We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

How are the roads/drivers generally on safari routes?

Houston, Texas
Level Contributor
900 posts
94 reviews
Save Topic
How are the roads/drivers generally on safari routes?

In a safari vehicle, going from Arusha to Ngo Crater and then to different lodges/camps in the Serengeti (will probably fly back to Arusha) , how are the road conditions? What about drivers in general? I am trying to get a feel for safety as far as driving or flying.

Hamilton, New Jersey
Level Contributor
218 posts
17 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: How are the roads/drivers generally on safari routes?

I never felt unsafe with our driver but he was a really good driver and I'm used to bad roads as I travel often in developing world countries. However, I would not be comfortable driving on the the roads in those areas, or any roads in Tanzania. I didn't see any accidents on any of the roads in the parks, unlike lots of the other roads I was on in Tanzania.

It's not totally comfortable for sure. It's very bumpy and very dusty.

Arusha, Tanzania
Level Contributor
535 posts
Save Reply
2. Re: How are the roads/drivers generally on safari routes?

The roads are very unsteady in general, but it is worth the bumpy ride for what you get to see!

How good the driver is all depends on the driver themselves and there experience, but I personally have nothing but praise for the drivers I have had in the past – they have been fantastic at what they do!

Stanley, Falkland...
Level Contributor
32,591 posts
75 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: How are the roads/drivers generally on safari routes?

If there was a problem about safety, the safari industry would probably collapse.

It's not like South Africa, with lots of tarmac roads and too many careless drivers. Accidents can and do happen, but rarely on safari.

In years of reading these pages and talking to people who have been, I can't recall anyone reporting a road accident.

The planes are safe as well.

Findlay, Ohio
Destination Expert
for Tanzania, Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Level Contributor
12,484 posts
8 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: How are the roads/drivers generally on safari routes?

The main road out of Arusha to the parks, to Tarangire then on to Lake Manyara, and to the Ngorongoro Crater turn-off is all hard-surfaced and there would be little discomfort on this road. It is rather safe on this road unless you get some driver who wants to overtake (pass) other drivers all the time and then they can get a little unsafe. If you driver is going too fast then tell them to slow down, or use the Swahili words pole pole (not pronounced like a pole in the ground but rather in two syllables like po lee po lee). After the Ngorongoro Crater turn-off and all the roads in the parks are all dirt/gravel roads and these roads will be bumpy and dusty (muddy during the rainy season sometimes). In the parks and on the dirt/gravel roads the drivers will most likely slow down to about 45 kph so this will smooth out the bumps in the road and at that speed it is very safe. Again, if it is too bumpy and the driver is going too fast tell them to slow down, they will.

Probably the worse roadway you will travel on is the road from the Kilimanjaro Airport to Arusha. The taxis, dala dalas, and trucks drive a bit too fast on this road and sometimes there are accidents. Again, if you are taking a taxi and they go too fast, tell them to slow down. If you are going on this road at night then it gets a bit more dangerous as some of the dala dalas and trucks don't always keep the proper lights on their vehicles, so this can get a bit tricky on driving.

There are a few more accidents now than there were a few years ago, and one of the reasons is that there is a little more money being generated in Tanzania (for a lot of reasons) and some who have never driven before are getting automobiles, and then learning how to drive; so as usual they sometimes do some stupid things that more experienced drivers wouldn't do.

Ohio
Level Contributor
849 posts
7 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: How are the roads/drivers generally on safari routes?

Lynn, when you go back to read the trip reports on this forum for your preferred operators, you will find that many people mention their great guide who is also a very careful driver. Once you have made your decision on your operator, it won't hurt for you to ask for that driver/guide by name. Ginny

Houston, Texas
Level Contributor
900 posts
94 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: How are the roads/drivers generally on safari routes?

Yes, I have noticed that. I am going to be sure to book one of those guides. Is it difficult to ensure that you have a safari vehicle that has seatbelts?

Our safari vehicles in South Africa did not have seatbelts but we were only driving in parks and not out on the roads.

Bristol
Level Contributor
2,523 posts
72 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: How are the roads/drivers generally on safari routes?

Once we narrowed down our choice of TO to 3 we asked them all this question and they have all said yes they have seat belts (though some are just lap belts due to the design of the vehicles).

On our previous trip to Tanzania I was very happy with the standard of driving from our guide. We only used the seat belts when travelling between parks. We only saw one potentially dangerous incident when a driver coming the other way was obviously going too fast when taking a corner and lost control of the car temporarily. He skidded but then managed to get the car under control again. It certainly shocked us and our driver! But as I said this was the only case of bad driving that we saw.

Generally I think the drivers are good. Virtually every trip report on here praises the guide for his driving ability so I wouldn't worry too much. People generally like to complain if they are not happy and I don't see much of that regarding the driving on here.

As others have said road conditions, particularly in the parks can be poor. Just view it as what we could all "An Off Road Experience". People pay a lot of money for this type of "fun" in the UK. We certainly enjoyed it for the most part.

Findlay, Ohio
Destination Expert
for Tanzania, Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Level Contributor
12,484 posts
8 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: How are the roads/drivers generally on safari routes?

I believe that all vehciles are equipped with seat belts (typically lap belts in the rear). It is mandatory to have seat belts on when traveling in a vehcile there, and you can incur a fine if you aren't buckled in when you are in the front seats, not certain about the rear.

nyc
Level Contributor
14,424 posts
Save Reply
9. Re: How are the roads/drivers generally on safari routes?

Depending on the outfitter and how their vehicles are configured, some also have shoulder belts on the seats behind driver. For sure the seat next to driver does (where I usually sit), and my guide always double-checks that I'm buckled in... as should other guide/drivers for their passengers regardless where they're sitting. This is especially so when transiting between parks.

Once in the game reserves, and with 40-45mph, it's not unusual to see paxs standing up thru the pop-top, and of course, the belts are off once stopped at any game sighting.

While it's rare for a safari vehicle driver to have an accident, doesn't discount that there are other drivers - dala-dala, lorries, etc. - that drive like cowboys. Also, you will often find people, cattle, bike riders on the roads between parks and thru villages... so can seem quite treacherous.

Of course, you can fly between parks - Arusha/Tarangire, Tarangire/Lk.Manyara, Lk.Manyara/Serengeti (numerous airstrips) - but then you won't have the same guide/vehicle at each of these stops, rather you'd be on a GP=game package basis, sharing game drives with other guests, unless you request "exclusive use of vehicle" for which the daily fee can be quite expensive.

You should be fine driving one way and then flying from the other, whether fly to Serengeti/drive back or drive out/fly from Serengeti.

State College, Pa
Level Contributor
754 posts
123 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: How are the roads/drivers generally on safari routes?

Speaking of road travel, we appreciated the African "flares" used along the Crater rim road to alert drivers of a stuck lory (truck) around a sharp bend. We wondered about the line of green leafed branches along the left side of the road. Guide told us.