/ Anti atlas - 4x4 needed?

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ebluemn on 07 Sep 2018

Hi all-

We're headed to the Anti Atlas region of Morocco to do some climbing in late October. We've been there once before but had some pretty bad luck with weather (a week of snow) so this time we would like to make the most of our trip.

For car hire, has anyone felt that a 4x4 vehicle gave them better access to climbs or was needed in this region? Last time the snow was so bad we weren't able to climb at elevation at all but did get the feeling that some roads would be pretty tough to access with the 2wd dacia duster we rented. This time we'd like to do some climbing in the Samazar valley accessing from the Tizourgane Kasbah (east) side, as well as other places.

If you did rent a 4x4, any suggestions on a reputable rental agency that rents them for a reasonable price?

Thanks for the suggestions!


mountain.martin - on 07 Sep 2018
In reply to ebluemn:

We were there in early November last year. Lovely weather no where near cold enough for snow, even at night. 

We had a 2wd Dacia duster, and it was fine for the samazar valley. We saw some people going down there in more standard cars also.

Could be a different story if there was a lot of rain or some snow.


JMarkW - on 08 Sep 2018
In reply to ebluemn:

I think u would be fine in a two wheel drive duster on the samazar valley road. It's the chunky tyres and extra ground clearance u need. Unless it's wet I'm guessing. 

I did try it in normal car and hard to turn back after about two miles. Though I am a bit of an old woman in this regard. 

If u are staying at the kazbar side keep the tank topped up at every opportunity. 



Steve Broadbent - on 08 Sep 2018
In reply to ebluemn:

You should be OK with a 2WD - particularly in October, when the roads are -normally- in better condition after the summer. In spring, following a very wet winter, some of the roads become easier with 4WD, but it's so much more expensive that we normally don't bother. If you get a week of rain & snow then you're unlucky, though in this case some crags will certainly be inaccessible!

The Samazar road is generally better at the west end, and if you've any doubt about getting your car along to any of the crags west of Schoolhouse Junction, then it's best to approach from Tanalt and the Samazar Hairpins - the road as far as Dragon Rock is almost always passable from this side.

Andy Chubb - on 08 Sep 2018
In reply to ebluemn:

I have rented from


Not had any problems at all with him


henwardian - on 08 Sep 2018
In reply to ebluemn:

When we were there we just had an economy 2wd small car. Was plenty good enough for loads and loads of the dirt roads, even when they are washed out, just drive with the wheels not in the trench bit and you should be fine. The thing to remember is that it is a rental car so it's just the bodywork you need to be careful of, suspension, tyres, vehicle base etc. can all take a pounding as long as you don't break anything. Check the car has a jack and spare tyre when you hire it, we got a puncture but were able to change the tyre no problem. When we were there repairs were getting done pretty quickly to areas of dirt road that got washed out. There are bits of road that I wouldn't have been able to get the 2wd along but can only remember a very few of them and I don't remember really _needing_ to get along any of those.

We also got a blow-out on the way back to the airport when driving too fast on a main road and hitting a pothole but that's easily avoidable by remembering that no matter how main the roads in S Morocco are, there is still the chance of hitting a nasty pothole.


Our journey was perhaps nearly 10 years ago now though, so my info isn't all that up-to-date, it may have changed since our visit.

sheelba - on 08 Sep 2018
In reply to ebluemn:

It depends on how much of a nervous disposition you have! We’ll be there at the same time in normal cars

mountain.martin - on 08 Sep 2018
In reply to Steve Broadbent:

I know you are the local expert, but I would add a word of warning about the samazar hairpins. That end of the road is less rutted and smoother, but the hair pins are the most "interesting" road I have ever driven. And luckily we didn't meet any traffic coming the other way. 

The road from the other end is more likely to damage the car, but seemed to me a lot less scary.

Maybe it seems better once you've driven it a few times. I was quite used to steep, narrow, windey roads having lived in West Cumbria and driven hardknott and wyrnose regularly, but I found those hairpins hair raising.

Martin Bennett - on 08 Sep 2018
In reply to ebluemn:

Unnecessary expense in my view though some feel more comfortable with eg a Duster. I've been 15 times and always try to rent a Dacia Logan as it is a big car for the money and has a bit more clearance than most. We've used 'em on roads worse than the Samazar road which in any case tends to be better in Autumn than Spring.


ebluemn on 09 Sep 2018
In reply to ebluemn:

Thanks for all of the advice everyone! Super helpful! Duster it is.

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