Entering Tanzania with a Car or Motorbike
Tanzania Travel OverLand: On the mainland you’ll need your home driving licence or (preferable) an International Driving Permit (IDP) together with your home licence. On Zanzibar Island, you’ll need an IDP plus your home licence, or a permit from Zanzibar, Kenya, Uganda or South Africa.
Just south of the equator, Tanzania is huge and its sheer size means that the climate varies considerably within it. However, generally the main rainy season, or the 'long rains', lasts during about March, April and May. Afternoon tropical downpours are the norm – which are heavier and more predictable beside the coast and on the islands. The humidity is high and daily temperatures reach the low-mid 30°s.
(To check if you need a travel Visa for Tanzania, application instructions and fees see: Tanzania Visa online application at netafri.com)
- TIP; can buy 7 or 30 days. 30 days is $25 USD and can be extended at any city.
- Carnet de Passage not required but useful.
- Certified copy of original Vehicle registration. They will staple the copy to your TIP paper, present this when exiting the country.
- Proof of insurance - can be bought at the border in 1- and 3-month intervals. Best to have COMESA in advance as border prices are always higher, and sometimes sold fake insurance.
The Tanzania Process at border
Simple process: carry yellow fever card and get temp taken. Go to emigration and get visa, then get car processed. Carry certified copies of registration and present those first. Do not leave your originals at the border
The Tanzania Cost of entry
50 USD single entry for 3 months, except for Americans have to buy one year multiple entry for 100 USD plus service fee
Storing a vehicle and temporarily leaving the country
Sabodo Car Park near Samora Avenue its Multi car park facility. They charge Tshs500 per hour. If your planning to leave the Vehicle for a long period the price is negotiable lets say like $100 a month. Its a safe spot Just make sure you properly hand over incase of anything there will be no excuses.
Driving in Tanzania
Police will use every excuse to stop people and seek spot fines. Be friendly, be calm and talk/show interest. Speed limits are usually 50 and not 50, unsure the limit when 'not 50'. They will change in a span 100 meters, best to find a bigger car to travel behind and use them as a shield. If stopped ask to see proof of speeding and demand to pay the fine at the bank.
There will also be unofficial roadblocks. Often stating one must pay "council fees", or pay for road repairs. Do not pay these fines and threaten to call police, or go around without stopping when able.
Vehicle insurance requirements
COMESA or “Yellow card” insurance is required.
Where to purchase vehicle insurance: National Insurance Corporation (T) Limited. They are the authorised dealer for Comesa Insurance in Tanzania. For more info visit there website. Beware of fake cheap insurance especially at the border crossings.
International Driving Permit is accepted across Tanzania.
Driving side of road: Left. And All vehicles can be driven in Tanzania.
Tanzania law Mandatory items in vehicle
- Original Vehicle registration or certified copy
- valid insurance sticker on window
- 1kg CO2 fire extinguisher (not the spray canister type)
- 2 safety triangles
- front passengers wearing seat belts
Tanzania General Road quality
- Most of the main road are tarmac as of 2017 but beware for potholes
- Main roads are decent tarmac; as of October 2013, there are beautiful new tarmac stretches between Mikumi and just south of Iringa, between Bagamoyo and Msata on the Chilenze-Segera road, and most of the Chilenze-Segera road itself
- Main highways are 2 lanes only, with some 'suicide lanes' for overtaking on long steep hills, but not always
- expect many logging trucks (lorries) on the Iringa-Mbeya section
- secondary roads vary from well-graded dirt/laterite in dry seasons to horrifically-potholed swamplands in the rainy season
- 4WD is helpful on secondary roads, but buses and minivans (i.e. Toyota Hiace) are common on these roads as well
notably bad roads listed below
- Selous Game Reserve is closed April-May and super sticky during the rainy season
- Mbeya-Katavi National Park requires a sturdy 4x4
- Saadani NP during the rainy season
- most of western Tanzania along the Lake Tanganyika coast
Tanzania Road signs
- well-signposted along new sections of road
- old/beat-up signs on older sections, many missing or too faded to read
- be aware and use common sense especially in big cities stick to main roads.
- Kigamboni Ferry Tshs 2000 SUV ( All passengers have to get off the Vehicle)
- Kigamboni Bridge Tshs 2000 SUV
Tanzania Fuel Prices
- For February 2021, retail and wholesale prices of Petrol and Diesel in the Northern regions (Tanga, Kilimanjaro, Arusha, and Manyara) have changed compared to prices published on 6th January 2021. For February 2021, retail prices of Petrol and Diesel have increased by TZS 91/litre (equivalent to 4.99 percent) and TZS 80/litre (equivalent to 4.54 percent) respectively. Similarly, compared to the publication of last month, wholesale prices of Petrol and Diesel have increased by TZS 90.92/litre (equivalent to 5.35 percent) and TZS 79.48/litre (equivalent to 4.89 percent), respectively. Kerosene prices shall continue to be the same as those that were published on 6th January 2021 because there was no new consignment of the product that was received through Tanga port in January 2021.
