We are two parents with three children, a blonde, a red head and one brunette, ages 8,9,and 12 years. Why do I write that? because we look very American which may not be such a good thing in Morocco. I love everything I read about the adventure, history and beauty of Morocco and it may be ignorance, but I am afraid of driving cross country and have a fear of being pulled over by machine gun toting rebels kidnapping my children. Feels awful to say it and this is very ignorant on my part but as a mother I wonder if I am jeopardizing my children?? We have planned driving trips through many European countries and Mexico, when it was safe. We love to drive and gain our freedom and it is also economical for a family of 5. All I have read say that Morocco is safe and the people are kind to Americans. We are well traveled and enjoy simple living and immersion into the culture. My route would take us from Marrakesh over the mountains to the Kasbahs, Falls, Atlas Film Studio with a drive toward Merzouga and an overnight camel trip to the Sahara and then a drive to Fez. I want to figure out how to put Essouira into the mix as well. I know bad things can happen anywhere in the world I just don't want to fly my family into a place where I shouldn't. I am becoming more educated that this would be a safe journey. Please respond.
You're worrying way too much about this! Morocco sees a huge number of Caucasian European tourists (~370,000 from the UK alone) due to its proximity to Europe thanks to cheap low-cost carrier flights as well as historic ties it has with France, being a former French colony. (To this day, French is one of the more commonly spoken languages, at least in the bigger cities, in Morocco.) Travel advisory by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office UK mentions a general threat of terrorism as is common in the Asian/African region, and yes, driving standards may be significantly different to what you're used in the US or Europe. However, in practical terms Morocco is an extremely safe country and you certainly aren't going to find 'machine gun toting rebels' (who exactly do you think is rebelling against what?) kidnapping tourists.
There have been incidents of tourists being kidnapped a couple of years ago in some other North African countries such as Algeria, but not Morocco (as far as I can see from a general web search).
I've just returned from a 1500km driving tour of central and eastern Morocco. My girlfriend and I both felt very safe in and out of the car, welcomed by the locals in cities and villages. The only risk for driving during the day is the abundance of traffic police with checkpoints and radar guns. We were stopped for crossing the white center line (which is hard to avoid doing with very slow trucks, donkey carts, and cyclists on the road) and asked to pay a fine. I talked my way out of it, but could see it happening again if I wasn't on my toes.
Morocco is a relatively safe place.
The biggest issue would be heat and sun if you travel in summer.
Take care of air conditioning in the car and of long sleeves to protect the skin of your blonde and red head children (though I guess that all the family could benefit).