Some weird looking Tourist Vehicles recently sighted at the Mikumi National Park in Central Tanzania are becoming a topic for discussions among stakeholders in the local travel industry.
The strange looking Safari Cars feature high-elevated towering metallic viewing bays, complete with what look like sleeper beds or vantage highly reclining seats.
On closer look, the whole set-up is riveted, or welded onto Nissan Patrol (Or maybe Nissan Safari) chassis, notwithstanding the ‘Jeep’ lettering below the bonnet of some of the vehicles.
Debates that set online discussion forums on fire, are about the safety (or lack of it) of the new ‘double decker,’ Safari vehicle designs.
A photo of two visitors seen standing tall on the already high elevated bunkers on top of the vehicles heated up the debates even further.
Some also want to know if conservation authorities have blessed the new design such that they get permitted to drive in the wildlife-filled parks and reserves.
But in order for any Safari vehicle to get into National Parks or Game Reserves they drive along ordinary National and regional Roads and it is not yet known whether the traffic police and other authorities Okayed the new motoring developments.
There are others who however feel it is high time new Safari Cars design take the front seat and replace the old bohemian trucks whose designs are ‘outdated,’ by now.
There is nothing wrong with Safari Vehicles looking slightly strange, since most of them sometimes need to have their bodies re-fabricated and chassis adjusted to suit their myriad purposes.
That is because the vehicles must always tackle the most challenging off-road terrains like rocky hills, steep slopes, slippery surfaces, rivers and stumps in bushes.
As their drivers struggle to keep them moving, the safari cars should at the same time be able to offer camera-laden passengers the highly desired panoramic views and stability during the wild game drives.
The rather tough and rugged outer shells are also supposed to be tough enough to withstand an impact of a Rhinoceros horn should the ferocious mammal feel irked by the motorized intruders venturing into their territories, enough to butt the cars out of the way.
Safari vehicle fabrication in Tanzania is as old as tourism itself but latest trends that have been receiving creative designs are those based on Four-Wheelers such as the Landrovers, (Toyota) Landcruisers and Nissan (Safaris or Patrols).