These cutting-edge safari trucks will get you even closer to Africa’s wildlife

Cheetah Plains’ new electric vehicles are making safaris noise- and emissions-free.

By Jane Broughton 10/03/2019

Diesel fumes and the growl of a hardworking engine are usually part of the stop-start process of tracking animals on the twice-daily game drives that are central to any high-end safari experience in Africa. It’s not unusual to spend six to eight hours a day in an open 4×4 vehicle traversing rough terrain. Now, the entrepreneurial owner of Cheetah Plains, a new turbo-luxe lodge in South Africa, has introduced a game-changing electric vehicle designed to enhance the experience while being kind to the environment.

Zero emissions were the initial incentive behind the design of the new safari trucks, which cost about $140,000 each. (That’s double the price of a regular safari vehicle.) But the byproduct of the environmentally friendly fleet of Toyota Land Cruisers— which are fitted with the latest Tesla battery technology and, fully charged, can drive for hours over any terrain—is a nearly silent safari, meaning closer encounters to lions, leopards, giraffes, elephants, and the rest of the native wildlife in the 65,000-hectare Sabi Sand Game Reserve. For wildlife photographers, in particular, the real advantage is the low hum of the engine and the unobtrusiveness of gliding quietly through the bush.


Cheetah Plains’ silent safari trucks promise close-up wildlife encounters
Photo: Courtesy of Cheetah Plains

Cheetah Plains is the latest property to launch in the Sabi Sand, a private game reserve made up of mainly family-owned concessions. At around $12,000 per hectare, the Sabi Sand is the most expensive land under conservation in South Africa. Along with all of its native predators, sightings of its famous leopards are the reason why safari-goers pay top dollar to vacation at its swanky lodges.

In line with its boundary-pushing approach to game viewing, Cheetah Plains offers just three private villas, each designed with cutting-edge sustainability credentials by Cape Town–based architect Stefan Antoni, who is better known for designing futuristic luxury hotels in places like Thailand and the Seychelles than safari lodges in Africa. The houses have the latest in grey-water recycling systems and, by April, will operate 100 per cent on solar power.


The solar-powered swimming pool at Cheetah Plains
Photo: Courtesy of Cheetah Plains

While out on silent safaris, guests can borrow from the lodge’s stash of Nikon D850 cameras and binoculars—though the latter will hardly be necessary given the close-up viewing opportunities the new Land Cruisers provide. Back at camp, they can take advantage of luxuries like complimentary spa treatments, a temperature-controlled wine cellar, a solar-heated lap pool and a media lounge. Indeed, the future of safaris is here…and it lives at Cheetah Plains.

ADVERTISE WITH US

Subscribe to the Newsletter

Stay Connected

You may also like.

Inside the Plush New $25,600-per-Night Suite Lalique at Paris’ Prince de Galles Hotel

The two-story suite is an Art Deco dream from designer Patrick Hellmann.

By Chadner Navarro

12/11/2019

The Park Hyatt Hotel Just Unveiled the Highest Suite Overlooking Central Park

Surrounded by endless views the 59th-floor Manhattan Sky Suite is available to book starting today.

By Sandra Ramani

07/11/2019

5 New Hotels That Prove Dubai Is as Over the Top as Ever

Drive your car into a nightclub, spread out in a movie-themed suite, or enjoy one of 269 tower-set infinity pools at these five new Dubai hotels perfect for a getaway.

By Matt Pomroy

05/11/2019

Aman Opens Its Newest Japanese Hotel in a Kyoto Forest

Now open, the serene 26-room hotel is a hub for wellness, cultural activities, and connecting with nature.

By Sandra Ramani

04/11/2019

Honolulu’s Iconic Halekulani Resort Opens a Boutique Hotel Across the Street

The new Halepuna Waikiki by Halekulani marries the upscale expertise of the legendary resort with contemporary style and amenities.

By Marla Cimini

03/11/2019

Get the Magazine

Subscribe to Robb Report today!

Subscribe today

Stay Connected