Guide For Self-Drive Safari in Tanzania : Can you drive on your own in Tanzania? What to think about on a Tanzanian self-drive safari? Some of the top destinations and cities for independent game drive safaris can be found in Tanzania, including Arusha, Mwanza, Dar es Salaam, and Zanzibar. For those interested in wildlife safaris, the best places to drive yourself in Tanzania are the national parks of Tarangire, Katavi, Ruaha, Lake Manyara, Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Serengeti, and Gombe Stream. The greatest way to see Tanzania’s most stunning national parks, game reserves, cities, beaches, and the island of Zanzibar is through self-drive safaris.

Right now, self-drive vacation packages are the most popular in Tanzania. Those who rent a car can go around Tanzania independently without the help of a tour guide. In Tanzania, self-driving is permitted and guaranteed in all national parks throughout the year. If you’re a traveler looking for an authentic adventure, driving alone is great. No one will be around to give you instructions on where to go and what to do as a result. There are tonnes of things you can do on your own in place of taking a guided safari excursion. In Tanzania, self-driving is allowed in national parks and other conservation areas. You need to pack like a tourist and make sure you have some essential information with you that will help you during your trip. To avoid problems and make sure that your trip is enjoyable and unforgettable, you should be aware of some advice.

The Best Time to Explore Tanzania by Self Drive.

Like other Tanzanian safari experiences, like the traditional guided safari tour, which is always accompanied by a tour guide, Self-Drive Tanzania can be undertaken and enjoyed at any time of the year. The best times to visit and explore Tanzania are during the dry seasons, when the roads are more comfortable and conducive to driving and animals can be easily spotted from various locations near water sources. Tanzania is a year-round safari destination for self-drive travelers.

Whether you’re travelling alone or with friends and family to one of the many Tanzanian national parks that offer safari experiences, such as Tarangire National Park, Ruaha National Park, Arusha National Park, and the Serengeti National Park, reserve your car rental in Tanzania to take advantage of the best self-drive Tanzania tours.

The Advantages And Disadvantages Of Self-Drive Tours In Tanzania

The pros of self-drive safaris in Tanzania includes:

Self-drive tours offer greater flexibility and better time management based on your personal interests when compared to guided group trips. Which would I rather see more of in the wild, elephants or birds. Should I watch the lions for three minutes or for three hours. Would I like to stay in this national park for one more day? When you are on a self-drive safari tour, you may choose to do all of these because you are in control of the experience and no one is pressuring or controlling you.

Vacations that you drive yourself can be more thrilling, particularly if you are going alone and there are no other people around (even without a guide).

There’s probably going to be more adventures and surprises (both good and bad).

The cons of self-drive safaris in Tanzania includes:

You are required to arrange the entire tour and itinerary.

Sometimes private campsites are not well marked; a GPS is unquestionably required, and it’s best to enter the coordinates beforehand. However, because the coordinates are not always obvious, finding campsites is frequently difficult.

Planning and timing can be difficult (routes take longer than expected).

You have to pay close attention to the road at all times because of the many speed bumps, speed limits, and speed monitoring devices. Furthermore, as a result of other people’s frequently negligent driving (particularly that of trucks and buses).

It occurs quite frequently, and you usually need assistance from someone else to get back on your feet. Examples include getting stuck in a sandy riverbank or getting caught off guard by a tropical storm and sinking into the mud. Because of this, help in an emergency needs to be requested and might not arrive immediately.

There’s a possibility that cell phone dead spots will appear on remote routes, making help calls unfeasible.

Small, honest errors brought on by ignorance or inexperience can end up costing more time and money (e.g. if gate times are not adhered to, or the 24-hour rule of admission tickets is misinterpreted, or you misjudge the need for or forget to refuel).

When you go camping, you have to cook your own food.

You might be reluctant to drive yourself because of the poor state of the roads, which can vary depending on the area and the season.

It is imperative that you possess exceptional adaptability at all times, day or night.

Most of the time, seeing animals is up to chance and likely less successful than seeing them with a guide. (For this reason, tourists often ask tour guides for recommendations on places to visit.)
It is more expensive per person and for care when travelling alone. Because it’s one of the primary attractions, it’s unfortunate that some travelers choose to skip the Ngorongoro Crater.

