“Before I arrived on my first trip, I was told by a South African that the one thing I’ll notice about Africa is this incredible energy that surrounds you. I totally laughed them off because I’m not one of those people who believes in that sort of thing. I’ll be the first to admit I was wrong. I’m not sure if it’s the way the sun hits you in Africa, or its position on the globe but when you are still and allow your senses to take over you can absolutely feel the energy of the continent. That’s what made me fall in love with it.”
You’d think that Stebin would be living in this new-found gem of a country that he had come to love so much. Some love is stronger than others, however, and we found this out when he told us why he couldn’t stay, “I have 2 incredible boys from my first marriage who live in the States and as much as I love Africa it pales in comparison to the love I have as a father.”
After doing some more digging, we found out that there was more than one love involved in his journey to the Mother continent. We wanted to hear from the adventure, family man himself, what pulled him from his home and to South Africa in the first place? Turns out, he was following his heart, “I came to SA because I was chasing a girl, or should I say, I was chasing the girl I knew I had to be with. Roos-Maryn and I were dating at the time of my first trip to South Africa and we flew over so that I could meet her family. I’m not sure if I was more nervous about meeting her dad or getting eaten by a lion.”
After surviving the wild first parental introduction, Stebin began taking in his surroundings, “What immediately struck me about Africa was the disparity between what I had envisioned South Africa to be like, and the way it truly is. Sure, the dramatic landscapes were impressive, but I was most taken aback by the infrastructure, the commerce, the diversity of people who make South Africa such an incredible place.”
South Africa offers diverse and untouched tracks that are waiting to be treaded. After asking Stebin what his favourite kinds of trips were and which had been his favourite place to visit, here’s what he had to say, “My favorite trips are the ones where I throw some clothes in a bag and hop on that 16-hour plane ride to Africa. Sometimes, I’ll be looking at my wife at home in America and I’ll just say, ‘Let’s get out of here.’
It’s so hard to name just one favourite spot in SA because there are so many unique places, but if I had to pick, I’d say the top of Paarl Mountain in the Western Cape. That is the place I proposed to Roos-Maryn and where my African adventure started.”
What about that second love? How and when did that start? “From the time I arrived in South Africa the Land Rover Defender of Southern Africa caught my eye.
There was something so different about it compared to its older brother in the UK. It looked so much stronger, and the stories it could tell were so much cooler. The older model trucks that could be legally imported were in remarkable shape because they had forever lived in a dry and arid environment. The issues of rust were little to none and I felt like if I could help tell the stories of these amazing vehicles and bring them to the United States that we could also bridge the gap between $20,000 pieces of trash and $200,000.00 Defenders that can never ever justify such a ridiculous price tag unless you are lining it with gold bars.
My biggest escapade to date, was when Roos-Maryn and I took our honeymoon. I had purchased my first Land Rover Defender we affectionately named “Billy” and we took off driving through Namibia, Botswana, and back into South Africa. We spent nearly a month wandering through southern Africa and picked up some of my lifelong friends in Joburg and took them into the famed Kruger Park for a week.
While in Kruger Park we came across our first big male Lion standing in the middle road, you have to have been back in your camp by 5pm and because of this we rolled in a little late which was not to the liking of the guards. After a talking to, I thought I’d be a good Samaritan and go pick up a couple of trash cans that had been knocked over in the camp. Little did I know there were two honey badgers having a romantic dinner inside those trash cans and they too showed me their displeasure as I high-tailed it out of there.
Classic Overland was started to create immaculate, fully restored Land Rover Defenders at a price that doesn’t cause the purchaser to be absolutely upside down in their prized investment.”
Needless to say, that Classic Overland was formed on the foundation of love for those whose hearts yearn to go the extra mile and were born to be free.