Here’s something most people don’t think about on their daily commute: cars in different countries have subtle differences to cater for different environments. Here’s an example – in much of the northern continental United States, you can buy a car with a heated steering wheel. We think that’s very cool, but if you’re in South Africa, we wish you luck trying to find a car equipped with one of those. It’s just one of the ways that local environment informs design, and the harsher the environment, the more design elements you have to think of to compensate for it.
Enter Africa – our wonderful, beautiful home, but also a place that’s prone to extreme heat and patchy infrastructure. Since starting our tour business 19 years ago, Africa has taught us many things, including how to design the first Premium Overland Safari Vehicle on the continent. Here, we’re going to share with you some of the most important ways that the African landscape and climate has shaped our safari vehicles’ design.
#1: Africa is hot. Like, really hot.
Driving through Kalahari Desert in the middle of summer is an interesting experience. It’s so hot and so dry that you can feel your mouth become dry just holding a conversation. So you can imagine that air conditioning was a top priority, but it wouldn’t be a premium safari if it was just air conditioning. Our vehicles come equipped with individual adjustable airflow nozzles for each seat, so you can control the air conditioning, and all the vehicles have its own built-in fridges so your favourite frosty beverage is always cold. It being Africa, the air conditioning can struggle a little at times, and our vehicles come prepared with a fresh air blower in case the A/C breaks down (not that it does, but it doesn’t hurt to be safe).
#2: The most reliable source of power is the sun.
Let’s face it, African countries are not known for their reliable electrical grids. This poses a problem for the modern traveller who lives off their mobile devices. Luckily, we do have one power source that’s pretty ubiquitous – the sun! Each of our luxury safari vehicles comes equipped with solar panels on the roof to help power the individual USB charging station built into each USS (Ultimate Safari Seat). After all, it wouldn’t be a premium tour if you didn’t have Instagram ready to go when you needed it (which on Africa4Us tours is a lot).
#3: Some of the roads haven’t been repaired in a little while…
Unfortunately in many parts of Africa maintaining roads and other infrastructure is not at the top of local government to-do lists, so, when we say we’re taking you off the beaten path, we mean it. Depending on the country, many of the roads we travel down are peppered with potholes, or are rocky dirt roads, or sometimes even a combination of both. It’s one of the reasons why our safari vehicles are custom-built and have surpassed all the rigorous safety tests we’ve put them through. All our vehicles have passed the stringent SABS ‘roll-over’ and ‘break-over’ tests. They also undergo roadworthy tests every 6 months and get fully serviced every 10,000 km. The result is a safe, comfortable ride through some of the wildest places in the world.
We appreciate all the lessons we’ve learned, and all the lessons we keep learning exploring Africa with you, but the lesson that we’re proudest of is the humility in the face of nature that the African continent has taught us – and that if you take nothing for granted, you can also plan for it.
We hope you’ll be joining us for a premium adventure soon!