Four Wheels Around - A Road Trip from the UK to South Africa

In February 2009 we are setting off on the trip of a lifetime from Brighton, E-Sussex, UK to South Africa. Furthermore, we are raising money for the British Red Cross along the way. This blog will cover our preparation until we leave and our adventures whilst we are on the road.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

The Landy

We bought a Land Rover 110 a couple of months ago. What attracted us to this vehicle was that it was already set up for an overland expedition. The back is converted in a campervan. The seats turn into a double bed, there are black out curtains all round, a long range fuel tank and a water tank and shower are already installed and there is even a safe. However, the land rover is a C plate 1985, which means it is as old as we are. (That's 23 years old for those of you not good at maths.) Subsequently, we had a number of concerns whilst deciding whether or not to go ahead with the purchase as we were not sure that the vehicle would be mechanically able to get us to Capetown.

The Landy had no MOT or tax but it did have one owner since new and had been used regularly until 18 months ago. We debated a number of pros and cons for the vehicle before purchase.

The Vehicle:

Above: Our Land Rover - October 2008

Quick Stats: Land Rover series 110 - 1985. Diesel. 4WD, Long Wheel Base, 140000 miles.
Top Speed 70mph,
MPG 23-28.

Pros and Cons of the vehicle:


  • Initially cheap to buy.

  • Fully kitted out/modified already. This will save us the time and money

  • Defenders - built to last, reliable vehicles.

  • Easier to repair - these vehicles are frequently used in Africa so people will be familiar with them, no new and complicated electronics.

  • Good off-roader

  • Parts/labour readily available

  • Comes with a full tank of petrol.

  • Good British vehicle.

  • Low mileage (140000) for its age.

  • Cheap insurance.

  • Tried and tested across Africa.
  • Old vehicle - with its age there could be a number of problems. For example:

  • Engine may need replacing.

  • Chassis may need work.

  • No mod cons - no air con, no power steering etc.

  • No MOT or Tax

  • More likely to break down?

  • Difficult to drive/heavy handling

  • Slow - top speed 70mph.

  • Uncomfortable to drive and travel in

  • Low MPG

  • Expensive to maintain after initial investment -Will need a lot of work to make it ready for Africa.

After careful consideration we decided to go for it. We came to the conclusion that after an initial service and MOT if it looked as though the vehicle would not get us to Africa we could always put it up for sale without losing, hopefully, any of our initial investment. Luckily, it got through the MOT with relative ease and although it undoubtedly needed a great deal of work to be suitable for an overland trip to Africa the signs at this stage were promising.

Above: Us in the back of the Land Rover. November 2008


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