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Good Earth and Basecamp vehicles used?

Tampa Bay
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Good Earth and Basecamp vehicles used?

For those of you who have recently returned from either of these tours or those that might have seen the vehicles on their safaris can you please tell me a little about what you have observed. We are looking at these two tour safaris and want to know a little bit more about what to expect in their vehicles. We do not expect a 2012 vehicle but do want something that is reliable. Someone of the board stated that they saw lots of tour agencies that had very bad transportation but they did not say which company it was. Thanks very much. We will be doing the Northern circuit.

melbourne
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1. Re: Good Earth and Basecamp vehicles used?

Sylba I wouldnt worry so much about the vehicle as the guide and itinerary in my opinion more important. Most companies have good servicable vehicles which will do the job.

Isle of Man, United...
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2. Re: Good Earth and Basecamp vehicles used?

I have seen lots of Safari vehicles in my time owned by many different operators and in various states of repair. Just like I have seen saloon cars and jalopies on the roads at home.

I have seen brand new vehicles break down, had some do that on me too, and have seen some cars much older keep going when others much newer are breathing their last.

It is not about newness, it is about being kept in good repair.

The Boeing you will be flying out there in could be twenty years old. Chances are quite good that you will make it!

Findlay, Ohio
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for Tanzania, Ngorongoro Conservation Area
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3. Re: Good Earth and Basecamp vehicles used?

Most safari vehicles are Toyota Land Cruisers, which are used to begin with, and are imported from Japan.. They are generally sent to a company in Moshi where they make them over into a safari vehicle, engine and running gear is completely rebuilt, seats rearranged and replaced, top cut out and replaced with a pop top, extra spare tires put on, vehicle extended sometimes, painted inside and out, safari gear put on, etc. It comes out like a new vehicle. When they get older they are sent back for another rehab job. If I remember correctly this costs them about $15,000 to get a complete rehab job, according to what needs to be done. Then when they are in service most safari operators have a mechanic employed or use one of the many safari maintenance companies in Arusha to do their maintenance work. They try to keep them in top notch condition for the road, and it's difficult.

Most companies, for the most part, keep their vehicles in good operating shape. It is costly when they break down out in the bush, thus, they try to avoid this.

Most people on a safari don't know what the condition of other vehicles are, and it is only a supposition on their part. Most people, especially on their first safari, begin to think that their safari operator was the best in the business; and that's a good thing to think as it shows that they are happy with their choices. But what they don't know is how to compare them in actual practice. They may see several vehicles that another company has out in the bush; but what they don't see is all the others in different places or not being used. Most companies have a variety of conditions of their safari vehicles. So their comparisons are very flawed. Much like the person on here who says they had the "best" safari company, and it was the only one they had ever been with. How could they know it was the "best"? It's a supposition on their part. And one which is basically overlooked by those who know better on this forum.

If that's something important to you for some reason, ask the safari operator if they have a newer vehicle for your use. Most will have a mixture of vehicles. They might have one. But don't fool yourself into thinking that this will ensure that you don't break down.

As NE says, it's the driver/guide which will make the difference on your safari experience.

State College, Pa
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4. Re: Good Earth and Basecamp vehicles used?

Okay mfuwe,

I will "bite". What is a saloon car? Through you and others on TA I am always learning about our "cousins" across the sea. Thanks Fred.

Dick

Findlay, Ohio
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5. Re: Good Earth and Basecamp vehicles used?

That's a car which Mfuwe visits every evening to get a quick draft, or perhaps he would call it a tipple.

Canada
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6. Re: Good Earth and Basecamp vehicles used?

We had a wonderful safari with Basecamp last June and had a brand new stretch Land Cruiser. Our guide Joseph had it sparkling clean inside and out every morning.

Ottawa, Canada
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7. Re: Good Earth and Basecamp vehicles used?

Wegoustay - though I like KG's definition - and it was the first thing that came to mind (though I would have thought a peaty drink rather than a draft), a saloon car is your everyday sedan passenger car.

Minneapolis...
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8. Re: Good Earth and Basecamp vehicles used?

As Karl says, you can't tell how well a vehicle is maintained by looking at it. I would expect that part of what makes a popular, reliable safari operator company is that they do good maintenance - otherwise their vehicles would break down more frequently and they would not be considered reliable for very long.

I asked our operator. They were able to give me an actual maintenance schedule they follow... what is done to each vehicle before it goes out, how many miles prompt replacement of the tires whether they "look OK" or not, etc. Of course, this kind of thing is only as good as the honesty of one's operator - but then, that is true of all the safari arrangements you make, isn't it?

The one thing I do have an opinion on is the type of vehicle. We had a pop-top vehicle. I compared it with the roll-back top vehicles and decided I much prefered the pop-top. I liked being able to keep it open in a light rain and not get wet. I liked not worrying about sun - like having a parasol. I did not find the struts that hold the roof up to get in the way of my photography - actually, they often gave me another thing to steady my arm/camera against.

I know there fans of the roll-backs. They like the sunlight and the open sky. The two people I spoke with from roll-back vehicles were envious of our pop-top, especially on the light drizzle days when we could stop and observe the Migration for an hour under cover while they had to keep their top on...

If I go back I will make a pop-top a requirement of my contract.

Ottawa, Canada
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9. Re: Good Earth and Basecamp vehicles used?

I agree with IAB regarding the pop up vehicle. I had one with roof panels that either fold back or are removed and stored. It's a pain for the driver to have to stop and do this in the rain - though we try to help from the inside. Also, when observing animals in the afternoon - that sun beats down something awful. If in one in full "summer", it would be tough. I loved being able to drive along stuck out the top, but even with the breeze keeping you cooler, the sunburn was inevitable.

Bristol
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10. Re: Good Earth and Basecamp vehicles used?

Hi Dick, I'm not sure what an "every day sedan passenger car is" but a "saloon" car is the term used to describe a standard family 4-door car where the "boot" is separate to the main body of the car unlike a "hatch-back or 5-door car" where you can reach the "boot" from the passenger seats. Does that make sense? Is that the same as a "sedan" car?