It’s a common misconception that driving alone will save you money, but this is rarely the case.

In many cases, taking a guided tour would have been just as expensive, if not less so.

Tips For Self-Drive Safari In Tanzania.

What are the road conditions in Tanzania? Self-drive safari in Northeastern Tanzania: By East African standards, especially, the roads in the northeast of Tanzania are in very good condition. Smooth asphalt covers the primary routes from Arusha city to Moshi/Kilimanjaro in the east, Ngorongoro in the west, and Lushoto/Dar es Salaam in the far east. You should anticipate a lot of speed bumps and the occasional pothole.

Guide For Self-Drive Safari in Tanzania
Guide For Self-Drive Safari in Tanzania

The last part of your daily journey usually involves some driving on gravel roads to get to your lodge or park entrance gate. Season to season variations are common on these gravel and dirt roads, with the wet season being the most difficult. The Tanzania northern safari circuit’s national parks are easy to drive through, with the exception of the Serengeti National Park and the path leading to Lake Natron.

Self-drive safari in the Serengeti National Park: All Tanzanian tour guides knows how renowned the major routes from the Ngorongoro Crater Road to the Naabi Hill gate (entry to the Serengeti), from Naabi Hill gate to Seronera (the park’s center), and from Seronera spreading to the East and West. The road is challenging because of its washboard ribbons and uneven surface. Safaris conducted by self-drive vehicles are allowed within the Serengeti, but a Land Cruiser is required. You won’t be able to roll over one vehicle and lose control unexpectedly if you drive at a restricted speed of 25 km/h, which is not covered by insurance. The following are the driving times to the Serengeti:

From Loduare Gate (the Ngorongoro entrance) to Ngorongoro Crater Road, it takes about 1.5 hours.
It takes 2.5 hours to travel to Naabi Hill Gate (Serengeti) from Ngorongoro Crater Road.
One hour from Naabi Hill Gate to Seronera.

Safari by self-drive in Southern Tanzania: The longest gravel sections (110 km) are found at the gates to the southern safari parks, which are Kibiti to the Selous Game Reserve (90 km), Morogoro to the Selous Matambwe Gate (90 km), and Iringa to Ruaha National Park (90 km). Driving to Dodoma and Babati takes about 2.5 hours. Off-road driving in the Selous Game Reserve can become difficult during the rainy season, so a land cruiser is essential. Additional advice for a Tanzanian self-drive safari includes:

Rent a car from a trustworthy agency.

While some Tanzanian companies offer car rentals to visitors for independent travel, others do not. It’s critical to locate a reliable company that provides high-quality cars that will work flawlessly for your vacation. Rent a car equipped with a rooftop tent, pop-up roof, or camping supplies.

Valid license or international driving permit.

It will be simpler for you to rent a car as a tourist for Tanzanian self-drive adventures if you have a driver’s licence. Any national park, as well as other conservation zones like the Ngorongoro and wildlife reserves, accepts valid driver’s licences from your home country or an international driving permit. An “International Driving Permit” (IDP) is a legal document that verifies your licence abroad and permits you to drive in other nations. It can be acquired from the destination the traveler is visiting or from their nation of origin. The 12-month International Driving Permit (IDP) could be helpful if you don’t already have one. Considering that you will be driving in this package, an international driving permit is a must.

How do I navigate in Tanzania?

Before leaving for your Tanzania self-drive safari tour, it is strongly recommended that you install on your smartphone. The app is free to use. Enjoy off-road driving with GPS by downloading the Tanzanian maps. Almost every hotel and campsite has been plotted on There is some value in going totally offline and reading a paper map on your lap. The major roads are well marked, even though the map that comes with your rental car is not very detailed.

Tanzania’s asphalt roads are generally in good condition, but you won’t be able to drive faster than 50 km/h due to the many speed bumps, the need to slow down when passing through communities, and the possibility that you’ll want to take a lot of pictures. Even the roadside vista is magnificent. On gravel roads, the top speed limit is 25 km/h.

Map reading and mechanic skills.

