BEST TIME TO VISIT TANZANIA FOR A SELF-DRIVE TRIP
Tanzania is nice and cool to visit all year round. The entire country has a pleasant tropical climate, but there are large regional climatic variations, mostly influenced by elevation. The hottest and most humid part of the country is the coast, with temperatures around 300C and little temperature drop in the evenings. Low lying areas like Lake Eyasi and Moshi are also hot, but less humid.
WEATHER IN TANZANIA
In general, the hottest time of the year in Tanzania is from November till March. The coolest months are from May to July, when it gets cold in the evenings at higher altitudes Arusha, Usambara Mountains, Ngorongoro Crater. Most of the rain falls between November and May, with the short rains in November and December, and the long rains from March to May. April and May are not a good time to visit the coast, as most lodges close down because of the rainy season.
WHEN IS HIGH SEASON IN TANZANIA?
Tourists come to visit Tanzania all year round. Peak season is around Christmas, July and August. Be sure to book earlier our rental cars for self-drive during peak season many months in advance. If you’re not camping, you will need to reserve your lodges in advance as well. The Ngorongoro Crater feels crowded at that time of the year.
BEST TIME TO VISIT FOR SELF DRIVE AND GAME VIEWING IN TANZANIA
The safari parks in Tanzania are most seasonal in terms of self-drive and game viewing. These includes;
SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK
The Serengeti is famous for its annual migration of millions of wildebeest and other plains grazers on the move to find fresh grass and water, with predators like lions following in their footsteps. Whether it’s worth planning your safari dates around the Serengeti migration is a matter of choice. With the best will in the world, it would be practically impossible to coincide your few days in the Serengeti with the river crossing. However, dictated by local rainfall patterns, the migration does follow a pretty predictable pattern;
December – May, Southeast (Veronese, Ndutu)
May-July, Western corridor
July – October, Mara river
October -November, Lobo area.
In our experience, irrespective of season, the Serengeti always offers excellent game viewing opportunities.
SELOUS GAME RESERVE
Selous Game Reserve is a highly seasonal game-viewing destination and it tends to be hotter than any other reserve in Tanzania due to its low altitude. The optimum time to visit is during the dry season of June to September, when wildlife is abundant and temperatures tolerable. Game viewing is just as good from October till early November. Roads tend to become impassable and lodges are closed during April and May.
TARANGIRE NATIONAL PARK
Tarangire National Park lies within the Central Rift Valley, only 100 km southwest of Arusha. Tarangire is best known for its large herds of elephants. During dry season, the park have the largest concentration of elephants in the world! Another striking feature of the park is the abundance of baobab trees. There are also some beautiful stands of acacia tortillis trees, the flat-topped acacias which are so reminiscent of films like the Lion King and Out of Africa. Animal concentration peaks between July till the start of the rains in November, early December. From November to May, much of the game leaves the park.
UDZUNGWA MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK
Udzungwa national cover a total area of 1990 km2, is a hot spot nurturing species found no where else on earth – a secret bank account of precious genetic stock. Of its six types of primate, two are endemic (the Iringa Red Colobus and the Sanje Crested Mangabey, first discovered in 1979). Birdlife is prolific and the area is recognised as one of the top bird conservation areas on the African continent. One of East Africa’s greatest forests, this undisturbed habitat has yet to reveal all its treasures! The area is also superb for hiking and climbing, and the centerpiece is the Sanje River that plunges 170 meters through the forest in a spay of mist into the valley below. The national park is 5 hours by self-drive from Dar es Salaam.
SAADANI NATIONAL PARK
Here the Bush meets the Beach! Saadani National Park 45km north of Bagamoyo covers a total are of 500km2, is a little piece of heaven, which was gazetted a National Park in 1969. Apart from kissing the Indian Ocean, the park consists of three distinctive environments,
The plains near the coast.
Swamps with undulating hills behind.
The Wami River along the park’s southern boundary.
Large mammals including elephant, African buffalo, zebra and other plains game inhabit the area. The reserve is also home to the rare Roan Sable antelope. Both lion and the shy leopard are indigenous to the area. In the past lion roamed the beach, their paw prints are still spotted on the beach – though lions are rarely, actually sighted! A favorite area with artists, Saadani is another of Tanzania’s jewels.
