Vehicles & Guides
Vehicles & Transport
Vehicles used throughout Africa for your safari will be dependent on a few factors including where your safari is conducted, what style of safari you have undertaken and whether your game drives are being conducted within a private reserve or a national park. One thing they will have in common though is maximizing your safari-viewing experience by offering sliding windows, roof hatches or open sides allowing you to get some great photographs! Except on more basic and camping safaris, window seats are usually guaranteed so you don’t have to worry about crawling across the fellow passenger for that great shot!
Overland & Large Group Vehicles
On camping safaris and some of the more basic accommodated safaris, we will use traditional overland vehicles. These vehicles are often self-contained allowing us to put up camp wherever we are. The vehicles are generally 16 passengers and seating is two-by-two. Windows are large and slide open to provide viewing opportunities and while window seats cannot be guaranteed, enough rotation often occurs that this does not usually prove to be a problem.
4X4 ‘Pop-Top’ Landcruisers
Generally used in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, these vehicles carry six passengers maximum, but are 4x4s allowing for the more intense road conditions we often may face within these areas. Generally the roof will ‘pop open’ allowing for clients to stand up and get some good photographs through the open roof. The viewing will be more limited as compared to open vehicles, but they also offer the comfort of a closed system where clients are not exposed to dust and other ‘elements’.
These are generally used on road-based safaris where we drive from location to location allowing for us to be more comfortable on the longer and faster drives between the camps.
4X4 Open Landcruisers
Many of the vehicles used in Southern Africa while on your game drives, especially private reserves, are completely open on top. They also feature in many of the fly in camps in places like Kenya and Tanzania.
In addition to being open on all side, most will have a basic roof of canvas that can be rolled across during intense sun or rain, or open during good conditions. They are generally tiered with each row of seats slightly raised to enhance the game-viewing experience. Their sophisticated 4×4 systems allow us to get right through the bush when tracking the wildlife. The completely open nature of these vehicles offer an unparalleled viewing opportunity to get the very best wildlife shots you can. Some camps even offer specially designed photographic vehicles that can be booked on a private basis offering photographic amenities such as swivel chairs and camera mounts.
These are generally used on fly-in safaris where the vehicles are based at the camps and you may share your game drives with others staying at the same time unless a private vehicle is booked.
Guides & Staff
Guides are perhaps one of the most important elements to your safari experience. They are your eyes and ears offering a wealth of knowledge of the African bush. For many this is consider their career, having been qualified as wildlife rangers. It cannot be underestimated how important it is to have a knowledgeable guide who will add so much more to your safari experience. Their warm smiles and friendly manner will stay with you for years after your vacation has come to an end.
While not a hard and fast rule, generally speaking, the higher level of safari you are undertaking with regards to its exclusivity or comfort level will ensure a more qualified guide, since the best guides seek to work for the most respected and sought-after companies. However, other factors can also enter into this such as the country or area in which you are travelling or the continuing educational opportunities offered by the companies that employ them.
Safari guides are not the only ones that will make your safari as memorable as it will be, working behind the scenes or in front of them are a myriad of competent crew who will take care of your every need from preparing great meals to driving the vehicles to ensure your room has all the comforts you need, so don’t forget to offer a smile in return when they offer you theirs! It’s with good reason they call this the ‘warm heart of Africa’.