On this overland adventure, we drove 34.126 km through Europe and Africa in a relatively new Land Rover Defender 110.
Would we do it again in a Land Rover? This question we have been asked by quite a few overlanders-to-be who contacted us during the last few weeks ...
Land Rovers are unreliable, right?
Well, ours definitely is NOT! We didn't have one "real" Land Rover issue AT ALL! The only Land Rover thing that broke was the central locking of the right passenger door ... That's it! Quite unreliable, right?! But we have to admit that we invested a lot of time in maintenance (i.e. checking bolts weekly and after rought tracks) and serviced the Landy every six to eight thousand kilometres ... just to "repair" things before they break!
Everything that really "broke" on the trip was of aftermarket origin, such as the keep of the double shockers (due to a really bad track we took and maybe a loose bolt that I had not discovered early enough) and the front prop-shaft (which still worked but made funny noises, so I took it out and had it repaired in Namibia). The other thing that happened was too few fuel in the Diesel (actually 50% of it was water) ... I guess any engine would have ceased to continue working then - even a Mercedes G Wagen! The funny thing is that the chip that everybody "demonizes" when it comes to overlanding vehicles, most probably saved the engine and thus prevented us from any real damage. So, we "only" had to drain the fuel system and clean the tanks.
The EGR valve we exchanged in Greece when it started making different noises ... before anything broke actually! At the moment the engine sounds a bit more like a "tractor ", but we will give the Landy a good service once we are back home.
Then to the "performance" of the car ... the Landy with a weight of more than 3 tons actually did very well on all kinds of terrain and in all kinds of situations, be it in the sandy desert, the mountains of Ethiopia, on rough tracks and the good tar roads in Namibia or South Africa.
Even though people consider the td4 engine (2.4l) as not strong enough, we think everything is absolutely OK with that engine. The fuel consumption was 12,8l on average, which also is not too bad. Actually on rough tracks and in sand the fuel consumption even dropped considerably!
The most important thing with the Land Rover actually is that everybody, really EVERYBODY likes Land Rovers (including our two daughters who consider the car to be a "family member" called "Nyati", (water) buffalo)!
Also, we experienced the "Land Rover brotherhood" (and "sisterhood") as some kind of "second insurance" and also as a great opportunity to meet new people. With what other brand would a manager of a garage take you home with him to stay for the night because your car broke down?
We have been invited by so many Land Rover people and the Land Rover groups on Facebook or in Forums have always been a great help whenever we needed it.
It is really great to be members of this international "tribe" and we are happy to help any other Land Rover owner just as we have experienced it since we bought this car in 2011.
In some of the following blog entries, we will go through our Land Rover's conversion again in more detail and share experiences, what was good or bad and what we plan to have changed when we are back in Germany.
So, going back to the intitial question: Yes, we would definitely go again in a Land Rover and we will do so in overland trips for many years to come hopefully! This being said, we are not fundamentalist in any way on our choice of car, as there are definitely other cars on the market which are also great for overlanding! It is only that the Land Rover suits and fits us best ... maybe its edgy-shape goes along well with our characters!