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.

Self Drive Tanzania Selous Ruaha Katavi national parks

Level Contributor
19 posts
34 reviews
Save Topic
Self Drive Tanzania Selous Ruaha Katavi national parks

Just checking the TA community for the latest information on Self Driving Safaris (4x4) in the national parks of southern, Selous Ruaha Katavi,Tanzania. Please to reply if you have experience in driving, campsites or advice over the last 4 years. We have heard there has been a lot of change for the better with the completion of the Zam-Tam highway (tarmac) tracks4africa better too!

We are also hearing of 4x4 rental companies in the North and DAR renting fully equipped camping 4x4's to travel in the South parks (seems the insurance issue is no longer).

self driving is the only way to see the parks!

if ridding in a boat is swimming, then ridding in a tour bus is traveling, not really for us...

seen more "accidents" with for profit fly by night tour companies then with reasonable, knowledgeable, prepared, people who understand the limitation of their equipment, 4x4 and most importantly themselves!

Findlay, Ohio
Destination Expert
for Tanzania, Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Level Contributor
12,484 posts
8 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Self Drive Tanzania Selous Ruaha Katavi national parks

Getting to Selous, Mikumi, and Ruaha is not all that difficult, and I have done self drives to 2 of these parks with no difficulty and the road is hard surfaced almost all the way (I don't think it is yet from Iringa to Ruaha). I have a vehicle there so I am accustomed to driving to where I want to go. Getting from Ruaha to Katavi will be a bit more challenging as this is very remote.

At most parks you will need to go to the ranger station and get a guide so that you know where to go in the parks and where the animals are located, very inexpensive to pick up a ranger guide.

Most people do not go in a tour bus in Tanzania, they use private safari vehicles. The place which is equipped for helping people with self drives is Fortes Car Hire in Arusha. Insurance is always a problem there, make certain that there is adequate and up to date coverage, this is what the traffic police will always check.

Isle of Man, United...
Level Contributor
37,001 posts
340 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Self Drive Tanzania Selous Ruaha Katavi national parks

Tan-ZAm is tar all the way to the Malawi border. North from there towards Katavi was being tarred as I drove in 2012.

Insurance may not be an issue for driving in the south but 'back up' from Arusha/Dar certainly may be.

Whilst 'self-drive' trips are great fun I am still prepared to pay a driver and let me look out the window more. It's what I do best.

Traks 4 Africa is fine.

Level Contributor
19 posts
34 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Self Drive Tanzania Selous Ruaha Katavi national parks

MFUWE, thank you for your post! I agree Tracks4Africa is the only way to go.

RE: Back up; I have had the same question and feed back before, but there are now multiple Toyota and Range dealers along the Zam-Tam highway. I spoke with the head of East African repairs for one of those mentioned above and he said they will repair anything still under warranty north or south Tanzania. So long as it comes in with a Tanz plate and good Tanz warranty.

I know what a good feeling of having back up is; I broke a bed spring on my last safari, but even that was not the end of the trip (basher and beer in hand).

Do you have any other information about "back up" along the ZamTam highway?

I agree a good guide is worth his weight in gold, a bad driver is just that, bad… Always happy to hire good guides!

Level Contributor
19 posts
34 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Self Drive Tanzania Selous Ruaha Katavi national parks

Karl,

hello from someone who grew up just down I-75 from you (bengal country). Glad to hear it is a "doable" trip. We aways take park guides when they are available. A good guide is a priceless thing.

We self drive because we like to take in long studies of animals. we hate working off a timeline or a needless big 5 check list. Africa for us is about the thousands of little things, not the big 5 any more.

Do you have and leads on rental 4x4 providers in DAR? I have heard about FORTES before, seems odd that there is no 4x4 company in DAR yet.

Isle of Man, United...
Level Contributor
37,001 posts
340 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Self Drive Tanzania Selous Ruaha Katavi national parks

JP4.

4x4 hire in Dar. Lots of em.

carhireandholidays.com/index.php/dar-es-sala…

www.kilidovetours.com

www.samscarrental.com

Can't help with back up on Tan/Zam. Never needed it. However I was cautioned about getting unauthorised mechanical repairs away from Arusha by the Renter. You may not get re-imbursed but things may have changed. I only got a flat tire.

As to wildlife viewing. With your own trip there is no problem about time at sightings. You are paying him to sit there as long as you wish. (and you can take his telephone off him too!)

Level Contributor
19 posts
34 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Self Drive Tanzania Selous Ruaha Katavi national parks

Mfuwe, good point for people to keep in mind about "unauthorised" repairs. mostly if you need a fix, you need a fix.

I have not had any CODE 3's (broken beyond repair) but it can happen...

I have had to fix a few CODE 2's (repair needed but not mandatory to carry on)…

Lots of CODE 1's like fluid checks, gage checks, air checks and the odd flat, but that is why we have spare tires!

I always tell people who ask me what a bad day in Africa would be? There is no bad day self driving or driving with a guide. It is always an adventure and one needs to "be prepared" for the turns in the road whichever way they may go.

As for the guides and their cell phones, i would never take their phones off them. but then again i work for Orange. We like it when people are talking!

Enjoy the journey… all destination are just temporary stop overs...

Findlay, Ohio
Destination Expert
for Tanzania, Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Level Contributor
12,484 posts
8 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Self Drive Tanzania Selous Ruaha Katavi national parks

As Mfuwe, do a google on "car hire dar es salaam" and you will find a lot of them.

And you are never lost - if you eventually find your way to where you are going.

You must be from the other end of the state (where they sometimes say y'all) or at least they do across the river.

Isle of Man, United...
Level Contributor
37,001 posts
340 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Self Drive Tanzania Selous Ruaha Katavi national parks

As you say, No bad days in Africa. Just some that could have been better. (like taking that road from Tunduma to Katavi via Sumbawanga while it was under repair.)

Reminds me. When passing that way do find time to detour up to God's Garden for a few nights. Kitulo National Prk is worth a visit when in flower. and even if not.

Level Contributor
19 posts
34 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Self Drive Tanzania Selous Ruaha Katavi national parks

Karl,

Originally from north of "y'all" but close enough to understand "y'all" "all, y'all" and "y'all's" differently. Born in the land of those two crazy bothers and their flying machine. Now I live where the say "Gruzzi!" and "Ciao Bella!"

Ya google, internet and 4x4 bookings in Africa alone is a recipe for disaster. I have a few funny sorties of people booking cars over the internet like they were at JFK and wondering why it just didn't work like in New York when they turned up in the middle of no where looking for their rental car. Lol!

Findlay, Ohio
Destination Expert
for Tanzania, Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Level Contributor
12,484 posts
8 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Self Drive Tanzania Selous Ruaha Katavi national parks

My father was from West Milton just a tad North of where you were. The American Legion in West Milton is named for his brother.