Guide to Self Drive During Tanzania Safari:  What to consider during self-drive safari in Tanzania? Tanzania is home to some of the best attractions and cities for self-game drive safaris such as Arusha, Mwanza, Dar es-Salaam, and Zanzibar. Also for wildlife safaris, self-drive in Tanzania is best done in the Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Lake Manyara National Park, Tarangire National Park, Katavi National Park, Ruaha National Park, and Gombe Stream National Park. Self-drive safaris in Tanzania are the best way to see the country’s most beautiful national parks, game reserves, cities, beaches, and the island of Zanzibar.

In Tanzania, self-drive vacations are currently the most popular package. Renting a car allows visitors to explore Tanzania on their own, without assistance of tour guide. All national parks in Tanzania enable and guarantee self-drive at all times of the year. Driving by yourself is fantastic for travelers who want a true adventure throughout their journey. Because of this, nobody will be available to direct you as to where to go and what to do. Instead of going on a guided safari excursion, there are so many things you can do on your own. Self-driving is permitted in national parks and other conservation zones in Tanzania. You must organize yourself like a traveler and have access to some crucial knowledge that will come in handy while you’re there. You must be aware of certain advice in order to stay out of trouble and ensure that your trip is enjoyable and memorable.

The Best Time to Explore Tanzania by Self Drive

Self-Drive Tanzania can be done and experienced at any time of the year, just like other safari trips in Tanzania, such as the standard guided safari tour, which is always led by a tour guide. Tanzania is a year-round safari destination for self-drive travelers, but the best time to go and explore it is during the dry seasons when the roads are more comfortable and conducive to driving and animals may be easily spotted from various locations close to water sources.

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

Guide to Self Drive During Tanzania Safari
Self Drive During Tanzania Safari


The pros of self-drive safaris in Tanzania includes:

  • Compared to guided group trips, self-drive tours give you more flexibility and allow you to organize your time far better according to your own interests. Which would I prefer to see more of, birds or elephants? Do I want to spend three minutes or three hours watching the lions? Do I want to spend another day in this national park? All of these maybe decided by you when you’re in self-drive safari tour just because you’re in charge of your tour and no one is controlling or rushing you.
  • Self-drive vacations can be more exciting, especially if you are traveling alone and there are no other people in the area (even without a guide).
  • Most likely, there will be more surprises and adventures (not only positive, but also negative).

The cons of self-drive safaris in Tanzania includes:

  • The entire tour and route must be planned by you.
  • There are occasionally poorly marked private campsites; a GPS is definitely necessary, and it is recommended to enter the coordinates in advance. However, it is often challenging to locate campsites because the coordinates are not always evident.
  • Timing and planning can be challenging (routes take longer than planned).
  • Due to the numerous speed checks, speed bumps, and speed limits, you must always keep your attention on the road. Additionally, due to the often careless driving practices of others (especially trucks and buses),
  • It happens rather regularly, and you frequently require help from someone else to get you moving again. For example, becoming trapped in a sandy riverbank or being caught off guard by a tropical storm and becoming mired in the mud are both examples. As a result, in an emergency, assistance must be requested and may not be available right away.
  • On remote routes, there is a chance that cell phone dead spots will occur, making it impossible to call for assistance.
  • 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).
  • You have to prepare your own food when on a camping trip.
  • Depending on the region and the time of year, the roads can be in bad condition, so you might be hesitant to drive yourself.
  • You must always be incredibly adaptable, regardless of the day or the hour.
  • More often than not, animal sightings are left to chance and are probably less successful than when done with a guide. (This is why travelers frequently ask guides for advice on where to go.)
  • When traveling alone, it is more expensive per person and for care. As a result, some visitors opt to forgo the Ngorongoro Crater, which is unfortunate because it is one of the main attractions.
  • You might think that driving independently will save you money, but this is rarely the case, and in many circumstances, a guided tour would have been less expensive, or at the very least not more expensive.


What are the road conditions in Tanzania?

