When the word safari is mentioned, what comes to mind? For me the thing that I imagine most is riding in an off-road vehicle on the African Savanna, looking at exotic wildlife and photographing them for posterity. Going on a photo safari in such an environment is something that I’ve always longed to do, as have many other adventure-minded enthusiasts.
The problem with riding in an off-road vehicle for a photo safari is that either you have to remove the top, thereby making you more vulnerable to the elements – and the animals – or you have to leave the top on, making it harder to take those pictures that you came to shoot. You can’t see nearly as much when you’re in a conventional vehicle as you would like.
Jeep’s 2017 Safari Concept, built for the annual Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, UT, aims to get you off the beaten path with style while also fixing that visibility problem.
To get you to the photo site Jeep shortened the body of a Wrangler Unlimited and then raised it up into the air two inches, giving them room to cram a set of 35-inch BFG Mud-Terrain KM2 tires mounted on custom 18-inch wheels under the wheel wells. Making sure you get there without getting stuck are front and rear Dana 44 axles, driven by a 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 and equipped with locking differentials that let you select when and how they are used. There’s even an onboard compressor to make sure that, should you need to air down those tires to get through the sand, you’ll be able to pump them right back up once you’re through the slippery stuff.
Though all the mechanical mumbo-jumbo is nice, it’s the rest of this machine that’s really the main focus.
The designers at Jeep came up with a unique set of four “Windoors”, as they like to call them, which are nothing short of genius. Made of aluminum and clear vinyl, the back doors are even reverse hinged, suicide door style, to allow for easy entry while giving you a virtually unobstructed view of everything that surrounds you. If it gets hot and stuffy behind all that clear vinyl, zippers allow you to open the whole shebang up. There are so many clear surfaces on this Jeep, from the translucent roof panel to the copious amounts of windows all around, nobody should complain about not being able to see what surrounds them. Visibility is second-to-none here.
Back seat passengers will find that their seats are slightly turned to the side of the Jeep, giving them a better vantage point to take in all the lions, tigers and bears, and if just shooting pictures from those cool buckets isn’t enough, there’s a drone mounted to the roof that can be controlled by the iPad that you’ll find mounted on the dashboard.
Plenty of photo ops will be had in Moab this Easter, and I’m betting this Jeep’s going to figure into a lot of them.