Overlanding In Southern Africa With A Suzuki Samurai





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  1. #1
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    Default Overlanding In Southern Africa With A Suzuki Samurai

    I'm thinking about overlanding through South Africa, Namibia, and Botswana in a Suzuki Samurai. I previously thought about doing it in a Ford F-450 but a buddy of mine wants to overland in an F-450 as well so now I'm thinking I should opt for the opposite end of the spectrum and overland in a Suzuki Samurai.
    To that end, what modifications would be recommended? I want to keep it as lightweight as possible since I've been told that this is its main advantage, its light weight.
    However, I really prefer an automatic transmission and want bigger tires as well. This would require just a suspension kit or a body lift as well? Also, what differentials would be recommended to use 33" or 35" tires and still be as fast as a stock Samurai on the highway which I believed was around 80mph (~40kph).
    And finally, would a 6:1 transfer case do it or would I need lower than this?

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    Default Re: Overlanding In Southern Africa With A Suzuki Samurai

    Check out Hendri Mouton on youtube. He tried it for awhile and had to upgrade to something bigger.

    Personally I would stick with a "normal" vehicle for overlanding. There are enough challenges without trying to jam a square peg in a round hole on vehicle choice

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    Default Re: Overlanding In Southern Africa With A Suzuki Samurai

    Quote Originally Posted by humvee4us View Post
    I'm thinking about overlanding through South Africa, Namibia, and Botswana in a Suzuki Samurai. I previously thought about doing it in a Ford F-450 but a buddy of mine wants to overland in an F-450 as well so now I'm thinking I should opt for the opposite end of the spectrum and overland in a Suzuki Samurai.
    To that end, what modifications would be recommended? I want to keep it as lightweight as possible since I've been told that this is its main advantage, its light weight.
    However, I really prefer an automatic transmission and want bigger tires as well. This would require just a suspension kit or a body lift as well? Also, what differentials would be recommended to use 33" or 35" tires and still be as fast as a stock Samurai on the highway which I believed was around 80mph (~40kph).
    And finally, would a 6:1 transfer case do it or would I need lower than this?
    The fact that you are suggesting 33 or 35" tyres indicates to me that you are not familiar with the vehicle at all. You also won't find an F450 in Africa.

    A samurai is not ideal for overlanding. It is an old vehicle, so spares are not always straight forward to come by, and it's diminutive size and fuel range can be problematic.

    That said, if you are up for a challenge, it has been done before, so here are a few pointers...

    For overlanding, stock size tyres and stock gearing would be preferable. Big tyres increase fuel consumption, which you want to keep to a minimum.
    You need to pack like a hiker. You also need to be prepared to be self sufficient for about a week. If you break down in some of the areas you intend travelling, in it can be days before another vehicle comes past.
    It is best to travel with a second vehicle, in case of breakdowns, and also you may find that you won't have the carrying capacity for the fuel that you need.
    Last edited by saxj; 2020/09/06 at 11:03 AM.
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    Default Re: Overlanding In Southern Africa With A Suzuki Samurai

    Quote Originally Posted by saxj View Post
    The fact that you are suggesting 33 or 35" tyres indicates to me that you are not familiar with the vehicle at all. You also won't find an F450 in Africa.

    A samurai is not ideal for overlanding. It is an old vehicle, so spares are not always straight forward to come by, and it's diminutive size and fuel range can be problematic.

    That said, if you are up for a challenge, it has been done before, so here are a few pointers...

    For overlanding, stock size tyres and stock gearing would be preferable. Big tyres increase fuel consumption, which you want to keep to a minimum.
    You need to pack like a hiker. You also need to be prepared to be self sufficient for about a week. If you break down in some of the areas you intend travelling, in it can be days before another vehicle comes past.
    It is best to travel with a second vehicle, in case of breakdowns, and also you may find that you won't have the carrying capacity for the fuel that you need.
    Right, the F-450 would be imported temporarily to overland in as would the Samurai as the point is to challenge both vehicle's capabilities.

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    Default Re: Overlanding In Southern Africa With A Suzuki Samurai

    Quote Originally Posted by humvee4us View Post
    Right, the F-450 would be imported temporarily to overland in as would the Samurai as the point is to challenge both vehicle's capabilities.
    You will be importing it from the USA? Then I assume they would be left hand drive, while all the countries you plan to visit are RHD. Adding some more pain to your trip.....

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    Default Re: Overlanding In Southern Africa With A Suzuki Samurai

    Quote Originally Posted by Henryv View Post
    You will be importing it from the USA? Then I assume they would be left hand drive, while all the countries you plan to visit are RHD. Adding some more pain to your trip.....
    Yeap, from the USA. I've had some buddies do it, most say it's no big deal driving LHD as long as you don't forget and go the wrong way, Lol.

