WOW! What an exciting year it has been for caravanning in southern Africa.
This year, I would like to doff my hat, with the greatest respect, to all the caravans that came in the top 10 of our Caravan of the YearTM competition. Thank you for moulding this industry into what it is today. It certainly is a fun, enjoyable, and most of all exciting ride. All of which comes with a sweat-free set-up time of 5-10 minutes or less. Outdoor fun for the whole family.
Unequivocally, it was the Conqueror lovers of southern Africa that made the most noise about their beloved Commander models. And as you read on, you’ll soon see why they’re a hard act to follow, and tough as leather too. Travel anywhere you want – and more! Conqueror will get you there and back hassle-free and without problems. We really can’t wait to put their patriot or UEV ranges to the test.
Our second position, held constant for almost three years in a row, goes to Marius Ras from Mobi Lodge. If you haven’t seen one by now, you most certainly should. These fantastic, lightweight, fibreglass caravans turn any normal campsite into a breathtaking 5-star lodge with a private en-suite bathroom – exactly as their name depicts! I’m seeing more and more of these on the roads each holiday and I’m beginning to wonder if sliced bread is still as popular?
Third place goes to no other than Conqueror again, with their Companion range. Starting at around R300 000, we feel that this is the perfect little caravan to suit any young family who wants to give caravanning a try for the first time. Often referred to as the Commander’s little brother, this little tank was originally designed for military incursions into the deepest parts of Africa. Philip de Vries stands by his slogan of being military tough, because even if you don’t know what you’re doing as a first-time overlander, you’re really going to have to go out of your way to break this little hulk.
I would also like to pay a special tribute to the Bushlapaians – you know who you are. Year after year they come within inches of stealing the 2nd and 3rd positions as SA’s favourites. I, too, like the colour scheme, look, and robustness of all their ranges. Think natural, untamed, and extremely practical.
It is with great anticipation and excitement that I can reveal the next batch of luxurious towable treats. And, if you’re anyone who’s anyone in this industry, then you’re bound to see more of these on the roads by the time you set off on your next adventure.
Destination Caravans’ smallest and lightest caravan in their range is the Destination Magic. This 7.7m long caravan (GVM 2 000kg) can be fitted with all the bells and whistles to make you feel like you’re staying in complete luxury. I enjoy its sleek, chic and contemporary design with high-quality finishes. If Charlize Theron went camping for the weekend in Britz, it would certainly be in this caravan.
The Okto Villa features in 7th place in our national competition and is one of the newer caravans to frequent our local resorts, both far and wide. I think it’s extremely well-priced in terms of what you get in this all-inclusive package, with a price tag starting at around R350 000. The Villa is slightly larger than the Cabana, which makes it ideal for a young family or elderly couple, as the dinette area can easily convert to an additional bed. Personally, I like the maroon and blue undertones with smooth lines and a contemporary look. Trading in your old hiking boots for one of these classy caravans would certainly be a wise upgrade. Plus, if you’ve been watching their Facebook page updates, we’re eagerly awaiting the launch of their newest model in the family, the Chateau.
Our 8th place Caravan of the Year finalist is none other than Stealth Caravans’ Evolution XR6 533 model. Although a newish brand in the caravanning industry and still making waves, we see no shortfall in watching some of SA’s biggest dealers eagerly waiting to get their hands on some of this new Evolution stock. Its timberless frame and fibreglass construction, from only the best composites, means that you’ll never have to face the ugly truth of wood rot again. I think it’s stylish, comfortable, and very affordable – with a price tag of around R279 000. Stealth really does seem to understand the market when it comes to buying a new caravan because the list of current features is about as long as the upgrade options available to all their customers. Ideally, you can spec almost all the elements of your dream caravan, including on-road or gravel chassis, at any of SA’s biggest dealerships in Gauteng, Cape Town, and KZN. I think their new Bush Lodge range is also worth looking into in case you ever feel the need to deviate from your local and routine resort choices. Is it better to have the off-road capability and not need it? You decide.
Coming in at 9th place, this controversial caravan needs no introduction other than Caravan and Outdoor Life magazine, as it’s the caravan of choice in their January 2020 issue. Imported from the UK from one of Europe’s leading caravan brands, the Swift Atlantic has every bit of jaw-dropping panache and elegance suited for even the queen. Yes, it does come with a bit of a price tag. But, in truth, it’s more luxurious than just about any self-catering chalet you’ll visit in your lifetime. Do you think that’s a bold statement to make? Why not do yourself a favour and visit Loftus Caravan City or Cara Camp in Cape Town. This is truly one caravan you have to see to believe how magnificent it is. If I was ready for the full-time caravanning lifestyle, this is where I would start.
Last, but by no means least, is Gecko Caravans with their Gecko Extreme offering. It’s a simple yet effective design and all you’ll ever really need in a shorter chassis off-road caravan. The kitchen is cleverly designed and the pop-top roof enables even the tallest of people to move around inside with ease and comfort. The set-up is quick and effortless and there’s ample storage space throughout the caravan. Plus, it’s short enough to fit inside a standard garage or carport and has both a 12-volt and 220-volt power supply. No wonder it has become so popular amongst regular Kruger travellers.
They say good competition breeds quality and improvement and here is a very good example of 10 award-winning brands perfecting their products, and hitting the nail on the head. Thanks must go to all of you who took the time to vote and send in your pictures.