Tuesday 14 May 2013

Viven : How we crossed from Spain to Morocco

Dear Viven,

Should you follow in our footsteps (and many, many others) to cross from Spain to Morocco, the following information is accurate as of the time of travel.  As usual, keep in mind we are an unmarried (though we say we are and plan to start wearing rings) couple, one British and one Canadian, driving a Toyota Hilux Surf from Paris to Tanzania.

Our next crossing will be from Morocco to Mauritania.

Not required in advance.

Insurance & Carnet
Our European Green Card insurance covers us for Morocco, while a carnet de passages (issued by the UK’s RAC, and necessary to cover the temporary import costs for entry into most of Africa) is not required.  The carnet is on its way; we can’t move on to Mauritania until we get the original hard copies in hand.

Morocco uses the dirham, and the present rate is about €1 = DH 11.  There is a cashpoint, usable with most North American and European cards, before the exit gate at Tanger Med, in the row of insurance providers and currency exchanges.  Getting dirhams in advance was not necessary.

The Route
We spent a few weeks in Spain, from San Sebastian, Bilbao and Logroño in the north, to Sevilla, Cadiz and of course, the mosquito-cloudy Veta la Palma fish farms and laboratories in Andalucia.  We crossed on the 10th of May from Algeciras to Tanger Med, on the thinly-populated Balearia ship SF Alhucemas.  We were scheduled for departure at 16h and arrival at 16h30 (one-hour time changes for Morocco).  The ferry was about 20 minutes late.  The cost for two passengers in a truck with an extra 0.75m of height was €119.

There are various other options: different ferry companies, ferries from Tarifa as well as Algeciras, and ferries to the Spanish exclave or Cueta as well as Tanger.

The Border
The drive-thru border guard in Algeciras gave a quick stamp of our passports, no words, and waved us on.  There was no indication as to where we should park and wait, and we had to ask an official with a yellow jacket.  It’s necessary to put the ticket in the windshield.

About ten minutes of waiting after the ship arrived in Tanger Med, the Moroccan officials arrived at the reception desk.  There was less a queue and more a semicircular gathering, where like a bar it’s a good idea to put an elbow in.  The passports were checked with a computer, stamped and returned, and we were allowed to go down to the vehicles.

There is a large and very modern-looking terminal being constructed for Moroccan customs, but it isn’t ready.  We drove into the queue of cars and were eventually directed to park next to one of the older, much less-appealing kiosks, where we waited for a while, until recognising we needed to get someone’s attention.  We found and filled out a green form with its two carbon copies, and eventually commandeered an official.  He took the green form, made notes, asked for our registration, did a cursory check of a bag in the back, had Al check in with the police because it was the passport’s first time, and sent us on our way.  He kept one of the forms.  The guard upon leaving checked to see we had the other two carbon-copy forms, and advised us we would need to return one of these upon exiting Morocco.

On the way out were currency exchanges and an office to purchase insurance.

As an aside, Al insisted when we booked the ticket on being listed as VIP: this had no effect, good or bad, as far as we could tell.  Oh well.  I once listed myself as Admiral with the Southbank Centre mailing list - at least I got a laugh.

What We Needed
  • Passports
  • Vehicle Registration

This was an easy one, probably the easiest.

Bonne route!


The Rock of Gibraltar