My African Camper Odyssey... a dream full filled.





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  1. #1
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    Default My African Camper Odyssey... a dream full filled.

    Long time lurker here! But since I did not own a 4x4 before I did not really feel that I had anything to contribute until now.
    I would like to share my journey converting my 79 series 2002 Land Cruiser bakkie into a camper.
    Long story short, I bought a Land Cruiser and Radical Top fiberglass camper top on Gumtree, sight unseen. I did have someone take a look at both and although he was impressed with the Cruiser he was a bit more circumspect about the camper top but I was not listening since I already made up my mind…. So I bought it and had it stored for about 6 months until my wife and I was able to return and start working on our dream of long term overlanding.
    Once I saw the bakkie I loved it, the camper top was a bit worse for wear but we initially decided to see if we could salvage it since we were keen to start touring.
    We visited the experts in Pretoria to see if they could do something about the camper top, but they felt that it would not be worth it since we were looking to tour long term and are wish list was pretty long.
    So we put the camper top back on Gumtree and started searching for a new camper solution.
    Like in any other line of business we tried contacting the big boys in the industry and we are not going to mention names but 2 of them are in the Western Cape but they only want to sell you what they have and are not interested in customization. So after several weeks of looking we lucked out and found a builder who was willing to work with us and our long list of custom touches.
    Blinkgatproducts are located near Delmas and manufacture a wide range of products ranging from roof tents to slide on campers to full on campers, all made from aluminum which should make for a lighter load. After meeting Sarel and Elize we had such a good rapport and felt extremely comfortable working with them on realizing our camper dreams.
    We opted for a full on custom camper and not just a camping canopy nor a slide on canopy since we plan on being on the road fulltime for a couple of years and intend to be as self-sufficient as possible with a large water tank a couple of batteries being charged by solar panels as well as shore power as well as a shower, porta-potty and a side kitchen under a retractable awning.
    I am no Sketch-up guru but after emailing a couple of sketches back and forth Sarel and I agreed on a rough idea. A couple of unique features were a daybed / couch that would allow us to stealth or wild camp without popping the roof. Although we would prefer to pop the roof and sleep “upstairs” over the cab we do foresee situations where we might have to sleep on the sly maybe at a police station, a parking lot or in someone’s driveway, etc.
    A few before pictures and the “final” final drawings……. We will see how close we can keep to the design.
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    Last edited by boetgert; 2017/09/20 at 08:41 PM.

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: My African Camper Odyssey... a dream full filled.

    Welkom Gert, groot taak wat jy aanpak. Fotos sal nice wees, ons stel altyd belang in 'builds'.

  4. #3
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    Default Re: My African Camper Odyssey... a dream full filled.

    Such a lekker project...give it horns!!!

  5. #4
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    Default Re: My African Camper Odyssey... a dream full filled.

    Good luck with the project Gert, looks like it's going to an interesting build.

  6. #5
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    Default Re: My African Camper Odyssey... a dream full filled.

    Looking forward to a great thread.
    4x4 less.

  7. #6
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    Cool Re: My African Camper Odyssey... a dream full filled.

    Sarel and Elize are well known, greatly admired, respected, fair business owners and much loved members of this forum, sommer net lekker mense!
    Malcolm van Coller - retired but remained living in Johannesburg (love it here, can find everything you want and need here in Jhb)
    2011 Nissan Pathfinder 2,5 CDi LE Manual (Standard Traction Control plus Front Diff Locker)
    2008 Nissan Patrol 3.0 TDi GL (Packing system, 60lt water tank, std rear locker, LOKKA on front, two 105ah aux batteries on NL system, larger Cirrus intercooler, complete 76mm exhaust system)
    2003 Bushwakka Shorti (extra luggage space for customers on when on safari (with 160 H/Moon Star Gazer RTT and 100lt water tanks)
    Ex 1999 Nissan Terrano 2.7 TDi (Limited Slip Diffs Front and Rear) with Jurgens RTT for Guiding trips
    Ex 2011 Conqueror Supra II for personal camping
    Ex 1995 GQ Patrol GLX 3 speed Auto (disaster that box was!) - Lexus V8 transplant
    Ex 1984 Nissan Safari (Poelies Vehn) 2.8 Stationwagon with 5 speed conversion, rusted like it was paid to rust!
    Ex 1995 Sani 3.0 V6 Exec
    Ex 1994 Venture 2200 with lock diff (Company vehicle) that whet my appetite for overlanding.
    Many 4x4s in National Service (Landies, Jeeps, Willys, Bedfords, Unimogs and Buffels)

