This is the first installment of our series of car cultures around the world/international street scenes.The kind of cars the people of Morocco drive can be described very simply: all types of Renault with a number instead of a name, Peugeots from the -04 and -05 series, and increasingly so from the -06 series, and Mercedes-Benz from the same era (1970’s, 80’s and 90’s), preferably with a Diesel engine. Of the modern cars, by far the most are either French or Dacia, most notably in the bodystyle what the French call “Fourgonette”, the archetypical Boulangerie-van like the Citroën Berlingo and Renault Kangoo, both in passenger and cargo versions. Add a handful of South-Korean and Chinese models to the mix and you’ll have a pretty accurate picture of what the streets of Casablanca, Marrakech or Agadir look like.
This is part 2 in the series of articles on the North-African automotive landscape and my experience driving there. Part 1 was about getting a rental car in Morocco.
When stepping outside of a Moroccan airport, one of the first things you’ll notice is the long line of Mercedes-Benz taxis. Not the contemporary version, but almost all the W123 model from the 1970s and to a lesser extent the W124 model from the 1980s. I initially thought that this had something to do with them being specific airport taxis, but I would later discover that the streets all over Morocco are flooded with these smoky old diesels, which aren’t granted a well-deserved quiet retirement after a tough initial life in Europe. Rather, they are abused harder than ever, and maintenance in Morocco means that they fix a car when it breaks down.
There are two types of taxis in Morocco: mini taxis (Petit taxi) and Grand taxis. The mini taxis take you within city limits to your destination for a fixed price of about 80 cents per ride, or 1.20 Euros at night. [Read more…]
As you’ve noticed, there haven’t been any new posts for the last two weeks, as I have been traveling. In the next couple of days/weeks, I’ll post some stories about my experience with driving in Morocco. I’ll start at the beginning: getting our rental car.
We arrive at Casablanca airport and after customs and security checks, we head straight for the car rental desks. On our way down there, a local man approaches us, asking if we’re looking for the cheapest car rental.
One thing you should know when traveling to Morocco, is that there’s a kind of black-market referral system in place, which involves mostly unemployed men who act as self-proclaimed guides to take tourists to shops, restaurants and hotels, and then take a large commission on the amount the tourist spends there. This causes two very annoying problems: the tourist is likely to be overcharged with at least the amount of the commission and besides that, the guides can be extremely harassive. [Read more…]