Kenya is East Africa’s most visited safari destination featuring an array of adventure experiences. Anytime a tourist book a safari, the question of the type of vehicle that best fits the desired safari experience pops up. In Kenya, there are two main types of safari vehicles, safari vans and Land cruisers, which are customized to other models that meet different adaptations. Most travelers will prefer the cruisers regarded as more versatile with demonstrable ability to navigate the rugged dry weather roads in various national parks. However, it’s important to note that your safari experience will be more dependent on the vehicle maintenance, far from the tourist vehicle type you choose. A good safari vehicle must be serviced on a regular basis and must not be too old. Here are some of the most common safari vehicle models you can pick for your nest safari.
a. Open rooftop Mini Van
They are mainly 8 seaters vans customized to incorporate the features found on a standard land cruiser. These include transparent side windows and open rooftops for viewing or photography while standing or seated. The vehicle will only limit you from off-roading when sighting a scene away from the roads. Off-roading is better when using the more powerful land cruiser that can easily navigate off the established paths. Minivan is also not good for safaris over the wet season when most roads in the park are slippery or when navigating through waterlogged sections of the park.
When to go for a Kenya safari with a mini van
When on a tight budget. All said and done, there is a veiled difference between a van safari and a cruiser safari. Firstly, most public parks in Kenya limit/ prohibit off-roading which means that most of the time, game viewing takes place from the park’s main roads. Again, game safaris are at the climax over the dry period when the park roads are passable.
b. Rooftop safari land cruisers
These are mainly land cruiser jeeps customized with a rooftop and transparent side windows. The vehicles are slightly more expensive than the minivans, which go to the enhanced comfort and that they have a better view of things happening outdoors. The vehicle is all-weather and can be used for off-roading. Though off-roading is prohibited in government parks, some destinations, especially private parks, allow vehicles to off-road to a certain distance for a close-range view of scenes happening away from the park’s main roads.
When to go for a Kenya safari with a rooftop safari Landcruiser
When looking for the best quality overland safari vehicle. Pop up roof Land Cruisers are the best vehicle you can have for road trip safaris in Kenya. They are more comfy than van and offer a more quality wilderness experience. The price difference between a traveler on a minivan and a land cruiser is approximately 100 USD per day which isn’t too expensive upgrading for a topnotch experience.
c. Open-sided safari land cruiser
Open-sided safari land cruisers are at the top end of the safari vehicles you can have while on a Kenya safari. These vehicles come in two models, but without much difference in terms of experience, i.e.,. Some are fully opened, including the rooftop, while others are only open on the sides but leave a canvas or metallic rooftop. Fully open safari land cruisers are also not used on public roads to travel to and from parks, as the wind on your face will not provide a pleasant experience. You would be better served when using the roll-up openside 4x4s. These can travel from park to park and also provide a 360-degree view when taking photos on safari. Fukll open 4×4 Land Cruisers are used by safari lodges and camps and are ideal when you are on a fly-in safari and using air transfers to move from one destination to another. Open-sided safaris/roll-up openside 4×4 Land Cruisers, however, offer the best safari experience of nature as there are no obstructions between occupants and the wilderness.
When to go for a Kenya safari with a rooftop safari land cruiser
When looking for the best safari experience inside a conservancy. Though they operate in private parks and a few other select places like Mara Triangle, open-sided safaris create a breathtaking interlink between the occupants and the surrounding. Since the vehicles are only found in safari lodges/ camps inside various bush destinations, open-sided safaris can only work for tourists on air safaris.
d. Open-sided photography safari vehicle
This open-sided safari vehicle has been further modified for the optimal photography safari experience. An ideal photo safari vehicle has four swivel seats that can rotate up to 360 degrees, and has a dropdown side where you can take low-angle perspectives. Like the open-sided safari vehicles, these vehicles can be used in public parks.
When to go for an open-sided photography safari vehicle
When going for a photo safari in the private conservancies. Open sided vehicle allow you to take photos without distractions of any material between you and your subject. The vehicle is also customized to give you a better image perspective from all directions.
e. Convertible photo safari vehicle
This new generation of safari vehicles merges the concept of open-sided and rooftop safari vehicles. This type of safari vehicle has large window panes that can slide vertically, leaving sides open akin to open sided safari vehicles. It is the best option for overland photo safaris. These vehicles are adopted for optimal photo experience in both public and private parks.
When to go for convertible photo safari vehicle
When going for a road trip or a photography safari, the pop-up and openside safari 4×4 Land Cruiser is ideal in both public and private parks. This type of vehicle can be used in road transfers which is more cost-effective as compared to air transfers. Kenya road transfers also come with extra photo opportunities taking images from various rift valley viewpoints. With this type of safari vehicle, you can go for photography in both public and private national parks, increasing the scope of your photo experience.
f. Overland safari trucks
These are trucks used by large related groups of 12 -44 individuals. This type of safari vehicle has a completely sliding window for a boundless view at the seating point, en suite kitchen, and onboard crew. Most overland trucks are modified to give home-style comfort to the occupants as they cruise through the panoramic landscapes. The storage space is more spacious with some lockable closets making them the best vehicles for group camping safaris.
When to go for overland trucks
When looking for a pocket-friendly option for a large group of travelers. The cost of overland transfers with an overland truck is lower when compared to other types of safari vehicles. The trucks are also the most ideal for large groups of backpackers moving with camping equipment.