Local Transport in Tanzania

Depending on the budget allocation, vacation time, and things of interest, travelers can get around in Tanzania in several ways. Foreign tourists arriving in Dar es Salaam airport can get connected to various domestic flights for onward destination in the country. However, the best way to get around is by the local bus system. The large intercity buses and the smaller minibuses (known as dala-dalas) one can get just about anywhere in Tanzania.

Local routes in Tanzania are catered by minibuses, natively known as dala-dalas, and in the more urban areas pick-up trucks or old 4WDs offer transport services. These vehicles are usually overcrowded and make numerous stops en route their destination. The driver’s’ assistant calls out the arriving destination for passengers to get down while he also collects the travel fare.


Hiring a private driver is a great way to lean back and enjoy the passing landscapes while journeying in Tanzania. However, this is quite a costly affair but a very good way to support the local community. Tourists can also opt for using self-driven rental cars on arriving at the international airport in Tanzania. For travelers who are on tight budget can travel like the locals, either by bus, taxi, train or a rental car. There are lots of taxis and rickshaws that ply on the streets of Tanzania, but we recommend negotiating the price prior to hopping into one to avoid getting mugged later on. Taxis with white registration plates on the mainland and a ‘gari la abiria’ (passenger vehicle) sign in Zanzibar are available for hire in all the major towns in Tanzania. However, none of these vehicles are equipped with meters displaying the fares, so it is best to agree on the fare with the driver prior to beginning a ride.

The intercity buses or the mainliners are more comfortable than the regular dala-dalas and clown cars, but when it comes to luxury – don’t expect too much! Travelers aiming to stop by in Zanzibar from other parts of the country can get there either by plane or a ferry. There are two renowned companies that offer ferry connections from Dar es Salaam to Stone Town.

Getting around the urban centers of Tanzania can be an upsetting experience as roads are in poor conditions and sidewalks disappear without warning while motorists are generally reckless. If you are a traveler with a large backpack, you need to think twice before hopping into a dala-dala, especially during rush hours. For longer trips away from town, you will need to negotiate the fare based on the distance, fuel cost, road condition, and of course the driver’s share of profit. If using taxis for getting around, we recommend using them from trustworthy hotels or registered taxi stands.

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