Self-Drive Tanzania Kenya
Replies: 2 - Last Post: Feb 1, 2013 6:04 AM Last Post By: itchyfeet38
Apr 9, 2012 1:17 PM
My husband and I will be self-driving Tanzania and Kenya this August/September. Our plan is to fly into Nairobi hire a 4WD (with tent/rooftop tent) and drive to Masai Mara thence south into Tanzania for total about 37 days and dropping the car off in Dar es Salaam. (then a week in Zanzibar!). Has anyone done a similar itinerary as this? how did this work for you? and does anyone have any recommendations on which company to use for the hireage of car and tent package. All advice will be much appreciated.
Emma and Aaron
Apr 10, 2012 8:41 AM
1People do hire cars and self drive around Tanzania and Kenya, but it is very difficult to find a company that has a car that is in suitable condition. Also I have never seen any self hire cars that have a roof top tent. You may also find that it is not easy to cross the border from Masai Mara to Serengeti. Most safaris either cross into Uganda to enter Tanzania or return to Nairobi to travel to Arusha. The roads aren't necessarily any rougher than say, outback Australia, but lack of mechanical parts and back up services can strand you.
As long as you are aware of all this and research how to do your border crossings (ie. getting advance information direct from the Park Boards) and have good mechanical skills and your own store of spare parts/tools, it should be possible and be a great experience as well. It is not the usual thing to do in East Africa so the infrastructure isn't there yet - but maybe it's time it was. Best of luck with finding a car and with your journey - I hope it goes well!
Apr 10, 2012 9:25 AM
2Have you driven in Africa before? It can be challenging for all sorts of reasons (police stops, road condition, route finding, other road users) and driving in Kenya and Tanzania is very different from driving in South Africa or Namibia. This is not to discourage you - it is a phenomenal way to see the country - but there are good reasons most tourists don't self-drive here and it is as well to be prepared. It is a definite plus if you know your way around an engine and aren't going to be phased by getting lost and being an object of some interest to both police and locals.
As to hiring I'm sure it's possible for a price but as others have said it isn't often done. Traveling across the border will certainly complicate it considerably. You cannot cross from the Serengeti to the Mara through the parks themselves anymore. You have to exit the park you are in and drive a long, long way around.
If I were you I would consider traveling in one or other of Kenya or Tanzania. I spent 6 weeks in each last year self driving (though in our own car so I can't help re hire). And it was not nearly enough in either case. You could very easily put together a great itinerary in either. Or treat it as a two centre holiday and fly between them hiring a car out of Nairobi and Dar. You can still have your week in Zanzibar at the end of your trip.
If your main reason for wanting to visit both countries is to visit the Mara and the Serengeti I would certainly encourage you to think again. They are part of the same eco-system and not so different to make the effort of getting between them worthwhile in my view. In my experience spending a bit of time somewhere really pays off if you are self-driving in parks. As you get to know the area, strike up a relationship with other drivers/guides etc you will find your sightings increase each day. Far too many people think that changing location all the time somehow increases your chances of seeing more and I think the opposite is true.
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