Is it safe to rent a car in Tanzania?
First question that would come to the travellers who wishes to book car hire services in Tanzania, “is it safe to rent a car?” It is very understandable for the paranoia to kick in because Tanzania is a foreign country where the traveller has hardly tested the physical life experience of the area.
It tends to be a risky and brave move to rent a car and drive on your own in a foreign country like Tanzania and this is where the question marks of its safety comes in. with empirical evidence Tanzania is a safe place to rent a car. Many travellers have rented out cars in the country and have had no safety comprising situations and this is what is based on to say that Tanzania is safe to rent a vehicle and drive on your own.
Empirical evidence of car rental safety in Tanzania
First of all, Tanzania has so many honest and trusted car rental companies around. The car rental providers are genuine in the way they go about their business. These entities never scam a client; car rental services are given to the client as agreed upon.
Though there are some few crocked patches, a client has to be careful of. Before booking with the rental company look at their security credentials for example a trip advisor account and affiliation to credible travel association in the country and the world.
The car rental companies in Tanzania offer comprehensive insurance on their rental vehicles. The comprehensive insurance covers for the third party liability and collision damages. Therefore, the client is safe and guarded from incurring expenses from the unforeseen damages caused in case of an accident.
Car rental providers also have car hire with the driver option for their clients. In case the client feels unsecure to drive on his/her own, he/she can hire a driver from the rental company to travel around Tanzania. The drivers are professional and honest people that always keep the client safe on the road.
The road transport system of Tanzania is also safe for car rental adventures. It is very safe to drive in Tanzania, the roads are relatively in good conditions especially those in the urban areas and leading to the various popular places in the country. More to that the roads have radars and road signs making driving easy for every person.
The traffic officers are also present to check reckless and dangerous driving. The police are in every corner to curb down criminals that are a threat to people.
The rental companies also provide the client with navigation equipment which makes relocating places easy. The rental providers provide GPS navigators and maps to find places, they wish to visit while in Tanzania. The clients are also advised to install google maps or map.me on their smart phones as another alternative for navigation.
Safety Car rent tips for Travellers
Before the client solicits for safety from the destination and the rental company, the client also has to do some bit of work to make him/herself safe. Below are the safety tips to put into account;
- Before booking with a rental company, check for its credibility by sliding to the different social travel platforms to know what their past customers talk about them.
- Avoid driving at night. There are lots of mysteries that happen in the dark. This is the prime time for crimes and also it is really difficult to drive especially in the foreign country.
- Always keep the car closed while driving and when parked. Ensure that the doors and windows are all locked.
- Always follow the traffic rules while driving in a foreign country. Avoid over speeding and other reckless driving tendencies
- Get personal travel insurance for your health and belongings. You never know what might happen while on the trip.
Can You Rent a Car and Self Drive in Tanzania?
Renting a car and self driving in Tanzania is very much possible. The car rental business in Tanzania is still at its infant stage but the few rental companies are doing a tremendous job.
Travellers who have come out of their shell to take on the self dive expeditions in Tanzania have been satisfied with the experience because of the professionalism of the car providers, the well conditioned and all terrain vehicles hired out and also the amazing and picture perfect places to visit. In this article, we shall avail to the traveller with all the necessary information to rent a car for a self drive in Tanzania.
Where to rent a car in Tanzania?
There are a few common places to rent a car in Tanzania and these can be counted on finger tips. Note that if one rents a car from these designated places, one is able to drive at any other place or region in the country.
These car rental areas are strategically located making it easy for both local and foreign travellers to pick up the car and traverse to their preferred destinations. Travellers can easily rent cars from Dodoma the capital of Tanzania, Arusha, Mwanza, Zanzibar, and Dar Es Salaam.
While in these cities, the car provider can easily access you to start off your journey to the other places of the country.
Tips of renting a car in Tanzania
- Do Online Booking; Internet browsing is the easiest way of getting a rental provider in Tanzania
- Book in Advance; reserving your rental car at the earliest time possible does not only give you time to plan your trip perfectly but also makes you save on your car rental. Early birds are always given discounts by car rental companies.
- Book a rental car near airport. Tanzania has so many airports in the different cities. Ensure that you rent a car near the airport you are to arrive and depart while on your trip.
- Hire from a reputable company; a reputable company can be known by its reviews from trip advisor and other travel platforms. Go for the rental company with good reviews and well known around Tanzania.
Requirements of renting a car in Tanzania
- A valid driver’s license; a client must have a valid driver’s license and must be presented to the car rental service provider for verification. With the driver’s license at hand, car rental provider is able to know that the client is eligible and able to drive a car. An international driver’s license or your national license is acceptable across the country apart from Zanzibar where you are instructed to get a license after going through a short driving test by the authorities.
