Tips for designing the best Tanzania Itinerary

Planning your Tanzania roadtrip

Tanzania is big! If you have never been to Tanzania before, go on a self-drive trip and beyond the well-known Northern Safari Circuit, then its tricky to plan your route and estimate your travel time on the basis of Google Maps and Travel Books.

At Roadtrip Africa, we are true self-drive safari experts. We know how to build a well-paced and varied itinerary for your road trip in Tanzania. Check our tips so you can design a great itinerary as well and make sure to take the following advice at heart: 

Looking to return home with a deeper understanding of Tanzania, and a new friend? Consider traveling with one of our driver-guides. We closely monitor all our client feedback. From our 10 years of experience in the field, we have learned that travelers who book a car with a driver always have a fantastic experience. Besides getting you to your destination safely and doing the game drives in the park, they know the best places to go for a lunch-break or stocking up supplies. Our drivers can also help fine-tuning your itinerary along the way and recommend cultural encounters, nice campsites and lodges to stay. Yet, you remain in charge of your own holiday and itineary.

Rent a 4x4 in Tanzania with private driver | Roadtrip Africa

If you are trying to estimate your itinerary with Google Maps, increase the suggested travel time by 30%. Although the asphalt roads are in good condition, you generally won't reach more than 50 km / hour, due to the many speed bumps, the need to reduce speed when you’re passing through villages, and because you probably want to take a lot of pictures. Even the scenery from the highway is stunning! On gravel/dirt roads, you reach an average of 25km/ hour.

Pole Pole - jam-packed itineraries lead to too long driving days, speeding, or fatigue. Plan a minimum of two nights at each location to appreciate where you are. Being on the move all the time generally does not make your self-drive holiday more fun. If you booked yourself a beautiful lodge, make sure you actually have time to enjoy it! Some lodges are a destination in their own right. Also, you have to build in some flexibility in your itinerary to allow for the unexpected, as things will work out differently than planned.

Don't plan a long driving day on the day you need to catch a flight, if something goes wrong, there's instant stress. You can rely on excellent road support from our end, but things take time to organize and cooperation from both sides. 

Do not underestimate the game driving/viewing that you will undertake inside the national parks. This can also be challenging and tiresome for the driver as well as the travel companions. The best is to alternate vehicle-based activities (safari drives and getting from A to B), with activities to stretch your legs, such as walks/ hikes or cultural experiences.  

We are personally big fans of alternating camping with staying at a lodge, whereby we also like to combine camping on a public campsite inside a safari park, with a stay at a commercially run campground outside a natural park, where you find better amenities, like an outdoor kitchen space or a swimming pool. Many upmarket lodges are foreign-owned, but it can also be a greatly rewarding and authentic experience to stay at a more budget, locally owned and small-scale hotel. 

'Pole pole' (slowly slowly) is a lifestyle in East Africa. Expect that everything will take a while; from fuel stops to entering parks, ordering a meal etc. 

A roadtrip is best enjoyed when you believe that the adventure lies in the journey itself and that the destination is not the end goal...