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Solar-Powered Jeeps Offer Tourists A Quieter, Cleaner Safari In Kenyan Reserve

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) - As electric vehicles take over the streets, they're proving to be popular off-road, too. The eco-friendly jeeps are giving tourists in Africa quieter and cleaner safaris.

By going electric, African safaris are doing away with the rumble of the engine and toxic fumes that animals can smell a mile away.

"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 are no vibrations on the ground and there are no fumes that they get the smell from like in other cars," Sylvester Mukenye, a tour guide in Kenya's Maasai Mara National Reserve, tells Reuters.

Opibus, a Nairobi-based Kenyan-Swedish company founded in 2017, is helping companies go green by swapping out diesel engines for electric.

"When you're doing the game drives, it feels like you are just floating through the grasslands," says Valery Super, co-founder of Emboo River Camp. "We like to say that Emboo River Safari vehicles are running on sunshine because it is all solar powered."

Super says the change has saved the company around $150,000 dollars a year on operational costs. The animals like it and even tourists are feeling the buzz.

"We really share their core values in terms of trying to not disrupt the eco-system here, and enjoy it, but also be respectful of it," says Jason Hart.

Hundreds of thousands of people, including many Americans, go on safari to Africa every year.

EMERGENCY COMPONENT - LOCAL

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