It all started about 16 months ago on a lazy Saturday morning over a cup of coffee...we were pondering life, the universe and everything in between...and came up with the very normal dream of:
"why dont we just take 2020 off, celebrate life, love and turning 40, and drive to Cairo and back".
For those knowing us well, you will know that we are dreamers by day, and not by night - aka the dangerous kind! And once we've decided this is a crazy, stupid, brave and incredible big plan, we decided to act on it there and then. And what a journey it has been over the past 16 months - I didnt even know half the 4x4 terms, or car parts to be researched, back then! The joy of innocence and naivety...if we knew all the admin and detailed research involved, we might have stick to it just being a pipedream! Life also happened in between the research, and we realised life is too short to not just dive into the stream and follow your heart...so the start of the journey was brought forward to the start of August 2019...checking out all the rainy seasons on the way north potentially also played a major part in the earlier departure date :)
Anyway, the first step was obviously to get a car...and some of the decisions were:
1.) Landrover Discovery vs Toyota Landcruiser / Hilux
That turned out to be an easy decision...Landy's make beautiful photos because they break down so often, whilst Toyota's are basically indestructible, and every second man or his dog can fix it all through Africa ...or so they tell us :) From the start Irene said we should go with a LandCruiser, but I wasnt convinced. However, after the first 2 months of research, I had to agree...even though the Cruiser is THIRSTY, it is super sturdy and ticked all our boxes! So we decided LandCruiser it is, and because we are planning on going far north, we needed a car without too many tierlantyntjies, ie as mechanical as possible...so we narrowed it down to a Toyota Landcruiser 79 model.
2.) Petrol vs Diesel
At the outset, we thought definitely diesel. But again, our research pointed us towards a petrol due to the following reasons:
§ A 79 Diesel Cruiser is basically a glorified tractor, and according to our experienced source, would struggle to hit 100km/h fully loaded on a tar road...downhill with the wind from behind :)
§ It is apparently also easier to fix a petrol engine than a diesel engine...especially if there are dirty fuel / fuel injectors in the mix!
§ So even though the 79 Petrol Cruiser's fuel consumption is c.5-15% worse, we thought we'd rather "pay at the pump than at the mechanic's service centers"
So the search was on for a Toyota LandCruiser 79 Petrol model, with less than 100,000km on the clock, and ready for overland action.
The next decision was a tough one!
3.) Single vs Double Cab
Again, we were initially so convinced of going with a Double Cab, that when we found the perfect vehicle, and it being a Double Cab, we bought it there and then! Oh and did we mention it had buffalo leather seats for real pimping up joy? :) It was promptly named AARDVARK, and we thought that all that was left, was to fit the perfect camper to the back, and off we go. Little did we know what was ahead...
Everybody who ever went down this rabbithole, will recognise the names: AluCab's Ossewa or Khaya, Alu Innovation's owner spec'ed campers, Bushlapa's Bosluis2, AHA, RoRo, and the list continues. We were on our way to design and specify the build of our own camper through Alu Innovation, when we drove past INFANTA 4x4 in Swellendam. And we fell in love with their INKUNZI camper. The only problem was that it only fitted on a Single Cab LandCruiser :(
So as one does, we got back to Cape Town, sold the Double Cab to my brother (on the one condition that he had to rename it as there can only be one AARDVARK), and bought our Cruiser & Camper combination from a farmer called Thys in Swellendam...a couple of specs:
- 2010 Toyota LandCruiser 79 Single Cab with a Petrol 4.0l V6 engine and 86,000km on the clock.
- Infanta Inkunzi camper mounted on the chassis with the loadbin removed
And the new AARDVARK was in our lives and ready to roar!
The next post will give more details on all the changes we made to get him overland ready...so watch this space!