One of the most famous tourist places in Africa, Tanzania is opening more and more to foreigners. The government, the tour operators go meeting the need of tourists from all over the world, when they visit their nation. This means to offer the best safari prices, lodges and hotels along the coast as well as in inner National Parks. You mainly come to Tanzania to admire the wildlife at Serengeti, Tarangire, Ngorongoro, Lake Manyara, Selous Game Reserve. Or you prefer to have a real tropical holiday on the beaches of Zanzibar and Tanga. You shall try the climbing of Kilimanjaro, too. There are so many things to see and to do, but … how will you move on the territory?

Is it recommended to use a car in Tanzania?

Africa is a continent of big distances, so airplanes and trains are the most used means of transport. But poor people, or simple workers, or tourists who cannot afford great transfers still prefer road transports. This means bus services or cars. Many tourists visit Tanzania with safari organized by tour operators who use modern 4×4 jeep cars. But what if you want to drive on your own and manage your own car?

Is it recommended to drive, in Tanzania? There are many unpaved and dangerous roads, especially in inner Tanzania. You better avoid Regional Roads. But you can easily drive along coastal roads and motorways, especially those that cut the territory east-to-west. Take good information about what to bring, what to do and NOT do while driving on Tanzanian roads. And be well informed also about the documents you shall need if you rent a car.

car tanzania 01
driving along unpaved roads

Documents for car rental in Tanzania

If you want to rent a car in Tanzania you shall show the agency:

  • passport
  • visa
  • identity card
  • driving licence – you shall use the International Driving Licence, but if you do not have one you will use your own plus an extra fee to pay
  • if you must drive on Zanzibar roads you shall ask for a special permission, ZDP, valid only on the island.

It is also compulsory to show the proof of a booking you did in advance and a credit card or a ATM card. Booking is very important especially if you are looking for a particular kind of car. Tanzanian rent-a-car agencies are not always well stocked and not all cars will be available. Some agencies might ask for a deposit, especially if you will be using the car for more than one day or going out of town. There is also the possibility that you are asked to take a extra insurance instead of the money deposit. Car rentals in Tanzania give the chance to also hire a driver if you do not feel like managing the car yourself.

More advice

In Tanzania is possible to rent a car at the airports and in large cities such as Dar Es Salaam or Arusha. You will have the chance to rent a car also in small – but famous – tourist places, such as Moshi, Mwanza, the towns near the National Parks. Of course it is very easy to find car rentals in Zanzibar, too!

Be patient and do not complain if they do not find the car you wanted. Always be kind and explain what you need and what you could do to obtain it.

Be kind with the police, if they stop you on the road. They will only check your documents and let you go.

driving in Tanzania