The Detailed Guide to Kenya Safari Vehicle - Types, Cost & More

Kenya Safari Vehicles -

The kind of safari vehicle you use during a safari in Kenya contributes a lot to your overall experience. There are three main types of Kenya safari vehicles used by Kenya Safari Travel Agencies.

These include 4×4 safari land cruisers, safari vans, and overland safari trucks (campervans and motorhomes). Smaller safari cars are also used for airport and hotel transfers and short excursions, especially within Nairobi.

The right safari vehicle is influenced by several factors, including the destinations you want to visit and your budget. The experience you are looking for and the number of people in your group also play a role. 

The safari van is the best option if you are on a tight budget. A 4 x 4 land cruiser safari is best if you want a classic African safari experience. Note that the safari van and the 4×4 safari land cruiser accommodate six people.

That ensures every traveler gets a window seat and enjoys the open roof for optional game viewing. That said, the safari vehicles can accommodate two additional people (a total of 8 pax), but they won’t get a window seat.

Book Your Safari in Kenya with

In this article, our team discusses the different African safari vehicles to help you choose the right one for your trip. Please email us via or for more details.

You can also call/WhatsApp us at +254-748-258-880 to requent for a tailor-made safari. We are the local experts in Kenya travel and promise to show you Kenya better than anyone else.

Our Most Booked Kenya Wildlife and Beach Safaris Packages

Our Most Booked Kenya Safari Packages 2023Price Per Adult SharingThe Detailed Itinerary
1-Day Nairobi National Park & Giraffe Center TourFrom USD 119See the Itinerary
1-Day Nairobi National Park & Nairobi Animal Orphanage TourFrom USD 34See the Itinerary
3-Day Masai Mara Camp PackagesFrom USD 1015See the Itinerary
3-Day Masai Mara Christmas PackagesFrom USD 1010See the Itinerary
3-Day Masai Mara Easter PackagesFrom USD 985See the Itinerary
3-Day Masai Mara Festive PackagesFrom USD 1315See the Itinerary
3-Day Masai Mara Lodge SafariFrom USD 995See the Itinerary
3-Day Masai Mara PackagesFrom USD 955See the Itinerary
3-Day Masai Mara Packages from NairobiFrom USD 995See the Itinerary
3-Day Ol Pejeta Easter SafariFrom USD 1175See the Itinerary
4-Day Africa Migration Masai Mara PackagesFrom USD 1360See the Itinerary
4-Day L. Naivasha & Masai Mara Easter SafariFrom USD 1249See the Itinerary
4-Day L. Naivasha & Masai Mara SafariFrom USD 1174See the Itinerary
4-Day L. Nakuru & Masai Mara SafariFrom USD 1162See the Itinerary
4-Day Masai Mara Camp PackagesFrom USD 1195See the Itinerary
4-Day Masai Mara Easter PackagesFrom USD 1235See the Itinerary
4-Day Masai Mara Migration PackagesFrom USD 1360See the Itinerary
4-Day Mombasa & Diani SafariFrom USD 937See the Itinerary
4-Day Mombasa & Diani Valentine SafariFrom USD 1405See the Itinerary
5-Day Flying Safari to Masai Mara & Ol Pejeta ConservancyFrom USD 3777See the Itinerary
6-Day Kenya Wildlife Safari from IndiaFrom USD 1730See the Itinerary
7-Day Kenya Christmas SafariFrom USD 3093See the Itinerary
7-Day Kenya Wildlife SafariFrom USD 1884See the Itinerary
8-Day Kenya Wildlife SafariFrom USD 4413See the Itinerary
8-Day Wildlife & Beach SafariFrom USD 1585See the Itinerary
12-Day Kenya Wildlife & Beach SafariFrom USD 4216See the Itinerary
18-Day Kenya Family SafariFrom USD 5849See the Itinerary

Why Should You Book Your Safari Car and Package With Us?

We are a team of local safari experts looking to use our experience to help plan your dream safari in Kenya. When you choose our Kenya jeep safari or safari van package, we ensure that our safari vehicle:

  • Has a professional, gold-level safari guide/driver 
  • Has bottled mineral drinking water on board 
  • Pickup and drop you at the airport/hotel/residence/agreed location
  • It is of good quality, clean, and roadworthy 
  • It is exclusively for your use 

Contact us today to book your Masai Mara safari vehicles with us and have a memorable safari.

The Top 4 Types of Kenya Safari Vehicles Review

Many Kenya visitors that visit national reserves and parks use a 4×4 safari land cruiser or safari vans. As you will find out, these safari vehicles come in different categories and suites different budget categories.

Closed & Open 4WD Safari Land Cruiser

The Toyota Land Cruiser is the most luxurious African safari vehicle that you can use. It adds to your Kenya Safari Costs from USD 250 to USD 350 per day, including fuel and everything else.

You can get a lower land cruiser safari price in Kenya, but usually, these would be older vehicles during the off-peak seasons. Also, the car might be cheap upfront, but the driver will use tricks to save fuel consumption. Hence the lower rate.

For instance, if he is sent a notification on the UHF radio call that the pride of the lion has been spotted far from where you are, he might ignore it at your loss. I know you get the drift here; cheap is expensive.

Besides being a 4×4, which is crucial for challenging road conditions that you might encounter in some parks, the land cruiser is more comfortable than the safari van and safari trucks.

It can also access parts of the park that can not be accessed by other vehicles. I mean, the Toyota land cruiser is the ultimate rough road vehicle. The safari land cruisers are, however, very different from the typical land cruisers on the road.

