Tanzania Driving Guide
Tanzania is a unique beautiful country. Explore all of it by driving when you get your International Driving Permit
Located on the eastern coast of Africa, Tanzania is a perfect wildlife sanctuary where animals can freely roam around and be cared for. Traveling to this modest country guarantees you a bucket of unforgettable memories. Tanzania has a unique charm that lures adventurous travelers all over the world. The fascinating scenery and natural spectacle will leave you in awe once you arrive in the country.
Tanzania is the home of Mount Kilimanjaro, one of the seven summits of the world and Africa’s highest point. Besides Mount Kilimanjaro, Lake Tanganyika, the lowest point in Africa, is also located in Tanzania. Tanzania has a 50 million population, where 99% of which are of native African descent. The country’s official languages are Swahili and English, so language differences will not be much of a problem.
How Can This Guide Help You?
Traveling to a foreign country without knowing even little information can lead to a disaster. This guide provides you the necessary information you need to keep in mind before traveling to Tanzania. The guide includes the things you can do in Tanzania for a long-term stay and the top destinations you should visit in the country. As for driving in Tanzania, this guide includes the driving rules and etiquette you need to follow and car rental information.
Tanzania is an East African country with two capitals - Dar es Salaam and Dodoma. It is the 13th largest country in Africa and the 31st largest country in the world. As a mountainous country, Tanzania offers a wide range of animal habitats. Because of this, Tanzania promotes wildlife conservation and eco-tourism by establishing protected areas and national parks.
Tanzania is located just south of the equator bordering Uganda and Kenya on the north, Burundi, Zaire, and Zaire on the west, the Indian Ocean on the east, and Mozambique and Malawi on the south. Tanzania’s geography is unique as you’ll notice that the northern part of the country is mountainous while the central part of the country is a large plateau. You’ll also find lakes and several national parks in the country.
You’ll find the highest point and the largest lake of Africa in Tanzania, making it more interesting to tourists. The geography of the country makes it a suitable place for wildlife to live, so don’t be surprised if you encounter animals on the road. You’ll experience a hot and humid climate in Tanzania and a more temperate climate in elevated places.
Known as the most linguistically diverse country in East Africa, over 100 languages are spoken in Tanzania. Swahili is their national language used in parliamentary debate, in lower courts, and in primary education. On the other hand, English is a widely-spoken language in the country, mainly used by educated Tanzanians. English is used in foreign trade, in higher courts, in diplomacy, and secondary and higher education.
The country has a total land area of 945,087 sq km, making it the largest country in East Africa and the 13th largest country in the entire continent. In comparison, Tanzania is slightly larger than twice the size of California. Tanzania includes the islands of Zanzibar, Mafia, and Pemba.
Known as the “Cradle of Humankind,” Tanzania was the home of the earliest man recorded. You can find the remains of the earliest hominid, called Zinjathropus boisei, in Olduvai Gorge. Various African tribes, including the Masai, were one of the first settlers in Tanzania, where Tanzania’s culture and tradition originated. Around the 8th century, the Arabs settled in Zanzibar, establishing trade routes on the island.
The Germans began to rule in the late 19th century, establishing German East Africa. After World War I, the Germans were forced to surrender the country to the British Empire. During the British Empire’s ruling, Tanzania was divided into two: the mainland Tanganyika and Zanzibar archipelago. The two jurisdictions merged after gaining their independence and became the United Republic of Tanzania in 1964.
The government of Tanzania was once a one-party state. This was abolished in 1992 to become a multi-party political process. Because of the revolutionary movement, Tanzania has been conducting multiparty general elections for the office of the president and the members of the parliament.
In local government, each region in mainland Tanzania is governed by a commissioner who is appointed by the central government. Each district also has councils with appointed officers.
Tanzania’s tourism industry has been flourishing for years, making it the primary earner in foreign exchange. In 2018, Tanzania’s tourism sector generated $2.4 billion, a 9.1% increase from the 2017 statistics. The tourist destinations are categorized into two: wildlife and beaches.
Tanzania dedicated 25% of its total land area to wildlife reserves and national parks to promote eco-tourism.
The Tanzania government has continually invested in improving the tourism industry by preserving their culture and protecting the environment. The government aims to attract tourists who care about wildlife and the environment as much as the Tanzanians do to promote sustainable tourism.
Driving in Tanzania can be hassle-free if you provide all requirements to drive in the country. Some countries may require an international driving permit as a translation of your local driver’s license and, thus, solve language differences between you and the authorities. Here are a few things you need to know about an international drivers permit in Tanzania.
Is a Local Driver’s License Valid in Tanzania?
Foreigners with a valid local driver’s license and an IDP are allowed to drive in Tanzania for six months. Although an IDP contains your name and driver information, it does not replace your native driving license. You can’t solely use the IDP for transactions in the country since it’s only a translation of your local driving license, not a valid replacement for it. Without a valid driving license, you can be charged for unlicensed driving.
Do I Need an IDP in Cities and Districts of Tanzania?
Foreigners are allowed to drive in Tanzania with an international driver’s license for up to six months. When applying for an international driver’s permit in Tanzania online, you don’t need to take any test or take driving lessons in a driving school in Tanzania. You should carry your international driver’s license in Tanzania, especially in a city, since Tanzanian police often operate checkpoints in the country.
Driving on district roads of Tanzania may be different and less strict from the national roads, but you still need to bring an international driver’s permit on district roads. Tanzania requires an international driver’s license for all travelers. If you wish not to get an IDP, you have to go the extra mile to get your driver’s license endorsed by the Tanzanian authorities. It’s highly recommended to get an international driver’s license from the International Driver’s Association instead.
Does an IDP Replace Your Native Driver’s License?
An IDP does not replace your driver’s license as it is only a translation of your driving information. Remember, an IDP is not a license. You can’t use an IDP alone when driving in Tanzania, so you need to always bring your driver’s license with you at all times.
Renting a Car in Tanzania
Driving in Tanzania can be more pleasant with the help of car rental companies. Renting a car can be stressful, especially for first-time travelers. You need to consider several factors before renting a vehicle, such as your budget and road conditions. In Tanzania, rental companies aim to make your driving experience hassle-free by providing excellent services and well-maintained cars.
Car Rental Companies
Large car rental companies like Europcar, Avis Rent A Car, and Roadtrip Africa have branches in Tanzania. You can book your rental car online before you even arrive in the country. Online booking is more comfortable and more convenient for international travelers. Local rental companies also allow walk-in booking. The car rental companies in Tanzania rent cars that suit your travel purpose and budget.
Roadtrip Africa most rented cars are camping vehicles, Landcruisers, and 4x4 compact cars perfect for a safari adventure. If you opt to rent eco-friendly vehicles, Europcar is your best choice as the first car rental company that implemented the Green Program. SUVs and vans are the most rented cars in Europcar. In Avis Rent A Car, you can avail extras like GPS navigation and child seats.
It’s easy to rent a car in Tanzania if you have a valid driving license. You also need to present other government-issued identification such as your passport as proof of identity. If your local driving license is not in English, the car rental company will require you to present an international driver’s permit. You can get an international driver’s permit on the website of the International Driver’s Association. You also need a credit card for payment.
Car rental companies have cars that are suitable for the roads in Tanzania. The most common vehicles rented in Tanzania are full-size and camping vehicles because of the parks and reserves’ road conditions. If you’re staying within the urban areas, a compact car is enough to get you from one point to another. SUVs and sedans are enough to tour around urban areas.
Car Rental Cost
A rental car in Tanzania can cost $21 a day. The rental fee is based on the type of vehicle you rent, the car’s size, and the insurance. Availing extra products and services also affect the rental price. The car rental company offers optional extras such as camping gear and an electrical fridge for camping vehicles. Other optional amenities include child seats, GPS Navigation, and WiFi.
Besides extra products, you can also avail optional services such as Fuel Plans, One-Way Airport Rates, toll payment, and more. Here are estimated rental prices for each type of vehicle you can rent in Tanzania:
- Economy: $32/day
- Standard: $78/day
- Minivan: $47/day
- Full-size SUV: $116/day
- Premium SUV: $74/day
- Intermediate SUV: $38/day
- Compact SUV:: 41/day
- Passenger Van: $78/day
The minimum age requirement to rent a car is 21 years old. Established car rental companies are usually hesitant to allow drivers under 21 years old to rent a car because of rampant reports of accidents caused by young drivers. Some car rental companies even require an Underage Driver fee for drivers under 25 years old.
Car Insurance Cost
Driving in a foreign country can be a bit scary for first-timers. Insurance provides a sense of security to drivers as they navigate unfamiliar roads, so it’s essential to choose a car rental company that includes insurance in the package. Most car rental companies would include car insurance in their fees. If you rent a car at a car rental company without covered insurance, it’s best to secure one before traveling.
Car Insurance Policy
Car rental companies may include a Loss Damage Waiver (LDW), Personal Accident Insurance (PAI), Additional Liability insurance (ALI), Emergency Sickness Plan, and Extended Roadside Assistance. A Loss Damage Waiver relieves you of financial responsibility if the car is damaged or stolen. The PAI includes medical coverage in case you and your passengers get into an accident. You can add optional insurance to your car rental fee if you think the included insurance is not adequate to protect you.
Road Rules in Tanzania
Before you attempt to drive in a foreign country, you need to be familiar with the driving rules to avoid accidents or unwanted situations with the police. Most driving rules in Tanzania are familiar to you since they adapted most of their laws from the British. Some rules may be unfamiliar to you, but it’s easy to get used to it. Following the driving rules in Tanzania prevents you from getting into accidents and hurting pedestrians and animals.
Before you start hitting the roads of Tanzania, it’s important to know the important regulations enforced in the country. Failure to follow these regulations will result in serious consequences. The consequences may include penalties, fines, or, worse, injury and death. Below are the important regulations you need to follow.
Tanzania imposes a 0.08% blood alcohol limit on locals and tourists. However, there is a zero alcohol limit for professional and commercial drivers to ensure they do their job diligently and safely. Drunk driving has been a problem worldwide as more drivers violate this rule and end up causing road accidents and even deaths. When driving in Tanzania, driving under the influence of alcohol increases the risk of road accidents on unpaved roads.
Drunk driving is a severe offense in Tanzania, with a penalty of 500,000 Tanzanian shillings (Sh)
imprisonment, revoked or suspended license, depending on the severity of the violation. If a driver causes an accident or death while driving under the influence of alcohol, he will face imprisonment and a revoked license. Alcohol impairs a person’s ability to drive as reaction times and focus decreases when alcohol blood level increases.
Turning Signals at an Intersection
Most lanes in Tanzania, especially outside the main cities, are narrow, so it’s a common practice for drivers to look out for other drivers by giving signals. Turning signals can also be used to indicate if it’s safe to pass for other drivers. When a driver flashes his right turn signal, it means it’s not safe to pass, and there's oncoming traffic. If the driver flashes his left turn signal, it means there’s no oncoming traffic for you.
Before parking, check if it’s safe to park and if it’s allowed to park in the area. You’ll see parking signs that will indicate the allotted time allowed to park. Do not park on or within five meters of a pedestrian crossing and within five meters of a junction or rail crossing. Also, you’re not allowed to park on the road with double white centerlines. Before leaving the vehicle, switch off the engine and make sure the handbrake is on.
At night, you are only allowed to park on the left side of the road. Before you open your door, check if there are pedestrians or cyclists that might get hit once you open the door. It’s safer to get out of the vehicle on the left-hand side next to the curb or road edge.
Ensure you and your vehicle is in good condition before driving.
Before driving in Tanzania, ensure that your vehicle is in good condition. Check the mirrors, windows, and tires if it’s in the right shape. Always bring your passport, insurance documents, local driving license, and an international driving license in Tanzania. You can get charged for unlicensed driving if you fail to present a valid driving license. Get enough sleep and avoid fatigue before you hit the road.
Special Permit in Zanzibar
When driving in Zanzibar as a foreign traveler, you need to get a special driving permit to drive on the island, aside from your international driver’s license. To obtain a special permit, you need to take a vision test and a written exam and pay $10. You can face a fine if you’re caught driving on the island without a special permit.
General Standards of Driving
It’s important to learn the driving standards in Tanzania so you’d know what the locals commonly use and do when driving in the country. In Tanzania, locals use either a manual or automatic car, depending on their preference. Each type of car has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it’s entirely up to you what type you would choose. If you’re not confident to drive a manual car on a foreign road, then opt for an automatic car.
Overspeeding is a common cause of road fatalities in Tanzania, especially among young drivers. When driving in Tanzania, it’s essential to follow the speed limits imposed since sharp bends and slopes are common throughout the country. Driving below the speed limit allows you enough time to react and avoid a collision. The thrill of fast driving is not worth the fatality risk and penalties.
The speed limit in urban areas is 50 KpH, while the speed limit in rural areas is 80 KpH. For vehicles of more than 3,500-kilogram maximum permissible weight, the speed should not exceed 80 KpH. Road racing is strictly prohibited in Tanzania unless there is approval from the Inspector General or any officer authorized by the Inspector General. The speed limits apply to all types of vehicles.
2018 WHO Global Status Report on Road Safety revealed that road traffic injuries are the leading cause of death for children between 5-14 years old and young adults between 15-29 years old. Seatbelts have been one of the most effective measures to reduce fatalities in road accidents. Wearing a seatbelt is mandatory for drivers in Tanzania. Driving without a seatbelt is a risky behavior in a country with several sharp bends and slopes.
Unlike other countries, Tanzania currently has no child-restraint law that requires children to be fastened in a car seat. Most parent drivers in Tanzania don’t know about child restraints. Child restraints reduce the risk of injury of children under ten years old, especially during sudden stops. Child restraints should be used until the child reaches at least 135 centimeters in height, where the adult seatbelt can fully protect them.
Roundabouts may not be common in Tanzania, but it pays to know what rules to follow when entering the roundabout. You’ll often find roundabouts in major cities like Dar es Salaam. When entering a roundabout, you yield to the cars already circulating the roundabout. When driving in a roundabout, you must be driving at a slow speed.
Aside from roundabouts, you must also know if it’s allowed to overtake in Tanzania. Overtaking is done on the right side in Tanzania as the locals drive on the left side of the road. Although it’s permitted, overtaking is discouraged unless necessary.
Traffic Road Signs
Most road signs in Tanzania are similar to those of other countries, with a few unique road signs. Like in other countries, Tanzania also has four groups of road signs: regulatory signs, warning signs, information signs, and guidance signs. It’s essential to follow what each road sign indicates to ensure everyone’s safety. Failing to follow a road sign rule can get you charged with an offense or, worse, get you in an accident.
Warning signs in Tanzania warn drivers about the potential danger ahead. These signs are distinguishable with red borders. As a wildlife sanctuary where animals roam around freely, Tanzania also has animal-related road signs to warn the drivers to be careful when driving in the area. Other warning signs include:
- children-related signs
- craggedness sign
- falling rocks sign
- Crossroad warning sign
- Slippery Road warning sign
- Slope signs
- Speed Bump signs
Regulatory signs tell drivers what they must do or must not do on the road they’re driving on or on the road ahead. Regulatory signs include:
- Stop sign
- Give Way sign
- No Entry sign
- One Way signs
- Keep Left and Keep Right signs
- Turn Left and Turn Right signs
- Roundabout sign
- Speed Limit sign
- Mass Limit sign
- Axle Load Limit sign
- Parking Sign
Information signs, on the other hand, inform drivers of the road situation. These signs are usually green. Information signs include:
- IN4 No Through Road
- IN5 No Through Road
- IN16 Bus Stop Ahead
- IN20 Oncoming vehicle is required to give way to you
Lastly, guidance signs help drivers find their way to their destination. Like the information signs, guidance signs are also green in color. Examples of guidance signs are as follows:
- Direction signs
- Final Turn sign
- Confirmation sign
- GFS Services and Attractions
Right of Way
Knowing the give way rules of a foreign country saves you from future arguments with other drivers. In Tanzania, any vehicle inside the roundabout has the right of way. Once you reach the roundabout, you need to stop and let the cars inside pass first. At a road junction with a Give Way sign, you need to give way to the traffic on the other road. Always give way to traffic coming from the right If there are no markings or signs in sight.
