Solar-powered jeeps offer quieter, cleaner safaris

Gliding silently through Kenya's Maasai Mara National Reserve is a new generation of safari vehicle.

Gone is the noise, and emissions, of the traditional gas-guzzlers.

This Toyota 4x4 Land Cruiser, driven by tour guide Sylvester Mukenye, is 100% solar-powered.

"If you drive here silently you will of course get much closer to animals, especially the elephants that we are next to right now, because there is no vibrations on the ground and there is no fumes that they get the smell from like in other cars. So with this you can’t get all those things, they are not disturbed in any way."

Off-road vehicles are a common sight in the at-times carbon-heavy wildlife industry.

But Mukenye is head keeper at Emboo River Camp - an eco-lodge which runs entirely on solar power.

It bought three of the vehicles, which were converted by Nairobi-based Opibus - the only company in Kenya currently changing diesel and petrol-powered off-road safari vehicles into electric ones.

"What we do first is take out the engine..."

Electrical engineer Wanjiru Kamau says the company has big plans to electrify Kenya's roads as well as its reserves - starting with minibus taxis.

"As Opibus, what we envision by 2030 is to have all matatus on the road to be electric as well as utility vehicles and what we have at the moment also are motorbikes."

Kamau says the Swedish-Kenyan business has converted ten vehicles used in Kenyan game parks.

She adds that, as well as being more environmentally-friendly, the electric motors cut operating costs by half.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting