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Vehicle – Lula the Landy

A major influence in deciding to do this initial trip through Africa was the fact that Vagabond Van already owned a Land Rover Defender that was being used to tow the Airstream to festivals in the UK. We knew that this was the perfect vehicle for a trans Africa trip. In addition, as this vehicle was a special edition, it already had some extra features like under-body protection and a front bull bar with spot lights and therefore was more equipped for this adventure than a standard Defender. However, in order to get rolling, we needed to make many more modifications and arrange shipment from the UK to Cape Town.

Lula the Landy on Hout Bay beach.

Lula the Landy on Hout Bay beach.

Vehicle Techie Info

Year: 2006
Make: Land Rover
Model: Defender
Wheelbase: 110
Engine: Td5 Diesel
Engine Capacity: 2.5L (2498 cm3)


Roof rack – Aluminium and so is light weight.

Roof Tent + Shower Skirt – Made by Eezi-Awn, this is marketed as a 3 man tent, but is perfect for 2. Ideal for African conditions. Shower Skirt adds more privacy and has become Bow Wow’s bedroom.

Awning – You can see this fully extended. This is a blessing for those burning hot sunny days!

Our camp fully set up with roof tent, shower skirt and awning.

Our camp fully set up

Roof Configuration – Originally we had the roof tent at the rear. However we found when driving that the vehicle was not balanced correctly. We were advised to move this to the middle and found that this solved the problem.

Aluminium Roof Box – Great for storing tent related equipment and is lockable.

Jerry Cans (diesel) – Two jerry cans provides an additional 50L extra fuel if needed.

Spare Wheel Carrier – This is a second spare wheel just in case.

View from the top. 2nd spare wheel, 2 fuel jerry cans & aluminium tidy box.

View from the top.


Tyres – BF Goodrich Mud-Terrain T/A.

Shovel & Axe- We saw other Defenders with these attached next to the bonnet and thought they would give Lula a bit more cred on the streets! Not to mention the space efficiency of course.


Shovel bolted on front.

Shovel bolted on front.

Axe bolted onto front.

Axe bolted onto front.

Side Wing Doors – Lockable side wings to provide extra security and ease of access.
Side wing doors.

Right Hand Wing Cupboard – Built in cupboard that we use to conveniently store cooking equipment and condiments etc.

Cupboard wing door open full of cooking gear / condiments.

Left Hand Wing Access – Provides easy access to fridge/freezer and spare battery.
Rear side wing open showing fridge/freezer.

Thule 2 Bike Carrier – Bolts through the wheel for maximum support and is lockable.

Spare Wheel Carrier – Mounts to the chassis so as to take the weight off the rear door. We heard that with extended off road use, the rear doors can eventually rattle off due to the weight. Add the weight of the bikes and this could be a problem!

Bikes locked on rear.

Gas Bottle Carrier – 10kg. If buying a new one, remember to check if it comes full. It’s not smart to turn up to a camp site with an empty bottle. We may or may not have made this mistake.
10kg gas bottle locked onto rear.

Window Tinting – This keeps us cooler on the inside and adds celebrity mystique on the outside. Also provides “smash ‘n grab” protection meaning that the window will not shatter. A few hits will eventually get through though. In South Africa, you may be unlucky at a traffic light (or robot as they say here) with someone using an object as small as a stone to smash your window and grab what they can.

Ladder – Very useful for setting up the roof tent.

Side view showing window tinting, awning rolled up and ladder.

Stickers – Had these printed and applied by ArtLab in Cape Town. Apart from advertising our website we thought that these stickers may make the vehicle less attractive to thieves as the car is more easily identified.
Lula the Landy on Hout Bay Beach in style.

Hi Lift Jack – Bolted on the outside to save space.

Tow Ball with Towing Points – The original tow ball did not have any towing points, so we had this fitted.  The tow ball is not shown as it is removable and is kept in the car to avoid theft.

Hi lift jack bolted onto rear.

