An open 4WD safari vehicle is the best way to see Africa’s incredible wildlife up close. Open-sided 4WD are most common in southern African destinations like Botswana, South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, and Zambia. In these countries, road safaris are not that common because the road network is limited. Therefore, flying between parks and accommodation is much easier.
Whereas, in East Africa, private wildlife conservancies and very remote lodges and camps offer open-sided 4WD vehicles for game-viewing. In an open 4WD vehicle, you get a much better view of the animals. No windows to open, and no need to move around in the vehicle to get a better view. Open vehicles can be much more comfortable than closed vehicles, especially when on safari in the hotter months.
In all 4WD vehicles, open and closed, you can be a few metres away from the wildlife if you respect their space. Being this close in an open-sided vehicle provides an incredible experience. Wildlife has the option of walking right past you, which it frequently does. This means you will experience up-close experiences with lions, elephants, leopards, and other animals.
You might … is this safe? The answer is most of Africa’s wildlife do not see human beings in an open-sided vehicle as dangerous or a threat. A leopard or lion can walk past you in an open-sided vehicle and not give it a second look. This means a safari in an open vehicle is safe providing the proper precautions are taken. Many of these precautions are common sense: for example, talking in low voices and making no sudden movements.