rent a car in Zanzibar

Should You Rent a Car in Zanzibar? (What to Know in 2024)

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Last Updated on: 12th April 2024, 03:53 pm

Wondering if you should rent a car in Zanzibar for your upcoming trip?

Great – you’re on the right blog post!

We travel to Zanzibar frequently and have tried all the options for getting around the island.

Therefore, we can guide you through the process of Zanzibar car rental and give first-hand tips on what you should keep in mind.

Renting a car in Zanzibar is a must to explore the breathtaking island and discover its hidden gems fully. With limited public transportation options, having your own car gives you the freedom and flexibility to experience all that Zanzibar has to offer.

This guide will provide you with essential information about renting a car in Zanzibar, including where to rent, the prices, and important tips for safe driving.

First and foremost, most travelers want to know about the best place to rent a car in Zanzibar. When we rent a car in Zanzibar, I recommend and always use Discover Cars!



When booking your Zanzibar car rental online, I recommend using Discover Cars.

Key Takeaways:

  • Renting a car in Zanzibar allows you to explore the island’s hidden treasures at your own pace.
  • Public transportation in Zanzibar is limited, making a rental car essential for convenience.
  • Driving in Zanzibar requires caution due to road conditions and police corruption.
  • Consider renting from reputable car rental agencies like Discover Cars.
  • Obtain the necessary documents, including an international driving license and a temporary local driving license.

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase from one of them I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you, which allows me to keep this blog up and running!

Should I Rent a Car in Zanzibar?

If you’re planning a trip to Zanzibar, you might be wondering if it’s worth renting a car.

Well, it depends on what you want to do and see during your time on the island.

Zanzibar is more than just beautiful beaches and historic Stone Town. It’s also home to hidden gems and breathtaking inland attractions that can only be explored by car.

If you’re the adventurous type and enjoy off-the-beaten-path experiences, renting a car in Zanzibar is highly recommended.

With your own vehicle, you’ll have the freedom and flexibility to explore the island at your own pace. You can discover pristine forests, vibrant spice farms, and charming villages that are off the tourist radar.

However, if you’re primarily interested in beach relaxation and plan to spend most of your time sunbathing and swimming, relying on taxis, hotel transfers, or organized tours might be more convenient for you. Zanzibar has a decent taxi network, and you can easily arrange for transportation to and from the beach areas.

This way, you won’t have to worry about parking or navigating unfamiliar roads.

Finding parking in Stone Town near attractions like the Old Fort is tough.

Should I Rent a Car in a Foreign Country?

If you’ve never rented a car in a foreign country before, you might have some reservations.

While it can be a bit daunting, renting a car in Zanzibar is generally safe and feasible. The roads may not be in the best condition, but with some driving experience in third-world countries, you should be able to navigate them without any major issues.

⚠️ It’s important to note that driving in Zanzibar can be a bit different from what you’re used to.

You’ll need to adjust to the local driving habits and be prepared for occasional encounters with livestock on the roads. It’s also advisable to drive during daylight hours as the lack of street lights can make nighttime driving challenging.

Renting a car in Zanzibar is worth considering if you want to explore beyond the tourist hotspots and have a sense of adventure. Evaluate your travel preferences and itinerary to determine if renting a car aligns with your plans.

Regardless of your decision, Zanzibar offers a wealth of experiences waiting to be discovered.

How Much Does it Cost to Rent a Car in Zanzibar?

One of the first things to consider when planning to rent a car in Zanzibar is the cost.

The price of renting a car in Zanzibar can vary depending on a few factors, including the type of car and your comfort preferences. On average, you can expect to pay between $35 and $100 per day for a rental car in Zanzibar.

The cheapest option is usually a Toyota RAV4-3 SPECIAL, which is suitable for solo travelers or couples. This car is affordable and can navigate the roads of Zanzibar comfortably.

For families or those looking for more comfort, a newer version of the Toyota RAV4 or a Toyota Land Cruiser can be a good choice. These cars offer more space and a higher level of comfort at a slightly higher cost.

In addition to the daily rental fee, you will also need to budget for a temporary local driving license, which costs around $10. This license is a requirement for driving legally in Zanzibar, so it’s important to factor this into your budget when planning your trip.

Discover Cars compare prices from different car rental companies in Zanzibar. Be sure to consider the type of car you need and the level of comfort you desire. It’s also important to check if any additional fees or charges apply, such as insurance or delivery fees, to get a complete picture of the cost.