Legal Driving Age
Just like the majority of the world, the legal driving age in Tanzania is 18 years old. However, most car rental companies don’t allow drivers under 21 years of age to rent a car. Some rental companies even impose an underage driver fee for drivers under 25 years old. Young drivers might find driving in Tanzania a bit challenging, especially if you haven’t driven on unpaved roads.
It can be tempting to try a wild safari drive in the country, especially if you’re young, but for everyone’s safety, it’s best to let an experienced adult drive for you. Irresponsible driving caused by thrill and excitement puts not only your safety but also the pedestrians’, passengers’, and even animals’ safety at risk. When driving in Tanzania
Laws on Overtaking
Overtaking can be hazardous, especially in countries like Tanzania, where there are only two lanes on the road. Overtaking in Tanzania should be done on the right side. Before overtaking, you need to signal the drivers behind you that you’re about to overtake and ensure no other vehicle attempting to overtake or has begun to overtake. You should only overtake if there is enough space for you and the car you’re overtaking in the lane.
You can overtake on the left side if the driver ahead of you signals that he’s about to turn right. Do not overtake when approaching a hill’s crest or if you can’t see clearly on the bends. Get back to the lane as soon as you finish overtaking. If being overtaken, keep on the left side of the road as far as possible and slow down a bit to let the overtaking vehicle pass you as soon as possible. As much as possible, avoid overtaking unless necessary.
As a former colony of the British Empire, Tanzania adopted several British driving laws in the country. Thus, you will be driving on the left side of the road in Tanzania. The driving side in Tanzania has been an issue for neighboring countries that drive on the right side of the road. If you’re from the UK and other left-hand driving countries, it will be easy for you to navigate Tanzania roads.
For drivers coming from right-side driving countries such as the US, it can take you quite a while to get used to driving in Tanzania in the beginning. It gets easier as you regularly navigate the roads in the country. Remember that Tanzania only has two-lane roads throughout the country, so it’s essential to follow this rule. Driving on the wrong side can cause traffic and even road accidents.
Driving Etiquette in Tanzania
Inevitable situations can happen to you in a foreign country. Without knowing the etiquette observed in a particular situation can gain you a few frowns and glares. Worse, you can also get yourself and other people in trouble. It’s important to know what to do in a particular situation To avoid these consequences.
Car breakdowns can happen anytime, especially to cars that are not well-maintained. Although rental cars from established rental companies are regularly checked, they are not invincible to car breakdowns. If your car breaks down, try to move the vehicle off the road. If this is not possible, try to get the car close to the road’s left-hand edge, away from junctions, bridges, and bends.
Warn other drivers by placing a reflective warning triangle not less than 30 meters behind the vehicle and another warning triangle in front of the car. Also, use your hazard warning lights to warn the drivers. You can contact a breakdown and towing service company to get your vehicle off the road. Wait at a safe place on the road to avoid the risk of being hit by passing vehicles.
It’s a common practice for the police to stop you in Tanzania. The police usually stop you to check your documents, such as your valid driving license and passport, or if you violated a driving rule in Tanzania. The police may also check your car insurance, tires, and if you have a fire extinguisher, traffic triangles, and first aid kit. Most car rental companies equip their cars with these requirements.
If the police ticket you for a traffic violation, they must state the offense you committed before you are requested to pay upfront or at the nearest police station. Don’t get into an argument with the police if you want a stress-free visit in the country. Remain calm and polite when answering their questions.
Follow the commands of the officer regarding your violations. However, If an officer asks for something in return to let you pass, politely decline the request. It’s a bad practice to resort to bribery if you violate a driving rule. If an officer insists, don’t get annoyed and politely decline. You can also call your car rental company to settle the issue with the police officer.
Tanzanians are friendly and polite people that would spare you a few minutes to give directions. Most Tanzanians can speak English, so it’s easy for you to ask. When asking for directions, stop at the side of the road and politely call out a person. Don’t point your index finger to call a person, instead use your hand with your palm facing downwards.
It’s a common practice in Tanzania to exchange greetings first before you ask. Most adults will greet you with a cheery Jambo (hello). Other Swahili greetings you should know are: Habari za kutwa? ( how has your day been?), Kwaheri (Goodbye), and Asante (“Thank you!”). Your tone and facial expressions should be friendly, so you don’t offend the person.
Checkpoints in Tanzania may involve random breath testing or checking of driver’s documents to ensure that all drivers are obeying the driving rules in Tanzania. When approaching a checkpoint, slow down and ensure that the doors are locked. Roll your windows down a bit, enough for the police to see and hear you. You can easily spot the police officers at major intersections. Follow the officers’ commands as much as possible.
If you think it’s an unofficial checkpoint, don’t panic but remain alert. Inform the police about the checkpoint and provide the location. Don’t surrender your documents to non-uniformed personnel at the checkpoint. Avoid confrontation with non-uniformed personnel and wait for the police to handle the situation.
Aside from the driving situations mentioned above, it’s also beneficial to know what to do in case of accidents. It can be scary and stressful, but mentally preparing can reduce your worries when involved in an accident. Read below to know more.
What if I Get Involved in an Accident?
If you are involved in an accident where someone is injured, report the accident to the nearest police station immediately, not later than 12 hours, and give your name and address to the other person involved. Call an ambulance as soon as possible. Don’t attempt to settle the problem on your own and let the authorities identify what happened and who is liable for the accident.
