You are currently viewing Everything you need to know about the Bajaji in Tanzania – the ultimate public transport guide
Bajajis at a traffic hub in Dar es Salaam / Tanzania

Everything you need to know about the Bajaji in Tanzania – the ultimate public transport guide

Do you love to try the local means of transport during your vacations? UnboxingTanzania thinks that this is the best way to explore the country, people and culture. Today we would like to introduce you to the Bajaj.

We give you important tips for a safe journey. So, buckle up as we take you on a “ride” through the history, benefits and safety tips for these charming tricycles in Tanzania. You will also learn about our personal Bajaji experiences.

Our first rides

The rides with the tricycles are something special ever since we came to Tanzania. You can get from A to B quickly and safely with the Bajaji. We have made the experience that the drivers are very happy when we introduce ourselves and or greet them in Swahili (Swahili Greetings Part 1 /Part 2). 

The destination of one of our first trips was somewhere in Buza-Kipera. To get there, you must leave the paved road. Already on this trip, we felt connected to this wonderful country. The left side of the tricycle is usually open. This gives you a good view of what is happening around you. The speed was throttled by the road conditions. This gave us a good first look on our neighbourhood. We also noticed how tough, enduring and off-road capable the Bajajis are.

Another trip that sticks in our minds is transporting our mattress. The stores do not offer deliver services. So, we were faced with the problem of how to get our mattress delivered to our home. No problem thanks to the tricycles. The mattress was quickly mounted on the roof of the Bajaji, and we hopped on with our friends as well.

Our mattress is ready for transport
Memories – our Bajaji trip with our newly-bought mattress

You can also look forward to your first ride in a Bajaji. Here are some tips and information for you.

Trip to explore “History”

Motorized tricycles originated in Asia and are widely used in most countries there. Often known as “TukTuk”.

In Africa, too, tricycles can be found in several countries. Egypt was the first country on the African continent to import motorized rickshaws. For about 20 years, they have also been an integral part of Kenya and Tanzania.

Bajaj is a manufacturer of autorickshaws with a large market share. In Tanzania, this brand name generally stands for all motorized tricycles, regardless of the manufacturer.

Victory ride of the Bajaji

There is no shortage of Bajajis in Dar es Salaam. This is due to the wide range of possible usage.

Bajaji Taxi:

You can recognize the commercially used tricycles by the white license plates (find out more “City Safari” under Vehicles and license plates). In Dar es Salaam, you can find the rickshaws at every major intersection. If the way there is too far for you, you can also give a hand signal to the passing tricycles. The Bajaji drivers are just waiting for it and stop immediately if they are not already transporting guests. A third way to organize a Bajaji trip is through online portals. Personally, we use Bolt, but if you have an Uber account, that will also work fine.

Bajaji Bus:

The tricycles travel up and down the main street within parts of the city. If the driver sees a potential passenger, the driver honks briefly and waits for a reaction. In this way, the drivers collect their passengers and fill the tricycle to the limit and beyond.

The question of how many people can be transported with a Bajaji is exciting. We haven’t figured it out yet, so it remains a mystery. We are always amazed at how many people get out of a Bajaji. Even so the legal limit is three passengers.

Bajaji Cargo:

The locals have ingeniously repurposed these vehicles to meet different needs, making them an essential part of daily life. Not only are they used as taxis for transporting passengers, but they are also used as mini-vans that carry everything from food to furniture to livestock.

Behind the wheel

We have a Tanzanian driver’s license, but unfortunately it does not entitle us to drive tricycles. In order to get a driver’s license for the rickshaws, an extra test must be passed.

Only in rare cases are the drivers of the tricycles also the owners. If a Bajaji is particularly well maintained and very individually furnished, the driver usually owns the vehicle. In the other cases, the drivers pay the owner a leasing or usage fee. In these cases, drivers will be required to earn the daily fee. Our experience is that these drivers drive sometimes a little faster and are more willing to take risks.

The owners of the Bajaji will also take care of the services
The owners of the Bajaji will also service them

Tips for a safe ride

Safety has always been a top priority when traveling to a foreign country. That’s why we’re happy to give you tips so that you can enjoy a safe and enjoyable Bajaji ride in Tanzania.

  • We recommend using an app like Bolt or Uber. These apps provide a reliable way to connect with registered drivers.
  • Take the initiative. At major junctions and at the train station, you will get offers by many drivers. Unfortunately, this is also used by criminals who will then take you to an abandoned area and rob you. That’s why it’s better to choose the Bajaji yourself. (or you use Uber/ Bolt- registered drivers)
  • It’s also helpful to ask locals for recommendations. Don’t hesitate to ask locals (your host) for advice on trustworthy Bajaji drivers. They are usually happy to share their experience and help you find a driver who knows the area well.
  • Negotiate the fare before you hit the road. We use the prices of apps like Bolt and Uber as an idea. The drivers are used to negotiating the price. Just remember to negotiate respectfully, and you’ll get fair prices.
  • Always have change with you. Often, the drivers don’t. Being able to pay the exact amount makes the ride smoother, too. You pay the fare on arrival.

Bottom Line:

Using a Bajaji in Tanzania is much more than just a means of transportation. It’s an opportunity to connect with the heart and soul of the country. The friendly drivers, busy streets, and genius way of usage of these vehicles reflect the resilience and warmth of the Tanzanian people.

If you’re in Tanzania, hop aboard a Bajaji and let it take you on a journey you won’t forget. Immerse yourself in the culture, meet the locals, and enjoy the ride.

#unboxingtanzania : Take a picture of your first Bajaji ride and tag us on Instagram.