Rental Car Prices in Zanzibar

Car TypeDaily Rental CostComfort Level
Toyota RAV4-3 SPECIAL$35Basic
Toyota RAV4$60Standard
Toyota Land Cruiser$100Premium

⚠️Note: The above prices are approximate and may vary depending on the rental company and availability.

Rent a car in Zanzibar
It is relatively affordable to rent a car in Zanzibar.

Where to Rent a Car in Zanzibar?

If you’re considering renting a car in Zanzibar, it’s important to choose a reliable car rental company that offers competitive rates and excellent service.

One highly recommended option is Discover Cars, a trusted car rental agency in Zanzibar.

We use them because they have always had the best deals when we’ve searched, and they offer FREE cancellations up to 48 hours before your reservation.

Here is the exact process we follow to get a rental car in Zanzibar:

1. Reserve Your Car Online with Discover Cars

Head to the Discover Cars website, and input your travel dates and preferred pick-up location.

For most travelers, this will be the Zanzibar Airport but you can also pick up your car from Zanzibar Port (all rental cars are shipped via ferry from Dar es Salam anyway), or in Stone Town.

⭐️ Only rent from well-rated places

We suggest you filter by ratings because while you want those sweet Zanzibar car rental deals, the cheapest place is rarely the best.

Personally, I don’t rent from locations with less than an 8 out of 10 Stars rating.

Remember, you get what you pay for.

Usually, it’s not worth sacrificing some money for terrible customer service on a vacation; especially when it comes to something like your transportation.

2. Opt for Full Coverage with Discover Cars

We always opt for their Full Coverage when we rent with Discover Cars!

It just gives us that much-needed peace of mind. We guarantee that driving in Zanzibar is much different to any place you’re used to driving so full coverage is just a good idea!

For about $8-10 USD per day, Discover Cars covers up to $3,250 USD of damage to the rental car. This includes body repair work, dings, scratches, windows/glass, tires, towing, lost keys, and more.

However, there are some things that are not included in terms of coverage so make sure to read all the information before you rent a car in Zanzibar.

⚠️If you’re traveling with young children, make sure to select a baby seat or child seat which are both FREE when you book with Discover Cars!

What Documents Are Required to Rent a Car in Zanzibar?

If you’re planning to rent a car in Zanzibar, there are a few important documents you’ll need to have in order.

Here’s a breakdown of the necessary requirements:

1. International Driving License:

To legally drive in Zanzibar, you’ll need to have a valid international driving license. Make sure to obtain this license before your trip and carry it with you when renting a car. Having an international driving license will ensure that you can confidently explore the island without any legal complications.

2. Completed Car Rental Form:

When renting a car in Zanzibar, you’ll be required to fill out a car rental form provided by the rental company. This form will include important details such as your personal information, contact details, and the duration of your rental period. Be sure to complete this form accurately and provide all necessary information to streamline the rental process.

3. Temporary Local Driving License:

In addition to your international driving license, you’ll also need to obtain a temporary local driving license in Zanzibar. This license can be acquired for a fee of $10 and is valid for the duration of your visit. It’s essential to have this license as it ensures that you’re compliant with local driving regulations and can navigate the roads legally.

Required DocumentsDetails
International Driving LicenseValid license from your home country
Completed Car Rental FormProvided by the rental company with personal and rental details
Temporary Local Driving LicenseAcquired in Zanzibar for a fee of $10

Make sure to prepare these documents in advance to ensure a smooth and hassle-free car rental experience in Zanzibar. By having the necessary paperwork, you’ll be ready to hit the road and explore all the wonders this beautiful island has to offer.

Your rental car will be perfectly safe while parked at your hotel or resort.

8 Important Zanzibar Car Rental Tips

When it comes to renting a car in Zanzibar, there are a few essential tips you should keep in mind to ensure a smooth and safe experience.

Here are some important things to consider:

1. Choose a 4WD Vehicle

The roads in Zanzibar can be challenging, especially in rural areas. Opting for a 4WD car will provide you with better traction and control, allowing you to navigate the sometimes rough and uneven terrain more easily.

2. Be Mindful of Speed Limits

In Zanzibar, the speed limit is 40 km/hr in Stone Town and 60 km/hr on country roads. It’s important to adhere to these limits to ensure your safety and avoid any potential traffic violations.

3. Beware of Police Corruption

Unfortunately, police corruption is known to exist in Zanzibar. If you’re stopped for a traffic violation, it’s essential to remain calm and handle the situation with caution. In some cases, negotiation may be necessary.

