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Friday, 13 June 2014 12:00 AM

A Driver For Your Moroccan Holiday

We’ve written before about the pleasures of a driving holiday in Morocco, with the simple conclusion that it is an excellent option for any competent driver wanting a bit of an adventure. We have also covered the potential hazards of Moroccan guides, specifically their desire to get you into their “cousin’s” shop.

Here we combine the ideas to specifically address having a driver for your journey, a choice many or even most customers decide to make.

Why Have a Moroccan Driver

Driving in any foreign country is daunting – just a fear of the unknown – which is accentuated when you travel away from relative known of Europe into North Africa.

This is of course fairly daft. The drivers in Italy or in the heart of Paris are far more worrying than any drivers you would encounter in Morocco, but it’s a valid fear when you don’t know the lay of the land. Moroccan drivers don’t drive fast, as the roads rarely permit that, and even around town where road etiquette goes out of the window it is all done at a snail’s pace.

But a driver will allow you to relax on your journey, will know where you are going, will often be able to shed light on points of interest, be able to sort out any minor issues that may arise – all in all, a driver will make a journey comfortable.

However, the downsides of having a driver are having a stranger in your car, feeling awkward in asking for additional stops or detours and possible undesired stops in their “cousin’s” shop …

Undesired Stops by Moroccan Drivers

Similar to Moroccan guides, we work with our Moroccan drivers to try to ensure that they are there to serve their guests and not stop and urge them into shops. However, across all tour operators there continues to be occasional instances where drivers  ask guests whether they would like to pop into a certain shop en route to their actual destination.

Luckily this is very rare with our drivers as they are specifically instructed not to do this and are paid a premium to compensate. However, instances do occur, generally as the driver believes that their guests wish to shop as the guest has been too polite when asked by the driver.

If the driver questions whether you have an interest in stopping at a shop you must be utterly honest rather than polite – state categorically whether you have no interest in shops at that time, they are there to drive you and do what you want so do not feel obliged to do what they want (other than obvious rest breaks on longer journeys); do not go along and enter the shop just to be polite.

Other Cultural Differences

Whilst Moroccan drivers are relatively slow (due to other traffic in cities or poor roads outside), they can be a little fast on mountain roads – if this worries you, tell your driver to slow a little.

Additionally, whilst they are not allowed to use their mobile phone when driving they may occasionally do so – if this is a concern, let the driver know.

We try to stop all such instances, but unfortunately it is impossible, so please speak up.