Self-drive safari in the Northeastern Tanzania: The roads in Tanzania’s northeast are in excellent shape, especially by East African standards. The main routes from Arusha city to Moshi/Kilimanjaro in the east, Ngorongoro in the west, and Lushoto/Dar es Salaam in the extreme east are all made of smooth asphalt. Numerous speed bumps and the occasional pothole are to be expected. In order to reach your lodge or park entrance gate, the final leg of your daily journey typically involves some driving on gravel roads. These gravel and dirt roads typically have varying conditions from one season to the next, with the wet season being the most challenging. With the exception of the Serengeti National Park and the route to Lake Natron, driving through the national parks on the Tanzania northern safari circuit is not difficult, Guide to Self Drive During Tanzania Safari

Self-drive safari in the Serengeti National Park: All Tanzanian tour guides knows how notorious 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. Due to its rough surface and washboard ribbons, the road is difficult. Self-drive safaris into the Serengeti are permitted, although a Land Cruiser is necessary. Driving at a limited speed (25 km/h) will prevent you from losing control suddenly and rolling over one vehicle, which is not covered by insurance. Driving times to the Serengeti are as follows:

  • 5 hours from Loduare Gate (Ngorongoro entrance) to Ngorongoro Crater Road.
  • 5 hours to get from Ngorongoro Crater Road to Naabi Hill Gate (Serengeti)
  • Naabi Hill Gate to Seronera: 1 hour.

Self-drive safari in the Southern Tanzania: The gates to the southern safari parks in Kibiti to Selous game reserve (90 km), Morogoro to the Selous Matambwe Gate (90 km), and Iringa to Ruaha National Park (90 km) have the longest gravel parts (110 km). Dodoma and Babati may be reached by car in around 2.5 hours. A Land cruiser is necessary because off-road driving in Selous Game Reserve can become challenging during the rainy season. Other tips for self-drive safari in Tanzania includes:

Rent a car from a trustworthy agency

Some companies in Tanzania provide tourists with car rentals for self-drive journeys, while others do not. Finding a reputable company that offers cars of high caliber that will suit your vacation without issues is crucial. Rent a vehicle with camping gear, a pop-up roof, or a rooftop tent.

Valid license or international driving permit

A driving license will make it easier for you to rent a car as a tourist for Tanzania self-drive adventures. A legitimate driver’s license from your country or an international driving permit may be utilized in any national park and other conservation zones like the Ngorongoro and wildlife reserves. A legal document known as an “International Driving Permit” (IDP) allows you to drive in other countries and confirms your license abroad. It can be obtained from the place the visitor is going to or from their home country. If you don’t have an international driving permit, the IDP, which is good for 12 months, may be useful. An international driving permit is absolutely essential due to the fact that you will be driving in this package.

How do I navigate in Tanzania?

Installing on your smartphone is highly advised before departing for Tanzania safari tour. It’s a no-cost app. Enjoy driving with GPS off-road by downloading the maps for Tanzania. On, virtually every inn and camping site has been plotted. Going completely offline and sitting with a paper map on your lap has some merit. Although the map that comes with your rental car is not particularly detailed, the major roads are clearly marked.

Guide to Self Drive During Tanzania Safari
Self Drive During Tanzania Safari

Although Tanzania’s asphalt roads are in decent shape, you won’t typically go faster than 50 km/h because of the numerous speed bumps, the necessity to slow down when going through communities, and the likelihood that you’ll want to take numerous photos. Even the view from the road is breathtaking. You can travel at a speed of 25 km/h on gravel roads.

