Home Dangerous Animals Open-Sided 4×4 Africa Safari Jeeps: Thrilling or Risky?
Open Side Safari Vehicle

Open-Sided 4×4 Africa Safari Jeeps: Thrilling or Risky?

by Team Safari Safety

Safaris to Africa offer a unique opportunity to observe Africa’s enchanting wildlife up close, to capture breathtaking moments of natural beauty, and to feel the true pulse of the wild.

The journey becomes even more thrilling with the use of open side 4×4 safari vehicles, offering panoramic views of the landscape and its inhabitants.

However, when it comes to these  vehicles, one query often rises above the rest: “How safe are the open side safari vehicles?”

This article aims to address that very question and help you feel more confident about your impending safari adventure.

The Idea Behind Open Side 4x4 Safari Vehicles

Open side 4×4 safari vehicles are designed, engineered and customised  for outdoor adventures. They are commonly used for game drives across many safari destinations in Africa – mostly South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia.  But they are increasingly being used in other well-known safari destinations of Kenya and Tanzania, especially in private conservancies that offer luxury safaris.

Unlike standard vehicles, these 4x4s are built with open sides and sometimes open tops to provide better visibility for passengers.

These vehicles typically have elevated seats and roll bars for safety, ensuring a higher vantage point for viewing wildlife and the terrain

open side safari vehicle safety

Are Open Safari Jeeps Safe?
All precautions and common-sense approach employed, the answer is YES.  Most of Africa’s wildlife do not see persons in an open-sided safari vehicles as a threat. A leopard or lion will walk past you as you are seated in an open-sided vehicle & not give it a second look.  Many of these precautions are common sense: for example, talking in low voices or making no sudden movements.

Safety Measures in taken in Open Side safari Vehicles

Despite the ambience, convenience and  excitement provided by open-side 4×4 game viewing, safety concerns often crop up and always remain a major issue for potential safari-goers.

In the following paragraphs, we will examine the various safety measures in place to ensure the security of passengers aboard these vehicles.

Trained & Experienced Safari Guides

One of  most important factors in the safety of open side 4×4 safari vehicles is the presence of experienced and trained guides.

These safari guides sometimes double up as drivers.  Whatever the case might be, they are skilled drivers who understand the behavior of animals in their natural habitats. They are also trained to read the body language of animals and to react timely and  accordingly, to avoid stressing the animals or provoking a charge.

These guides also ensure that vehicles maintain a safe and respectful distance from the animals.

They follow strict regulations about when to switch off engines and when to leave a sighting, reducing any potential threats.

Furthermore, the safari guides educate passengers about safety protocols, such as not standing up in the vehicle or making loud noises. Such actions could attract unwanted attention from the wildlife.

Structural Safety Features on Open Side Safari Jeeps

The open side 4×4 safari vehicles themselves are built with safety in mind. They are designed for stability and can handle rough, off-road terrains without tipping. The roll bars or structure around the vehicle provides a safety shield and handholds for passengers. The elevated seating positions provide not only excellent viewing angles but also extra protection, placing passengers out of immediate reach of most animals.

It’s also important to remember that most wild animals are accustomed to these vehicles and perceive them as a single, non-threatening entity. They generally ignore the vehicle, focusing instead on their daily routines.

Limited Passenger Number on Open Side Safari Vehicles

Safari operators often limit the number of passengers per vehicle, ensuring that everyone has ample space and reducing the overall weight. This practice not only enhances the viewing experience but also aids in maintaining the vehicle’s stability, ensuring that it remains safe and balanced on rugged terrains.

Choosing a Reputable Safari Operator for your Open Side Jeep Safari

While safety measures are generally in place, the execution of these can vary among safari operators. Therefore, choosing a reputable safari operator plays a crucial role in your safety. Established operators prioritize safety, hiring experienced guides, maintaining their vehicles regularly, and adhering to strict safety protocols.

Check reviews and recommendations before choosing a safari operator. Look out for comments about their safety practices, the condition of their vehicles, and the expertise of their guides.


Open side 4×4 safari vehicles offer an unparalleled experience of the African wilderness, creating lifetime memories for nature and wildlife enthusiasts. While there are inherent risks in any adventure, the safety measures in place, including trained guides, vehicle safety features, and controlled passenger numbers, aim to mitigate these risks.

Choosing a reputable safari operator and following their safety guidelines can also significantly enhance your safety. Remember, each safari adventure is unique, and the goal is to respect and appreciate the magnificent wildlife in its natural habitat. Therefore, while safety is important, so is responsible and ethical tourism. An open side 4×4 safari vehicle journey, when undertaken responsibly, can be an unforgettable, thrilling, yet safe experience.

Are You Ready for Your First Open – Side 4×4 Luxury  Safari?

If so, please have a look at some of these safari vacation packages:
1. 3 Days Open Side Jeep to Masai Mara, Kenya
2. 8 Days Tanzania Luxury Safari
3. 12 Days Kenya and Tanzania
For customised trips contact the Hallmark Travel Planners team and we will help you sort out your 4×4 open side jees safari plans.  Most importantly, stay safe!

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