Dar Es Salaam - Post Report Question and Answers

What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

4WD would be best but you could get by with a car if you had to. - Jan 2022

SUV with high clearance. Many bad roads including in the city, and when it rains - look out. Do not bring a new vehicle. And vehicle break-ins are fairly common (window smash and grabs). Leave nothing visible. There are masai watchman so pay them to watch the vehicle. - Oct 2021

SUV with decent clearance - pot holes are everywhere and they are no joke. I'd buy something from an outgoing diplomat or buy used from Japan Auto Imports. They drive on the British side of the road there. - May 2020

Small SUV at minimum, 4x4 or AWD highly recommended. - Jun 2017

you need 4 wheel drive and an SUV. Rainy season will flood the roads out. I recommend buying locally or shipping a car from Japan that is right hand drive. - Dec 2015

Japanese models are more easily serviced. Four wheel drive is very useful; high-clearance also (pot holes can be 6-12 inches and speed bumps are not uniform so they also can be high). Though you can get by with a regular car. I would advise against bringing U.S.-side drive because if you ever want to go on the highways (to Mikumi or elsewhere), passing is very difficult and very dangerous (there are often bus accidents that kill 20+ people, and it's always when passing). Best bet is to buy from an outgoing Mission member or other diplomat (not necessarily just any expat, but a diplomat) - Jul 2015

4 x 4 if you plan on going out of town a lot. A regular sedan is fine in town. - Mar 2014

I would only drive a 4X4. Roads are bad, and when it rains they flood, and some places get pretty deep. I would worry about driving through some areas in a regular car. Parts and services are VERY expensive, as is gas/diesel. Carjackings aren't so bad, but break-ins and theft of mirrors is a big issue. Always pay to park your car in public. While most people can drive their left-hand-drive vehicles without problems, I find it easier to use a right-hand drive. Shipping & customs take FOREVER, so plan ahead to ship a vehicle or purchase one locally. The best option is to get one from another diplomat as they leave. Paperwork & customs can take literally months otherwise. The ports are a mess to process shipping a vehicle, so plan ahead. - Feb 2013

You really need a 4WD vehicle if possible. Roads are in bad condition, often with large pot-holes and other problems. During rainy season, drains clogged and roads washed out, so something with good ground clearance is important. Also, part of the fun of Tanzania is getting out into the bush for safari and other adventures, so a 4wd vehicle is almost a must if you want to get out and see the country. - Feb 2013

Roads are HORRIBLE, even in Dar. As bad as the traffic is, and as much as I want to tell you to get a little car, you may well need a monster SUV just to get in and out of your house. I've had to drive in mud puddles that COVERED the hood of my Rav-4 sized vehicle just to get to the main road from a friend's house in a good part of town. That being said, I took my small SUV all over the country with no problems... though 4-wheel-drive did come in handy. Make sure every piece of glass is etched with your VIN or license plate number... if it is stolen you can go downtown to buy it back, just don't bring a cop with you or all the vendors disappear. - Aug 2011

Roads are a complete mess and are not a priority of the local government. You will drive on many dirt streets, and potholes are the norm. 4-wheel-drives is necessary -- you don't want to bring a low-clearance car. - Jun 2010

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