4x4 versus mini bus


May 5th, 2005, 09:31 AM
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Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 3
4x4 versus mini bus

Hello All,

First of all, I find all the informationn I'v read very helpful.

We're planning a trip to Tanzania and Kenya in November. The only thing we are questioning is whether the expense of a 4x4 versus a mini bus is worth it.

What are your opinions?

cmgovaert is offline  
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May 5th, 2005, 09:45 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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I assume by 4x4 you mean an open top vehicle. You'll find varying opinions but we actually preferred a pop top as it provided some shade and relief from the sun. I don't think we could have stayed out all day otherwise.
Patty is offline  
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May 5th, 2005, 09:49 AM
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Hello Patty,

What I mean by 4x4 is a Range Rover type vehicle.
cmgovaert is offline  
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May 5th, 2005, 10:02 AM
Join Date: Oct 2004
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November is a rainy month.

The mud in East Africa can really slow you down.

Vehicles come in several forms

2WD minivans - not a good choice as you will have to really be careful where you venture.
4WD minivans - OK and may work, but some are badly maintained and inefficient in the mud.
4WD landcruisers & Landrovers - now you're talking, assuming well-maintained.

Most of these vehicles have hatches (except for a few open 4WDs owned by lodges).

Some have true pop-ups (given shade and some rain cover). Others have lift-offs (roof is rolled backed or stored away.)

To make the most of your safari in November and for peace of mind, go for a 4WD. Even in well-visited places such as Ngorongoro, the 2WDs have it tough after a few days of downpours. And you will be unable to drive off-road in the parks that allow it (Masai Mara, etc).
climbhighsleeplow is offline  
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May 5th, 2005, 10:40 AM
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We had a 4WD minivan in late Jan and it was OK. There were a few days of rain before our arrival and we had some downpours the first day. I believe it was unseasonably rainy for that time of year, so I hope it's fine for our November trip too!
Patty is offline  
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May 5th, 2005, 12:28 PM
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I also prefer the pop-top 4WD van; if traveling in November it certainly protects you from the elements. The 4WD Range Rover-types are also good options, but not every outfitter uses these... but we've found unless they are the specially built Rovers/Cruisers (with more legroom and height) they seemed more cramped than the 4WD pop-top vans.

If only two in the van, you've got room to spare, to nap, really spread out. And there's no competition for good photo taking.

The truly open (though many with canvas tops) 4WD Rovers are mostly individually camp owned, i.e., Klein's, Bateleur, Cottars. And because they are open, it can be quite chilly/cold early morning and early evening/night drives.

While November is a "short" rain season, we've been lucky on various trips, not to have rain but two or three times in the late afternoon (1/2-hr downpour) which quickly settles the dusty roads and no humidity afterwards. I can recall rain only once overnight; if more then that, we slept right through it. Our vehicles never had any trouble navigating mud - no slippin-'n-slidin.

Though there was the one time watching a pride of lions enjoying their kill, trying to back out on wet grass and..............
no big deal, I took the wheel and we asked the driver get out and push! Kiddin'
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