January 24, 2012

Land Rover Upgrades 2.0 - Part A

Well - after 48,361km and now having proper tools, a garage and some spare time, Nick set about doing modifications to Dassie to make her into the 4x4 we wished we had when we started but why make the changes and what did we do......??

  • Our interior build was rushed and basically shook itself to bits - now used proper plywood
  • The fridge was poorly located and a pain to access - relocated / access from window
  • We lacked the ability to sit inside the rear when it was cold/ wet - fitted new seats
  • We lacked privacy - some times you just want to be alone / use laptop / eat in private etc...
  • Storage was not ideal - we took too many boxes - installed 2x lockers
  • Rooftent - fly sheet good for shade but not a good design, poles fall out in heavy wind / tropical rain - upgraded tent to Howling Moon - much better design / stronger flysheet / add on room
  • Lacked ability to carry a guide, awkward to carry people - installed 2x rear seats (above)
  • Sleeping inside – Impossible in original design, we have now changed this, with basic sleeping deck converted from floor panel
  • Lack rear shade – Out tent opened over bonnet – we now have changed to open over rear / have add on room
  • Camping table – Too small and not stable – longer type better
  • Camping chairs – Ours were too basic and you get tired of sitting in one for 366 days - upgraded to bigger ones
  • Roof bag – Good, but rotted in sun - now use a metal box - better and much more secure
  • Rear work lamp – Old bulb uses too much power & is too heavy – fell off!  Replaced with LED
  • Solar panel - 40 watt panel too small.  Now have 90 watt panel (5.3 amps)
  • Use a solar regulator - limits battery drain and over charge - can see what the status of battery and solar charge / draw is.  Can set to suit different needs
  • No side windows - Fitted aluminium (solid) windows - secure and let in lots of light when open
  • 2nd spare wheel - moved from roof rack to bonnet (frees up space)
  • Water tank fill - added exterior cap so can fill from outside
  • Moved water filter and changed shower output pipe - more compact and better design

All photos of the key changes can be found at our Land Rover 2.0 Album

We are still tweaking things but the basics of Dassie 2.0 are now complete and we just need to iron out a few more issues.  A recent shakedown trip has shown that most of the changes work well.  The final jobs are now focused on finishing the water system and fixing the solar panel to the roof box on a frame that will allow us to remove it and place it in the sun when we are parked in the shade.

If you want to make contact with Burnco, the people that did an AMAZING job on our side windows and fabricated our aluminium storage box, their contact details are below.  They did a great job for us, on time, offered honest advice and were very competitive on price.  They really know about 4x4 / overland prep and if you were shipping your car to SA to do Cape Town to London or have just finished your trip and need some work doing, I would really recommend you make contact with them for any bespoke modifications. 

Hein Burnett
Panel Beaters & 4x4 Manufacturing
Tel: +27 21 949 1713
email at
website at  

Happy to take questions on your own build.

Nick and Vick
Stonehenge to Cape Town 2010/11
48,361km in 366 days

January 20, 2012

African Hills - The ups and downs of 4x4 overland travel

Hi Folks,

One of the main questions that came back from our London to Cape Town in 10 minutes film was "Its a bit flat", "that's easy" and "where's all the hard roads we thought existed in Africa".  

Our Route - click to enlarge

Well, to help develop that thread and answer those questions, we pulled nearly half a million track points off our Garmin database and analyzed the altitude information "You Geek!" I hear you say..... well, yes, to a point but the resulting information highlighted that we went up and down a LOT on our 48,361km drive South and perhaps a little more that we had realized.  The chart below shows the data in more detail.

Altitude data - Click to enlarge

As you can see, its pretty spiky!!!  We have added some indicators to key regions and key countries with Lesotho being the highest we reached at circa 10,600 feet.  Not quite Everest but certainly a challenge.

To answer the other question, "Where's all the footage of the really hard roads", well the simple answer is we tended not to get the camera out when we were really stuck, lost or struggling.....  when its 40'C, your covered in ants, getting bitten and generally sweating like a madman, photography and filming tends to be low down the list of priorities ;-))

Nick and Vick
Stonehenge to Cape Town 2010/11
48,361km in 366 days

January 2, 2012

London to Cape Town in 10 Minutes

Happy New Year folks!

As part of a look back at our Africa Overland trip, we compiled a 10 minute film that offers an insight into the road conditions you are going to face if you travel the West Coast / Central African route towards South Africa.  From the deserts of North Africa and the lush greens of West Africa to the mud of Cameroon and rain forest of Gabon, this video has the lot.

 We have the GPS track if you wish to use it - it was also given to Tracks4Africa

                                               London to Cape Town in 10 Minutes Film

We did a fair bit of off-road driving as well as main roads so the video has a mix of road types for you to see.  We hope you enjoy it as much as we did driving it!

Nick and Vick
Stonehenge to Cape Town 2010/11
48,361km in 366 days