Snorkel – Most people believe that this is for going through water, though, according to Trevor from All Terrain 4×4 (our off road instructor), they are actually for dusty conditions to enable cleaner air intake from a greater height.
View from opposite side.

Snorkel at far right

Water Tank – 44L. Worthwhile running water through these when buying new as the water can taste of plastic. When fitting the hose from tank to tap, ensure this is well clear of the exhaust as ours melted the first time.
Water tank tap (lockable).

Water tap next to exhaust (locked).

Light Protection – These were not too expensive so thought the extra protection was worth it.
Rear light protection.


Extra 45L Fuel Tank – With standard tank of 75L, this gives us a total of 120L. This vehicle has an average fuel capacity (including off road) of about 10L per 100km. Therefore, theoretically we could do approximately 1200 kms, though to be safe we are working on 1000km for full tanks. We can also store an additional 100Ls on the roof if needed giving us a theoretical distance of 2200 kms. You could do Melbourne to Brisbane non stop!

Secondary Battery – Deep Cycle Split Charge system. This battery charges with the engine on and keeps the fridge cold.

50L Fridge / Freezer – Made by National Luna. This runs of the secondary battery.

Plastic Shelving – In the rear we have plastic shelves for clothing and ammo boxes secured using the luggage rails and ratchet straps.

Luggage Rails - These are a necessity in order to stop everything in the back bouncing everywhere and becoming a mess.

Rear configuration with clothing shelves and storage boxes.
Amp & Extra Speakers – We decided to have these installed as the basic sound system in the Landy is not too good. This makes a huge difference, especially on those long journeys.

Remove Seats – We decided to remove the 4 seats in the back and the 2 seats from the middle. This leaves us with 3 seats in total (had to leave 1 for Bow Wow of course).

New speakers and amplifier (hidden).

Rear Drawer System – This is lockable so can provide additional security for laptops or cameras. Also means you don’t have to unpack everything to access items used regularly. So far we’ve found it’s best to keep items such as cutlery/knives, toiletries, mosquito/insect repellents and tools used regularly.
Lockable sliding drawer open - 3 sections.

Lockable sliding drawer open - 3 sections

Inside Tent – We have gone for a minimalist aesthetic with only a few key features; pockets for books, jewellery etc at the side, a lantern and a lucky garland of plastic flowers from Bangkok.
Our boudoir.

Our boudoir.

Hot Shower – When needed, we can get a bucket of water and pump it through a nifty device in the engine which uses coolant to heat the water (see photo below). The engine must be hot to do this. By the way, those pants are red, not pink!

Coolant diversion to heat water for shower.

Using the shower in Skye. Apologies, only photo we have, and they're red pants, not pink!

Using the shower in Skye.

Washing Machine – basically a water tight bucket which you fill with water, washing powder and dirty clothes. The vibrations along terrible African roads create a spin cycle!
Lucie demonstrating our in-car washing machine.

Lucie demonstrating our in-car washing machine.

We also have a glitter ball that we picked up in Thailand so Lula really becomes a disco on wheels! You can also see Trunky, our lucky charm from India (thanks Felicity).

Disco ball hangin with Trunky.

Disco ball hangin with Trunky.


We used a company called 1st Move International. They load it on to the ship which goes to Cape Town. With the roof top tent on, we knew we may have issues in fitting the vehicle in due to the height.  However, we managed to clear the top lip of the container by hanging three men off the back to pull down on the suspension.  Once there you need a shipping agent to clear customs. We used Project Freight Group who were very good. We had the keys to the vehicle, so when the crate finally arrived and was opened, we had to be there to unlock the car so that it could be searched by a customs official. We were prepared for a two hour search of the vehicle and it’s contents but in actual fact this took less than 5 minutes. The customs official, who looked around 19 years old with slicked back black hair and dark sunglasses, just looked through the car windows and asked what was inside. We told him that it was camping equipment and this answer was obviously satisfactory enough as he looked no further. We could have smuggled anything in!