This is because they are customized explicitly for game viewing, and not all are identical since different tour companies or camps have modified them differently. Changing the safari vehicles in Kenya, especially the land cruiser, is a great balancing act.

The car must be safe for road travel, such as between Nairobi and Masai Mara, and be open enough to facilitate game viewing and great photography. If the land cruiser is used for road travel from Nairobi, say to the Masai Mara, it will have glass windows as a required safety measure. That will be a Closed-Side 4WD Safari Land Cruiser.

Open-Side 4WD Safari Land Cruiser or Jeeps are only used for game drives inside the park. These vehicles are fully opened on the side and aren’t used to transfer guests from destination to destination.

Professional photographers use other types of land cruisers (see the photo below). These come with two or three seats to allow the photographer to carry their equipment efficiently and for effective photo shots.

The typical 8-seater has two seats at the front, two in the middle, three at the back, and one next to the driver/guide.  The safari land cruiser also has a pop-up roof to maximize game viewing and photography.

If the windows do not come off, they will be large and slide open to allow for good views. Most 4×4 safari land cruisers are customized to ensure a window seat for six passengers.

There is good space at the back for more oversized luggage and small day backpacks under the seats. The seat next to the drive is also used for carrying more luggage.

The safari vehicle is also fitted with a UHF radio call, an important feature that allows the guide to communicate with other drivers during the game drive. This enables them to share information on the spots with interesting happenings like a hunt.

Most 4 x 4 safari land cruiser vehicles have ports for charging phones/ electronics, portal Wi-Fi, a music system, and a cooler box to preserve drinks. Some may have custom shock absorbers to minimize the well-known ‘African massage” (bumpy ride on bad roads).

Most land cruisers have two fuel tanks to ensure continuity during game drives and two spare tires to mitigate incidences of getting a flat tire that may happen in the bush.

4WD & 2WD Safari Tour Van in Kenya

The safari vans are typically Nissan or Toyota-made vehicles such as the Toyota HiAce van. It is customized for Kenya safari holidays, and the most prominent feature is the pop-up roof designed to allow maximum game viewing.

Typically, a safari van is modified to six comfortable seats that allow for extra legroom. The windows are also designed to slide open, allowing for game viewing and photography.

Generally speaking,  the land cruiser tour van price in Kenya is lower than the 4*4 land cruiser in terms of price, but this is not bad. Here you can expect to pay anything from USD 160 to USD 200 per day for the safari vehicle. 

While the land cruiser can navigate trickier road situations, there are a few places the van cannot, especially if it is a 2WD model. The 4WD safari vans can easily access most areas accessed by the land cruiser.

If you go to the regular national parks and not for an expedition on treacherous roads, the choice of which safari vehicle to go for mostly boils down to individual preferences and budget considerations.

The safari car is fitted with a cooler, port for charging phones, and increasingly Wi-Fi which is only helpful in good network connectivity. Like the land cruisers, the safari van is also equipped with radios to enable the driver to communicate with other vehicles during the game drive.

Safari Land Cruiser -
A Customized Photography Safari Land Cruiser

Kenya Safari Vehicle – Overland Truck

You can hire a safari land cruiser in Nairobi if traveling with only eight people or less, as this would make economic sense. Overland trucks are ideal for longer trips, such as across different countries with large groups of people, typically between 12 and 30.

Given these dynamics, overland safari trucks have to be well customized with enough space to carry luggage and required equipment and maneuver different types of terrain.

As with other safari cars, overland trucks are modified to different specifications, and the vehicle used will depend on the group’s dynamics. The seating in an overland truck varies. Some trucks have seats in a line on both sides, facing inward.

Other trucks have seats facing forward, yet other trucks have a mix of front and backward-facing seats. Regardless of the design, all seats are raised to allow for maximum animal viewing experiences and well-padded extra comfort.

The overland safari truck has large windows that either slide open or rolls up, allowing for excellent photo-taking opportunities. Some overland trucks may have a pop-up roof to maximize the viewing experience.

Because safari on an overland truck is typically for an extended period, it comes fully equipped with a ‘kitchen section. Among the staff is a cook who will prepare meals during designated stops in the safari, although larger groups on the road for long will likely assist by cooking in turns.

Kitchen equipment is stored in a compartment beneath the seats and includes stoves, food, cutlery, and washbasins. They are also fitted with refrigeration, such as more excellent boxes for perishable foods and drinks, foldable stools, a table, water tanks, and a tent as the cooking area.

If you take an overland safari truck, you will likely be on a camping safari. The car has enough storage to carry sleeping tents, bags, and personal luggage. Most overland safari trucks will generally have mobile phone and camera charging ports, overhead lockers to store cameras, and day bags.

They come fitted with a buzzer system to alert the driver when a stop is required, long-range fuel tanks, a safe for valuables, and a comprehensive first aid kit. Some models even have an onboard library to keep you busy when not much is happening outside.

African Safari Vehicles – Transfer Shuttles

Shuttle safari cars refer to vehicles that transfer guests from one point to another, such as from the airport to your hotel, but are not used for safari activity. Shuttles may also be used for short excursions in the city’s vicinity.

They vary in size depending on the number of people and their luggage. For example, two guests might require a small 5-seater saloon car, while five guests might require a bigger 7-seater safari car.

More than ten people might require a minivan, bus, and so on. Your tour company will have organized the appropriate airport pick-up based on your group numbers.