Having a vehicle offers a great opportunity for convenience when traveling around Tanzania. You can move at your own speed, stop anytime you want to take photos and enjoy the amazing scenery and still, you can reach to different places that can’t be accessed by public transport. Be that as it may, there are a few things to put in mind before renting a vehicle for a self-drive trip in Tanzania. Putting these things in mind before hiring a self-drive car in Tanzania, will save you a lot of money, time, and even a big travel headache
1 Choosing a Company
The growth of self-drive safaris in Tanzania has led to the establishment of different local car rental companies in the country in addition to the well-known international companies in the country like Avis, Hertz, and Sixt.
During the planning phase of a self-drive safari to Tanzania, you need to reserve your 4×4 rental car in advance so that you can get enough time to compare the prices for a great deal. It takes time to compare the prices from different agencies and prices can vary depending on the season you renting the car, the rental duration, promotional offers, and the company you hiring from.
2 Cross the border with the rental Vehicle
Some car rental agencies in Tanzania may not allow you to cross with their vehicle to other countries and some have a list of countries where their vehicle are not allowed to go and the common countries on most car rental agencies lists include; The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Burundi, Central African Republic, South Sudan, and others. However, the list always changes according to the company.
3 Make Sure you have all the papers you need to pick the car
On the day of picking the car from the car rental agency, they will ask for your driving permit and any other means of identification from your country of origin.
Having an international driving permit/license doesn’t mean that you should not carry your driver’s license or passport, the international driver’s license is just a supplement to the passport and the driving permit this means you should have both of them.
That means your passport, driver’s license are the common documents you need to be with when going to pick up the vehicle from the car rental agency and even if you requested the car rental agency to deliver the vehicle to your hotel, the agent will need to see them before he gives you the car keys.
4 Factors that Affect the Price Renting the car
There are these common factors that determine the price of hiring a self-drive car in Tanzania like the size of the car you hiring and the duration of the rental time. Apart from these, there are several other important factors you need not know.
Automatic or manual transmission
Most safari vehicles in Tanzania are in manual transmission. You can hire an automatic safari vehicle but you need to book it in advance and to some companies, it comes with an extra charge.
Different Pick-Up and Drop-Off Locations
In most cases, it’s perfect to pick up the vehicle from one destination and drop it off at a different destination. For example, in case you planning a self-drive safari through Tanzania and pick up the vehicle from Arusha and drive the northern route to Mount Kilimanjaro National Park, Lake Manyara, Serengeti, Ngorongoro, Tarangire and drop it in Dar es Salaam when you boarding a plane or a ship to Zanzibar.
Taking a one-way rental always saves a lot of time and avoids unnecessary backtracking. However, there are charges for dropping off the car at a different destination and always differ depending on the company policy. The charges may be a bit high when you picking it up in one country and dropping it off in another like picking it up in Arusha Tanzania and drop it in Nairobi Kenya or in Kampala Uganda.
5 And then there’s this thing called the “Yellow Card or COMESA”
A yellow card or COMESA insurance is the kind of insurance that can work in all the East and Southern African countries. If you are planning to cross the border from Tanzania to the neighboring countries, don’t forget to ask the car rental company to get you this card. The COMESA can also be bought at the border at the time of crossing but to avoid waste of time on the border it’s better you tell the company to buy it for you
6 Filling the Car with Gas
Most safari vehicles use diesel and there are high chances that the vehicle you will hire uses diesel but still, you have to confirm on the day of picking the car which type of fuel you will have to add because some car rental companies have both petrol and diesel vehicles.
Still, you have to confirm the fuel policy, most car rental agencies in Tanzania give out the car when it’s in a quarter tank and you are expected to return it when it’s in the quarter. But you can also request a full to a full tank or an empty to an empty tank.
Putting all these points in mind before you hire a vehicle for self-drive in Tanzania, you will be sure of having a successful and amazing road trip in Tanzania national parks.