Scenes From A Road Trip In Tanzania And Kenya


(First Posted October 18, 2013)  (CC reader Daniel Cleaveley sent in some shots he took on a recent road trip in Tanzania and Kenya. Lots of JDM vehicles, which he identifies for us).

I’m from a semi-rural town in Victoria, Australia, but I have some close friends whose mum is from Tanzania originally, and I’ve been fortunate enough to go there with them a couple of times.  It’s a great part of the world – everyone is very friendly, and it’s not quite as poverty-stricken as many other places in Africa.  This means that cars are becoming easier for more people to afford; however, as there aren’t many used cars already in the country, a majority are imported second-hand from Japan, with Toyota being the most popular marque by far.  As such, there are large numbers of cars that were unfamiliar to me – it’s fascinating to see all these JDM models in such an alien environment.

(Above) In central Dar-es-Salaam, behind a Mercedes-Benz S-Class and a Toyota Harrier.  On the other side of the road, the typical traffic jams that plague the city, with Suzuki Escudo, Toyota Corona, Toyota Nadia, Toyota HiAce, Toyota Prado, Mitsubishi Canter, Mitsubishi Pajero, and Toyota LiteAce.


Heading out of the city, with a Chinese tuktuk, Mazda2, Kia Sportage and Toyota Coaster in the left lane; Toyota Sprinter and Toyota LiteAce Noah in front; and on the other side of the road, a Toyota Chaser, a couple of Toyota Vitz, and a Toyota Corona.


Still heading out of the city, with a Toyota WiLL Cypha (Now that’s a rare find one I wouldn’t have expected to see there-Ed) and Toyota Starlet parked, a couple of Toyota Coasters in front and a Toyota LiteAce Noah going the wrong way down the outbound carriageway.


Roadworks, behind a Nissan X-Trail with a Toyota Corona and Toyota LiteAce Noah on the other side.


You can be sitting in a Toyota Prado doing 100km/h in the rain and buses will still overtake you around blind corners or just below the crests of hills.  I didn’t notice any Chinese cars in Tanzania (although there were a few in Kenya) but there were lots of Chinese buses (like this one) and commercial vehicles.


Toyota HiAce, with the offsider hanging out the door drumming up business.


A Mitsubishi Rosa and Toyota Coaster.  Many buses and vans still have Japanese writing on the side, but not normally to this extreme.


The next couple of photos were taken while in Tanga: Typical roadwork scene, with concrete bollards being craned into position, and a Toyota HiLux going the other way.


Taken with my waterproof/drop-proof traveling phone, so excuse the poor quality.  Another typical scene – there were lots of places, both in and out of towns, where there were piles of sand or gravel in the middle of the road.  The car on the left has stumped me (possibly a Toyota Spacio?) but the one on the right is a Toyota LandCruiser Cygnus.


The next photo was from just outside Mombasa in Kenya: All the driving instruction cars I saw were of approximately this vintage and quality – either vans like this Isuzu (Fargo or Como – not sure which) or things like barely-running first-gen diesel Toyota HiLux Surfs.  If you can learn to drive in a third-world country in a vehicle like this, you’ll be right!  Not sure what ‘unik’ means but ‘poa’ in Swahili means ‘cool’, with the slang used much the same as in English.


This photo was from Arusha:  The ‘uhura’ (peace/freedom) monument in the roundabout in the back of the photo is near the centre of Arusha.  Parked on the street are a Toyota Prado, Toyota Chaser, a couple of Toyota Coronas, with a Subaru Forester and a Toyota Regius in the background; while driving are a Suzuki Escudo and Toyota Rav4.


And the final photo was from Mwanza:  I think that’s a Toyota Cresta and Mark II heading away, with a Toyota HiAce in the distance, and a Toyota Corolla and Mitsubishi Canter going the other direction.  A couple of cheap Chinese trikes/bikes on the side of the road.