget discount place and true the price will be less but so will the service should you have any problems.

If you split the cost of the car between the two couples, it will not be all that expensive. You can also take the train between Marrakech and Fes if you want. Dependable and inexpensive (go first class for very little more). It is a hassle with bags to haul around like that.

I would get a rental car from a reputable company for any of the longer parts of your trip.

If you want to explore the cost of a car with driver, contact me offline and I will put you in touch with a few Moroccan English speaking drivers that we use for our clients.

Marrakech
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8. Re: driving versus hiring taxi

You don't need a car in Marrakech. It is easier to explore on foot or with taxis.

9. Re: driving versus hiring taxi

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