Lula Leaving Felixstowe, UK for Cape Town, SA.

Lula Leaving Felixstowe, UK for Cape Town, SA.

Lula Arriving in Cape Town.

Lula Arriving in Cape Town.


Although expensive, we decided to insure the vehicle with Lockton International Vehicle Risk Management. This covers us for Mainland Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

The Landy’s Name

We decided to name the Landy, ‘Lula’. Our great friend, Liz, suggested this to us as it is a combination of our first names and means ‘famous warrior’. We believe that Lula is a strong female who will keep us safe.




17 Responses to “Vehicle – Lula the Landy”

  1. Paul C says:

    OK, so who you kidding about those pants being red?

    Nice prep on the car!

    Good luck.


  2. Chris says:

    This whole adventure of yours looks fabulous. Your Lula is well equiped and you have one of the best vehicles ever. If you post progress of your journey , please let me know. I would like to see more pictures. What system are you using to heat your hot water in the engine or who can I contact. It seems a simple design.

    Thanks for an entertaining write up on your trip and good luck.

  3. Hi Chris,
    Thanks for your comment. We leave Cape Town next week and will be keeping this site up to date as often as possible. There will be plenty of pictures!
    Regarding the hot water system, I’ve updated this vehicle page with a picture of the water heating device. I didn’t install it, but from what I understand, coolant from the radiator has been diverted to run through this element. Then we connect a pump to one end and a shower hose to the other and voilà! The engine has to have been running for a bit of course.
    Lachlan (& Lucie & Bow Wow)

  4. Gareth says:


    Just did 7 weeks in Afica but it was no where near enough time. I am constantly reading up on other guys adventures and my toolbar on my Mac is full of favourit Websites.

    Yours is now on it and i will be following you guys. Love your story and dreams.

    Someone once said to me to make my dreams a reality……i am going to and glad to hear you guys are too.


    Where are you now?


  5. We’re really honoured to be on your toolbar! That’s wonderful advice that we try to live by. We’re currently in Tofo, Mozambique. We try to update the main page with this info as often as possible, or check out our Twitter page for more current updates (

  6. Ginny Scholes says:

    What an amazing adventure, have been following your trip on Facebook. I recently spent some time in Kenya on a photography safari and have had Africa on the brain ever since! I’m planning to go back next year and stay for longer and thanks to your website have a few more ideas.

    Good luck with the rest of your trip


  7. Flutterbye says:

    That’s a great car! How many seat-belts does it have?

  8. Well only 3 seats at the moment for 3 passengers (including Bow Wow), so 3 seatbelts. Though it can seat up to 9 people normally. Glad you like Lula :)

  9. Luci, Lachlan and BowWow,
    What a great site! And a great setup with Lula. We found you guys on Twitter and as we begin to plan our adventures around the world, we’re loving reading blogs like yours. What an awesome adventure!

    Thanks for sharing- look forward to reading more!!

    – Mia and Jordan (and I’m still convincing him we need our own BowWow!)!/WeTravelAndEat

  10. Having a Bow Wow is not always easy but so rewarding!

  11. prendre credit says:

    Impressive car and great pictures !

  12. Ian says:

    Wow! I am truley impressed. This obviously took alot of time in effort. I am looking into doing some traveling myself with a vehicle. IF you don’t mind me asking how much did all this cost you? It would really help to know.

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  14. love says:

    I enjoy this site! The information is invaluable. Thanks a lot for all the articles and making my personal week. Thank you, love

  15. Sarah says:

    Nice post which We knew that this was the perfect vehicle for a trans Africa trip. In addition, as this vehicle was a special edition, it already had some extra features like under-body protection and a front bull bar with spot lights and therefore was more equipped for this adventure than a standard Defender. However, in order to get rolling, we needed to make many more modifications and arrange shipment from the UK to Cape Town. Thanks a lot for posting.

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