RUAHA NATIONAL PARK
Situated in the center of the country, the 2nd largest National Park is bordered by the Ruaha River, which offers spectacular views across its banks of secretive forests, open plains and hilly terrain dotted with massive rock formations. From July to December wildlife is concentrated on the banks of the river and around the watering holes. You can see herds of elephant, giraffes, prides of lion, leopard, greater & lesser kudu, and a host of other animals without moving from the banks. Ruaha is a paradise undisturbed covers a total area of 12950km2 and 8 hours self-drive from Dar es Salaam.
MIKUMI NATIONAL PARK
Situated in the Mkata plains, dominated by hills and mountains, this small park (in relation to some of Tanzania’s many other parks) is set in Southern Tanzania covering 3230 km2 and 4 hours self-drive from Dar es Salaam. Allowing a glimpse of an unspoiled Africa of centuries ago the park’s wilderness stretches almost to the shores of the Indian Ocean. The main feature of the park is the Mikumi flood plain, mountain ranges (that border two sides of the park) as well as the miombo woodland (a favorite haunt of lion, which cover the lower hills). Rains swell the bird population to over 300 species of European migrants alone and the park abounds with huge hippo, large herds of buffalo, elephant, most other plains game and the rare wild dog (seldom seen elsewhere). Best months to visit are between March and May.
NGORONGORO CONSERVATION AREA (NCA)
Ngorongoro Conservation Area situated 180km west of Arusha, cover a total of 8300km2 includes the still active Volcano Ol-Doinyo Lengai, Olduvai Gorge (the cradle of Mankind) and vast forested highlands. The crater itself cover 260km2 is a collapsed volcano and the view from the rim is nothing short of breath taking. Its steep forested walls plunge 1000 meters down to meet the crater floor. Rich with color, green plains, splashed with wild, colorful flowers, Yellow Acacia forests, a sapphire/purple soda lake and the pink mass of a thousand flamingos complete this panoramic view. It is home to the largest concentration of wild animals in one place.
LAKE MANYARA NATIONAL PARK
The spectacular Great Rift Wall (that guards the park) drops several hundred meters to the permanent lake. Arguably home to one of the largest concentration of elephants in Africa, Lake Manyara National Park is full of surprises. Tree climbing lions love to lie in the shaded branches of the Acacia trees, so remember to look up. Hundreds of hippo regularly sunbath out of the water here, snoozing under the midday sun – a sight previously unheard of!
MAHALE MOUNTAINS & GOMBE STREAM
Mahale covers 1613km2 is home to thousands of chimpanzees, baboons, colobus monkeys, as well as large herds of elephant, leopard, and most plains game. The area is famous for walking safaris, with the backdrop of mountains overhanging Lake Tanganyika. Gombe Stream National Park lies on the banks of Lake Tanganyika, north of Kigoma, located on the slopes of this mountainous region. Chimpanzees tolerate human presence due to Jane Goodall’s extensive scientific studies since 1960. The area however is a secluded and serene paradise.
KILIMANJARO NATIONAL PARK
Mount Kilimanjaro – the Roof Top of Africa has long stirred the hearts of the adventurous. Lush forest at 2,800 meters gives way to moorlands dotted with giant heather at 4,000 meters, the alpine zone starting at 5000 meters. Above 5,000M meters the cold is intense and the air so thin that few plants are able to survive. The final ascent up the steep cone of ‘Kibo’ to Uhuru Peak’ needs every reserve of strength but its well worth it. For the less energetic the mysterious labyrinth of Kilimanjaro’s lowlands provides superb walks and treks.
KATAVI NATIONAL PARK
Katavi is remote, hard and wild. It sits on a high, wide flood plain in south-western Tanzania. There is little chance you will have to share Tanzania’s third largest park with anyone else! With Lake Chala in the south-east and Katuma River, it boasts Tanzania’s greatest concentration of crocodile and hippo. There is also more than enough plains game (including impala, eland, topi, herds of zebra and buffalo groups up to 1600 sustaining the parks large population of lion and leopard) . An extensive variety of birds can also be seen and the elephants cool down during the hot hours of the day grazing, waist high in the marshlands. Best time to visit: May – October and mid Dec to February.