Map reading and mechanic skills

As a tourist who inquiries about Tanzania self-drive tours, it is essential to possess certain abilities like map reading and mechanic knowledge. Since you won’t have any company on your excursion, possessing these talents will be useful. When the car has a problem, you ought to be aware of the fundamental mechanical principles. Instead of waiting for a mechanic who might take some time to arrive, you might be able to fix it. Additionally, it will be helpful to have the essential equipment to repair any minor failure. You can find the precise path for your trip with the use of a map. A global positioning system (GPS) can help you save time and find the correct way. We suggest visitors download and utilize the program, which works offline, as many parks lack networks, Guide to Self Drive During Tanzania Safari

Travel and health insurance

It’s crucial to make sure you are in good health before starting your Tanzania self-drive safari. Never forget to bring your daily meds and a first aid kit with all the supplies you’ll need to treat minor wounds like cuts and scratches. You can, however, work out a deal with the local correspondent firm to prepare your health insurance before your vacation. This will make it easier for you to get medical care close to your travel destination whenever and wherever you need it.

Recharge your credit cards

It is important to have adequate money in your bank accounts, particularly if you have unpaid services like park admission fees, campsite fees, food and beverage costs, and other extras. Visa or MasterCard credit cards are required in order to access bank services across the nation. If you have enough money left over, you can participate in additional activities not listed on your tour program, such as purchasing drinks, other extras, or gasoline refills.


Renting a Car with Self-Drive Tanzania

The most important thing you need to know before hiring a car in Tanzania is that there are unpaved roads as well as paved roads in most of the country’s regions. Therefore, we advise that you transfer to any destination of your choosing in a 44 vehicle that can manage any type of terrain, such as a national park like Serengeti National Park, where the roads are rather rocky.

Picking Up and Dropping Off Your Car in Tanzania

Depending on where you want to go on your trip to Tanzania, we think Arusha Town will be your first stop. If you’re interested in self-driving in Tanzania, we encourage you to reserve and hire a car first. We then let you know where to pick up the car by giving you the addresses of our offices, and you let us know where to pick it up. The driver who delivers the car to you at the airport or hotel is also the one who will pick it up once you return the rental. It is that easy and adaptable, Guide to Self Drive During Tanzania Safari

Driving in Tanzania

Tanzania has a wide variety of terrain, ranging from urban areas with main roads to isolated areas with rough roads that link to diverse safari locations. To fully enjoy the Self-Drive Adventure in Tanzania, we encourage you to abide by all the traffic rules and regulations as well as those controlling the many safari destinations while sat in your vehicle with proper tires.

Do not drive at night in Tanzania

While traveling independently in Tanzania, it is safe to do so during the day. We caution our customers against driving at night, especially in Tanzania’s more isolated safari destinations, as it is less secure. Outside of Tanzania, there aren’t many streetlights, and everyone uses their high beams while driving at night, which is risky and can blind you and cause an accident. However, in rural areas, on roads with many potholes, it can be challenging to see the road well at night. Please only drive during the day.

Don’t put too much Trust in Google Maps

We advise you to use your trip map while in Tanzania because Google Maps cannot be entirely relied upon to identify impassable, pothole-filled dirt roads with sharp turns, which could lead you astray in Tanzania’s more rural regions. Despite Google Maps’ attempts to reroute you onto less-traveled, more direct roads, we advise against leaving major roadways.

Be prepared for traffic in Arusha

Due to the multiple roundabouts in Arusha Town, be prepared for heavy traffic if you intend to drive through the area. The town’s drivers are courteous, so they will yield to you when it is convenient rather than try to squeeze through. Later, you will travel through light traffic to Tanzania, where you will eventually arrive, Guide to Self Drive During Tanzania Safari

Accommodation in Tanzania

Tanzania offers a wide variety of lodging options, from opulent game lodges in game-rich national parks to historic buildings in Stone Town’s narrow streets, sprawling resorts and rustic beach huts lining Zanzibar’s beaches, and extending down-budget all the way to an abundance of mediocre mid-range hotels and low-cost, scruffy guest houses. Tourists who are in charge of making camping arrangements on a trip can choose between a public or private campsite. However, reservations for private campsites inside the park should be made one day in advance. Before the safari begins, hotels and lodges can be reserved. Making lodging arrangements in advance can relieve some of your worries regarding where you will stay after the safari, Guide to Self Drive During Tanzania Safari

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