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Author: gfidiam

Joined: 2/2/2013
Posts: 1
GCT Trips Taken: 1
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Traveler Since: 2012

February 02, 2013

I have just booked a trip withOAT to go to Serengeti for a safari. I understand the safari vehicles can be very bouncy and can give you a uncomfortable ride. I would like to get some comments on this since I have had two neck surgeries and can not ride a roller coaster anymore due to possible more damage to my neck.Can you help me with your comments as to how hard a ride it is inthe cars.



Author: svncontinents

Joined: 11/25/2011
Posts: 231
GCT Trips Taken: 9
OAT Trips Taken: 10
Traveler Since: 2007

February 02, 2013

Grace, when you go on game drives, you will be riding over dirt roads in the parks.  Obviously, the condition of those roads varies with the weather, road traffic and animal traffic.  A relatively smooth road one day, can be quite bumpy the next day.  You should be aware that the driver/guides will move slowly when riding on these unimproved roads.  When riding between camps, some roads are paved, some not.  The trip can be bumpy.  We would suggest that you have a conversation with your physician to get a clear opinion as to any danger as it may apply to you and your condition. 

Author: suepoor1234

Joined: 7/20/2011
Posts: 38
GCT Trips Taken: 0
OAT Trips Taken: 8
Countries Visited:

All the states; east and west Canada, all of Western Europe(except Iceland and Greenland); the Baltics and Scandanavia; Belarus, Poland, Ukraine; eastern Russia; Turkey, Jordan and Israel; India, China, Mongolia, and Tibet; Egypt, Morocco, Tanzania; Mexico, Costa Rica, Guatamala, El Salvador; Ecuador, Galapagos Islands, Peru, Argentina, Chile; Australia and New Zealand; Antarctica.

Traveler Since: 2007

February 03, 2013

I found the least-bumpy place to ride in the safari vehicle is in the front next to the driver, or as my kids would say "shotgun."  It is, however, not the best place from which to take photos or see the game the driver/guide will be pointing out.  As a courtesy, be sure to let the drive/guide and the other passengers know why you need to take the front seat. And it isn't just the safari segments that can be rough; much of the roadways are little improved.  China has huge road-building projects throughout Tanzania and Kenya, so there are dust and construction activities associated with those. 

Author: mdroz1

Joined: 11/22/2013
Posts: 2
GCT Trips Taken: 1
OAT Trips Taken: 1
Traveler Since: 2014

August 06, 2014

We just returned from the K&T trip. To be honest, a lot of the time the ride was extremely jolting and bumpy.  Many of the roads are like old fashion washboards with potholes, dips, and bumps.  I won't hide the Easter Egg on this one, it was tough at times. Sometimes the drivers will hear other drivers on their radios report an important sighting and will drive fast to get there in time.  As reported, the seat next to the driver is the least bumpy, but still can be hard on the entire body.  Furthermore, it might not be fair to the other guests to occupy the front seat for all of the game drives since others may want to trade off on that seating position.  The back seats are the worst for surviving the ride. I'm in good condition and it was trying at times.

Lastly, don't be without powerful binoculars.


Author: noseycat

Joined: 5/18/2012
Posts: 82
GCT Trips Taken: 8
OAT Trips Taken: 6
Traveler Since: 2007

August 06, 2014

"Furthermore, it might not be fair to the other guests to occupy the front seat for all of the game drives since others may want to trade off on that seating position."

That's putting it extremely politely.  On my UA safari (which I suspect is almost identical to the K&T one), people were ADAMANT that seats had to be rotated.  NO justification (health, photography, dust, view, basic discomfort) was adequate for upsetting that rotation--just like in kindergarten, everybody has to take turns.

A word to the wise.


Author: ddalexa

Joined: 12/12/2012
Posts: 36
GCT Trips Taken: 5
OAT Trips Taken: 14
Traveler Since: 2003

August 14, 2014

In 2010 I was on the OAT South Africa trip with pre-trip to Victoria Falls.  Be aware that while usually your are driving slowly this is not always the case.  In Chobe Nat'l Park (pre-trip option) we were almost at the exit at the end of the day (without a lion sighting) when our driver received the 'lion alert' on his radio.  He asked if we wanted to return quickly to catch the sighting. "YES" -  and off he went like a banshee  - luckily we all were thrilled at our fast ride and we saw 3 female lions taking their kill into the trees and a few minutes later a lounging male get up and stalk off after a sable that was walking in water along the shore.   -----   Days later in Swaziland,  we had not yet spotted the elusive black rhino.  Our driver drove around like mad as dusk descended trying to find one for us (we never did spot one). 

