Traveling in Tanzania is like watching the evolution of the world’s transport systems before your very eyes. From landing in a state-of-the-art aircraft to trundling down a dusty village road by animal-drawn carts, you’ll get to experience it all.
The air, road, rail and sea network are all well used in this country alongside the more traditional means of transport!
This Tanzania Transportation Guide explains how best to get to and from the country, as well as information about getting around once there. Use it in conjunction with our Tanzania Tours page in order to get the most out of your trip to Tanzania. More specific city information can be found in our various destination sites around the country.
Tanzania Transportation Guide
Getting There By:
Tanzania’s national carrier is Air Tanzania. Flights from London to Dar es Salaam take about 10 hours.
Dar es Salaam: The airport at Dar es Salaam is about 13 kilometres out of town to the southwest. Shuttle bus services and local taxis are available to get to and fro between the city centre and the airport. It takes about 30 minutes each way. Airport facilities include car rentals, a post office, banks, currency exchange counters, a bar, restaurants and a duty free shop in the departure lounge.
Arusha: The Kilimanjaro International Airport lies 50 kilometres outside Arusha. Taxis as well as shuttle bus services to Arusha are available. Airport facilities include a post office, a bar, a restaurant and shops.
Zanzibar: Kisauni Airport is about 8 kilometres outside Stone Town, Zanzibar.
Visit our partner Air Valid for Airline Reviews and Information about Tanzania.
Flights to Tanzania
Main ports: Ships carrying freight as well as passenger ships arrive at the port at Dar es Salaam. Tanzania is also served by ports in Tanga, Mafia, Mtwara, Kilwa, Zanzibar and Lindi.
There are ferry services between Kenya and Tanzania through the ports at Mombasa and Dar es Salaam. Besides this, there are passenger crafts on the routes between Bujumbura (Burundi) and Lake Tanganyika, Zambia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Lake Victoria links the country with Uganda and Kenya while Lake Nyasa provides connections to Mozambique and Malawi.
The Tanzania Railways Corporation links the country to Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi. For more information, visit the official web site of the Tanzanian Railways Corporation.
Trains can get busy with hordes of locals commuting by train. Be careful with your luggage and stay alert. Avoid forwarding luggage at all costs.
Comfort on rails
If you want to experience train travel but with the comfort of food and drinks available should you need them, then the route between Kapiri Mposhi in Zambia and Dar es Salaam in Tanzania is a good option. This service includes a restaurant carriage and they will keep you plied with treats along the way. Check out the web site for more on the Tazara (Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority).
The roads between Tanzania and Zambia and Tanzania and Kenya are both well maintained tarred roads. The Great North Road that connects Lusaka (Zambia) to Dar es Salaam is also paved along the entire route. However, travelers coming in by road via Mozambique and Rwanda are in for an unpleasant, bumpy journey as these roads are in pretty bad shape.
The Scandinavia Group’s Express bus service offers connections by coach between Kenya (from Nairobi), Uganda (from Kampala), Zambia (from Lusaka) and Dar es Salaam.
Getting Around By:
There are 3 major airline companies operating on the national route with connections to most major towns. The airlines are mentioned below.
– Air Tanzania
– Coastal Aviation
– Precision Air
Since flights do get cancelled or delayed, it is best you check to confirm timings before you leave your hotel.
Departure Tax – All flights leaving Zanzibar and heading to any other location in Tanzania come with a departure tax of TZS 5000.
Charters – While all national parks are served by local airstrips, only charters operate out of these locations. You can book yourself on a single or twin engine aircraft to any airstrip in Tanzania.
Ferry services don’t always have to be crowded, uncomfortable affairs. The air conditioned service that connects Zanzibar to Dar es Salaam is relaxed and makes for a delightful 2-hour ride. For those who prefer a quicker way to get across from the mainland, there is a large catamaran service as well as a hydrofoil. If you opt for either of these the journey is over in the blink of an eye. Zanzibar also connects to Pemba Island by boat. You can check for all timings and ticket prices at the booking offices located at the main port for passengers.
Old-fashioned steamer services ply the routes on Lake Victoria and Lake Tanganyika. These come with a choice of three classes. Going first class will get you the most comfortable seating and fewer co-passengers than on 2nd and 3rd class tickets. The Lake Victoria steamer stops by at Mwanza, Bukoba and Musoma.
An expansive rail network is operated by Tanzania Railways Corporation (TRC) and connects most locations in the north. The Zambian route, however, is run by Tazara. The TRC has daily connections to Kigoma (Lake Tanganyika) and Mwanza (Lake Victoria) from Dar es Salaam. These services have a restaurant car attached.
In Tanzania, you’re expected to drive on the left hand side of the road. All-weather roads and tarmac roads ensure that most towns and cities are well connected all year round.
Smaller towns and villages, however, are served only by smaller roads that are not usable during the rains between April and May. If you have a 4 wheel drive you may be able to get through some areas, but this is not advisable.
Night driving is not a good idea, since animals roam the roads after dark. And this includes some of the wilder sort too!
Petrol shortages are common and spares for vehicles are tough to come by.
Accidents are common, so you’d be well advised to keep an eye on the driver and expect the worst when you’re at the wheel.
Bus travel is cheap and often the only way to reach smaller towns and villages. Dar es Salaam is connected to Morogoro, Moshi and Arusha by regular services. Since minor roads are poorly maintained and in bad shape during the rains, avoid traveling by bus in April and May. The Scandinavia Express coach service is the most comfortable, efficient and reliable among operators on the inter-city routes.
All larger cities in Tanzania offer self-drive car rentals, but this is quite expensive. Hiring a car with a driver is another alternative.
To hire a self-drive car, you will need to get your International Driving Permit endorsed by the local police. If you haven’t got your International Permit, then it is just as easy to have a temporary license created in your name by the police on presentation of your national driving license from your home country (it needs to be valid, of course).
Getting Around in Towns and Cities
Within Dar es Salaam you have the option to get around like the locals do – by the packed minibuses and buses which have fixed fares; or do as tourists do and hire taxis. Remember to stick with authorized taxi services.