There are few things in the world more iconic than the look of an open-air “Safari” adventure vehicle parading teams of researchers and tourists through the thick African wilderness in search of wildlife. Little known to us Yanks, a large number of these vehicles crafted in the past 14 years have been built by Kavango Engineering out of Botswana. In an intriguing move, the British petrochemical and newly minted adventure vehicle manufacturer Ineos has announced that it has completed the acquisition of Kavango Engineering. Unsurprisingly, the company has churned out what might be the most amazing version of its Grenadier to date: the Ineos Grenadier Safari concept.
Starting with a donor production prototype Grenadier, the company removed the standard SUV’s roof, installed a set of half-doors, and fashioned a folding windshield. The vehicle’s ride height has been raised slightly for improved ground clearance and protective steel bumpers flank the front and rear. Tiered seating gives second- and third-row passengers a panoramic view of the action, while the iconic canvas top blocks the hot African sun. Other modifications include the relocation of the vehicle’s roof-mounted switchgear to the center console.
The newly formed company, Ineos Kavango, will expand current operations to include both ground-up conversions and ongoing maintenance of both the Grenadier SUV and Grenadier Quartermaster pickup. The vehicles will be upfitted not only for safari outings, but will also be equipped to support conservation and anti-poaching efforts, along with humanitarian and veterinary care, as well. Currently, the Ineos Kavango facility spans more than 53,000 square feet, employs 70 highly skilled craftsmen, and can produce 200 vehicle conversions per year. The company says that it has plans to double the size of the operation in the near future.
Don’t get too excited, however, because, much like the endangered African elephant, spotting one is going to be a challenge. While it’s possible that the company could convert a U.S.-spec Grenadier to a Safari model, it’s not at all likely. That leaves an African safari in Botswana’s Okavango Delta region as one’s best bet to experience the vehicle firsthand.
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