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  9. #7
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    Default Re: My African Camper Odyssey... a dream full filled.

    Boetgert puik voertuig en sterkte hou ons op hoogte asb

  10. #8
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    Default Re: My African Camper Odyssey... a dream full filled.

    Om so bietjie inligting te gee, Gerrie en sy vrou Ronel woon al 22 jaar in Amerika. Met hul nuwe kamper beplan hul n lekker laaaaaang toer deur Suider Afrika en dan om die voertuig te verskeep na Amerika waar hul verder wil toer.

    Ek gaan nou nie veel vertel nie, net dat jul die tread kan dophou.
    Elize

    en ry saam met SarelF in
    VW AMAROK MET BLINKGATCAMPER:
    My Platkar:- Peugeot 208

    Kyk gerus by www.blinkgatproducts.com
    Vir enige aluminium produkte,canopy's, campers kontak gerus
    Sarel 0828209413

  11. #9
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    Thumbs up Re: My African Camper Odyssey... a dream full filled.

    I am sorry but I have to keep my build thread short since we are off to Mozambique next week and if the internet there is anything like here we might be off air for a bit.
    You can follow some of the build pics on our Facebook page Camper Build album: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?...1&l=820c3d2daf
    or
    Friend us on Facebook: Rust Buckets
    Or
    Instagram:2Rustbuckets
    That being said here is the final and abbreviated chapter of the build:

    After agreeing on the price and timetable I had to bring B.o.b the bakkie for some measurements, for that the load bin was removed and the camper frame was tacked on. A couple of changes were made. One was to enclose the rear to allow the spare wheel and the LP gasbottels to be enclosed in a lockable cabinet, our first leg of travel will be through Africa after all. The second was to lower the overhead bed to make it possible to get B.o.b. inside a shipping container should we ever get to leave the African continent.
    After all the measurements were made and the frame welded up it was removed and the load bin reattached.
    We had to get rid of the canopy and load bin before the camper could be mounted so it was back to Gumtree and both were sold in short order.
    Sarel and Elize had to deliver a couple of campers in Namibia and graciously offered us a room in their house for us to stay and for me keep an eye on the progress of our build while keeping an eye on their place.
    I am not sure if I would be able to do Sarelís job but I know that I would definitely not survive Delmas in the winter even if, Sarel indicated that it was not really that cold this year since none of the water pipes on the farm have frozen.
    After Sarel and his crew spent a couple days of hectically finishing up the last details on the 2 campers they were on their way to Windhoek and Sossusvlei for delivery and we were left to our own devices on the farm, whoohoo!
    We decided to keep a close eye on the progress and the guys assigned to our camper, but shortly realized that they have been working on these type builds for quite some time. The most junior worker has been working for Sarel no less than 6 years so they are pretty well schooled in what needs to be done and when does it need to be done.
    Building a camper is like painting a wall, the initial broad strokes seems like it will be done in short order but then you realize how many decisions have to be made and that the devil is really in the details and even more so when you are building something uniquely custom.
    The time flew and before we knew it our time on the farm sadly came to an end but we were also glad that Sarel and Elize were back since their input will definitely be needed to get the final touches just right.
    With the boss back on the farm the build kicked into high gear and Sarel had to solve a myriad of little and not so little issue, but as per usual, ďa boer maak a planĒ. The initial completion time frame was 6 weeks which I thought was a bit ambitious considering the fact that Sarel and Elize would be away for almost 2 weeks during the build. So we were invited back to the farm since the Land Cruiser and camper had to be mated up and all the connections made. A couple of snags had to be sorted that would probably have been averted if we left Bob the Cruiser on the farm but since it was our only mode of transportation it was just not an option, plus the weather in Delmas improved a lot!
    Elize spend the hectic last two weeks getting the seemingly miles of canvas sewed up. With all the shelves getting 2 zips each and our awning caused a lot of work for her but she put in a lot of effort into it and the results were fantastic.
    So after 10 weeks of sometimes 10 hour days and also working a couple of full weekends Bob the camper was finally done. Surprisingly it weighed in at only 600kg!
    All I can say is that, yes there were issues but always a solution found. The fact that Sarel was willing to work with me on my ideas but also guiding a couple of changes based on his extensive camping and overlanding experience really made for an enjoyable time spend with him, his wife and his crew of builders.
    So if you are in the market for either, a canopy, a slide on camper, a full on bespoke camper or possibly a caravan give him a call at Blinkgat products.