- Presentation of the passport or national identification card; a personal identification document is asked of the hirer by the car rental provider. The car rental provider must know the person is renting a car to.
- Payment of the services; the client is supposed to pay for the car rental services before starting off his/her self drive trip. The payment can be made in US dollars, Euros, Pound sterling and Tanzania shilling. Electronic payment is also provided to the client.
- Reading and signing of the car rental agreement: there is a black and white document issued to the hirer by the rental company. This contains the terms and conditions of renting a car in Tanzania. The hirer is meant to read and sign as consent that he/she has obliged to rent and drive the vehicle under the terms and conditions stipulated to him/her by the rental company.
Driving in Tanzania
Tanzania follows the convention driving rules and laws. The driving in Tanzania is done on the left side. A driver should not exceed 50km/hr. in the urban areas and 80km/hr. on highways. The road signs and radars must be followed all times. There are traffic officers both on the streets and highways to track down road offenders.
In the national parks, the animals are given the first priority. The driver should always stop when the animals are crossing. In case, one knocks down the animal while driving one is liable to a premium fine or even imprisonment. Don’t get off track in the national parks. The speed limit in the national parks is 40km/hrs.
Best Things to Do with Kids in Tanzania
Tanzania located in the East of Africa, it is a natural place a kid will fall in love with by both physical sighting and storytelling. Tanzania is regarded as the God made Disneyland for kids, it has a wealth of amazing animals in their natural form. This East African nation makes kids know more about the ancient history of mankind and his activities.
It has a chain of historical sites for children to visit. It is also an ideal vacation spot for children, there are a plethora of white sand beaches for infants to relax and enjoy themselves. Though Tanzania has lots of things to offer to kids, here are some of the best things to do with kids.
Meserani Snake Park & The Maasai Cultural Museum Visit
The Meserani snake park is entirely a reptile habitat located in Arusha province. A guided tour at the park is one of the best things for a kid to do in Tanzania. He/she is able to come up-close with world’s deadliest snakes; the puff adders, Egyptian cobra, python and black and green mamba. In this park, the kid is able to have a daredevil experience while he/she gets hold of a live snake.
On this guided trip around the Meserani, the infants lay sight on a colossal crocodile with a length of 3metre and touching a baby crocodile is a highlight never to forget on this expedition.
With in the Meserani Snake Park, there is a Maasai Cultural Museum to be visited and enjoy some rich history and heritage of the Maasai people, one of the indigenous race of people in East Africa.
The children enjoy a historical tour around the museum as traditions, norms and rituals of the Masaai people are narrated to them. They also look at the different cultural tools that are and were used for their daily activities and during the wars.
Fun City Excursion
While in Tanzania, Fun city is the place to be for kids. The fun city was majorly established for children; it is an amusement park located in Dar es salaam. A day tour at the fun city amusement will blow your kid’s mind.
It has two sects that is the theme park and water park. This is a place that offers all sorts of kid rides and water activities and some of the activities for kids to engage include breakdancing, bumber car driving, octopus rides, rollercoaster experience, super jet flying, frog jumping, merry cups, baby train rides, cyclone, wavepool, waterfalls, multisliding, spiral sliding and so much more. Kids are always left awestruck at an encounter of the fun city in Dar es salaam Tanzania.
Game Viewing in The Ngorongoro Crater
The Ngorongoro Crater is one of the most popular places in Tanzania, it was named as one of the seven natural wonders in the world.
It is a natural habitat for different species of animals from the lions, elands, hippos, zebras, buffaloes, rhinos, wildebeest and a variety of bird species. A game viewing experience with kids is both exciting and educative.
The kids get to physically see the wild animals they watch on television and read in books. They always have a moment of truth which is very exciting and amazing.
Merrymaking at The Sand Beaches of Zanzibar
If there is something kids love, it is playing in the sun, sand and water. They get some much joy. With the sun, sand and water water at the kid’s feet, it is when you see his/her greatest smile.
The beaches of Zanzibar offer a huge grin on the kid’s face because of the presence of the sun, sand and water to enjoy. Zanzibar is a coastal city part of Tanzania; it holds lots of beach resorts for kids to enjoy.
The onus is on the parents to choose the best beach for their kids. Apart from the sun. sand and water, the accommodation resorts and camp fire sites are ideal spots for kids to relax and wind their minds from school stress. Some of the beaches to for kids to visit in Zanzibar are Bwejuu beach, Michamvi beach, Nugwi beach, Kendwa beach and so forth.
Sightseeing at The Stone town
The stone town is one of the oldest urban areas of Tanzania. It depicts the works of the Arabs, Indians and Europeans especially the Portuguese in the 18th century. It has so many historical sites for kids to visit and have insightful stories of how Africa was invaded by foreigners from other continents.
These ancient buildings or sites don’t only hold precious history but are also architectural marvels. They are very striking and beautiful to look at.
