Makanyi Private Game Lodge in South Africa’s Timbavati Game Reserve, has introduced its first electric safari vehicle, which is said to be “new-generation, totally silent, environment and wildlife-friendly”.

Jessica Gold, owner of Makanyi, says: “Here at Makanyi we have always looked at ways to ensure that we preserve our beautiful natural environment, and when we heard about Electric Safari Vehicles doing conversions of game viewers, we jumped at the opportunity to convert one of our own Land Rovers – and the results have been astonishing! So much so, that we look forward to having our entire fleet converted in the near future.”

The game viewer was converted from being aspirated to electric, and is fully recharged from solar panels. It is water and dust proof, with the capacity to run four-wheel-drive in all types of terrain with more power and torque compared with the normal diesel game viewers.

Concerns had previously been raised about running out of power while in the bush, but the electric vehicles have an average of six hours of charge, which converts to between 150km and 200km, depending on the terrain. Most game drives are typically between 30km and 40km.

Benefits to guests

There are numerous benefits, which include getting closer to wildlife and enjoying the subtle sounds of the bush, from birds and crickets to alarm calls used by many animals as an alert of approaching predators. The smooth drive of the vehicles also provides a better platform for photographers and videographers to capture scenes without the vibration and noise from the engine.

Makanyi’s Head Ranger commented: “The silence is tremendous, and has totally transformed the safari experience. We can communicate more easily with our guests and the tracker without shouting over the sound of the engine, and we can better follow more sensitive or elusive game – leopards, bull elephants in musth, or mothers and babies for whom the sound of the engine can spark a negative reaction. All this whilst knowing we are protecting the environment we care so passionately about.”

The electric vehicle is also far ‘greener’ than traditional fuel-powered ones, with lower carbon emissions and no use of fossil fuels.