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

Bush Wacker

VEHICLE DETAILS: 2001 Land Rover TD5 Defender 130 DC HCPU

DRIVER: Charles Dean

In the overlanding community, there is a constant debate between the analogue nature of “old-school rigs” and the tech-heavy vehicles that are manufactured today. While the team here at Adventure Afrika appreciates the engineering marvels of the newer rigs, we have the highest appreciation for well-maintained and cared-for old boys like the Land Rover Defender 130 that Charles Dean calls home when traversing Africa.

Charles Dean’s 20-year-old Landy serves him well for his camping and overlanding interests, and he and Bush Wacker are well-respected in the 4×4 Action Group that he is a member of. The trusty and reliable “classic” is clearly his pride and joy, keeping him dry in the rain, safe on the road and happy behind the wheel.

“My Bush Wacker is ready for every single thing I throw at her,” Charles tells us. His set-up might be old, but it is effective, comfortable, and user-friendly for those long-term road trips he likes to embark on as often as possible. He has removed two of the back seats in the cabin to store tools and heavy equipment low down in the exposed seat box. His fridge is mounted permanently in the vehicle, as is a Kenwood 15W VHF radio.

“I have a large custom-made steel sheet canopy, originally made by AfriCab, which is fairly heavy but secure. It is fitted with a Front Runner four-drawer system between the wheel arches, with a raised platform over the whole bin area. The platform allows for sleeping under the canopy in heavy rains or when Simba disturbs the peace! I can also carry a full complement of overlanding kit including an RV1 Oztent, 65 litres of water, auxiliary batteries and whatever else we may need while on tour.”

A winch cradle is fitted to the front bumper which holds a 9 000lb Warn winch. The only other external modification is a pair of solid but practical rocksliders to protect the under-door area. “These are simply lengths of 10cm x 6cm x 4mm steel square tubes discreetly bolted to the chassis beams – a simple yet effective solution which works well without spoiling the Landy’s aesthetic appeal.” The Dean family’s set-up is further complemented by a fullykitted Mini Metalian trailer that is fitted with an Eezi-Awn rooftop tent. “This is a super convenient extension to our home away from home and suits our needs perfectly,” says Charles.

“Needless to say, Bush Wacker has absoultely no issues towing it along.” Charles and his wife love camping and going on extended adventures. They try to plan two sixweek trips each year and as many weekends away as possible (in 2018 they hit the road for a weekend getaway a whopping 26 times!). “A highlight on our adventures, albeit not by road, was our visit to Norway in 2019 to see the northern lights. This gave our loyal 130 a well-deserved and restful sabbatical,” says Charles. More recent travels have included a Richtersveld and Kgalagadi round trip, adventures to Gonarezhou and Mashonaland, as well as the Ivory Trail in Limpopo.

“We are itching to take Bush Wacker on the road again once the pandemic calms down and have planned an adventure into Zambia via the Caprivi Strip, then on to the Luangwa Valley and Solwezi.”

*Find the 4×4 Action Group on www.4x4ag.co.za/forum or on social media: 4×4 Action Group South Africa.

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