Road conditions in Tanzania
By east Africa standards, the road conditions in many parts of Tanzania are in very good condition. Although roads are in good condition you can expect a lot of speed bumps and the occasional pothole. Due to many speed bumps, there is a need to reduce speed when you’re passing through villages. Usually, the last stretch of your daily self-drive trip requires some driving on gravel roads to get to your lodge or park entrance gate. Inside the parks, it’s off-road driving on dirt roads. Probably want to take a lot of pictures and the scenery from the highway is stunning. On gravel roads, you reach an average of 25 km/h. The conditions of these gravel and dirt roads tend to be variable from one season to the next and most difficult during the rainy season. Driving in the national parks of the northern safari circuit is not technical, except for the Serengeti and the road to Lake Natron.
Self- Drive Safari In Southern Tanzania
The longest gravel section is the gateways to the safari parks in the south; from Kibiti to Selous game reserve (90 km). Morogoro to the Selous Matembwe gate ( 90 km), and from Iringa to Ruaha (110 km). The driving time between Dodoma, the capital city of Tanzania, and Babati is approximately 3 hours. Off-road driving in Selous game reserve can get technical during the rainy season, Suzuki Escudo and Landcruiser are suitable.
Self-Drive Safari in Serengeti
The main road running from the Ngorongoro crater road to Naabi Hill gate ( entrance to Serengeti). From Naabii Hill gate to Seronera ( the center of the park), and from Seronera radiating to the east and west. Roads in Serengeti is challenging due to its rocky surface with washboard ribbons. We do allow self-drive safaris into Serengeti with either Suzuki Escudo or Landcruiser. Drive at LIMITED SPEED (25 km/h) otherwise, you will lose control instantly, with a single-vehicle rollover as a result this is NOT covered by the insurance. Refers to our terms and conditions policy | Here |. Estimation driving times to Serengeti is a:
- Loduare gate ( Ngorongoro entrance ) to Ngorongoro Crater road: 2 hours
- Ngorongoro Crater Road to Naabi Hill Gate ( Serengeti): 3 hours
- Naabi Hill Gate to Seronera: 1.5 hours
Things To Consider When Driving In Tanzania
We have been exploring Tanzania by road for many years and have found the experience is rewarding and safe as long as the following precautions are observed;
- Drive slower than you used to in Europe or the USA. The speed limit is 80 km/hr on the highway and 50 km/h in the urban areas
- Beware of unmarked speed bumps which are plentiful in many parts of the country, especially when you are reaching villages or towns
- Drive defensively. Minibus drivers are notorious for overtaking on blind corners and the big coaches feel on top of the road chain. So keep an eye in your rear-view mirror and if necessary just pull off the road and let them pass.
- Along the roads with little traffic ( which is mostly the case throughout Tanzania), it doesn’t hurt to softly honk your horn when you are overtaking someone. The person may probably not watching his/her side mirror all the time.
- Avoid driving at night, the potholes are difficult to spot and fellow traffic often uses blinding high-beam
- Always carry some cash, water, and a charged mobile phone to handle any situation.
- Keep in mind that a flat tyre can happen easily!! It is part of the adventure and can be fixed quickly at any service station
- As you will discover soon enough, traffic in Tanzania drives on the left side of the road
How Do I Navigate In Tanzania?
We strongly recommend installing | Maps.me | on your smartphone before you start your self-drive in Tanzania. It’s a free app. Download Tanzania maps and enjoy driving with GPS offline. Almost every lodge and campsite is plotted on Maps.me. There’s something to be said for going totally offline with a good old-fashioned map on your lap. The road map that comes with your rental car is not very detailed, but the main roads are highlighted properly.
Do not rush on your self-drive adventure. The biggest mistake travelers make is rushing and trying to cover too much in one trip. Have a look at our | Suggested Tour Packages | or propose your itinerary and assist you for assessment on whether you can cover during your trip to Tanzania. If you are trying to estimate your Tanzania travel with Google Maps, increase the suggested time by 30%.
What To DO In Case Of Breakdown or Accident?
Take note that when driving a vehicle in challenging conditions, unexpected issues can arise. We are experienced in troubleshooting along the way, but it requires cooperation and patience from your side as well. Please always contact Mili Adventure Africa first. Our phone number is available 24h/day and we will try to solve the problem to the best of our ability. We have a network of mechanics workshop in Tanzania to assist you in case of any issues. We will either direct you to the nearest workshop or send a mechanic to assist on you the spot. In case a car cannot be fixed on the spot within 24 hours, a replacement car from Arusha will be provided so you can continue your trip. You will wait several hours before help has arrived when you are in remote are.
In case of an accident, contact us immediately and we coach you through the process, take pictures of the damaged vehicle (s) and process a clear police report. Please refers to our| Terms and Conditions | for more information details.
How To Deal With Traffic Police In Tanzania
There are a lot of traffic police in Tanzania. You will recognize them from a distance by their bright white uniform. So, when dealing with any kind of government official is Tanzanian is remain patient and friendly. greet them in Swahili and make a joke, and you will have a new friend.
Traffic police will frequently pull you over to check if your car is insured, if tires look okay and check if you are carrying the required fire extinguisher, reflector triangle and first aid kit. Of course that is taken care if you rent a car from Mili Adventure Africa. They will also want to see your driving license. A valid driving license from your country of residence is accepted in Tanzania. If you didn’t break the law (speeding, dangerous overtaking, etc) there is nothing they can accuse you of. in case you have committed an offense you will receive a fine which needs to be paid via a bank deposit. If you received a fine, please keep the ticket and call Mili Adventure Africa office. We will make the payment, which will save a you a lot of time, and then you can refund us in cash upon hand over.
Other Things To Consider
- Book early for high season: Tanzania’s sought after self-drive safari destination. Make sure you book early for your self-drive, often a year in advance
- Plan your timing carefully: If you want to see wildebeest migration on your self-drive safari or the best beach weather in Zanzibar, make sure your itinerary matches your travel wishes
- Take a good quality camera: You want to capture every moment on your self-drive safari? Then you need a good camera for capturing wildlife in their environment, which is really something else. However, you may not be able to get too close to some animals. Thus a camera with high resolution and zooming capabilities would be a great option for taking photos from a distance
- Money: It is wise to carry both cahs and c credit card since, in Tanzania national parks, cahs is not accepted. But visa fees at migration are paid by cash. It is best to bring with you the US dollar. Do not change your money on the street, always go to the bank. It is best not to rely on ATM during a self-drive safari, ATM supply only local currency
- Safety & Security: You need to be more aware which it comes to safety in national parks and local towns in general. It is advisable not to take too much cash around with you. Place all important documents for example passports, ATM cards, driving license, and cahs in one pouch or slim bag that will stay with you always
- Clothes: Pack light clothes, because in Tanzania it is generally warm throughout the year. When you are on safari you need to be comfortable and want to enjoy a game drive as much as possible. National parks in Tanzania get dusty, therefore khaki and army green clothing is recommended. Sometimes wear a hat from maximum protection from the sun
- Dust & Insects: Always remember that game reserve and parks in Tanzania are very dust, especially in the dry season. Be cautious by wearing sunglasses to protect your eyes and keep the camera and phone clean by wiping regularly. Make sure to pack a few wet wipes and hand sanitizer, especially before and after meals in the pack. Also, make sure you have repellent with you all the time. In the day you will find tsetse flies. In the night you will mostly find mosquitoes. Don’t be worried, this should no stop from enjoying your self-drive adventure. But it’s good to be cautious