If you’re lucky enough to be a motorhome owner in southern Africa, your scope for scenic destinations and adventure is limitless.
I often recall and replay all the joyful journeys my family and I experienced in our 1984 Jurgens Auto Villa, and I still get that wonderful nostalgic feeling each time I see one on the road. The old proverb, ‘home is where the heart is’ couldn’t ring more true, as every adventurer I’ve met will gleefully tell you that their home is never more than a stone’s throw away – wherever they are and wherever they’re going.
This year I’d personally like to thank all the motorhoming enthusiasts for nominating their preferences in our Motorhome of the Year Competition.
Without further delay, we would like to congratulate Motorhome world for placing first in our competition. Tim and Dennis Bouwers have synonymously been known for all things relating to motorhoming in southern Africa for as long as I can remember. Who would have known that one of their first Discoverer 4s, launched in the early 2000s, would be celebrated as a winner some 20 years later in this very competition? Now, these are odds you should have bet on.
I think one of the many reasons patrons select this Motorhome as their favourite amongst so many others in the Motorhome World range is because of its affordability and practicality. Think about it. For only R1.2 million you can buy a brand-new Iveco 2.3l house that comes standard with bathroom (shower, toilet, basin), kitchen (80l fridge/freezer and 19l microwave), a 2-plate gas burner hob, a sink in the scullery/ food prep area, and a 60l freshwater tank with hot and cold running water. It is considerably cheaper than some 1-bedroom apartments I have seen, plus, there’s no transfer duty when you want to move! Setting up camp is as easy as turning off the ignition and unfolding your awning. It really couldn’t be simpler than that.
The Discoverer 4 can be mounted on your choice of Iveco (2.3l or 3l) or Mercedes (2.2l or 3l) Sprinters. I would certainly recommend the 3l Iveco 127 kW model with 8-speed automatic gearbox for long-distance trips to the Kruger or Namibia. Yes, you do use more fuel getting from 0-100km/h, but after 20kms of driving at 100km/h, you’ll noticeably start to see the fuel savings. Plus, what you don’t spend on the Mercedes model, you can use for upgrading the standard features to more luxury extras, if you have the budget.
Our close second place winner is another well-known industry household name from Bush Lapa with their Bosluis 2- and 4-sleeper models. Their Bosluis 2 model is a great semi-integral motorhome. It’s cleverly designed to fit on Hilux, Landcruiser and Ford Ranger single cab models only. Bush Lapa claims to also be able to adapt their Bosluis to VW’s Amarok. With a set-up time for this off-road camper-motorhome of less than seven minutes, you’ll be partaking in a cold beverage of your choice in no time. Merely pop open the roof, fold out the side sleeping quarters, and slide out your kitchen. There is ample access and secure storage hatches throughout and the Bosluis 2 comes standard with a 90-270-degree awning. What a package!
The Bosluis 4 is very similar to the Bosluis 2, however, this unit can only be fitted to Landcruiser double cab units. Rightly so, because you will need all four seats when the vehicle is in motion. My only reservation is that even though this motorhome camper is designed for four people, the rooftop tent area is more suited for two children. Also, because this unit only fits on a double cab option, there is less space at the rear of the motorhome for luxuries like spacious kitchens. However, it does have a slide-out fridge/freezer with a loose gas bottle and hob, so you really can take your family anywhere and this is a great fit for any small family.
Be sure to check out their new slide-on camper which has only recently been launched in SA. Bush Lapa claims that it can fit onto the majority of single cab and club cab options, which offers great scope for single and double cab bakkie owners. Abba Campers comes in a healthy 3rd place with their semi-integral and over-cab unit, which can be fitted to the single, club, and double cab Landcruiser series.
For those of you who are familiar with Jos Joubert, you would know that he and his family are pioneers in the motorhome industry. Abba Campers adapt their custom motorhome solutions to fit just about any make and model of off-road vehicle, including Land Rovers. It’s no wonder that their single cab Landcruiser modification is celebrated amongst many off-road enthusiasts because of the great space utilisation and quality finishes in their design. Their pop-top roof takes only seconds to erect, and setting up the kitchen is as easy as opening one hatch. What’s more, is that you can also mount two spare tyres at the rear of the unit for added peace of mind when travelling into the bush.
4th place welcomes another Motorhome World delicacy, the Discoverer Deluxe. The Discoverer Deluxe is the very essence of gloming (glamorous motorhoming) and very similar to their Discoverer 4 model in size, but this unit is designed for two people to live like the proverbial king and queen.
Similar to the Discoverer 4, the Discoverer Deluxe is built on either a 3l Iveco or Mercedes Sprinter chassis. I’d recommend the Iveco 3l because it comes with an 8-speed automatic gearbox and the Mercedes only has a 5- or 7-speed options available. The reason this model is classed as their deluxe model is due to having all the optional extras of their Discoverer 4 range fitted as standard in the production process, including rear axle air suspension, swivel driver and passenger chairs, 220V gas geyser, 140-litre water tank and the extra-large fridge/freezer, plus a large island bed! Undoubtedly the Rolls Royce of motorhomes.
We close our competition off with Echo4x4’s Chobe RV series motorhome in 5th place. Much like their popular Chobe caravan, the shell of the unit fits perfectly onto most single cab chassis including the Toyota Hilux and Ford Ranger models, with their preference leaning towards the Hilux single cab model.
Your campsite set-up time is very much in line with all the models listed above, but I must give a special mention to the fuel economy and size of this motorhome when compared to all other models in our competition. Because this unit is manufactured by a monocoque fibreglass design, it’s a lot lighter than conventional materials used in other motorhomes, meaning you don’t consume as much fuel over long distances. Simply, it’s cheaper on the pocket and requires no suspension modification.
The Chobe RV series is also considerably smaller than some of the other podium finishers, making it a lot easier to store in your garage. This ensures longevity in your travelling investment and great resale value down the line. Did I mention that the cost is only R240K? That certainly is a bargain! And, although this unit may seem smaller than most, when you pop the roof and hinge out your sleeping quarters, only then would you be able to see how wonderful living can be off the grid, anywhere in Africa.