The places to sightsee in this historical town are old fort built by the Portuguese, St. joseph Roman catholic Church which exhibit the works of a popular missionary Dr. Livingstone, Malindi Bamnara Mosque, the royal cemetery and Persian baths. There are also ancient Arab shops known as the Dukas, the market streets (Bazaar) which used to be territories of Tippu Tip a renown slave trader during slave trade times. An encounter of the stone town enables kids get to know what shaped Africa into a place it is right now.
Tanzania has so many amazing things for kids to do but the above mentioned are the most popular activities that infants enjoy and get elated.
10 must visit places on your trip to Tanzania
Tanzania is one of the top prime safari destinations in Africa. Loads of visitors come to this East African country to experience its wilderness, nonchalant islands and beaches and unique culture. It is an ideal place for nature enthusiasts because of its spontaneous and unprecedented wildlife species and natural physical features that run from one corner of the country to the other.
Due to its immeasurable natural attractions and destinations, it would take a visitor to explore and enjoy Tanzania for almost year. With time not being the best ally of most people/visitors in this day and age generation, here are the 10 must visit places on your trip to Tanzania for the short time you might have off your daily routine.
- Serengeti national park
This is one of the most touristic natural biodiversity places in Tanzania. One would say, it is the place to be for visitors who wish to explore and enjoy nature at its best. It is famously known for its natural phenomenon of the great migration of millions of wildebeests from its central plains to the north and as far as Masai Mara in Kenya forth and back.
The Migration of the Wildebeest is regarded as one of the natural wonders of the world. The Migration of these ungulates is the largest movement of animals ever experienced in the world. Serengeti National park is also a popular big five destination. It has one of the highest concentration of lions in the world and the other big four (leopards, elephants, rhinos and buffaloes) are in huge numbers.
Other big mammals are also seen on a game viewing session in Serengeti for example the elands, zebras, giraffes etcetera. The savannah park is also a bird paradise with a whooping number of over 500 species recorded within its lashing vegetation.
- Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area
This is part of the great Serengeti conservation area located in the west of Arusha. Its centrepiece is the Ngorongoro crater, the largest inactive and intact volcanic caldera in the world.
With so much life around the volcanic area, Ngorongoro records an endless list of wildlife species that are encountered on a game drive for example lions, elands, African buffaloes, zebras, wildebeests, hyenas and bird species like grey crowned crane and silver checked hornbill. Ngorongoro is one of the most scenic places in the world as it is painted with green rolling hills.
This conservation area is also known to be one of the oldest human settlement areas in the world. The oldest human remains to ever be discovered were found at Olduvai Gorge, a place within Ngorongoro.
Kilimanjaro is the highest natural feature on the African continent located in the north of Tanzania on the borders of Kenya. It is a dormant volcano with three volcanic cones, Kibo, Mawenzi and Shira.
Kibo is the largest of all the three ranges and has the highest peak Uhuru standing at the height of 5,895 m and this makes Kilimanjaro the fourth highest mountain in the world. It has diminishing glacier peaks which makes it a scenic feature to watch from far and near. Kilimanjaro Mountain is a national park its self with lots of biodiversity to protect and treasure.
It has a few large mammals in its perch for example elephants and buffaloes are occasionally seen, other wildlife species within are mangoose, sunbirds, warthogs, dik-diks, bushbucks and chameleons. Though it has some unique wildlife to encounter, kilimajaro is majorly sought after for its hiking expeditions. The travelers visit this elevated site to hike up to the top of its snow capped ranges. Its peaks are very breath taking spots to reach, hikers tend to enjoy a panoramic view of Tanzania and other neighboring countries at large.
- Lake Manyara National Park
This Picturesque area of nature is located in the southwest of Arusha. It is dominated by lake Manyara, the popular natural phenomenon in the area and the rift valley. Lake Manyara is an alkaline in closed basin with no outflows, only fed by underground streams, rivers and springs whose waters is fetched from Ngorongoro highlands.
It is the seventh largest lake in the country. Lake Manyara being a salty water body, draws some reasonable number of bird species which are attractive to the tourists of the park. Lake Manyara is regarded as an important bird area with over 2 million birds of different species visiting the area. Some of them include flamingos, black winged stilt, yellow billed stork, pied Avocet, great white pelican, Caspian plover and many more.
Lake Manyara has a rare fish species Oreochromis amphimelas and also catfish and tilapia exist in the water inflow areas where the salt is less. With in the park plains, there are herbivores seen like gazelle, impala, zebras, wildebeest, giraffes, buffalos and so forth. These are migratory animals from the nearby habitat Tarangire national park.
- Tarangire National Park
A two hour’s drive south away from the popular city of Arusha, there lies Tarangire the sixth largest national wildlife reserve in Tanzania. The most popular centrepiece of this great natural biodiversity is Tarangire river where the park’s name was derived from.
