Safari Vehicles

Feb 26th, 2007, 06:01 PM
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Safari Vehicles

Wanted to get people's opinions. We're a family group of eight... 3 adults, 4 teens and a child of 10. Of the adults and teens- 2 are males about 5'9" tall and 5 are females around 5'0-5'3". So generally we're not large people.

We have an option on our safari of all going in one vehicle- an extended Landcruiser- but one person must sit next to the driver and one person is in a middle seat... (but bear in mind the 10 yr old can easily pop onto someone's lap).

Or we can do it in two vehicles at an extra cost, but it's affordable.

So... on one hand, I am worried about being too crowded. On the other hand, it's kind of nice to all be together and share the experience together. We know the kids will want to be together... but then we'll want to share the experience with the kids... so there could be difficulties with deciding who will be in which vehicle if we take two.

Does anyone have a point of view or advice? I have heard people lamenting overstuffed landrovers, but it's different when you're stuffed together with your own dear family as opposed to strangers you may not particularly care for.

But we will go for two vehicles if people think it will just be TOO squishy. Thoughts, anyone?
setauketli is offline  
Feb 26th, 2007, 06:17 PM
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What are your photography needs? That would be the deciding factor I'd raise if I were part of your trip.

The more people that will be seriously interested in photography, wanting to wait for a good shot and not wanting a lot of movement, and the more lenses, tripods, and equipment that will be brought, the more I'd say 2 vehicles. If no one is that particular with their photography then I think the shared experience and the savings become the overriding factors.

Two other advantages of a second vehicle: Assuming you will be in contact with each other, you would have two guides searching for game and you could search over a greater territory. If one vehicle spots something, the other one can be summoned. Finally, if interests differ, then you can split up. One group can go back to your camp/lodge and the other can stay out. The 10-year old may not hold up as long as the adults.

Those advantages come at a steep cost, though.

atravelynn is offline  
Feb 27th, 2007, 04:43 AM
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We have one semi-serious photographer who will be trying to get good photos and will be shooting with a SLR and a long lens. (When I say a long lens though I just mean the normal telephoto a serious amateur would bring).

We actually don't save such a huge amount of money considering the size of the group by cutting down to one vehicle. I am more concerned about the kind of jockeying that happens when people travel together. It might just be easier to all be in one vehicle and avoid the endless discussions that will occur between the kids over who's going to be in which car.

However you raise a good point about being able to split up and having more flexibility to search for game. It's not going to be an easy decision... *sigh*
setauketli is offline  
Feb 27th, 2007, 04:54 AM
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I would definitely prefer two jeeps for many reasons ... split up and the jeeps can radio each other when they have good animal sightings ... if one jeep gets stuck or has a mechanical problem the other jeep can assist ... some people are often a bit later than others so it's easier to keep it movin' with two jeeps ... people might have different interests while out there (some want to visit the village, others want to do a game drive). Some might want to go out at dawn, others might prefer breakfast at the lodge and a later departure.

Also while 8 people might indeed fit into one big landcruiser your luggage will be a hassle on moving days, so having two jeeps will give you plenty of room for that.

I would definitely spring for the extra jeep

Bill_H is offline  
Feb 27th, 2007, 05:11 AM
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Given that the budget permits two vehicles, I too would opt for the second one. One can always mix the groups for each drive. Also, having fewer passengers in one vehicle may also reduce the amount of conversation at particular sightings when silence or low conversation would be desired. I think having more elbow room will be appreciated by all.
rsnyder is offline  
Feb 27th, 2007, 05:17 AM
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I dunno about two jeeps. Sure, splitting up & radio'ing will perhaps mean more spotting succes. But if you split up, that is for most of the day. What I mean is; if this is a family trip, then I can imagine that you'd want to spend a lot of time together, with the ability to talk to each other, etc.
If you split up, family-time with people in the other jeep will be limited to lunch breaks & sanitary stops. And of course in the evening.