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    Default Re: Overlanding In Southern Africa With A Suzuki Samurai

    Best is to build the vehicle to your wants and needs, then test it under your local conditions both on road and off. Gain a good degree of mechanical knowledge about the vehicle. I agree with previous posts that you should be self-sufficient for at least a week when doing the Kgalagadi, Kaokoveld, etc. Have fun!
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    Default Re: Overlanding In Southern Africa With A Suzuki Samurai

    Quote Originally Posted by humvee4us View Post
    I'm thinking about overlanding through South Africa, Namibia, and Botswana in a Suzuki Samurai. I previously thought about doing it in a Ford F-450 but a buddy of mine wants to overland in an F-450 as well so now I'm thinking I should opt for the opposite end of the spectrum and overland in a Suzuki Samurai.
    To that end, what modifications would be recommended? I want to keep it as lightweight as possible since I've been told that this is its main advantage, its light weight.
    However, I really prefer an automatic transmission and want bigger tires as well. This would require just a suspension kit or a body lift as well? Also, what differentials would be recommended to use 33" or 35" tires and still be as fast as a stock Samurai on the highway which I believed was around 80mph (~40kph).
    And finally, would a 6:1 transfer case do it or would I need lower than this?
    I'm curious, what is the range of the Samurai? Lots of people have done Southern Africa in a Jimny, (https://blog.tracks4africa.co.za/mee...e-road-africa/), I don't see any reason why you couldn't do it in a Samurai, but as others have said, you'll be packing light! Weight is always the issue.

    I second the other comment and vote against larger tires and the lift. Or if any, keep it very modest. Africa is hell on tires, and you'll struggle to find spares on anything large like that. Many have done a lot of challenging driving in really unique places on 265/75R16 tires.

    I think you'll find many people here would say "overlanding" is more about getting to interesting places, where as "4x4ing or off-roading" is about testing your vehicle and skills on shorter rated tracks. And often those vehicles aren't loaded down with all the overland kit, though with a Samurai you'll have the weight advantage, because you won't have room for a lot of stuff.

    I am intrigued by your David (Samurai) and Goliath (F450) trip. Not making it easy on yourself, let us know how it goes!
    Blog of our African travels: stuckinlowgear.com

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    Default Re: Overlanding In Southern Africa With A Suzuki Samurai

    Quote Originally Posted by saxj View Post
    The fact that you are suggesting 33 or 35" tyres indicates to me that you are not familiar with the vehicle at all.
    a 35" is about as big as the samurai
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    Default Re: Overlanding In Southern Africa With A Suzuki Samurai

    80mph is 50km/h.

    Pretty sure a Samurai can go faster than that.

    All the best with your adventure. To me it just looks like you are looking for reasons to make it tougher!
    2014 Mitsubishi Pajero Sport
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    Default Re: Overlanding In Southern Africa With A Suzuki Samurai

    80mph is 128km/h
    Quote Originally Posted by Flip Marais View Post
    80mph is 50km/h.

    Pretty sure a Samurai can go faster than that.

    All the best with your adventure. To me it just looks like you are looking for reasons to make it tougher!

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    Default Re: Overlanding In Southern Africa With A Suzuki Samurai

    Quote Originally Posted by HannoK View Post
    80mph is 128km/h
    Lol. What was I thinking?

    Apologies, not sure why I divided instead of multiplied.
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    Default Re: Overlanding In Southern Africa With A Suzuki Samurai

    If you and your friend follow through with this please keep us posted with pictures, plans and experiences. It will be one very interesting adventure.

    Africa is not for sissies (pansies in American?)

    If you're going to make the effort of bringing the vehicles here from the US why not bring something more unique and American like the F 450?

    Also if the Ford gets stuck there is no chance the Suzuki will be able to help with recovery.
    Last edited by GarethHAllen; 2020/09/07 at 06:08 AM.

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    Default Re: Overlanding In Southern Africa With A Suzuki Samurai

    This was my father's overlanding rig from back in the day. Don't remember the exact details, but it was upgraded with a larger Ford engine and bigger wheels. Packing light was the biggest challenge so he pulled the little trailer along. Basically what I am saying is, it can definitely be done.

    Sorry for the bad quality of the photos, I just snapped a few off the album to show someone else the other day.
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    Last edited by rvdm1; 2020/09/07 at 11:20 AM.

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    Default Re: Overlanding In Southern Africa With A Suzuki Samurai

    Before you go and import such an old vehicle why don't you buy a Jimny?

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    Default Re: Overlanding In Southern Africa With A Suzuki Samurai

    I have been Overlanding the past 6 Years with my Zook and have traveled across South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho and Swaziland.

    first it was a SJ410 Named Goliath ... that I later sold for a SJ413 Named Luna.

    I haven't done any Major Upgrades and I kept my Tires realistic - 205/80/15 World Contact and a bit More Aggressive set 215/75/15.

    and I have upgraded my Carb to a Single Point Fuel Injection (SFI) That Increased my power a bit and made it more Fuel efficient.

