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Reasons the police might pull you over in Tanzania

We’ve done a fair bit of travelling in the last few months which has inevitably meant seeing lots of police. We had some early not so good encounters with police in our first few months in Tanzania so we are generally pretty nervous about being pulled over by them. However, we have to be careful not to show it because being calm and happy is a sign of innocence. Also, the police may not be pulling you over because you’ve done something wrong! Here’s a list of the reasons we’ve discovered so far for why police might stop a car:

  • they’re stopping all traffic so that a convoy of politicians can pass.
  • for speeding – they have handheld radar guns and they’re pretty good at hiding around corners or in the places where road signs are ambiguous or non-existent.
  • to check your license / registration / insurance
  • to check your fire extinguisher (required) or your first aid kit
  • to help someone else who is having car trouble
  • to get a lift
  • to say hello or ask where you’re going. On our return Arusha-Dodoma trip we were pulled over 4 times for this purpose.


Categories: Tanzania Written by Tamie

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Tamie Davis

Tamie Davis is an Aussie living in Tanzania, writing at

1 reply

  1. I am amazed at Tamie attending a university class at this early stage of Kiswahili. I commend you on your effort. I go to the home of Rev. Mecka Ogunde of a Tuesday night, where I read the Swahili bible for the passage of Romans which is for the study that evening. I go very slowly as it is 40 years since I was in Tanzania with Swahili part of life. Mecka expects to complete his Ph. D. in a few weeks then return to Tanzania. One of the options is to teach at the University in Dodoma. He is from the Musoma region. He has been translating an English book with Dorothy and Hugh Prentice who have maintained their fluency in Swahili.
    Every Blessing


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