On the other hand, the game viewing may be a bit of a hassle in one jeep, certainly if you travel a lot from lodge to lodge with that jeep.
Perhaps I should explain what such a jeep looks like first. There's actually four rows of seats, and each row has a separate roof that can be taken off. Now, normally the pieces of roof are piled up in front (on top of the roof of the driver, who seems to prefer the shade, judgeing from all the jeeps I saw when I was there). But now, since there's someone in front that wants to watch the animals as well, you will need to put all the roofs in the trunk (a very slim part behind the last row of seats).
I'm sure you'll have plenty of room to sit on normal game drives (two in the front, two times two in the rows behind them, and 3 on the bench in the rear makes 9 ...including the driver, so 8 searts for you).
But things may not be as comfortable when you have to take your luggage along. The back will be filled with 2 to 3 suitcases, so other bags must go on top. That means not all roofs can be opened at that time. Do not forget; the driver has a bag too, and then there's probably 9 lunchboxes too, and perhaps some jerrycans with petrol, etc...

So I wouldn't know the solution to this. It's a 50-50. I can only advise you to give the above info to your family, and let them decide.

pixelpower is offline  
Feb 27th, 2007, 05:18 AM
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I'd have to agree with Bill and Lynn. If you can possibly afford it, 2 vehicles would be better than 1 for a group of 8. My 2 adult kids and I loved having the room of our extended Landcruiser....we could stand/move around/stretch our legs etc. easily, or all be standing on the same side of the vehicle at a siting. With 8 people, this would be impossible. A middle seat just wouldn't be an option for me on a half day game drive let alone a full day drive. I can't imagine having a child on a knee!
Calo is offline  
Feb 27th, 2007, 05:42 AM
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Another vote for 2/vehicles. The reasons have all been stated above.

But, with teens and the 10/yr old, they may not want to go out on every game drive. For that matter, no one has to go out on every game drive, except on those days when moving from location-to-location.

If half of you go out on a game drive, the others may choose a cultural activity/visit.

Give yourself the option for options, if you can afford the 2nd vehicle.
Feb 27th, 2007, 05:48 AM
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I vote for 2 vehicles. 8 people will be crowded (no matter how small you are) and you'll appreciate having the extra room. If you want to be together all day then have the 2 vehicles stay together.
sundowner is offline  
Feb 27th, 2007, 07:15 AM
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Would you care to post the costs of 1 vs. 2 vehicles?
atravelynn is offline  
Mar 1st, 2007, 05:42 PM
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Wow--- thanks everyone for your replies. I am going to print out this thread, and when we have our family powwow, the points you all have mentioned will be very helpful.

As for cost.. going with the extra vehicle will add $1293 for a nine day safari for eight people, not including tips. I am counting the days from the first day (Day 1) when we depart Arusha to the last day (Day 9) when we are dropped off at Kilimanjaro Airport at 11am. Don't know if that's reasonable or not, but considering that it's a price for 8 people, we can manage it. It works out to around $143 per day for the extra vehicle, including fuel and driver.
setauketli is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2007, 09:07 AM
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That's very reasonable. I'd definitely go for two vehicles. 8 is a squeeze in an extended Landcruiser.
Patty is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2007, 11:28 AM
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I agree with Patty...if I've done the math correctly, that's only another $18 per person per day - very reasonable.
Calo is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2007, 07:57 PM
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I would also spend the extra money for two vehicles. The Land cruiser we were in had a single "pop-top" that opened up for us to view and also provided shade from the overhead sun. It didn't have to be sectioned up and stored in the back so that may not be a consideration for game viewing. We were a party of six and our duffles pretty much filled the back storage area. The extended Land cruisers hold six easily with all having a window seat. The seventh being up with the driver and the eighth being in the center seat in the back row. This back row also is behind the the rear wheels so when you on on poor roads the people in the rear seat get really tossed around much more so than the other two positions. We rotated daily and the rear seat on the long drives between camps was considered "an unlucky draw". With three people in the rear seat it would be a real drag.
RonHB is offline  
Mar 9th, 2007, 05:45 PM
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setauketli is offline  
Mar 9th, 2007, 06:25 PM
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Good plan setauketli. If you all ever wanted to experience complete togetherness on the safari, nothing is stopping you from all piling into one vehcile and sending the other one out as a scout.

atravelynn is offline  
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