The Times of Tanzania
Eastern Africa News Network

Ancient Cars to Drive New Safari Adventures in Tanzania

When foreign tourists visit Tanzania’s Wildlife Parks, it is usually for a ‘Back to Nature,’ adventure.

Now, the ‘back-to-nature’ thing will also double as ‘back in time’ experience as the management of Arusha National Park introduces old vintage wheels as new tourits attraction.

This new safari offerings aboard old clunkers is set to breath fresh air into the wildlife rich destination located at the foot of Tanzania’s second highest elevation, the Mount Meru.

From the old trusty Landrovers series 108 and 109, the rear-engined Volkswagen Beetles and Combis, the tough as nail Toyota Land-Cruisers BF40s and anything built before Ronald Reagan became US President, will be legible for the Tanzania’s latest travel industy package; vintage safaris.

Old Landies landing a new roving adventure (Picture by Marc Nkwame)

Arusha National Park, established in 1960 is the country’s second oldest after Serengeti. Tanzania has more than 20 National Parks and over 40 Game Reserves.

“And that is why it is high time that, the vehicles used for tourism six decades ago, should be brought back to life and revive the nostlagic era, when the park was still fresh, almost virgin and with all the original wildlife species roaming the landscape.”

Herman Batiho the Tanzania National Parks’ Assistant Commissiner of Conservation in-charge of the Northern Zone Circuit.

Indeed, sixty years ago, the Arusha National Park as well as the entire area surrounding Mount Meru, was filled with black Rhinos, animals that have since dissapeared from the precinct.

On his part, the Arusha National Park’s Conservator, Albert Mziray, said the destination, located at the foot of Mount Meru, is the easily accessible park in the country where practically all types of vehicles can be used for tourism.

Many motorists seem to like the idea, among them Sady Mnene, who was behind the wheel of a sky-blue Land Rover 109 pickup. Mnene stated that old cars are the new rage in Tanzania at the moment and he runs a special workshop which restores most of the machines back to life.

“Suffice to say that the value of vintage cars keeps going up and if handled properly the new concept of classic car tourism will make the country’s tourism industry hit new heights.”

Sady Mnene – Mnene Cars Restoration Garage

And, by the way, you can’t speak of old wheels without mentioning Frednand Porsche’s successful invention and global best selling car, the Volkswagen Beetle.

Don’t be fooled by the registration plate, this beetle is as old as mold

“Mine is a 1968 model,” explains, Edson Wilson Sengiyuva who simply loves his VW bug. In fact, he adores German-made Volkswagens. “I also own an old VW Combi which at the moment is undergoing some paint works and soon I intend to convert the bus into a camper van,” he says.

Elfride Samuel Aikaniwa was the only lady at the steering wheel during the vintage cars’ maiden outing at the Arusha National Park. She battled the three gears manual transmission of a jeep-like Toyota Land-Cruiser FJ40, also a pickup.

“She is a proud owner of the aged cruiser. I am also a member of the special club for vintage cars’ enthusiasts,” Elfride maintains.

The maiden vintage cars’ tourism at the park, was supposed to kick-off the new fad with 17 vehicles, but few managed to turn up due to heavy rains. This is because a number of them were open-roofed contraptions.

Still, according to the organizers and participants, the first round was successful. In fact the stage was already set for major events of that nature to color the coming years 2022 onwards. 

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