- For February 2021, retail and wholesale prices of petroleum products for Southern regions (Mtwara, Lindi, and Ruvuma) have changed compared to prices published on 6th January 2021. For February 2021, retail prices of Petrol and Diesel have increased by TZS 71/litre (equivalent to 3.89 percent) and TZS 76/litre (equivalent to 4.34 percent), respectively. Similarly, compared to the publication of last month, wholesale prices of Petrol and Diesel have increased by TZS 70.98/litre (equivalent to 4.16 percent) and TZS 75.87/litre (equivalent to 4.67 percent), respectively. Changes in local prices are mainly attributed to changes in the world oil market prices and BPS premiums. Click the link to see Tanzania Fuel Prices Update
Bribery in Tanzania
Police stops are particularly common on Dar es Salaam-Chilenze road, especially for overspeeding in villages (50 km/hr limit) and paperwork checks. On this stretch of road they ask for 'chai' (tea) regularly, but if you've committed no offense, a polite and simple refusal is usually sufficient. Tanzanians are not confrontational at all. On other main roads I've not experienced many police stops, and even fewer requests for any bribes, in my 5+ years in Tanzania. If you do encounter a cop who insists on getting his chai, several friends carry a few sodas in the car to hand out as needed.
Weekends in Dar es Salaam, there are often police at roadside checkpoints for paperwork and safety. It takes a few minutes but if you've got everything it's rarely a problem.
- Military checkpoints non-existent.
- Police checkpoints for fire extinguisher, triangles, insurance sticker, license, and registration common in town and on main roads upcountry.
- Immigration officers (in plainclothes but with government ID's) have been asking more frequently to see passports and visas upcountry. Photocopies suffice, and they've always been returned.
Traveling with pets to Tanzania
Pets are not allowed in any national park - they might get eaten by the animals!
Safety and Security Considerations in Tanzania
Vehicle windows should always be closed especially in traffic. Never leave valuables inside the car unless the vehicle is tinted. Make sure Side mirrors, Emblems, Antennas are properly secured with rivets or screws.
Car jackings are rare but beware of petty thieves
On the open road, if you value your life, DON'T drive at night. Long-haul truck/lorry drivers load up on Red Bull and coffee for 16-hour days and fall asleep at the wheel regularly. Drunkards driving fast (140+km/hr) on narrow 2-lane roads kill people regularly.
In cities/towns, it's less of an issue, but drunk drivers are still problematic.
Vehicle parking in Tanzania
Leave your vehicle in a secured compound, and make sure there are askaris (guards). If you have to park on the street, talk to a property owner and make friends with his askaris. Pay for their service - no more than a $2 dollars for the night.
Special driving considerations in Tanzania
The bigger the vehicle, the bigger the right-of-way. Dont get frustrated be patience and use Common sense. Road rage is a No No especially if you are new.
Camping in Tanzania$20.00 USD to $50.00 USD per person per day. TZ residents pay half that. Citizens pay half that again, or less. Government campsites generally have a water source and a toilet. Depending on how remote the site is, the toilet may be a working flush toilet or a simple long-drop outhouse. A few of the newer/renovated campsites have showers, too. Many sites have a tin- or thatch-roofed 'banda' or hut with a countertop and/or picnic table, but this is far from universal. Concrete or stone fire rings are often present as well. Park rangers generally provide firewood at the official sites, and most are so friendly as to help you with most requests you may have within reason. Some of the more remote sites are no more than a GPS coordinate on a map, a rock cairn, and/or a wooden post in the ground, which translates into a real wilderness experience with lions, leopards, elephants, and other animals likely to stroll through your campsite during the night - Tarangire NP has some of these sites that are truly isolated, many km from the nearest people.
It's also possible to camp at lodges and hotels upcountry, particularly in smaller towns. It's not always an option, but when it is, it's usually the best value for money. It may cost $5.00 USD to $15.00 USD per tent per night (cheaper than camping in the parks and reserves), and you have access to flush toilets, showers, a food prep area (sometimes), and the hotel bar and restaurant. I've personally stayed at private campgrounds catering to overlanders near the Ngorogoro Crater, Serengeti, Lake Manyara, Arusha, Kilimanjaro, Tarangire, Mikumi, Selous, and Ruaha national parks, and I know there are others across Tanzania.
Another option in rural villages are travelers' guesthouses, which generally only cost around $3.00 USD a night. The rooms may be spotless or filthy or anywhere in between, but there's almost always an enclosed and fairly secure parking area where you can sleep in your vehicle, and there will often be a garden where pitching a tent is possible. Access to toilets, water, and locally-prepared food is possible in these guesthouses. Because of the limited number of travelers in rural parts of Tanzania, your business is welcome and usually gets you warm hospitality, hot water, and advice about roads for onward travel.
'Wild' camping outside of designated campsites is prohibited in national parks and reserves in Tanzania. Outside reserves, any wild or roadside camping means you'll be on someone's property. Because the people are so friendly, if you're willing to pay the owner a fee, you're likely to be welcome to stay on their land and have a young man both guard and wash your vehicle.