A safari in Africa is a very special type of vacation. The word “safari” literally means journey in the Swahili language, but the name has become associated with a specific type of trip that takes visitors to Africa’s large savannah plains to see the pristine nature and wildlife Africa is best known for. Here, the impact of human activity is at the bare minimum, and one can truly feel that they are in the wild, experiencing life as it has been for millenia. These areas are known as “National Parks”, and this is exactly where one may see nature at its rawest and wildest.
Tanzania is one of the best countries for a safari because the national parks of Tanzania have the largest number of wild animals in Africa, and, possibly, in the world. In recognition of Tanzania’s conservation efforts, Ngorongoro Conservation Area and Serengeti National Parks have been listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
A safari experience in Tanzania is very different from neighboring countries, not only because of the parks, but also because of the style. This East African country seeks to attract high-end tourists, and for this reason the tourist infrastructure there has been developed in a way that attracts tourists who value comfort.
Safari vehicles used by Tanzania tour operators are no exception. In this article we discuss what is so special about them.
Safari vehicles in Tanzania
Most of the safari cars in Tanzania are modified Toyota Land Cruisers. They are imported from Dubai, adjustments are made to make sure that their performance in the savannah is superb. This is a big industry here – there are many large workshops doing nothing else but modifying newly imported Land Cruisers.
Modifications are usually done to the seats, roof and color, and sometimes unseen body of these vehicles, not only to make them more comfortable for tourists, but to ensure they are hardy enough to withstand the rugged Tanzanian roads to see the most sought-after animals.
A modified Land Cruiser seats seven tourists and a driver guide for a total of eight passengers. At the same time, some tour operators prefer limiting the number of seats to five, so as to ensure that there is enough space to stretch legs and get the most comfortable safari experience. The seats are ergonomic and recline to ensure more comfort on the long trips through the pristine African savannah.
The roofs of Tanzania safari vehicles have a pop-up hatch so that safari-goers may stand up to have a 360-degree view of the savannah. It is especially convenient in the areas packed with animals or for epic panoramic photos.
It is not uncommon during a safari to see a lion lounging in the shade on one side of the vehicle, and a giraffe nibbling leaves on the other side, so a regular car window will not suffice. Opening the roof makes it possible for all passengers to have a great view of all around.
After all structural modifications are completed, to-be safari cars are then re-colored. The most popular color choices are khaki or dark green, which are selected because it helps them to blend better into nature. Some operators, however, decide to paint the cars in bright yellow colors for them to stand out among other vehicles in the park. The visitors are particularly happy with such a choice – the photos in their Instagram feed become really special.
What comfort specials may one expect to find in a safari car?
Nearly all safari trips take several days to complete. Some journeys to Serengeti and other large parks may last even a week or even more. For this reason a safari vehicle is equipped with certain features to make travel more pleasant and comfortable.
These small perks are:
Fridge with cold drinks
Most reputable tour companies have a small fridge in their safari cars. There you will find a variety of refreshments – sodas like coca-cola and fanta, beer and water. Keeping yourself hydrated in Africa is also important for health concerns, and taking several sips every hour is a good idea. The fridge will keep the drinks pleasantly cool, and the tour operator will make sure that there are enough drinks for everyone.
Tanzania has surprisingly good internet coverage, and almost all of the new safari cars have portable Wi-Fi adapters. Don’t expect to be able to stream live, but it will certainly be enough to post a picture or send a WhatsApp message to your family.
The coverage is pretty reliable in and around Arusha city, the main safari hub of East Africa, from where you are likely to begin your trip. In the national parks signal may sometimes disappear, especially in the spacious Serengeti – mobile data operators haven’t constructed the connection towers everywhere yet. But you are sure to find enough service in-and-out throughout the day.
Because most visitors have photographic equipment and other electronic gadgets with them, there are several 220v chargers with USB ports in a safari vehicle. The sockets are powered by the engine of a vehicle, making charging your mobile phone or a photo camera possible at all times.
It is all about comfort
A safari in Tanzania is very different from wildlife experiences in neighboring countries, and the specially-modified safari cars are one of the reasons for that. While in Kenya, for example, some of the safari adventures are organized in small, but thickly packed minibuses, you will never see such a thing here in Tanzania. Safaris in Tanzania are all about comfortable and exclusive experiences. Here the operators cater to luxury and midrange visitors and the safari vehicles are modified accordingly.
However, there is a small pitfall here – some operators still use old Land Cruisers, produced in the 1990s. Though these cars are still fit for the rough roads to the savannah, the experience will be somewhat different from what one may expect. Hence, when booking your safari adventure, it is not a bad idea to ask about the year of manufacture of the safari cars.