Safari transportation??

Old Feb 12th, 2006, 06:04 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 369
Safari transportation??

Hey guys,

For a group safari, do you prefer:
a) The Land Cruiser (extended for 7 passengers)
b) The safari mini-bus with pop-up roof

I think the landcruiser look cooler... but I think the standard mini-buses might have more room and be more comfortable.... especially on some of the worst roads in the world!!

Do any of you have a preference between the two vehicles for a first-timer safari experience??

simbakubwa is offline  
Old Feb 12th, 2006, 06:18 AM
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I've traveled in both 4WD and 2WD mini-bus-type vehicles and couldn't tell the difference. We've done drive-only safaries and never had problems on the lousy roads.

Personally, I prefer the closed vehicles especially on long-haul drives; the and pop-top roofs work as well as if in open private camp vehicles.

But for a group of 7, either of these may still be a bit crowded even in the extended Land Cruiser. Surprisingly, the price for traveling with two vehicles for your group isn't that more expensive, even when considering a secnd guide/driver.
Old Feb 12th, 2006, 07:25 AM
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 1,493

depende where & when u r going:
# in TZ u must use a 4X4 for the caldera (theoretically u can hire one at Ngongoro if u go by minibus)
# If really muddy roads / seasons ...
# if u r 7 in a group or even 6 - i agree with Sandi - minibus is more comfortable
aby is offline  
Old Feb 12th, 2006, 07:38 AM
Join Date: Oct 2004
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A good question. I've come to dislike minivans for many reasons:

1. Noisier - it is lower and more rocks hit the bottom protection. Every rock that hits the bottom sounds like it is coming through the floor! And the engine is under the front seat - you can hear it!

2. Dustier - the sliding door opening is basically at the bottom. Dust kicked up by the front tires tend to enter the vehicle easier especially in older vans where the rubber seals are worn.

3. Have lower wheel clearance - much harder to follow the tracks if the van hits bottom.

4. Tires have less rubber. Vans suffer more punctures.

5. Carry one spare tire or lose a lot of space. It you get a flat the guide must get the punctured tire fixed before you can continue (depending on the remoteness of your location, this can severely impact your gameviewing hours).

6. Don't do well in black cotton soil when it rains. Extended Land Cruisers are heavy and have their own problems but power helps!

7. Small seats. The vans used by some outfitters have really small seats - it will feel like sitting on the edge of a seat for hours on end. This is uncomfortable.

8. Head bumps - the seats stretch to the sides of the van. If you have a window seat your head will be 6 inches away from the side window/metal. When the roads are bad be prepared for serious head knocks.

9. Lower point of view when standing up. If you park near Land Cruisers while watching something your view will be restricted as these are higher than you!

Go for the Land Cruiser!
climbhighsleeplow is offline  
Old Feb 12th, 2006, 08:22 AM
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Thanks guys, Yes, I'm basically wondering which vehicle the guests would prefer for the long trips for comfort.
simbakubwa is offline  
Old Feb 12th, 2006, 01:05 PM
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You didn't actually say how many of you there are - is it 7? And do we guess Kenya from "some of the worst roads in the world"?

If there are 7, then unless you are all very thin people I would definitely agree with Sandi that it would be cramped with either for a journey like Nairobi to the Mara. From that perspective for the long journeys perhaps a mini-bus might be more comfortable because you could get two for the price of a single extended Land Cruiser?

Another thought... you might want to consider whether either have air conditioning - you certainly don't want it in the parks but on the long drives if you really have got to have a lot of people in the vehicle and you have to keep the windows closed most of the time because of the dust.... well, it would be nice.

I also note you say "guests"; so are other people the first-timers? Are you organising and want a first-timers' perspective? This may make a difference to our responses.
kimburu is offline  
Old Feb 13th, 2006, 06:38 AM
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Yes, we would be a group of 6. The other 5 have never been to Kenya before. Personally, I think the Landcruisers look a litte more "hard-core", but I think the mini-vans are actually more comfortable. Especially when driving on the tarmacked portions.

I was just wondering what everyone else thought!!
simbakubwa is offline  
Old Feb 13th, 2006, 06:59 AM
Join Date: Oct 2004
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Please be aware that most of the roads in Kenya are bad - even when there's some tarmac the potholes force you to rather drive next to the road.

Minivans are not more comfortable - they are cheaper. This is why so many outfitters use them. Given a choice and money, most would rather buy Land Cruisers!
climbhighsleeplow is offline  
Old Feb 13th, 2006, 07:03 AM
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Sorry, I'm afraid I am being misunderstood !! I have lived in Kenya for many years... and been on many safaris... and know how bad the roads can be!!

I was just curious if other Fodorites had found that first-timers prefer the land cruisers or the mini-buses for a first time safari.

I know there are pros and cons each way.. but just wondered what most of you had found.

Sorry for the confusion.
simbakubwa is offline  
Old Feb 13th, 2006, 07:16 AM
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OK, then. I disagree that modern Land Cruisers are "hard-core". They have strong engines, bigger tires, air-conditioning, big comfortable seats, arm rests and bigger windows. They also offer more protection in case of accidents. You don't want to hit anything or be hit by anything in a minivan.

Bumpy and noisy minivans are hardcore - mostly used by budget outfitters.
climbhighsleeplow is offline  
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