Tarangire river acts as the main source of water during the dry season to various wild animals in the northern circuit of the country which is purely dominated by different natural habitats. In the months of June- November where Tanzania experiences a great dry spell, there is a huge migration of different animals from other bio diversities to Tarangire national park for greener pastures and water from the river. Animal species like zebra, wildebeest and cape buffaloes migrate around the river areas for survival.
The park is also a home to waterbuck, giraffes, gazelle, baboons, vervet monkeys, dik dik, impala, elands and predators like leopards, lions, cheetahs and wild dogs. It is also a bird haven with over 550 species recorded in its perch. Tarangire national park is more of a season game habitat as most animals are hugely present in the area during the dry season of June-November. A game drive and bird watching expeditions in the dry months are always memorable!
Zanzibar is a collection of islands on the Indian ocean slightly off the mainland of Tanzania. Its nonchalant islands are a popular tourism destination for persons interested in honeymoons, weekend getaways and vacationers seeking for a beach life of sun and sand. It has a chain of luxurious resorts for tourists who seek for special retreats.
It is a home to the stone town, a famous historical and cultural site which depicts most of the ancient Indian Ocean trade which prevailed between the Arabs, Africans and south Asian people.
The historical sites to visit in Zanzibar are makusurani graveyard, a grand cemetery for most former Arab rulers, the peace memorial museum, Dunga ruins, Hamamni and Kidichi Persian Baths and House of Wonders.
These are great places to delve in and get to know the past history of foreign invasion around the African continent. Zanzibar also has lots of tropical fruits and plants like coconut, banana, lime jackfruit and breadfruit and spice plantations. A spice tour always enables visitors to encounter the aforementioned fruits.
This is known as the capital of safaris in the world. Arusha region is where most of the grand national game parks in Tanzania are situated from Serengeti, Ngorongoro to Kilimanjaro.
This makes Arusha city, the start up point for most safari trips in Tanzania. The region also has an international airport which avails the smooth landing of the tourists into the country. The city of Arusha also has modern architecture and a sightseeing excursion is recommended while in the area. Arusha, itself has a national park named after it.
Arusha National park is sandwiched between Kilimanjaro national park in the east and Ngorongoro crater and Serengeti in the west, the three most iconic safari destinations in the country.
This compact park is majorly influenced by Mount Meru, the second highest mountain in the bongoland. Arusha national park does not give the same wilderness experience as the other iconic parks but it’s a natural attraction to reckon with. It is more of a relaxed and nonchalant place with some wildlife species to enjoy on a game drive. Wildlife available in this small park include zebras, buffaloes, warthog, giraffes, bushbuck, elephants, primates like blue monkeys and black and white colobus. It is also a bird gem, a stroll in its forests, a visitor encounters birds like trogon species and starling species.
- Gombe National Park
Far detached from the northern safari circuit, situated in the western region, kigoma on the eastern hills of Lake Tanganyika margins, Gombe national park is a unique biodiversity in all sense.
Its vegetation comprises of tropical rainforest, grasslands and woodland making it an ideal home for African primate species like the chimpanzees, red colobus, blue monkeys, vervet monkeys, red tailed monkeys and olive baboons.
It is also has snake species, a variety of birds, bush pigs and irregular leopards and hippos. Chimpanzee trekking is the most popular tourism activity in the park, the chimpanzees are one of the akin relatives of mankind and their theatrical antics in the wild are mindboggling. A date with the chimpanzee in this wonderful habitats is a lifetime experience!
It is one of the most popular areas in Tanzania and with the highest number of people in the country. Mwanza is located in the northwest along the shores of Lake Victoria, the second largest inland fresh water body in the world. The main economic activity in the area is fishing, the Nile perch and tilapia are the most common fishes caught on the waters.
A boat ride on the serene waters of Lake Victoria is scintillating, the visitors are able to get hold of any fish and the scenic view of the lake is spot on. A fish village tour is also possible for the tourists to learn how the locals go about their fishing business. A taste of the fresh fried Nile perch or tilapia is a shining diamond of the tour. The architecture around the area is also of interest, houses are built in the huge rocks within the city. This is why it is regarded as the rock city by many.
- Selous Game Reserve
Less toured than the northern safari circuit destination, Selous game reserve is located in the southern hemisphere of Tanzania. The park was named after a game hunter and an early nature conservationist Freddick Selous.
The park is mainly covered by miombo woodlands, acacia, wetlands and savannah grassland hence being a comfortable home for the common African game like black rhinos, lion, elephants, masai giraffes, plains zebras, wild dogs, bush elephants. It is holds Rufiji river which verifies the presences of Nile crocodiles, hippos and a mammoth of aquatic bird species. Selous Game reserve is a popular area for game hunting safaris.