The title is from
a brief exchange between Sir
Henry Stanley and Dr. David Livingstone forever immortalized
as a quote in movies, cartoons, and jokes. If you know a little
history this quote conjures up imagery of an expedition deep into
the heart of Africa in search of a man who many presumed dead. As
a member of the Expedition Portal you have probably fantasized about
a similar expedition into Africa, exploring previously undiscovered
locations with your safari hat and 4x4. Graham Jackson, his wife
Connie, and their Land Rover Defender 110 have lived that fantasy…
well, aside from the safari hat and search for a lost missionary!
In 2004 they completed a 9-month expedition of Africa.
This Defender 110 relies on a 110 hp, 2.5L 4 cylinder turbo diesel
for locomotion. While the 110 horsepower may seem a little lean,
the 195ft-lbs of torque and 5-speed manual transmission more than
make up. BFG Mud Terrains (265/75R16) provide the necessary traction
for the 820 miles of range that the 37 gallon long range fuel tank
Before venturing across Africa, the Defender received a Safari
Gard JEK Stage II suspension upgrade with 2.5” lift, castor
corrected radius arms, custom progressive coils in front and Old
Man Emu heavy duty coils in the rear. Shocks
are 10” Fox all round with Rover Tracks custom shock &
spring mounts. This D110 uses many Safari Gard products to provide
armor protection; rock sliders, bull bar, skid plate, and more.
A truly unique and enviable modification is the custom oil storage
box that holds a complete oil change under the truck! (Rollover
the image to see it opened and closed) Graham points to his Technitop
roof tent as the most valuable mod on his Land Rover, especially
regarding the comfort.
In terms of capacity, Graham says that his Defender 110 is “cavernous!”
In fact, he complains that the massive amount of room can lead to
over-packing and that discipline is a must to prevent overloading.
He says that the capability is awesome” and that the bone-stock
D110 boasts great gearing, articulation, and ground-clearance. He
pointed out that his suspension upgrades have gained ride comfort
and greater off-road prowess in exchange for durability. In addition,
the D110 can’t cruise or really attain high speeds which are
rarely needed. Graham has been thrilled with the durability of his
D110. After 46,600 miles, 20 countries, and 3 continents the only
Land Rover part to fail was the transmission, and that due to a
manufacturing defect. As Graham notes, that’s “punishing
conditions than most trucks see in a lifetime.” Finally, in
terms of reliability Graham knocks on wood as he notes that he has
never been left stranded.
up in South Africa, Graham’s family often traveled to the
remote areas of the Kalahari Desert. Ever since those family trips
Graham has had Africa overlanding in his blood. He took his wife
Connie on a honeymoon in the Kalahari and hooked her as well! After
their honeymoon trip they went back for a 9-month, 30,000 mile trip
from London to Cape Town. Graham points out that Connie is great
at designing and building items for the truck as well as packing
More than that though, she has a passion for the outdoor culinary
arts which guarantees a tasty meal wherever they camp for the evening.
Graham and Connie make weekend trips as they can while waiting
to afford longer trips. They have trips planned for Baja, Mexico,
and Belize. But how do you top a 9-month expedition across Africa?
Graham says the next big trip will be an expedition of Australia!
We can’t wait!
For more information on Graham and Connie’s Africa trip,
their D110, or their future trips, visit their website at http://www.africaoverland.org/index.htm.