    For me it's not about speed... as anything more that 75km/h on a gravel road you rattle and shake so bad that you almost spill your.......... drink.......
    and then of course you can't take in the view.
    when you are on Tarmac you can push up to 100km/h

    your main Concern is weight.

    You need Food...
    (we try to support the local market and just keep basic food supplies in the vehicle)

    Water
    this is a difficult one... because it is more than a essential... but it's dead weight.
    so pack enough and fill up every chance.

    Fuel
    Dont pack your fuel inside the vehicle...
    get a Roofrack and add your 2/3 Jerry's on top.
    This will change your center of Gravity and add allot of Wind resistance.
    so try to keep it minimal on your roofrack.

    Recovery Equipment
    here is the big one...
    Never travel in Just one vehicle...
    so when you pack Recovery equipment - Make sure it is sufficiently rated for the heaviest vehicle... and split the equipment between the two vehicles.



    Bedding...
    for years we used Army Bedrolls and just camp next to the vehicle where ever We se camp.


    so if you don't need an item EVERY DAY... don't pack it...


    we are currently busy with an upgrade again and change the whole dynamic of our Overlanding experience again.

    we are busy to Modify a Trailer into a Custom Overlanding Trailer that will accommodate a
    Roof Top Tent
    9x Metal Ammo Crates for packaging
    27L of Water
    Cooler Box / Nose Cone
    2 x Jerry Cans

    Will start with a Thread sometime during the week!!!


    I hope it gives you a bit of an Idea that it is possible... but the opposite of the bigger Rigs... But I can assure you... it's allot more of an Adventure!!!!!

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    Default Re: Overlanding In Southern Africa With A Suzuki Samurai

    Quote Originally Posted by Southerndreams View Post
    Before you go and import such an old vehicle why don't you buy a Jimny?
    Its going to cost more than the vehicle is worth to ship it to Africa and back.

    You can get a decent 2nd hand Jimny for around $10000 US.
    Vic

    "We are plain quiet folk and have no use for adventures. Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things! Make you late for dinner!"

    2019 Suzuki Jimny - 235/75R15 M/T's, lifted
    EX 2012 Suzuki Jimny 1.5 - 215R15C's, Steel undies, lifted and locked. - CRASHED
    EX 1984 Suzuki SJ410 - 245/75R15 Muddies, Nissan A15 Motor, OME's - SOLD
    EX 2008 Suzuki Jimny - 215R15C's, Mounty's Rock Sliders, tow-bar
    EX 1996 Jeep Cherokee XJ OME's 30x9.5 A/Ts

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    Default Re: Overlanding In Southern Africa With A Suzuki Samurai

    Quote Originally Posted by saxj View Post
    Its going to cost more than the vehicle is worth to ship it to Africa and back.

    You can get a decent 2nd hand Jimny for around $10000 US.
    Or he can Just buy a. Gypsy in Namibia, and travel with that.
    It is a LWB Samurai, with the g13bb fuel injection Engine, that is more powerfull than the old carb g13b. Oh, and he has a bit more packing spaces for essentials.

    But like many people already suggested.

    Keep to standard tire sizes. most of the places you will go for overlanding in Africa you do not need 33-35". also the gearing is going to make that Samurai a dog to drive in order for you to turn those wheels, and you Will not find tires if you have a blow out.

    We usually carry 2x spares tires with us. as the gravel roads even in Namibia where they are fantastic is extremely harsh on tires.

    You need to be able to carry around a 1000km of fuel with you. on a Samurai it is nearly impossible cause it takes up space and weight , however we have designs for 110L long range fuel tanks for them, that increase that fuel capacity quite nicely.

    Fuel and water is a big concern. that is the 2 most important Items that you need to be able to carry for many days and km's(up. to 1000km or at least 4 days of water).
    On a more or less standard Samurai you will get around 8-10km/l in 2wd.

    There are places that you can go for around 200-400km that you drive in 4H or 4L non stop, and that kills your fuel consumption to about 5km/L (i am not going to do the math to work it out to Gallons per mile.. we use the metric system.. )

    It can definitely be done with a Samurai, as it has been done before, people Joined Putfoot rally with theirs. Look up Putfoot, they have some fantastic offerings as well. and you cross Southern-Africa over a couple of weeks.

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    Default Re: Overlanding In Southern Africa With A Suzuki Samurai

    Quote Originally Posted by humvee4us View Post
    ....... I previously thought about doing it in a Ford F-450 but a buddy of mine wants to overland in an F-450 as well .......?
    You serious? The big dual rear tyred thing? Off-roading? Two things, you will destroy rear tyres on rocky roads. And you wil destroy two-track roads with that things rear wheel layout and track width. Rather select a realistic machine than such an unsuitable monster.
    Last edited by Mike N; 2020/09/11 at 10:16 AM.
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