⚠️ Consider carrying a decoy wallet (one with only a few dollars in it) to deter potential bribery attempts.

Wondering if Zanzibar is safe to visit? Read our comprehensive guide!

4. Obtain a Temporary Local Driving License

Before you hit the road in Zanzibar, make sure to obtain a temporary local driving license. This can be arranged through the car rental agency or through the appropriate authorities. The license will cost you $10 and is a mandatory requirement for driving in Zanzibar.

5. Mind the Unusual Speed Bumps

Zanzibar’s speed bumps have a unique reputation. They’re tall, often unpainted, and can catch you by surprise, particularly at night. These bumps are frequent, even in rural areas. To ensure a comfortable ride, drive cautiously and stay vigilant, especially when you approach or leave urban areas.

6. Watch Out for Pedestrians at Night

Driving in Zanzibar comes with added responsibility, especially after dark. Rural roads lack proper lighting, making it challenging to spot pedestrians and cyclists. In crowded areas, anticipate sudden street crossings and unpredictable maneuvers by other road users. Drive with extra care, ensuring everyone’s safety.

7. Avoid Driving in Stone Town

Stone Town, while a fascinating place, isn’t the most car-friendly destination. Its narrow, one-way streets and limited parking opportunities can be a hassle for first-time visitors. Moreover, the city experiences heavy traffic, with dalla dallas (vans) and boda bodas (motorcycle taxis) navigating the narrow lanes. If possible, consider exploring Stone Town on foot to make the most of its attractions.

⭐️ Read our guide on the best walking tours of Stone Town and what you need to know before booking one!

8. Emergency Procedures

In the event of an emergency or accident, it’s essential to act prudently. Call the police (999 or 024 223 0772) and immediately contact your car rental company using the number provided in your rental agreement. Avoid making any decisions with the police until your car rental company can liaise with them and explain the procedures in English. Your rental company will guide you through the necessary steps, including insurance claims.

⭐️ Make sure to use an eSim like Airalo so that you can make calls and access wifi while exploring Zanzibar!

By following these tips, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable experience if you rent a car in Zanzibar.

Remember to drive cautiously, be mindful of local road conditions, and stay informed about the rules and regulations. With the freedom and flexibility that comes with having your own car, you’ll be able to explore all the wonders that Zanzibar has to offer at your own pace.

Rent a Car in Zanzibar FAQs

Is it a good idea to rent a car in Zanzibar?

Renting a car in Zanzibar can be a good idea if you value flexibility and wish to explore the island at your own pace. However, Zanzibar has a range of transportation options, so whether to rent a car depends on your preferences and travel plans.

How much does it cost to rent a car in Zanzibar?

Car rental prices in Zanzibar can vary depending on the type of vehicle, rental duration, and the rental company. On average, you can find rental rates starting from around $40 to $100 per day.

Can you hire a car in Zanzibar?

Yes, you can hire a car in Zanzibar. Several car rental agencies operate on the island, offering various vehicle options to suit your needs. We recommend Discover Cars!

Can you rent scooters in Zanzibar?

Yes, scooter rentals are available in Zanzibar. They provide a popular and convenient way to explore the island for those who prefer two-wheeled transportation.

Do you need a permit to drive in Zanzibar?

To drive in Zanzibar, you typically need an international driving permit. Ensure you have the necessary documentation before renting a car or scooter.

Does Zanzibar use Uber?

Zanzibar does not have Uber services. Instead, the island offers a variety of transportation options like taxis, tuk-tuks, and local dala-dalas.

What is the best way to get around Zanzibar?

The best way to get around Zanzibar depends on your travel style. You can choose from renting a car, hiring a scooter, taking taxis, using tuk-tuks, or even enjoying local dala-dalas for an authentic Zanzibar experience. Select the option that suits your itinerary and preferences.


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You’re Ready to Rent a Car in Zanzibar

Do you feel more prepared to rent a car in Zanzibar? We hope so! That’s exactly why we created this Zanzibar car rental guide.

However, if you don’t feel comfortable enough to rent a car in Zanzibar, no worries! You have plenty of other options.

You could arrange private transfers with your hotel or resort, opt simply to book organized tours in order to see the island, or make use of a reputable taxi service.

If you don’t want to rent a car in Zanzibar, you don’t have to! But if you do want to rent a car in Zanzibar, we hope this guide helps!

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