Transforming our Toyota Hilux into the perfect travel vehicle
Words and photos by Villiers Steyn
My father always told me, “Son, there are three things you need when you travel in rural Africa: A Leatherman, a way to communicate with the outside world, and your own set of wheels.” I took this advice to heart right from the get-go when I started my career as travel writer in 2008, and although the first thing I ever did with my Leatherman was cut open a packet of Nik-Naks and I’ve only ever used a sat phone to change campsite reservations and phone home for important birthdays, I can safely say that he was absolutely right about all three. Without them, travelling to some of southern Africa’s wildest game reserves could have been disastrous.
Sourcing the right set of wheels, and then transforming them into something that wouldn’t just get me to where I wanted to go, but could also serve as my home away from home, has been a real adventure. I searched for well over a year to find my dream bakkie – a 2004 2.7L petrol Toyota Hilux double cub 4×4 – just in time for an epic 70-day road trip from Pretoria to the Serengeti and back.