Kenyan Safari company uses electrified Landcruisers to eliminate engine noise

People from around the world travel to the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya for Safari trips. Visitors typically travel through the reserve seated in durable Toyota Landcruisers powered by diesel engines during the safari. However, at least one of the companies has turned to using converted Toyota Landcruiser SUVs that have ditched the loud and polluting diesel engines in favor of electric propulsion.

The electric drivetrain not only eliminates pollution within the reserve, but it's also much quieter and disturbs the animals people come to see less. One of the guides who drives the electric Landcruiser is Sylvester Mukenye. He says when you can drive silently, you can get much closer to the animals, especially elephants.

The driver says since the electric vehicle produces no vibrations on the ground and no fumes, the elephants are less disturbed by their presence. The Landcruiser he uses was converted by a company called Opibus based in Nairobi. Currently, it's the only company in Kenya that is converting off-road safari vehicles to electric power.

Opibus has converted ten safari vehicles used in game parks around Kenya so far. Three of the vehicles are used in the Maasai Mara National Reserve. Companies using the converted safari vehicles are also reportedly cutting operating costs in half. Fuel prices are rising globally, and moving to electrified vehicles eliminates that problem.

Opibus says the converted vehicles currently use 35 percent local materials. Eventually, it hopes to use 100 percent locally sourced materials. Details, such as driving range, cost, and charge time for the electrified conversions, are unknown. However, there could be some potential downsides to electric conversions for the Safari industry, including electric grids in some parts of Africa that aren't always reliable.