How did we fall into traveling Africa in a Land Rover TD5?
My head hits the pillow for the 1196th time in our ‘Land Rover Retirement Estate’. I still can’t believe we live on top of a 4×4. Definitely not in our master plan… Yet every morning starts with a big sigh and “I love our life and my wife!!”
In The Beginning
It all started with our 2014 wildlife tour. Stuffing a tiny red Figo full of camping gear we headed out. In only 10 weeks we discovered 32 projects, talked with well over 150 wildlife heroes, saw hundreds of wild or rescued animals, AND of course checked out overland vehicles and options. Believe me, our semi-retired life found a new beginning.
After that Margrit wanted to help more wildlife. I wanted to be traveling Africa in a classic Land Rover TD5. And we both wanted to discover the beauty and vulnerability of Africa. Holding our noses, we jumped in and figured it out as we went.
The Gory TD5 Details
Over the past 5 years we’ve spent 40 months on the road. That’s 8 months a year. I know many of you are shaking your heads… “Surely not in a 2001 Land Rover TD5.” Fortunately this little lady is the best kept secret of overlanding. Light on fuel, incredibly strong in the bush, and on the tarmac I can do 120 kph smoothly all day except of course up big hills or over roads full of pot holes.
Now to the elephant in the room. I’m not saying Landy didn’t need some pampering but she very rarely let us down. Clocking over 130,000 Km there were surprisingly only two blown tires, a hole blasted in the front differential, and a mere 2 weeks stuck in Tanzania waiting for fuel connectors. Oh and we recently popped a side shaft, my fault.
Interesting fact for you. In all our travels we rescued many Land Crusers… never one Land Rover. ;-})
And the best part for this gadget guy? All the outfitting and modifications required for the mechanical needs, creature comforts, and vital fluids to live two weeks in the bush. Thus our ‘Land Rover Retirement Estate’ took shape.
By the way
Who needs a 32 room Villa when you have a Land Rover and all of nature at your feet? Keeping mostly to the best weather, we initially set tight schedules and targets for travel and helping. Then a curious thing happened. Each day started finding its own meaning and new needles emerged from fresh haystack along the way.
Life became helping where it made sense for us and enjoying the together of traveling Africa in a Land Rover TD5.
I must admit, meeting the exceptional wildlife heroes with their emerging projects was wonderful. It takes a unique individual to put up with the rigors of fund raising, challenging regulations and regulators, a 24 7 commitment, and very very hard work. Not to mention the emotional roller coaster of rescue, rehab, release or providing a forever home for animals cruelly treated or injured… AND ALL FOR THE LOVE OF WILDLIFE. HEROES? ABSOLUTELY!!
Suddenly, other wildlife lovers connected with us from around the world to volunteer their time and funds or just cheer for us and the heroes. Brilliant people (as in illuminated) looking up from their busy lives to care for wildlife. Thanks to all the heroes.
So far, Margrit and I have visited 12 countries, raised and distributed $56,400 to 24 emerging projects, created 355 YouTube videos (viewed over 11,000,000 times), and wrote 734 Blog Posts along with tons of Facebook activity and a bit of Tweeting.
Don’t you just love numbers that tell stories? Between you and me, Margrit is responsible for most of them except maybe the 12 countries and a few brilliant ;-}) vids and blogs.
What the numbers do not show is our private unexpected journey. Yet, wait a minute… try this. First, cock your head towards Africa. That’s right. Now, listen very carefully to the breeze. Did you hear it…? “I love our life and my wife!”
There you have it. Likely to continue until the wheels permanently fall off. ;-})
Enjoy the day and do some good.
Helping is easy…
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