If there is no one injured, you don’t need to contact the police, but you must give your name, address, and registration number to the authorities involved. If you stop to help in an accident, warn the other drivers of the obstruction. You may wave to the drivers to slow down or switch on the hazard warning lights. Contact the police and state the location of the accident and the number of vehicles and injured persons.
Driving Conditions in Tanzania
Aside from the driving rules and etiquette observed in Tanzania, you also need to know the country’s driving situations and conditions. It could help you mentally prepare for possible difficulties you may encounter on the road. Understanding the driving conditions keeps you more alert and aware while driving in a foreign country.
Vehicle accidents caused by overspeeding are frequent in Tanzania, where most of them involve private car vehicles. One of the probable causes of car crashes in the country is the lack of implemented maximum speed limits for every car under the existing law. Moreover, the roads outside urban areas are not designed for high-speed driving, knowing that these roads are underdeveloped.
According to the 2018 WHO Global Road Safety Status, Tanzania ranks 6th globally with the highest death rate of road accidents. Road accidents are the 7th leading cause of death in Tanzania, with a 46.17 death rate per 100,000. In 2020 reports, Tanzania had reported a 26% decrease in road accidents from July 18 to March 2020. Stricter implementation of road laws helps decrease the percentage of road accidents in the country.
The standard vehicles you’ll see in Tanzania are sedans and SUVs, particularly in urban areas. Outside the main cities, you’ll often find trucks and motorcycles on the roads. In 2012, about 1 million cars were registered in Dar es Salaam alone, with an estimated population of 4 million. On the roads leading to reserves and parks, you’ll mostly see four-wheel drives as they are the most suitable vehicles on rough roads. Slightly expensive cars can be found in Dar es Salaam.
The government has been working on the first toll road in Tanzania that would be adjacent to the existing road. The first toll road would have seven toll plazas, four- and six-lane carriageways, weighbridges, and eight interchanges. This project aims to construct a new road in Dar es Salaam to connect with other roads in neighboring countries.
Cross-border movement is common in East Africa. You can enter the country from Kenya via the A104 highway for approximately 17 hours or via the B144 highway for 21 hours and 30 minutes. If you’re coming from Uganda, you can enter Tanzania via the B3 highway crossing a country border. It takes 20 hours and 30 minutes to reach Tanzania via B3 Highway. You can also drive on B141 Highway and A104 Highway to get to Tanzania.
The roads in Tanzania are either tarred or gravel or rural dirt tracks. On main highways, Tanzania has a decent network of tarmac and all-weather roads classified as ‘A’ or ‘B’ and connect the major towns. The minor roads, however, are unmade gravel with potholes and too rough during the rainy season. Driving in Zanzibar is also easy since the major highway around the island is tarred and in good condition.
The roads to the parks and reserves are also rough during the rainy season and only passable by high clearance four-wheel vehicles. Thus, always bring tools such as a jack and a shovel in case your car gets stuck in the dirt. Fuel stations are scattered in main highways and towns, but if you’re heading to remote tracks, consider bringing extra cans of fuel in case you don’t find fuel stations nearby. You may also encounter roads without signposts along the way.
Tanzanians are relatively safe drivers, although most of them will drive faster than you. They are practically familiar with the roads and even memorize where the slopes and sharp bends are. Tanzanian drivers will not invite you for a race on the roads, so you don’t need to drive as fast as they are. Tanzanians are also polite and helpful drivers that look out for everyone, especially at intersections.
They usually give signals if it’s alright the road is clear for you to pass. They utilize their turning signals to communicate. Tanzanians also follow the Give Way rules diligently, so it’s rare to get into an argument with a driver because of the rules. Although the implementation of road laws is not as strict compared in other countries, it’s still safe to share the road with the Tanzanians.
It’s also important to know other matters related to driving conditions in the country, such as the unit used in speed limit signs and also night driving. Read below to know more details about other tips when driving in Tanzania.
Are They Using Kph or Mph?
KpH and MpH are the units used to display speed limits, depending on the country. Just like 81% of the world, Tanzania uses the metric system for measurement. Thus, they use kilometers per hour to measure speed. The KpH measurement can be quite confusing for drivers from countries that use miles per hour as speed measurement. Only 9% of the world uses the miles per hour measurement, including the UK, US, and its dependencies.
The speedometer of your rented car will help you know your speed in KpH, so you don’t get in trouble with the authorities for excessive speeding. Always remember that Tanzania uses KpH, so the numbers displayed on signs can be quite a larger number than what you’re used to seeing in your country. When you see a speed limit sign with only a number displayed, it automatically means the speed limit is in KpH.
Is It Safe to Drive at Night?
As much as possible, don’t drive at night in Tanzania unless necessary. The animals are usually roaming freely on the roads, and there aren’t enough streetlights that could let you see ahead. However, if you must drive at night, you need to drive at a slower speed that will allow you to have enough time to stop within the distance you can see to be clear. There may be pedestrians or cyclists ahead.
Use your headlights at night, especially on roads with inadequate lighting. The general rule is to switch on the headlight if you can’t see clearly for more than 100 meters ahead. Before you hit the road, always check if your headlights are correctly working, well-adjusted, and clean to provide enough light without blinding other drivers. Rental car companies regularly check the condition of the car before they rent it to you.
Things To Do in Tanzania
Driving in Tanzania as a tourist is fun and manageable, but how about driving in the country as a driver? Driving for an extended period in Tanzania is possible, but you have to know a few things before finalizing your decision. You need to consider the employment and residence requirements you need to comply with and if there are job vacancies in the country.
