Africa is home of the Safari vehicle and they vary depending on both the country you are travelling through and your budget. Safari jeeps are often Land Rovers and Land cruisers and some are modified for optimal wildlife viewing. Highly experienced tracker usually sit up the front with the driver directing you to the best game in the region.
Particularly in Tanzania, some of the newer safari jeeps have pop up roofs for added viewing potential plus slightly tinted windows to protect from the sun. Standard vehicles seat 4 – 6 passengers (in three rows of two) but the specialised extended safari jeeps will seat more. Eastern Africa tends to have more closed vehicles due to the extensive road networks. Closed 4×4 vehicles with pop tops usually don’t have air conditioning and you view the animals while standing and popping your head thru the pop-top.
A snorkel fixed to the front of a 4×4 safari jeep allows you to travel off road and cross waterways – a great way to follow and track meandering wildlife. Open sides and tops allow for excellent wildlife viewing and allows you to feel part of nature, smell the African scents and feel the wind in your hair. On an extended safari vehicle it is always great to rotate seating positions allowing everyone to get a opportunity in each location. Usually the tiered seats at the back are the bounciest and the smoothest ride up the front or in the first row of seats.
Open sided safari jeeps are a fantastic way to experience nature and are best used on shorter safaris. Wind, dust, sun and African elements can be harsh so ensure you wear warm clothes (taking blankets) can make it more comfortable on a early morning game drive. Some vehicles will have plastic/canvas canopies if the weather becomes unpleasant. Extended safari jeeps, seating 9, with tiered seating allows all guests optimal viewing.
Often adapted and air conditioned Micro-buses like Mercedes Sprinters and Toyota Quantums, are used for smaller safari groups to transport between game parks then swapping to a extended 4WD for the game drives. Another methods of transport that usually cater for budget clientele and are typically longer in duration are the overland trucks. Overland trucks are completely different to the safari jeep, are usually camping based and have a mobile kitchen section for dining enroute. Seating on overland trucks can be configured forward facing, backward or side facing depending on company.