Test all limits in the Nissan Navara
Test all limits in the Nissan Navara

With a heart like a lion

Owner Peter & Angelica Aigner

Vehicle: Jeep Wrangler JK Sahara

Peter Aigner has been bitten by the Africa bug. However, being a German living in Munich, means that there’s a fair bit of water and land between him and the wide-open plains of southern Africa. However, in 2013 he took the leap to heed the call of adventure. He started exploring our beautiful country in standard rental cars, but very soon he was called to the bush and ascended into the realm of African overlanding.

“I purchased my first overlander, a Jeep Wrangler JK Sahara – which we christened Big Willy – in 2015. However, like many first-time overlanders, I made the mistake of starting my building from the the top down, instead of starting with the suspension. The project has been ongoing since then and is ever evolving and ever-changing.

Peter’s first ever proper overlanding trip was to the Alps in northern Italy with his son. “It was a dream come true and it sparked a passion within me, but I knew I had to go to the world’s last true wilderness, the ultimate overlanding playground… southern Africa.”

While planning his first self-drive safari with his son, Peter stumbled on Paul Marsh 4×4 and used his information as the basis for what would soon be his first ever African selfdrive safari: a stunning trip through Namibia with Safari Drive. “After this trip, I was more determined than ever to travel through Africa with Big Willy!”

To make this dream a reality, Peter decided to take a three-month sabbatical. However, Paul Marsh’s team advised against shipping the Jeep to South Africa since, for the planned three-month safari, the shipping costs would just not be worth it. Furthermore, in more remote places Jeep parts are not that readily available and taking enough water and fuel would also be a problem as double tanks are not permitted in Germany. “So, travelling to Africa in my own vehicle had to remain a dream for the time being. That was only the start of my problems, though. At the beginning of November 2021, I was hit very hard with Covid. I almost didn’t make it past Christmas.”

Peter had to be ventilated for 28 days and was in the hospital for three months. “But I was fortunate and had a good team of doctors looking after me,” he says, adding that during his rehab time, the goal was always to find his way back to Africa. Back to the bush, by the campfire and underneath the sparkling diamonds scattered over the night sky. And that’s what rocketed him back to health.

“When my health was at its worst, and when I thought I might not survive, I received a message from my friend Dietmar. He was sitting by a campfire when he heard a lion close by. He sent me a photograph of himself by his vehicle in the bush and a note that read: we will go on a tour together this year. Africa is waiting for you!” It awakened the lion within and pushed Peter back to health. “And now I’m back… Healthy, ready and eager to head back to my Africa.”

Modifications:

  • AEV high-capacity coil springs
  • 4.5” undercarriage
  • AEV front bumper
  • Smittybilt winch
  • Dual battery system with MPPT charge controller for solar
  • Self-made rear conversion
  • Front Runner cargo space separation
  • Gobi roof rack
  • iKamper Skycamp 2.0 Rocky Black Edition rooftop tent
  • Rhino rack awning
  • Batwing 270
  • Eezi-Awn cube shower tent
  • AEV spare wheel carrier
  • Smittybilt hinge steps (doors)
  • Dometic CoolFreeze CFX3 40-litre Fridge

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