Switching Gears: A Goodbye to Bedford Trucks

Written by Thomson Safaris

Miles of unrelenting sand, mud, water and rocky dirt trails – that’s what stands between the base in Tanzania and the safari camps. How do you get several tons of supplies from one place to the other?

Bedford trucks. These canvas-backed behemoths power through rough terrain like a charm, carrying monstrous loads of camp necessities orroughly a dozen guests.

After more than three decades with Bedfords, the base is switching to Leyland DAF trucks. Check it out!

The New Leyland DAF Trucks

“Leyland DAF 45 (1994)” By Steve Glover (https://www.flickr.com/photos/sg2012/30181508384/) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons


They may look similar, but these new trucks come with a few big upgrades – power steering, so turning is no longer a full-body workout, and tilt-back cabs, which makes servicing easier.

Of course, these vehicles get custom treatment just like the Land Rovers:

  • Repainted colors
  • An added fuel tank for long range use and to carry cheaper fuel from the bulk tank at base
  • Extra spring leaves in case a spring breaks in the field
  • Sand ladders for deep sand or muddy conditions – these are placed under the wheels to drive across difficult areas
  • Wire tow rope on front bumper brackets for towing vehicles
  • A roof rack so we can load items on the cabin roof
  • HF radio antenna and radio for communication with Arusha base

Here’s what they look like after.

Here’s to the road ahead!