Transport forms part of the essential planning of a safari trip. The most common way to experience an African safari is by land, and it comes as no surprise that there are numerous land-based vehicles to choose from. However, you may also want an unconventional safari experience and explore the landscape from above by selecting different air transportation modes. Africa is not just about the rough terrains and vast, grassy plains, and there are many bodies of water that are swarming with wildlife, which you can explore on several types of boats. It all comes down to what kind of safari transportation is best for you.

Transportation by land

1. Overland trucks

Travelling via overland trucks is the most affordable way to experience an African safari. These trucks are often best equipped to survive the country’s rough roads. Overland trucks are generally used for longer and larger tours and can accommodate up to 44 people. However, smaller trucks are also available. If you choose an overland tour, it may last for days or even weeks. Overland trucks also come equipped with a mobile kitchen and offer some space to store luggage.

The vehicle seating may differ depending on the setup of the truck. Some may have only front-facing seats, while others may have rear or side-facing seats, so make sure to ask for details about this before you book. These trucks generally have large windows, which allow for pretty good wildlife viewing, and many also have a pop-up roof. Overland trucks come with onboard charging facilities, so you will never miss an opportunity to snap some pictures.

2. Minivan safari vehicles

When you are going on a shorter tour that does not cross a rough landscape, converted minivans are ideal. They can carry up to 10 people, and all seats are forward-facing. Whether you get a window seat or not depends on how they are arranged, and you will need to ask your safari operator for more information before booking. Some of these minivans also have a pop-up roof allowing better wildlife viewing, while some have sliding windows. Some minivans are also equipped with air conditioning.

3. Land Cruisers and Land Rovers

Many safari guides prefer land cruisers and land rovers for game drives because they can be converted in many ways. They range from bare-bone models with no added modern features to highly specialised vehicles that include air-conditioning, MP3 players, and slightly tinted windows for protection from the sun. Some of the newer models also have pop-up roofs for added viewing potential. Land cruisers have a capacity of 6 people and can easily handle rough terrains. These vehicles also provide excellent game viewing and photography opportunities. 

4. Open safari vehicles

Open-sided or completely open vehicles are used on game drives because you can get up close and personal with the sounds and scents of nature. Although, this does leave you unprotected from the harsh elements. And it is highly recommended that you bring a windbreaker, scarf, sunglasses, sun hat, and sunscreen. The vehicles are usually converted land cruisers that can seat up to 9 people. They are designed with tiered seating, so everyone gets a clear view of the wildlife without the companion’s head in sight. You will be accompanied by a driver and a tracker, who are highly experienced and allow you to see the best of what the African wildlife has to offer.

5. Horseback riding

Experienced riders will have an excellent time on a horseback safari in Africa as you spend most of the day on horseback and go to places where there are no paved roads. You will also ride along bridled paths or, in some cases, make your own path throughout your journey. Getting the chance to spot the Big Five animals out of the confines of a car is a truly magical experience.

6. Walking

Yes, you can go on a safari on foot! Walking safaris in Africa are gaining in popularity in recent years. You can experience the sights, smells, and sounds of the African bush in a way that no vehicles allow you to. If you are concerned about safety, rest assured that you will be accompanied by a highly trained armed guide and a tracker to make sure you are never too close to dangerous predators.

Transportation by air

1. Helicopter

Safari guides use many helicopter types, so it is best to enquire about the details. For example, ask about whether the helicopter accommodates 4 or 6 people or whether they have bubble windows to allow you to capture excellent views.

2. Light Planes

Many light planes can be hired to get to lodges. They allow you to get a bird’s eye view of the savannah, which becomes an excellent opportunity for spectacular photographic opportunities. You can opt for a scenic flight on some overland tours, so make sure to enquire with your safari guides.

3. Hot Air Balloons

Hot air balloons are probably the most romantic way to experience the vastness that the African safari offers. The best time to embark on a memorable hot air balloon safari is just after dawn.

Transportation by water

1. Mokoros

Mokoros are traditionally dug-out wooden canoes, but they have been made from fiberglass in recent years to preserve the indigenous trees. They make gliding through the Namibian waterways and getting up-close and personal with the birds, elephants, crocodiles, and hippos an experience you will never forget. 

2. Dhows

There is nothing quite so beautiful as seeing a dhow gliding through the warm, blue waters of the Indian Ocean. Initially used for trading, these long, narrow boats with triangular sails, expertly sailed by locals, are used along the Namibian coast.

3. Houseboats and motorised boats

Motorised boats allow you to stay near a large body of water and choose a boat cruise for a few hours, during which you can spot hippos, crocodiles, and elephants. Alternatively, you can opt for a houseboat if you prefer a more extended stay on the water. By doing so, you may spot all types of wildlife from the comfort of your deck.

Ohorongo Game Reserve caters to your transport needs. Click on http://ohorongo.eco/ and browse through the different transport guides we have to offer.

— Innocentia Ranyaoa, Fizzin