Our home in Africa

A number of our followers have enquired about our living arrangements while travelling through Africa. Instead of answering all of you individually we’ve decided to cover the subject in a blog. For the rest of our followers,  we hope that you will also learn something  worthwhile from this article.


Our Patrol and awning without sides fitted.

We acquired our vehicle of choice which had these specific  requirements:
A diesel 4×4 station wagon with very basic mechanics – no turbo or hightech electronics, with a high ground clearance.
Nor were we going to tow anything through Africa.
Our decision was based on owning a motor home for 11 years and travelling more than 100000 kms with it. Unfortunately, a 4×4 motor home with a high ground clearance is large and expensive, so we bought a Patrol and set about building our new home into it.


Storage net on ceiling, doom, map and overhead console for medical box and bits and pieces

Everything we needed to take with us had to fit in or on the vehicle. This suited our minimalist requirements.
The two rows of rear seats where removed.
An Engel fridge/freezer purchased and fitted behind the drivers seat.


Mozzie net, freezer beneath bed and laptop storage

We chose the Engel not only for its reliability and performance , but the low height of the unit was a most important factor.  Why? It determined the height of our bed as it had to fit beneath the bed.
Our Engel is used as a freezer so we have an additional thermofan fridge for vegetables, butter, yoghurt, beers,  wine etc. This stands on the bed while we’re travelling. When parked it goes outside under the table.


Storage beneath bed and handy pull out table for roadside coffees etc

In the photo you’ll see collapsible cups for space saving. We also use a collapsible hand basin and hiking pots and pan which fit into each other for easy storage.
Ammo boxes were too low for efficient use of storage space so deeper containers were purchased from Plastic World.  A pull out small table for roadside coffee stops is very useful.  Thanks to Pieter van Oudtshoorn (who is travelling in Panama at this moment) for the idea.
A framework was built from multiply shutter board to accommodate 5 of these boxes and the fridge/freezer. The bed was built on top of the box framework. 


Our boudoir. Note wash line and net curtains

Caravan mattresses completed our sleeping requirement.

We needed more space for extra fuel, tools etc and for additional warm clothing for Europe. We already owned a Thule roof box which we used for the clothing. So we purchased a Hannibal roof rack with a double jerry can holder, fitted folding stainless steel table and a spider 270° awning. The awning was to provide shade and give us a place to cook beneath as we could not do that inside the vehicle.

After a test run in windy, rainy conditions  we decided to have drop sides made by Hannibal to attach to our awning for extra shelter.
I had two tanks made.  One of 45 litres with a pump and tap for water and one of 40 litres for extra diesel.  A pump connected the auxilliary  tank to the main tank. With gerry cans we have a total capacity of 175 litres. Very expensive to fill!
We also carry 15 litres of drinking water and an airpot of 3 litres for hot water as well.
And we must not forget about George. During the day he gets his chance to rest and shares the bed with our folding chairs, towels laid out to dry and our toiletry bags. At night he guards us from outside the vehicle while we sleep.


George in bed with Solveig

Our main objective in setting up the vehicle was to be comfortable while taking along essentials only. We are happy with our preparations. The only item we’d missed was an electric kettle which we’ve since purchased. Almost every campsite has electricity. It’s convenient and we save on gas usage too.

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Author: Ian & Solveig's Overland Adventures

Although we never achieved our original goal of reaching Norway overland through Africa, our experience was so unexpectedly rewarding that we've not been able to settled down again! So we added new destinations to our lust for adventure. We hope that you will join us in sharing new exciting places and encounters with the amazing people we meet along the way.

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