Drive as a Tourist
Tourists are allowed to drive in Tanzania as long as you have your native driver’s license, passport, and IDP with you. If you’re driving on Zanzibar island, you need to secure a special permit to drive on the island. It’s important to have an IDP with you in case the authorities need to check your documents to avoid delays in your trip. An IDP is highly recommended for driver’s license holders with licenses that are not in the Roman alphabet.
Work as a Driver
Foreigners can apply for driving jobs with an employment visa. The most common driving job you can apply for in Tanzania is as a transportation services driver. You can also apply for a family driver position if you qualify. You are only qualified to apply for a driving job in Tanzania if you possess a Tanzanian driving license and must have taken driving lessons and tests in the country. Private car driving positions are not as strict, but it’s highly recommended you passed the driving tests in Tanzania.
If you wish to be self-employed, try signing up for transportation services companies. You also need to submit your Driver’s license (Class C, C1, C2, or C3), valid motor vehicle road license (Seating capacity of at least five people), vehicle insurance, Commercial Vehicle Registration Card, and Taxi or Tour Operator’s license. You also need to attend a virtual information session and upload your profile photo. They will also check if your car meets the vehicle standards in Tanzania before you’re allowed to work as an Uber driver.
Work as a Travel Guide
If you’re confident that you know Tanzania just like a local, you can apply as a travel guide in the country. However, expect that it will be hard to find travel guide positions open for foreigners like you since most employers would prefer locals to do the job. Nonetheless, the average salary of a travel guide in Tanzania is USD 378. You’ll often find job openings for travel guides in Dodoma, Arusha, Zanzibar City, Dar es Salaam, and Mwanza.
Just like applying for driving jobs in Tanzania, you need to secure a work permit to be qualified to work as a travel guide. If you secure a job in the country, you will be granted temporary residency with specific privileges. Moreover, a Tanzanian driving license is required if you want to work as a travel guide.
Apply for Residency
Tanzania is not issuing permanent residency to foreigners. Foreigners are allowed to temporarily reside in Tanzania with an employment or business visa or work permit. Resident permits in Tanzania are classified into three: Residence Permit Class A, B, and C. Each residence permit grants the holder certain privileges and access and depends on the type of legal activity you’re engaged in.
Residence Permit Class A is granted to self-employed persons in the field of Professional Arts, Profession and Consultancy Services, Larger scale Investment and Trade, and Manufacturing and Processing, to name a few. Residence Permit Class B grants persons with professional qualifications, such as medical professionals and teachers, residence in the country. Residence Permit Class C grants residency to persons of any other profession.
You can apply for a residence permit online. The applicant must create an account on the Tanzania Immigration Department’s website. Then, you can now fill out the application form and attach the documents required. The applicants are free to choose where they want their applications to be processed.
Other Things to Do
You can do more things in Tanzania if you’re planning a long-term stay in the country. Tanzania may not be as progressive as other countries, but its charm and solitude can convince you to live and work in the country.
Can I Convert My Local Driver’s License to a Tanzanian Driving License?
Foreigners who are planning to stay in Tanzania for more than six months need to secure a Tanzanian driving license to drive in the country. You need to bring your local driving license and show a certificate of competence to the Police Traffic office. You must be at least 18 years old for a motor vehicle license or at least 16 years old for a motorcycle license.
You need to enroll in driving lessons in a driving school in Tanzania and take the necessary tests. The license fee costs Tshs 70,000/renewable every five years, while the driving test fee costs Tshs. 3,000. After taking a test, you need to take an eye test and apply for testing at the Traffic Police. Lastly, you need to take a driving test at the Traffic Police office.
Are There Other Work Opportunities in Tanzania?
You can also find other work opportunities in Tanzania if you aren’t lucky enough to secure a driving job in the country. The most common job for foreigners in Tanzania is teaching English. You’ll find several job openings for English as a Second Language (ESL) teaching, especially if you’re from a country that considers English as the native language.
The Top Destinations in Tanzania
As a country located just below the equator, Tanzania is the perfect habitat for most land animals. Unlike other countries, the top destinations in Tanzania are national parks and reserves that preserve the habitat of the animals. Here you’ll see fascinating nature spectacles and picturesque scenery that will leave you in awe and fill your dreams of beautiful memories in the country.
Mount Kilimanjaro National Park
Mount Kilimanjaro is considered the image of Tanzania situated within a national park. Standing at Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest point in Africa. Although wildlife viewing is available, tourists visit the area to see the majestic dormant volcano in person. While looking at the peak in awe is enough for most people, some adventurous travelers attempt to climb the mountain when they visit the area. Mount Kilimanjaro is considered the most accessible summit to climb on among the seven summits of the world.
- From Kilimanjaro International Airport, head north on Kilimanjaro Airport Rd.
- Turn right onto Arusha - Himo Rd/A23.
- Continue to follow A23.
- At the roundabout, take the 3rd exit onto Taifa Rd/A23.
- At the roundabout, take the 2nd exit onto A23.
- Turn left.
- Turn left until you reach the national park. It takes approximately an hour and a half to reach Mount Kilimanjaro National Park.
Things to Do
If you wish to fully enjoy the entire area, here’s a list of the most enjoyable activities to do in Mount Kilimanjaro National Park.
1. Climb Mount Kilimanjaro
If you’re into outdoor activities, climbing Mount Kilimanjaro would be the best activity for you. You need to hire a licensed guide if you want to climb Mount Kilimanjaro as it is not allowed to climb the mountain alone. There are several climbing routes you can take, but the easiest to climb is the Marangu Route. It takes about five to six days to reach the summit.