ARUSHA NATIONAL PARK & MOUNT MERU
Arusha National Park has in the past been sadly under-rated. Home of Mt. Meru, an extinct volcano, it is the second highest mountain in Tanzania after Kilimanjaro. Mt. Meru is however recognised as a far more strenuous climb – but the rewards are high. The park is divided into 3 distinct areas, Ngurdoto crater, the emerald colored Momela lakes and Mt. Meru it self. The park is the perfect introduction to visitors visiting Tanzania’s Northern circuit – a great day tour. Mt. Meru takes 3 – 4 days up and down.
FLIGHTS TO TANZANIA
Many airlines fly to Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO – Arusha) and Julius Nyerere International Airport (Dar es Salaam) and other small airports for domestic. Mili Adventure Africa head office and vehicles are located in Arusha, Tanzania.
DELIVERY N’ DROP OFF SERVICES IN TANZANIA
It is possible to start or end your self-drive tour from another location other than Arusha. The costs are forwarded to the hire. Note that your car rental agreement starts and ends on the date the car leaves and returns to our office. The days required to bring back the car to our office are added as rental days.
Delivery or drop off at Mili Adventure Office in Arusha, free.
Airport transfer (JRO), one way USD 30.
Delivery or drop off Dar es Salaam USD 200.
Have an other location in mind for your one-way car rental? Contact us to inquire about the possibilities.
Mili Adventure Africa Terms & Conditions
Please take time to read the Terms & Condition of Mili Adventure Africa. Confirming a rental or booking with Mili Adventure Africa assumes that you have read, fully understand and accept the terms and conditions described below.
Mili Adventure Africa Terms & Conditions Tor Self-Drive Car Rentals
I. General & Use of The Vehicle.
The “Owner” means “Mili Adventure Africa”, “You” or the “Hirer” means the person(s) who have signed the car rental agreement, The “Rental Agreement” means the rental agreement made between You and the Owner, “Vehicle” means the vehicle which is rented by you, as described in your online reservation form.
The Hirer shall return the Vehicle on the agreed date and time, as specified in your online reservation form, unless the Owner has specifically agreed otherwise. No refunds shall be given for early returns.
The Hirer shall have a valid driver’s license (of the country of residence and/or an International Driver’s License). It is the driver’s responsibility to ensure that he/she carries the driver’s license with him/her whilst driving.
The Vehicle is to be operated only by the Hirer who have signed the rental agreement and his authorized travel companions. Any loss or damages arising from the use of the Vehicle by an unauthorized driver shall be borne by the Hirer.
Any losses or serious damages of the camping gear shall be charged to the Hirer at replacement value.
Any fine or penalty from the traffic police shall be settled by the Hirer.
The Vehicle is rented with a full tank of fuel and shall be returned to the Owner with a full tank in order to prevent refueling charges.
The Hirer is required to fill up on fuel only at larger gas stations. In some of the smaller gas stations, fuel can be mixed with other liquids or additives, which may seriously damage the Vehicle’s engine.
All Vehicles are checked and serviced before being rented out and you will receive the vehicle in safe and roadworthy condition. The Hirer shall return the vehicle in the same condition as it was provided at the start of the rental.
You are responsible for the Vehicle during the rental period and you will use the Vehicle in accordance with good driving practices and in compliance with all country laws.
Your maintenance of the vehicle includes checking of engine oil and other lubricants, coolant water, and tire pressure. We recommend to do so every time you are topping up fuel. The costs of the Vehicle’s maintenance during the rental period shall be covered by the Hirer. Failure to maintain appropriate fluid levels may result in engine damage, for which damage the Hirer shall be liable.
If any dashboard warning lights illuminate, the Hirer should consult the car symbol check list and, in case of doubt, contact Mili Adventure Africa office.
III. Mechanical Breakdowns & Repairs
In case of a mechanical breakdown of the vehicle which cannot be repaired within 24 hours and which is not the result of your negligence, fault or by that of an approved driver, a replacement vehicle will be provided and paid for by the Owner on the shortest term possible. Kindly note that replacement vehicles will have to come from Arusha Mili Adventure Africa head office.
In case the Vehicle needs to be repaired during the rental period, the Hirer ensures that;
i. Mili Adventure Africa is contacted for authorization prior to any repairs to the vehicle.
ii. A receipt is issued and given to Mili Adventure Africa upon return of the Vehicle.
ii. When bringing the vehicle to any garage, valuables should not be left in the vehicle (even the car tool kit) as it is not uncommon for items to be stolen at the garage. Hirers are required to replace items lost or stolen from the vehicle (including spare tires, jacks and other tools which come with the vehicle).