When a traveler is looking for self-drive tours in Tanzania, it’s important to have certain skills, such as map reading and mechanic knowledge. These are useful skills to have, as you will be travelling alone on this excursion. You should be familiar with the basic mechanics of the car when something goes wrong. You might be able to fix it yourself rather than waiting for a mechanic, who might take some time to arrive. It will also be useful to have the necessary tools to fix any small malfunction. A map can help you determine the exact route you should take for your journey. Using a global positioning system (GPS) can help you find the right route and save time. We suggest visitors download and utilize the program, which works offline, as many parks lack networks.

Travel and health insurance.

It’s important to check your health before embarking on your self-drive safari in Tanzania. Don’t forget to pack a first aid kit with everything you’ll need to treat minor wounds like scratches and cuts, as well as your regular medications. But, you can arrange for your health insurance to be ready for travel ahead of time by negotiating with the local correspondent company. This will facilitate your access to medical care whenever and wherever you need it, in the vicinity of your travel destination.

Recharge your credit cards.

It’s crucial to have enough cash in your bank accounts, especially if you owe money for extras like food and drink, park admission, campsite fees, and other expenses. All bank services across the country require a Visa or MasterCard credit card. Should you have any extra cash, you can partake in activities not included in your tour itinerary, like buying drinks, other extras or petrol refills.

Things To Know While On A Self-Drive Safari Tour In Tanzania.

 Renting a Car with Self-Drive Tanzania

The most crucial thing to be aware of before renting a car in Tanzania is that most of the country’s regions have both paved and unpaved roads. As a result, we suggest that you travel to any location of your choosing in a 44 vehicle that is capable of handling any kind of terrain, like a national park with rocky roads like Serengeti National Park.

Picking Up and Dropping off Your Car in Tanzania.

We believe that your first stop in Tanzania will be Arusha Town, depending on your travel preferences. We advise you to make reservations and rent a car in advance if you want to drive yourself around Tanzania. The addresses of our offices are then provided to you, and you notify us of the location where you would like to pick up the car. When you return the rental car, the driver who dropped it off at the airport or hotel will also pick it up. It’s that simple and flexible.

Driving in Tanzania.

Tanzania boasts a diverse range of topography, from populated areas connected by major roads to remote areas with rough roads leading to various safari destinations. While seated in your vehicle with the appropriate tyres, we encourage you to follow all traffic laws and the rules governing the various safari destinations so that you can fully enjoy the Self-Drive Adventure in Tanzania.

Do not drive at night in Tanzania.

It is safest to travel independently during the day in Tanzania. We advise our clients not to drive at night because it is less safe, particularly in Tanzania’s more remote safari locations. There aren’t many streetlights outside of Tanzania, so everyone drives at night with their high beams on, which is dangerous since it can blind you and cause an accident. However, it can be difficult to see the road well at night in rural areas and on roads with lots of potholes. Drive only during the day, please.

Don’t put too much Trust in Google Maps.

Because Google Maps is not always accurate in identifying impassable, pothole-filled dirt roads with sharp turns that could lead you astray in Tanzania’s more rural areas, we strongly advise you to use your trip map while in Tanzania. We recommend not leaving major roadways, even if Google Maps tries to reroute you onto less-traveled, more direct roads.

Be prepared for traffic in Arusha.

If you plan to drive through Arusha Town, be ready for heavy traffic because the town is full of roundabouts. When it is convenient, drivers in the town will yield to you instead of attempting to squeeze through because they are polite. You will eventually arrive in Tanzania after travelling through light traffic later.

Accommodation in Tanzania.

Tanzania provides an extensive array of lodging choices, ranging from luxurious game lodges situated in wildlife-rich national parks to historically significant buildings lining Stone Town’s winding streets, expansive resorts and simple beach huts bordering Zanzibar’s beaches, and a profusion of average mid-range hotels and cheap, run-down guest houses. When planning a trip, travelers who are in charge of camping can select between a public and a private campsite.

On the other hand, reservations for the park’s private campsites must be made a day in advance. Hotel and lodge reservations can be made prior to the start of the safari. Making lodging arrangements in advance can relieve some of your worries regarding where you will stay after the safari.

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