2. Watch the Wildlife
Wildlife watching is a popular activity in Mount Kilimanjaro National Park since the area has lush grasslands, a perfect habitat for animals. If you want to fully enjoy the experience, trekking is the best option for you to see the elephants, baboons, and other wildlife in their natural habitat. You can also hire an armed park ranger to get to some areas where large animals like leopards and buffalos live.
3. Hike at the Shira Plateau
If you think climbing for five to six days is not the right activity for you, you can opt to join hiking tours in the park instead. Hiking tours allow you to see scenic views of the crater, wildlife, and greenery. It can take three days to hike the trails around Shira Plateau, where you’ll spend the night at mountain camps. It’s best to be extra careful when hiking as the trails are not well-maintained.
4. Experience authentic Maasai culture at Olpopongi
Do you love immersing yourself in a different culture? If yes, you should definitely check out the Olpopongi cultural village. Here you’ll discover the Maasai traditions, heritage, and cuisine that would fill your heart with satisfaction. Discovering the Maasai culture doesn’t need to be disruptive to their daily lives - you can see their culture as soon as you interact with them.
5. Swim at Chala Crate Lake
The beautiful Chala Crater Lake is also a famous attraction in the national park, where you can spot the Chala tilapia and hike around the area. What makes the lake fascinating is the color of the lake that changes depending on the time of the year. The water can be turquoise blue, emerald, or midnight blue, which can be enticing to swim. Just keep in mind that there are no lifeguards in the area.
Serengeti National Park
Serengeti National Park is famous for the annual wildebeest migration, where 1.5 million wildebeest and hundreds of thousands of zebras and gazelles follow a 1,000-kilometer circular track. The annual migration is one of the most impressive natural events in the world. Besides the yearly migration, you can also find several animals grazing the vast treeless plain and 500 species of birds flying freely above you.
- From Kilimanjaro International Airport, head north on Kilimanjaro Airport Rd.
- Turn left onto Arusha - Himo Rd/A23.
- Continue onto A104.
- Turn left onto Nairobi Rd.
- Turn right onto A104.
- Turn left onto Mbauda Rd.
Things to Do
Serengeti National Park offers a lot of relaxing activities that you should definitely try. Below are the things you can do to get the best out of your exploration in the Serengeti National Park.
1. Watch the Annual Migration
The annual migration of millions of wildebeest, zebras, and other hoofed animals is one of the most spectacular natural events that would leave you in awe. Expect that there would be flocks of tourists during the annual migration. The yearly migration usually happens between May and June.
2. Ride a hot air balloon
Another activity you absolutely must try is riding the hot air balloon in Serengeti Park to see the park’s beauty at bird’s eye view. It’s best to ride a hot air balloon at sunrise as the light spread across the grassland, adding a romantic atmosphere to your experience. You can also take a closer look at the animals since the balloon goes down at treetop levels. After the balloon ride, a continental breakfast is waiting for you and your fellow balloon riders.
3. Camp at the area
If you think day activities are not enough to fully embrace the charm of Serengeti National Park, you can spend the night at one of the camps set in the area. There are several camps you can choose from, complete with beddings. Enjoy a peaceful sleep and be one with nature for a night.
4. Enjoy birdwatching at Bologonja Springs.
People who want the littlest human interaction can visit the Bologonja Springs, where only a few people visit. Birdwatching is a common activity in the Bologonja Springs, but you can also appreciate the vast area filled with attractive plants and animals.
5. View hippos at Retina hippo pool
Watching hippos dipping in the Retina hippo pool is quite relaxing when you visit this area. Tanzania is known as the home of hundreds of thousands of hippos, and the largest number of hippos in the country is in the Retina hippo pool. The pool is where hippos warm and feed themselves. It’s also an area where territorial battles between hippos take place. You can also spot crocodiles in the area too!
Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Ngorongoro Conservation Area is one of the most popular wildlife viewing areas where the Ngorongoro Crater and Olduvai Gorge is located. You’ll find thousands of animals cooling themselves at the crater and flamingos flocking at Lake Magadi during the dry season. Aside from wildlife viewing, you can also enjoy peaceful bird watching at the lake. If you’re interested in history and archaeology, you can check out the remnants of early humankind at Olduvai Gorge.
- From Kilimanjaro International Airport, head north on Kilimanjaro Airport Rd.
- Follow Arusha - Himo Rd/A23 and continue onto A104.
- Turn right onto A104.
- At the roundabout, take the 2nd exit and continue onto A104.
- Turn right onto B144 until you reach the Ngorongoro Conservation Area.
Things to Do
Visiting the Ngorongoro Conservation area offers not only activities but also meaningful insights for tourists. Here’s a list of things you can do while in the area.
1. Learn early humankind history at Olduvai Gorge
Olduvai Gorge is known as the place where the remains of early humankind were found. The gorge is found near Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Conservation Area. If you’re interested in history, particularly early humankind history, visit the Olduvai Gorge and discover the remnants at the museum near the area.
2. Enjoy wildlife watching at the Ngorongoro Crater.
Ngorongoro Crater is a 19-km wide crater, making it one of the largest unbroken calderas in the world. The Ngorongoro crater is one of the best places in the area for wildlife watching as you see numerous animals grazing the grasslands. The crater is open from 6 AM, and all vehicles must be out in the area at 6 PM. If you’re self-driving, you need to hire a park ranger.
