We are willing to bet that those who have taken their custom classic Land Rovers on Safari can attest that this vehicle takes everything in its stride. If any car was made to take on the wild ride that the African bush provides, it has to be the Defender.
If your custom Defender’s primary use is to get you to work on time, however, you’ll need to make a few adjustments to be adequately prepared for a Safari adventure. You can trust your Defender to take you anywhere, but there’s nothing wrong with giving it some extra TLC. Here are a few modifications we recommend for travelling through Africa:
A pop-top roof is the best way to experience Africa in your Defender. It is also a convenient way to make an overnight home out of your car. It is a simple modification that easily converts your Defender into a travel vehicle.
The technique of rooftop conversion involves basing the form of the new structure on the shape of the original roof. It creates an effect that physically allows your roof to ‘pop up’ into a tent-like structure.
When done right, pop-top roofs are 100% reversible should you wish to add a different modification or simply restore your Defender to its original state.
If you’re making your Safari adventure a family trip, you’re probably hoping it’s going to make the kids want a break from technology. We hate to break it to you, but you couldn’t be more wrong.
We’re living in a world where our devices help us document our life experiences. If you didn’t take a video of the game drive or sneak a selfie with a giraffe, did you even go on Safari? You will eventually find yourself reaching for your phone to capture a moment.
Add enough charging outlets to your Defender to appease the technology gremlins. You will find that the more convenient you make it for your devices to stay charged, the less you’ll think about them.
Car Battery Life
A dead battery is the last thing you’d want when you’re in the middle of nowhere, and your only company are two lions watching from under a tree. Ensure that your battery is in suitable condition to get you through long-distance trips.
Proper sizing of the alternator, and bringing a dual battery charging controller is essential to maintaining your Defender’s battery life. Before you go on your trip, be sure to test your car’s battery, especially if there hasn’t been a replacement in the last three years.
Although solar power may seem like a good idea, it can often be expensive. It’s also not something you want to rely on to keep your necessary resources charged.
With your luggage, camping equipment and fellow off-roaders, your Defender will be carrying a lot of extra weight. It could easily harm the suspension of your car, especially when bouncing through the African bush.
Vehicle suspension makes use of coil springs that absorb bumps found in every road surface. It allows you to accelerate, brake and corner safely. The level of stability of your suspension system will affect the overall performance of your Defender off-road.
Best believe your custom Land Rover Defender wants to take you everywhere and is designed to do so, but sometimes the original design is not stable enough. High lift suspension kits will give you increased ground clearance to navigate across rough and unpredictable terrain.
The Defender already equips you with a sturdy pair of tires that provides a firm grip on most on and off-road surfaces. When travelling through Africa, however, your tires are going to experience a different kind of wear and tear.
Prepare your Defender for rocks, wet grass, and Africa’s sandy paths with a stable pair of all-terrain tires. They are a combination of the open-tread design of off-road tires with the good handling of street tires.
The open-tread tire design improves the traction on off-road surfaces. Its reinforced side-walls also allow for better load-carrying capacity, which proves useful if you’re camping.
Long-Range Fuel and Water Tanks
Expanding the volume of your lifeline fluids could be one of the most essential modifications for Overlanding. You may be travelling to a location where specific resources are scarce or not available for weeks at a time.
Determine how much water and fuel you will need in the space of at least two weeks and make the necessary provisions. We can’t give you much advice on how much water you should bring, but we can tell you a little something about fuel.
Under normal conditions, the Defender consumes at least 18.1 litres per 100km in a combined fuel engine and 11.4 litres in a diesel engine. Depending on the type of engine you have, use your average consumption to estimate how much fuel you may need for your trip. Keep in mind that you may need to accelerate more than usual to get through stubborn mud or rocky paths.
Even without these modifications, the Land Rover Defender can make a drive through the wildest parts of Africa feel like a cruise along calm waters. But, you want to get the best out of your travelling experience and choosing the Defender is already half a battle won.
There’s no such thing as being too prepared, even with the most trust-worthy off-road vehicle. It’s essential to evaluate your and your Defender’s needs before heading off into the exciting yet unpredictable African terrain.