As to the front seat:  Our group was much nicer and we always let someone with a health problem sit there - we all insisted on it.  [This has been true,  whether on the tour busses  or in a small vehicle including safari drives, for any OAT/GCT trip I have been on]

Author: mary jayne halli...

Joined: 9/25/2010
Posts: 115
GCT Trips Taken: 31
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Traveler Since: 1989

August 14, 2014

I too, putting it politely, it is important to rotate seats, otherwise SOME folks make it their mission in life to grab the front seat and hold on tight.  I have especviaslly enjoyed the trips (ande have been on 27 with Grand Circle, many of them repeat river cruises) I have especially appreciated our leaders that made it a point of seat rotation (unless someone gets sick in the back of the bus, they can have the middle).   Just another opinion (and am afraid I have many, however ALL very reasonable for an 85 year old).

Author: loconnor79

Joined: 4/26/2011
Posts: 10
GCT Trips Taken: 3
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Traveler Since: 2008

August 21, 2014

Thanx fro ther valuable insights into the safari vehicles.  I too have been on trips where seat rotation was mandatory and others where it wasn't.  I prefer the rotation to avoid the pushers.  Amazing that all my 35 years of teaching  MS students never prepared me for some of the BAD behavior exhibited by determined senior travelers.

Author: captainlarry

Joined: 4/24/2010
Posts: 544
GCT Trips Taken: 10
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Traveler Since: 2002

August 21, 2014

Just as it was with middle school students, 90% of the trouble is caused by 10% of the people. With GCT tourists, I would even venture that 100% of the trouble is caused by 5% of the people. Most of us just do our own thing and "compartmentalize" the troublemakers. And, almost always, your own attitude is reflected back to you.

Author: dorisblake

Joined: 10/7/2011
Posts: 5
GCT Trips Taken: 8
OAT Trips Taken: 10
Traveler Since: 2005

September 17, 2014

I have done three safari trips.  Yes, sometimes it is rough as the roads, trails, or new tire tracks are not a smooth adventure.  I would suggest a soft neck brace and a donut pillow that is inflatable.  One can always use one's coat for the back.  The experience is definitely worth it.  It is exciting, awesome, thrilling, and invigorating to see animals in the natural habitat.

Author: bogey

Joined: 8/7/2011
Posts: 31
GCT Trips Taken: 10
OAT Trips Taken: 12
Traveler Since: 2002

September 19, 2014

Just can't stay off this forum>  On one of our trips B4 the bus left the hotel the first day one of the ladies (sitting in the TL's seat) informed us that as she had a bad back she would be setting up front every day.  She did,, however on about the 3rd day when setting at the same tables at lunch I told several "stories" about people getting hurt sitting at the front of a bus or car.  Such as terrist shooting up a bus  or a wreck where the person (s) in front hit the wind screen.  I always fight for the 2nd or 3rd row. Truth be told we have only been on 2 GC/OAT trips where seating was an issue.    The other time was when the GC tour  had 25 members of a church visiting their missions.  This caused some comments. as the leader of the church group tryed to run the tour--Gave the TL a really bad time.

Over all on the rest of our trips "no problems"  great people to travel with.

Author: richard a

Joined: 9/23/2014
Posts: 4
GCT Trips Taken: 0
OAT Trips Taken: 0

September 24, 2014

Game drives within OAT's Ultimate Africa adventure can indeed be very rough from time to time, and the rear seat bench row (three rows of benches behind the driver) moves up, down and sideways more than the front row and the seat beside the driver.  That hasn't bothered me and I prefer the rear row for better photo ops.  I'm writing to note that on my last safari, a very nice, 88 year-old lady asked if she could have the front seat on the first day...and it was hers for the asking.  However, she was very fair (skin coloring) and the UA safari vehicles have canvas tops over the bench seats for sun protection, but the driver's seat and the seat beside have no sun protection.  Our fair lady got badly sunburned in the front seat even though she wore a large straw hat.  The front seat in southern Africa, especially late morning and early afternoon, is for those able to handle the sun and the heat.  


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