Choosing the right Tanzania self-drive for your road trip can save you a lot. Hiring a rental car for a self-drive Tanzania is the wisest choice to make. Not only does come with the most flexible road trip, making stopovers at your own wish and choosing which tourist sites to visit but also assures you of total privacy while on road trip. Today, self-drive trips have become more famous than ever before and undoubtedly.

However, driving yourself in unfamiliar routes on self-drive tour is something that is so intimidating if you are a first-time traveler on Tanzania safari. But with introduction of the Global Positioning System (GPS), there is no need to worry about venturing into unfamiliar routes. It is a matter of you setting your current location and destination point, and then you keep following the routing as your GPS directs you.

Below are the guides for self-drive

Rent a four wheel drive

Tanzania might have great asphalted main roads, but the real adventure starts when you take a turn towards the smaller roads and safaris. So, if you plan on having the same vehicle for your entire self-drive Tanzania experience, you must rent a 4×4.

The roads can get extremely bumpy in Tanzania and you don’t want to waste time being stuck in a ditch in the middle of a national park. It will not only cost you a lot of money (they charge a hefty fee to get someone to pull you out in a national park), you’ll also be wasting a lot of time since they might need some time to get to you.

Opt for a car with roof tent

The best way to travel to Tanzania on a budget is by renting a car with a roof tent. The tent on our car was very comfy and there are numerous campgrounds all over the country ranging from basic bush campsites inside the parks to private campgrounds operated by lodge owners, enabling you to stay at a secured site with good amenities whilst sleeping for a dime.

Wild camping is uncommon. If you decide to camp in a national park, there will be park staff setting up a campfire for you to prevent animals from approaching the tent or vehicle (included in the camping price).

Carry a valid driving license

A valid driving license and identification must be carried and presented to the company or delivery person. Failure to present such important documents means low chances of you getting a car for yourself.

Conduct thorough check on the car rental

Before you start your road trip in Tanzania self-drive car, cross-checking your rental car is very important. All the dents, the current state of air conditioner, damages of the car should be taken note of and you can inquire even about its past mechanical issues.

Pack snacks and water

I know you’re perfectly capable of planning your meals, but we definitely weren’t. Once you stray off the main roads and into the parks, you won’t find a single shop that sells water or food. Many hours can pass in between meals if you don’t plan accordingly, so make sure you plan hearty snacks. We took cereal bars with us (2/day per person) and bought at least 3L of water in the mornings to have throughout the day.

Bring good camera equipment

One of the best things about doing a self-drive in Tanzania is the opportunity to blend in, and not be part of a bigger group of tourists, both in the cities as well as safaris. Your trip to Tanzania will definitely benefit from a good zoom lens.

If you are traveling to Tanzania to take amazing photos of animals, then I would say something up to 600mm would be your best bet but those tend to cost a pretty penny, so also have a look if your local photo shop or website loans lenses.

Know the road rules

Besides the information, the company you rent from will provide you with; make sure you read up on road rules before you sit in the car! The driving speed limit on the Tanzania non-urban roads 80 km/hour and on urban roads, you’ll have to maintain a speed of 50 km/hour.

On gravel roads, you will be driving at an average of 30km/hour. If you are trying to estimate your travel itinerary with Google Maps, increase the suggested travel time by 30%. Don’t map out your entire day route, because Google Maps will look for the shortest route and those are likely to be in a very bad state. Instead, break it up into only looking at getting from point A to point B.

Tip: make sure the company you rent from has comprehensive car insurance, that way there is less possibility for expensive, unexpected costs.

Road tripping in Tanzania is safe

Since most Tanzanians speak good English, they will also go out of their way to try and help you in case of an accident. Main roads outside the city are wide, asphalted and safe.

Get ready for an ‘African massage’

I’ve mentioned how safe the main roads are above. And while main motorways are safe and comfortable to drive on, you will definitely experience something totally different once you drive off of them. Get ready to experience the ‘African ‘massage’ the moment you get off that asphalt.

We have never experienced a road as bumpy as the one going through Serengeti NP. But the experience was so much fun, we saw hippos, elephants, baboons and so many more animals by this road. This is what makes a drive through the non-asphalted roads so much better the animals are not scared to approach them because you can’t drive fast there.

The size of the rental car

The number of people you plan to get on the road with and luggage size should be put into consideration. This should guide you when deciding which Tanzania rental car to book. A Toyota land cruiser is ideal for a group of 4-5pax on self-drive Tanzania or you can hire a Mini Van or slightly larger rental depending on the number of people and cargo.


Renting a self-drive car in Tanzania has become a common practice with many rental companies widely available in most main towns. This presents you opportunity to make a choice suitable for your self-drive tour. Contact Car Rental Tanzania for better services that will make your trip memorable.

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