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Potjie2Pint’s Land Rover Defender 130 : Feature Vehicle

In 2012, Marjan (a skilled Dutch chef) and her partner, Patricia (an astute Belgian financial business analyst), embarked on a transformative journey. They relocated from Europe to the sublime coastal town of Hermanus, South Africa, with a dream to infuse a touch of Belgium into their new surroundings. Their entrepreneurial spirit led to establishing a culinary venture: the Belgian Waffles, Beer, and Burger restaurant. This eatery became a local sensation, celebrated for its authentic waffles and beers. Despite the demanding nature of running their business, the couple seized every opportunity to explore the stunning landscapes of South Africa, even if it was just for a brief escape. These moments ignited a profound realization: to travel is to truly experience the essence of life. We have warned you and will warn you again that overland travel is addictive!

Land Rover

The onset of the post-Covid-19 era marked a turning point for the couple, and they decided to take an extended break from the restaurant business to fulfill a long-held dream, an overland journey from South Africa to their native Belgium. Their love for Land Rover vehicles further complemented the couple’s passion for adventure, as these legendary vehicles are synonymous with Africa and adventure. The couple proudly owned a 1986 Land Rover Series 3s named “Ujiji” and a Land Rover Defender 90, affectionately called “Musta.” True to the spirit of Land Rover enthusiasts, they would name their Defender 130 camper “Mzungu,” a term meaning wanderer, aptly reflecting their adventurous lifestyle (the word mzungu is primarily used in nations where Swahili is widely spoken and is also commonly used to refer to foreign individuals, specifically white people).

Land Rover

Although their Defender 90 was fully equipped for the trip, they realized they needed a more spacious and robust vehicle for such an extended expedition. Their search for the perfect vehicle led them to a modified 1998 300 Tdi Land Rover Defender 130 camper, professionally crafted by AC Motor Homes in Cape Town, South Africa. The Defender 130 has proven to be one of the most capable overland platforms available, and they are still relatively affordable in South Africa; the camper they found was listed by a private seller at roughly $22,000 at the current exchange rate.

Land Rover Land Rover

The camper ticked all the boxes: its rear was comprised of a high-quality camper box constructed from composite sandwich panels. The pop-top roof, equipped with gas struts, was easily secured and designed for simple one-person operation. The canvas sides, featuring windows and mosquito mesh, provided comfort and convenience. Internally, the camper hosted a cozy two-seat dining area with a collapsible table, which could be transformed into a single bed. Additionally, there was an above-cab sleeping area for extra accommodation.

Land Rover Land Rover

Storage space was abundant, including two under-chair lockers accessible from the exterior side lockers and various interior storage solutions. A locking side door, complete with a portable step, provided easy access, while a privacy curtain divided the cab and rear areas. An external fold-out side table further enhanced the functionality of the space.

Land Rover Land Rover

The kitchen area was well-appointed, featuring an Alva 2-ring hob, grill, oven, and sink boasting a glass cover and fold-out hot/cold taps. The area was completed with a food preparation space, drawers, shelves, and a dual fridge/freezer that operated on both 12 and 220-volt—essential equipment for a traveling chef.

The electrical setup of the camper was robust and mostly complete, including a 12-volt DC circuit with two 105 amp-hour leisure DC batteries, a BEP Marine breaker/fuse panel showing battery charge status, and well-organized DC and AC circuits that were fused and labeled. Additional features included a CTEK MPPT, a 10-amp MPPT solar charger, and an 85-watt detachable solar panel. The interior was illuminated by LED roof lights and four LED strip lights. For campsite entertainment, several 12-volt sockets and an LED exterior area light complemented an Alpine Stereo system. The 220-volt AC circuit was comprehensive, featuring a land hookup with a 25-meter cable, an AccuMate Pro 7-amp 220 AC to 12-volt DC leisure battery charger, and external power outlets.

Land Rover

The bathroom and water system were thoughtfully designed, incorporating a 100-liter fresh water tank, water pump, Thetford C200 cassette toilet with electric flush, a hand basin with a mixer tap for hot and cold water, and a Hansen GE2 dual gas and electric water heater with a 20-liter capacity. The vehicle was equipped with an air conditioner to chill those long, hot African days and nights for added comfort.