In case of an accident, whether it is your fault or those of the third party, the Hirer shall always immediately notify Mili Adventure Africa and take pictures of the damaged vehicle and the other vehicle(s) involved in the accident.
In case of an incident involving one or more vehicle(s), details of these vehicle(s) and their driver(s) should be identified and reported, such as the driver’s ID, telephone number, number plate and insurance registration number.
After an accident, the Hirer should not leave the vehicle unattended, as it is not uncommon for unattended vehicles to be vandalized.
V. Damages, Waiver and Mili Adventure Africa Insurance
Subject to this clause, the Hirer is liable;
i. For the loss of or any damage to the hired vehicle during the rental period.
ii. For all third party property damage of any person, which is caused or contributed to by the Hirer or an approved driver or which arises from the use of the vehicle by the Hirer or an approved driver;
iii. For all third party bodily injury, which is caused or contributed to by the Hirer or an approved driver or which arises from the use of the vehicle by the Hirer or an approved driver.
In the event of an unintended collision between the vehicle and any other object (including another vehicle) during the rental period that results in damage to the Vehicle or to the property of any third party, Mili Adventure Africa waives your liability provided;
i. You have accepted our terms & conditions by having signed the online car rental agreement;
ii. Mili Adventure Africa agrees that you and/or the approved driver were not at fault.
iii. You have complied with the terms of the car rental agreement.
In the event of theft of the vehicle during the rental period, Mili Adventure Africa waives your liability provided;
i. The car was parked at a secured, private compound and there are clear signs of break in such as a damaged garage door.
ii. You have processed and cleared a police report;
ii. You have provided Mili Adventure Africa with any details of the incident that Mili Adventure Africa requests.
Mili Adventure Africa Insurance will not waive your liability damages arising, if any of the following events has occurred:
i. Driving in excess of speed limits. Maximum speed limit inside the Parks is 25 km/hour.
ii. Single vehicle incidents or rollover.
iii. Damage to the vehicle is caused by careless, willful or reckless driving.
iv. Damage to the vehicle is caused by lack of proper care/maintenance of the vehicle.
v. Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
vi. Driving on restricted roads/areas.
vii. Water submersion or saltwater damage is caused
viii. Wrong fuel use.
The following damages do not fall under the waiver subject to this paragraph and are NOT covered by the Mili Adventure Africa Insurance:
i. Personal bodily injury and/or belongings of the Hirer or the approved driver. The Hirer is advised to obtain travel and medical insurance.
ii. Under body coverage: damage to the under body of the vehicle is considered a result of careless driving.
Mili Adventure Africa shall, to the maximum extent permitted by law, not be liable for any loss, damage or injury of any nature of the Hirer or the approved driver.
Mili Adventure Africa cannot accept liability or pay compensation for unforeseen circumstances beyond its control or its staff, including flight delays/cancellations or acts of government or other authorities, road closures, extreme weather conditions, fire, technical and/or mechanical problems to transport and all similar events beyond Mili Adventure Africa control.
VII. Booking and Payment Details
Payments/ deposit for car rental can be made by Bank Transfer to our account or cash on arrival.
i. Deposit 50% of the total amount to confirm your reservation and 50% two weeks before arrival
ii. Deposit the whole total amount charges to confirm your reservation and reduce bank charges
Mili Adventure Africa accepts USD Dollars notes which are printed after 2003 and Euro’s.
Payments can be made by Bank Transfer, for which we send you bank details ie. account name, account number and swifcode. There bank transfer charges forwarded to the Hirer.
Your Online car rental agreement serves as invoice. Once the invoice is cleared, you receive a payment receipt.
VIII. Cancellation Policy Accommodated Self-Drive.
Cancellations are only effective on written notification. If cancellation is prior to 8 weeks before departure your deposit is forfeited.
If your cancellation is made after the due date for full payment of your tour fare, charges will be levied.
The scale of charges, expressed as a percentage of the car rental prices, is as follows:
More than 8 weeks notice – Deposit forfeited.
Less than 8 weeks notice – Deposit plus 25%.
Less than 4 weeks notice – 50%.
Less than 3 weeks notice – 60%.
Less than 2 weeks notice – 100%.