Open vs Closed Side Vehicles on a Tanzania Safari

15th July 2021

Open vs Closed Sided Vehicle on a Tanzania Safari

A commonly asked question for guests on safari is what type of vehicle I will be in for my safaris, and to answer simply, there are two types:

  1. Open side
  2. Closed side

Open-Side Safari Vehicles

These vehicles are the most commonly used when guests fly from camp to camp in Tanzania. The main exception to this rule is in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area/Crater where closed side vehicles are the rule.

Open sided vehicles are completely open on all sides, with a canvas roof to protect guests from the sun. This is the best way to view and photograph wildlife as you are unobstructed and there is no need to stand in the vehicle to see the wildlife.

Game drive in Africa, open side vehicle

An open-side vehicle on game drive. © Asilia

Since you will be flying from camp to camp, your guide will be based at the camp you are staying at. S/he will have intimate knowledge of the area and the animal movements so you should be in the right place at the right time more often than not.

Unless you have paid for a private vehicle, game drives will be shared, which makes game drives more sociable. If however sharing a vehicle does not appeal, most camps have a private vehicle that can be booked in advance which will allow you to tailor the day to exactly how you want.



Closed-Side Vehicles

The closed sided vehicles are the norm when undergoing a driving itinerary, it becomes your home from home. The benefit of this is that you and your group will have the vehicle to yourselves and not have to share with other guests.

Your guide will be the same throughout your trip as well allowing you to get to know each other and build a rapport that will last a life-time.

Sunset in Serengeti - close side vehicle

Closed-side vehicle on safari. © Nomad Tanzania

There are however some draw backs, views can be obstructed by the sides and although the pop-up roof can give panoramic views, you have to stand to get this. For photography, these vehicles are not ideal – you are much better off opting for a private photographic vehicle if you are a seriously keen photographer.