Land Rover Land Rover

To meet their specific needs, the vehicle underwent further customization. The interior was revamped with Howling Moon canvas gear storage, a comfortable double bed, custom-made drawer systems, essential appliances such as an upgraded fridge/freezer, and a powerful inverter to operate a Nespresso machine. The exterior modifications included additional spare wheels, an outdoor shower, and a bull bar. At the same time, the vehicle’s ride and handling were upgraded with a heavy-duty suspension featuring extra inner coil springs and BFGoodrich All-Terrain K02 tires. The vehicle was also equipped with a fuel storage system consisting of a standard 80-liter tank and a 100-liter long-range auxiliary tank, each with its own dashboard indicator. For recovery and protection, they equipped it with a Tmax 950 winch and bash plate. The vehicle also features the invaluable Little Black Box EMS (engine management system). This sensor unit monitors the cooling system, engine oil level, and battery state of charge, detecting faults before they devolve into serious and expensive mechanical failures.


Throughout their journey, the vehicle proved reliable, encountering only minor issues. A back shock broke in Namibia due to the rough roads, but a skilled welder promptly fixed it. In Malawi, they faced a significant problem when the universal joint of the front axle broke, but this was swiftly resolved. There are still many Land Rovers in East Africa as they are used by the military and police as well as aid agencies (though most NGOs prefer the Toyota Land Cruiser), and spare parts are readily available.


What really sets this Defender apart from other vehicles is the addition of two large, cast-iron potjie pots (Dutch ovens), one bolted to the top of either flat fender. A Hi-lift jack is bolted above the bull bar, forming a bridge between the two pots; how the couple has managed to travel Africa without being stopped by every upright uniform, we will never know. Despite their weight and bulk, the pots are an excellent culinary accessory for travel as they can be used to cook everything from a quick pasta to a day-long stew, as well as doubling as an oven for baking bread and cakes. Unfortunately, the pots, the Hi-lift jack, and other accessories were stolen from the Land Rover during an all-to-common electricity blackout in South Africa back in September 2022 but were replaced.


Preparing the Defender 130 for their epic journey took six months, during which they also managed the logistics of moving out of their house and organizing the necessary travel documents. Their route was carefully planned to meander through Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, and along the East Coast of Africa up to Europe, aiming to savor every moment and flavor of the journey rather than just focusing on the destination. This adventure was not just a road trip but a culinary expedition, leading to the creation of the “Potjie2Pint” moniker as this concept encapsulated the essence of their journey: from potjie (a traditional South African stew) in South Africa to pint (beer) in Belgium. Chef Marjan took every opportunity to cook with local ingredients and paired the meals with regional craft beers.

The journey was filled with incredible experiences as they traveled through countries like Malawi, Tanzania, and Kenya. However, geopolitical tensions at the Ethiopian border and subsequent health issues forced them to cut their trip short. They returned to South Africa for medical care, and the dream of reaching Belgium by road remained unfulfilled. However, their spirit remained undeterred. After recovery, they moved back to Belgium and shipped Mzungu there. They now plan to explore Europe before eventually driving back to South Africa when the geopolitical situation stabilizes in East Africa, or they may be forced to travel the perilous but adventurous West African route.

Marjan and Patricia’s story is a testament to the spirit of adventure and the joys of embracing new cultures and experiences. Although interrupted, their overland journey from South Africa to Belgium remains an inspiring tale of exploration, culinary discovery, and the unbreakable bond between two people united by their love for travel, adventure, and each other. Reflecting on their experiences, the couple regrets only one thing: not starting their overlanding adventures sooner. Marjan is currently working on a book about their Potjie2Pint trip, combining their adventures with their unique recipes.


Land Rover Specifications

1998 Land Rover Defender 130


2.5-liter 300Tdi turbo-diesel engine

Suspension and Drive

  • Standard drive train with center differential lock
  • Terra Firma heavy-duty suspension
  • Extra inner coil “helper” springs and a 2-inch lift

Wheels and Tires

  • Heavy-duty steel rims
  • BFGoodrich All-Terrain K02 tires

Recovery and Armor

  • Tmax 950 winch
  • Bull bar
  • Bash plate


  • Garmin Overlander
  • Garmin inReach
  • Fully functional kitchen (gas stove, oven)
  • Nespresso machine
  • National Luna 90-liter twin fridge/freezer
  • Hot water boiler (gas/electricity)


AC Motor Homes

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Graeme Bell is an author and explorer who has dedicated his life to traveling the planet by land, seeking adventure and unique experiences. Together with his wife and two children, Graeme has spent the last decade living permanently on the road in a self-built Land Rover based camper. They have explored 27 African countries (including West Africa), circumnavigated South America, and driven from Argentina to Alaska, which was followed by an exploration of Europe and Western Asia before returning to explore the Americas. Graeme is the Senior Editor 4WD for Expedition Portal, a member of the Explorers Club, the author of six books, and an Overland Journal contributor since 2015. You can follow Graeme's adventures across the globe on Instagram at graeme.r.bell