How to Rent a Car in Tanzania

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Tourists in Tanzania, both first-timers and experienced travellers might want to rent a car for their travel, especially for road trips and self-drive safaris. If you’re keen on going off the beaten path or want the freedom to explore the country on your own time and dime then renting a car is the ideal solution for you. 

Car hire in Tanzania can get a little complicated with finding service providers for a specific vehicle and comparing prices to see if you’re getting a good deal. There are so many factors to consider with local car hire companies. 

These car rental companies in Tanzania can provide visitors with the opportunity to get cars for different purposes, terrains, durations, and prices but you will have to do your research first. Visitors can easily rent cars from Arusha, Mwanza, Zanzibar, and Dar Es Salaam! 

If you’re keen on renting a vehicle during your visit to Tanzania then this guide was written for you. We have gathered all the information that a traveller might need to know to safely and easily rent a car in Tanzania.


Renting a Car in Tanzania, Image Source: Pixabay.Com

Booking in Advance

Tourists are advised to book their cars in advance to save themselves time and hassle! Booking beforehand gives visitors the opportunity to find discounts or negotiate to get cheaper prices.

Hire the right vehicle for its intended purpose.

Many a dream holiday has been negatively affected by not having the right type of vehicle. Poor vehicle selection leads to breakdowns and accidents. Tanzanian roads, especially in the country areas are tough and made even more so by rain. Most of the roads in the exploration and safari areas are unpaved and require a competent driver and 4×4. 

Tourists should look at different car hire companies and consider different requirements, prices, and policies to ensure that they are availing best deal! Visitors should make sure the company is safe and certified. They must know that renting for city use and renting for out of city use are 2 different things: pricing, insurance and vehicle types change. This should be kept into consideration to ensure that the vehicle is ideal for the purpose of that specific trip.

Documents needed

Commonly, customers are expected to produce their ID or proof of identity, visa, passport, driver’s license, and credit card, as well as proof of reservation or booking, while renting a car. Some companies might also require a security deposit especially for out of town usage. This is widely done.


Some extras are must-haves, and tourists should check in with companies to see if they might opt for them. The company may offer optional extra insurance, which may avoid the need to leave a security deposit. This additional insurance is merely an extra and is not a legal requirement for renting a car. The staff might offer an upgrade to the customers, who should consider their budget before accepting the offer.

Once again check that the vehicle has the necessary extras for its use: spare tyres, jacks, jumper cables, tow rope, a spade, a radio with an attached USB port, a car explanation booklet, and a roadmap!

Best Vehicles

For city use, options will range from small to luxury sedans and even 4x4s. For out of city use, options will focus on rugged vehicles with good ground clearance and capabilities for the poor roads found ‘off the beaten track’.

Double cabs are very popular 4×4 vehicles for self-driving in East Africa because it handles all road types. Fortuner SUVs are also popular with customers, as they have space for up to 5 customers, but come at a slightly higher cost. Land cruisers are more luxurious and spacious, but they cost more than other 4×4 vehicles.

Where To Rent

Car rentals are conveniently found at the airports, or in nearby areas where tourists can commute to by shuttles or taxis. In Dar Es Salaam, Arusha, Zanzibar, Moshi, and Mwanza, many companies such as Dolphin Car Hire and Xpress Rent a Car. In Zanzibar, Zanzibar Express Car hire, Zanzibar Car Hire, Zanzibar Best Car Rental, Zanzibar Rent a Car and Karibu Kwetu are all reputable and price competitive with well-maintained fleets.


Dar es Salaam

Dar es Salaam City, Image Source:

Renting a Car with a Driver

Tourists can increase their comfort and luxury by hiring a driver as well when renting a car. Many car rentals allow customers to hire drivers with a reasonable extra cost, which makes their trip more comfortable and relaxing. Driving in the country is not easy as it requires adequate knowledge of roads, local conditions, and local officials. Hiring a driver hence makes the trip easier for tourists and also leaves them free to enjoy more of the areas being travelled through with intimate local knowledge at hand.

Tips for Self Driving

Visitors should conform to traffic rules and regulations, such as speed limits, and drive on the left-hand side of the road. Most roads are reasonably maintained, but customers should be careful about potholes, livestock and even people crossing the road, to avoid accidents or damage. Self-drive safaris are permitted in most regions, such as the Serengeti National Park, Lake Tanganyika, Selous Game Reserve, Ngorongoro Crater, and Zanzibar Island.

Safety Concerns

Tanzania is considered safe for self-driving but tourists should make sure to always lock the car, avoid driving at night, and not leave valuables unattended. To ensure safety from scammers and wrong companies, tourists should check the credibility of the company beforehand.

Driving in Zanzibar

All non-Tanzanian drivers license holders need a permit only when driving in Zanzibar. This Zanzibar Driving Permit can be received after going through a vision test and a written exam! It is not strictly enforced but travellers may be fined for not carrying the permit!

Tourists should select the right vehicle, in terms of terrain, model, price, purpose, space, and additional facilities provided by the company. We hope the travellers are able to easily rent the perfect car for their adventures in Tanzania!

Driving Zanzibar

A tourist, Image Source: Pixabay.Com

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