3. Discover the early humankind’s footprints at Laetoli.
Laetoli is known as the place where Mary Leakey’s team discovered the large 3.7 million-year-old hominid footprints. The large footprints are suspected to be the footprints of the Australopithecus boisei. If you want to take your history lessons up a notch, Laetoli is definitely a must-see destination.
4. Enjoy peaceful birdwatching in Lake Magadi.
Lake Magadi is a shallow lake that attracts thousands of pelicans and flamingos, making it one of the best places for birdwatching. Tourists enjoy watching the flamingos feed themselves with green algae, which is abundant in the lake. If you’re into beautiful scenery and pretty birds, don’t forget to visit Lake Magadi.
5. Join game drives at Ngorongoro Crater.
Game drives are one of the best ways to enjoy wildlife viewing, where you’ll be in a standard tour van. You can either join a game drive in the morning or afternoon. It takes about three days to explore every part of the crater, where you’ll find several animals and lush vegetation in every safari.
Are you tired of the hustle and bustle of the city? Head over to Zanzibar Island and get the relaxation you need. As a famous holiday destination in Tanzania, Zanzibar attracts several tourists who are into fun water adventures. Snorkeling, scuba diving, and kite surfing are just a few of the water activities you can do on the island. You can also trek the small forest near the beaches and meet the red colobus monkeys inhabiting the forest.
- From Zanzibar airport, head south toward Nyerere Rd, then turn left onto Nyerere Road.
- At the roundabout, continue straight.
- Turn right.
- Turn left and continue until you reach Zanzibar Island. It only takes about thirty minutes to reach the island.
Things to Do
Zanzibar Island offers different kinds of activities, from water sports to guided tours. The small island is packed with different activities for every kind of traveler, so make sure to read the list of things you can do below.
1. Explore Jozani Forest.
The Jozani Forest is the last indigenous forest on Zanzibar island, making it a must-visit destination in Zanzibar island. If you’re up for a trek, you can join organized tours and see the trees and ferns in this unique swamp forest.
2. Sunbathe at Nungwi Beach.
Zanzibar is blessed with beautiful beaches that tourists love to visit when they’re on the island. Although Nungwi Beach is a popular beach destination, the place is not crowded with tourists, so you can peacefully enjoy a dip in the water or get a tan while reading a book. Nungwi beach is the perfect destination if you’re on a tight budget.
3. See the giant tortoises at Prison Island.
Prison Island is a historical beach destination as it was once the place where slaves were detained and the isolation camp for people with deadly diseases. Despite its dark past, the place is still alluring to tourists as you can find giant tortoises in the area. You can still find the ruins of the troubling history of the island here.
4. Join a spice tour at Zanzibar markets.
A spice tour is a must when you visit Zanzibar island as it is known for its spice trade. You can join guided tours to know the origins of the industry and the different kinds of spices found on the island.
5. Try water sports activities on Zanzibar beaches.
If you’re an adventurous traveler, try the water sports activities on Zanzibar beaches to quench your thirst for the thrill. You can try snorkeling, kite surfing, scuba diving, and more water sports on the island. Each beach offers different kinds of water sports, so choose one that suits your preferences.
After a series of wildlife viewing and adventures, it’s time to visit the cultural scene in Stone Town. Stepping in Stone Town feels like you’re transported into a Middle Eastern country as you see houses and landmarks with Arabian influence. Enjoy strolling around this charming town as you pass by beautiful Arabian homes, museums, and churches. Check out the former home of the sultan, the Beit el-Sahel, Hamamni Persian Baths, and the Old Fort.
- From Zanzibar airport, Head south toward Nyerere Rd.
- Turn left onto Nyerere Rd.
- Turn right onto Benjamin Mkapa Rd.
- Turn left onto New Mkunazini Rd.
- Turn right until you reach Stone Town. The trip will only take 15 minutes from the airport.
Things to Do
Stone Town offers unique activities if you want something other than wildlife adventures. People who love relaxing tours will surely enjoy their stay in Stone Town. Here’s a list of activities you can do in Stone Town.
1. Eat at Forodhani Market
If you’re fond of nighttime strolling and food trips, the Forodhani Market is the perfect place for you. With a wide array of local produce and food stores, you’ll definitely get to taste the cuisine on the island. The most popular is the seafood dishes where you can eat freshly grilled fish and seafood paired with samosas, naan bread, and potato balls.
2. Learn the Zanzibar culture at the House of Wonders.
The House of Wonders is one of the best places to know more about the Zanzibar culture as it highlights an exhibition that provides a glimpse into the Zanzibar and Swahili culture. This historic building is the tallest and grandest building in Stone Town. If you’re into cultural trips, the House of Wonders should be on your list.
3. See the relics of the past Sultan’s family at the Palace Museum.
Built in the 19th century, the Palace Museum or Sultan’s Palace is also a top attraction in Stone Town. The Palace Museum served as the home of the Sultan and his family, overlooking the ocean. It became a government building after the 1964 revolution and became a museum where the relics of the past Sultan family can be found.
4. Get a glimpse of their history at the Old Fort.
The Old Fort is the oldest building in Stonetown facing the sea right in front of Forodhani Gardens. Tourists flock here to get a glimpse of the ruins of the old fort that served as the defense against attacks in the 17th century. You’ll find local vendors selling local produce in the center of the courtyard.
5. Immerse in the local culture at Stone Town streets.
Stone Town is the heart of Zanzibar Island, where you can soak up on the local culture by just walking in the alleys and streets. Enjoy the view of stunning Arabian-style houses and discover unexplored places in the winding alleys. You can also talk with the locals while sipping a cup of coffee in one of the local cafés.
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