Overland Tanzania Travel
Currency to display:
- 1 Visiting Tanzania
- 2 Entering Tanzania with a Car or Motorbike
- 3 Driving in Tanzania
- 4 Gas price in Tanzania and Diesel price in Tanzania
- 5 Safety and Security Considerations
- 6 Camping in Tanzania
- 7 Navigation
- 8 Special Overland Travel interests
- 9 Vehicle Maintenance
- 10 Buy or sell a car or motorbike in Tanzania
- 11 References
- 12 Helpful External links
Give a brief overview of what it's like to visit. How easy is the border, how safe is the country, are there great things to see and do, etc.
Entering Tanzania with a Car or Motorbike
Correct as of: November 2013
(To check if you need a travel Visa for Tanzania, application instructions and fees see: Tanzania Visa online application at VisaHQ.com)
- Carnet de Passage
- Original Vehicle registration
- Proof of insurance - can be bought at the border in 1- and 3-month intervals
Process at border
At immigration, just after they check your passport, they'll ask to see the original registration, and they'll want to keep it to ensure you return via the same entry point and aren't importing your vehicle. If you return via the same entry point, they seem to be pretty good about returning it without hassle. Carry multiple certified copies if you plan to exit by another border crossing.
Cost of entry
$5.00 USD plus another $20.00 USD per month you want to stay, as a road tax.
Permitted length of stay
State the permitted length of entry for the vehicle
Extension of stay
Describe the process to extend the permitted length of entry for the vehicle, if possible.
Storing a vehicle and temporarily leaving the country
Describe if/how a vehicle can be stored, and for how long.
Also mention if the owner / temporary importer can leave the country while the vehicle is in storage.
Exiting with a vehicle
Describe the paperwork requirements and process at the border to exit.
Driving in Tanzania
Recommended books for Overlanding in Tanzania
Travel insurance for Tanzania
Vehicle insurance requirements
COMESA or “Yellow card” insurance is required.
Cost of vehicle insurance
See the prices listed on the COMESA Insurance page.
Where to purchase vehicle insurance
Describe where insurance can be purchased.
International Driving Permit is accepted across Tanzania.
Driving side of road
Unknown if LHD vehicles can be driven in Tanzania.
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
General Road quality
- 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
- well-signposted along new sections of road
- old/beat-up signs on older sections, many missing or too faded to read
- none that I am aware of other than Error in price tag: 'TSH' is not a known currency. per vehicle for the Kigamboni ferry in Dar es Salaam
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
Pets are not allowed in any national park - they might get eaten by the animals!
Gas price in Tanzania and Diesel price in Tanzania
Last updated: November 2013
Currency and unit to display:
|Unleaded||€1.12 EUR per Liter|
|Diesel||€1.17 EUR per Liter|
Gas and Diesel Availability / Frequency
Fuel shortages do occur, but not often. There have been 2 since 2008, each lasting about 3 days. There should be no difficulties in locating fuel stations everywhere in Tanzania except the middle of the Selous, Ruaha, Katavi, and Serengeti wildernesses. Stations in some of the small towns sometimes run out of diesel, but it is often possible to find enterprising locals who will sell a few liters (for a profit of course) if you're really stuck. I have never had a problem with the range of the 80L fuel tank on my diesel 4x4.
Gas and Diesel Quality
Dirty diesel has caused a problem with the fuel system once in the last 5 years. I can't speak for petrol.
Safety and Security Considerations
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.
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 few dollars for the night.
Special driving considerations
The bigger the vehicle, the bigger the right-of-way.
Security advisories and information
- Country Specific Information - U.S. Department of State
- Travel Reports and Warnings - Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
- Travel advice by country - Foreign and Commonwealth office (U.K.)
- Travel Advice for Tanzania - Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Camping in Tanzania
Tanzania is not cheap! Pay camping is possible in just about every national park and game reserve. As of November 2013, foreigners pay $30.00 USD per night plus park entry fees, which vary from $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.
Camping guide books
The Tracks4Africa GPS map has many campsites listed, but I'm not aware of any specific guide outside the standard Lonely Planet or Rough Guide.
Buy bottled or filter your own water everywhere in Tanzania.
Reise Know-How are amoung the best paper maps. Purchase paper maps before arriving in Tanzania
The "Tourist Map of Tanzania" shows all but the tiniest tracks in Tanzania and is readily available at A Novel Idea, a chain of English-language bookstores on the peninsula in Dar es Salaam.
GPS Maps of Tanzania
Tracks4Africa routable GPS map, compatible with Garmin devices, includes a lot of detail and has proved to be entirely accurate every time I've used it, even along some overgrown bush tracks in the middle of nowhere. Linked here: http://tracks4africa.co.za/maps/about/gps/east_africa/
GPS co-ordinates for camping, propane, gas, repairs, etc. in Tanzania
- iOverlander is a website and iPhone application designed by Overlanders, for Overlanders. It contains GPS co-ordinates and reviews for camping, hotels, propane, water, mechanics, borders and much more.
Link to sites that have a list of GPS co-ordinates (or directions) for camping locations (including "wild" campsites), propane filling, gas stations, repair shops, places of interest, etc.
Special Overland Travel interests
List any special items / places that are popular with Overlanders
4x4s / Trucks
- Toyota Global Dealer Locator
- Land Rover International Dealer Locator
- Mercedes Benz International (select country on bottom right)
- Jeep International site locator
Add known good mechanics here.
Buy or sell a car or motorbike in Tanzania
You need to obtain a TIN - taxpayer identification number - from the Tanzania Revenue Authority before you can buy a car, but that's not too difficult.
Cars in TZ are expensive due to steep import duties, especially on 4x4's with engines above 2500cc. Average expatriate prices as of November 2013 for the following vehicles:
- Toyota Hilux Surf: $7,000.00 USD - $12,000.00 USD
- Toyota Hilux dual-cab: $13,000.00 USD to $30,000.00 USD depending on year and condition, but in heavy demand locally
- TLC 76/79 trooper/hardtop: $25,000.00 USD to $45,000.00 USD depending on year and condition
- TLC 60-series: $6,000.00 USD to $10,000.00 USD, but most are pretty beat up
- TLC 80-series: $12,000.00 USD to $15,000.00 USD
- TLC 90-series: $14,000.00 USD to $20,000.00 USD (late 90's to early 2000's)
- TLC 100-series: $25,000.00 USD minimum
- TLC 200-series: a lot more than I've ever thought of spending on a vehicle
- Land Rover Defender 110: $12,000.00 USD (late 1980's) - $32,000.00 USD (late models)
- Nissan Patrol LWB: $15,000.00 USD to $35,000.00 USD
Links to the source of any information - blogs or discussion forums, etc.
Add any helpful external links here.
- Tanzania: Visa and Passport requirements | World Travel Guide
- Health Information for Travelers to Tanzania - Center for Disease Control and Prevention
- Tanzania travel guides at wikivoyage
- Tanzania - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
- General information about different parks and reserves in Tanzania, and a lot of nice lodges along the way - http://www.africatravelresource.com/tanzania-safari/
- Official accommodation in Tanzania's national parks, from Tanapa the Tanzania National Parks Association - http://www.tanzaniaparks.com/accomodations.html
- This site lists several nice campsites in Tanzania, all within a day or half-day's drive of one another. - http://familyinafrica.wordpress.com/2013/06/05/tip-top-campsites-in-tanzania/