You may have knowledge about what an African safari is (overland style), but do you know all the different ways you can go on a safari? If you thought an African safari was just about 4x4s, think again!
Here’s our complete guide to all the different African safari vehicles you could use on safari.
Many people choose to travel through Africa and its game parks on an overlanding tour (which is what we specialise in!). On this kind of trip, which can range from a few days to a few months, you travel on big overlanding trucks which are custom built to endure the tough African roads and self-sufficient to carry everything needed for the trip, from cooking gear to camping gear. e kitchen sink! Overlanding trucks usually have big windows which you can open wide for great wildlife photo opportunities.
Here are some of our most popular overlanding safari packages:
4x4s and open game viewing vehicles
Many game lodges in and around wildlife reserves and parks offer game drives with experienced guides and trackers who track down wildlife as they drive along, to try and find you the best sightings. These game drives are offered in two types of safari vehicles: the most common African safari vehicles you’re likely to come across. The first is 4x4s – usually Land Cruisers or Land Rovers which have been converted for game drives with things like a tracker’s seat in front of the bonnet of the car, radios for communication with the lodge and other guides, large windows and pop up sunroofs, so you can take photos out of the roof of the car. The second type is the open game viewing vehicle – a 4×4 which has been specially adapted with open sides. Sometimes these kinds of vehicles have a canvas roof and sometimes they are completely open. These vehicles are excellent for game viewing, as you have the best unobstructed views of the animals.
Hot air balloons
For a truly memorable game viewing experience, you can take to the skies in a hot air balloon. There are a number of game parks and reserves in Africa that offer hot air balloon safaris, which generally last for about an hour and take off just after dawn.
On our 14 day Namibia and Okavango Delta tour you can do a hot air balloon safari over the Okavango Delta.
Planes and helicopters
If you’ve got the cash to splurge, flying safaris are fantastic. There are safaris you can do where you fly in between camps in a small plane, spotting game high above the wilderness area. The less expensive option is to do a helicopter ride of an hour or two to give you a bird’s eye view of the landscape and the animals. A wonderful place to do a helicopter safari is in the Okavango Delta.
On some of our overlanding tours we offer you the chance to take scenic flights over some of Africa’s most spectacular landscapes:
19 day Johannesburg to Tanzania (fly over the Okavango Delta)
14 day Namibia to Okavango Delta (fly in a helicopter over Victoria Falls)
21 day Victoria Falls to Cape Town (fly over the Namib Desert)
Houseboats and motorised boats
With many bodies of water surrounded by wilderness areas, Africa is a great place to go wildlife spotting by boat. You can stay in a lodge or a campsite and if you’re near a river, opt for a boat cruise of a few hours to spot animals such as elephants, crocodiles and hippos. If you want a longer stay on the water, houseboats in places like Chobe National Park and Lake Kariba are great. You stay on the houseboat for several days and can see wildlife and birds from the deck, or hop onto tender boats to cruise closer to the shore to see more wildlife.
Mokoros are traditional dug out canoes used in the Okavango Delta in Botswana. Gliding through the waterways of the Okavango Delta in a mokoro is the best way to see this pristine natural area – one of Africa’s wildest places – and its amazing wildlife.
Here are our popular overlanding safaris that include mokoro trips in the Okavango Delta:
For experienced riders, doing a horseback safari in Africa is a real treat. You generally spend most of the day in the saddle, getting to go to places in reserves where there are no roads, and getting to see the Big Five outside the confines of a car. There a number of places where you can do horseback safaris, from the Okavango Delta to private reserves in Zambia and South Africa.
And lastly, there are your feet. Yes, you can go on safari just by walking! Walking safaris are an increasingly popular way to see the African bush. You experience the sights, smells and sounds of the bush in a way that you can’t when you’re in a motorized vehicle. When you do a walking safari, you’re going to be accompanied by a highly trained armed guide as well as a tracker who will make sure you don’t get too close to any dangerous animals.