    You can follow our trip with Bob on Instagram:2Rustbuckets or Facebook: Rust Buckets

    See you off the road and in the bush.
    Gerrie & Ronel
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  12. #10
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    Default Re: My African Camper Odyssey... a dream full filled.

    Quote Originally Posted by mvcoller View Post
    Sarel and Elize are well known, greatly admired, respected, fair business owners and much loved members of this forum, sommer net lekker mense!
    We could not agree more!

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  14. #11
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    Default Re: My African Camper Odyssey... a dream full filled.

    so paar fotos van my kant af.
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    Cruiser Kamper met BLinkgat awning. Reg vir kamp


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    Spaarwiel kas. toegebou en veilig saam gasbottels.


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    Porta Potty deur. Maklik bereikbaar.

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    Kombuis kant. Uitvou stoof en yskasslide met kombuis kabinet.

    Tweede dubbelbed wat terug vou as bank binne. OOk die uitskuif tafeltjie vir gerief as jy die bed as bank gebruik.

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    Afgeslaan, saam met batterye, watertenk en sonpanele weeg die kamper slegs 600 kg. Lig en stewig! Slaan binne sekondes op in die bos.

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    Elize

    en ry saam met SarelF in
    VW AMAROK MET BLINKGATCAMPER:
    My Platkar:- Peugeot 208

    Kyk gerus by www.blinkgatproducts.com
    Vir enige aluminium produkte,canopy's, campers kontak gerus
    Sarel 0828209413

  15. #12
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    Default Re: My African Camper Odyssey... a dream full filled.

    Met 14 kassies binne is hier baie pakplek!

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    Elize

    en ry saam met SarelF in
    VW AMAROK MET BLINKGATCAMPER:
    My Platkar:- Peugeot 208

    Kyk gerus by www.blinkgatproducts.com
    Vir enige aluminium produkte,canopy's, campers kontak gerus
    Sarel 0828209413

  16. #13
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    Default Re: My African Camper Odyssey... a dream full filled.

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    Elize

    en ry saam met SarelF in
    VW AMAROK MET BLINKGATCAMPER:
    My Platkar:- Peugeot 208

    Kyk gerus by www.blinkgatproducts.com
    Vir enige aluminium produkte,canopy's, campers kontak gerus
    Sarel 0828209413

  17. #14
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    Default Re: My African Camper Odyssey... a dream full filled.

    Very nice job, looks awesome I am sure you will enjoy your bushtime in that baby
    Audi A6 Avant Quattro V6 tdi ( Sold )
    VW Touareg V6 tdi ( sadly written off )
    2 x Toyota Celica GT4 Gen 6 (Sold) sadly missed
    2 x Toyota Celica Gen. 5 ( Sold ) not missed as much as the above.

  18. #15
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    Default Re: My African Camper Odyssey... a dream full filled.

    Looks like a good practical job. Well done and enjoy!

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