The big trip thru Southern Africa

Written by Sven Larsen  -  Updated on 2020-05-14

The idea for a long overland-trip probably came up sometime between my trip to Africa in 2010 and  2016. As project manager for international projects for radioscopic and CT inspection systems for a broad variety of industrial applications and fields and travelling to customers, I have the great chance to go travelling not only during holidays, but also get the chance to take a 4 month downtime in 2019. Travelling in a well-equipped 4wd was the way of travelling that suited me best, so, in 2017, after another year of trying to find the right 4wd, I bought my Land Rover Defender Td4/Puma from 2009 and started converting it to a proper overland vehicle.


Parallel to all the planning and the conversion of the Land Rover, apart from shorter trips to Danmark, France, Spain and the Carpathian Mountains, I started to look for a proper “route“ to travel for my (first) big road trip. ... First, the plan was to start in Germany and go down south to Western Africa. Then, after the outbreak of Ebola in DR Congo and the instabile political situation had to be considered, I decided to ship the Yeti (Defender) to Walvis Bay in Namibia. Taking this into account, the overall idea is to start in southern Africa, visit our friends in Windhoek, see where the roads would take me first and then try go further northeast before going back south, crossing Botsuana and exploring South Africa.

Expected travel route


 Car preparation


The Yeti is ready for shipping, on Sunday we will drive to Antwerp to handover the car.

In Belgium we will prepare the YETI, mount all security options and move the spare tire from the roof top tent to the hood to reduce vehicle height.

Handover of YETI to forwader in Antwerp

Preparing the Defender for the shipment at the hotel in Antwerp. Spare tire is mounted on the hood, access to the rear is now blocked with one of the sand ladders.

At ICO car terminal in the habour. 

On the way back from Antwerp via train to Amsterdam and via plane to Hamburg. Such a nice Train Station in Antwerp.



2019-08-18 - 2019-08-19

We drove to Antwerp to our first destination. At the Hotel in Antwerp we planed to setup all safety features.

Unfortunately we had an issues with the starter motor again.

The car was not starting again after parking at the hotel. We called the VAB Breakdown Assistance and set an emergancy message in the Overland-Bound WhatsApp group.

A guy from VAB showed up 40 minutes after the call and was able to find the issue, a corroded ground connection to the engine block. Thanks god it was an easy fix and for a talented techican.

We also got great feedback from the OB emergency message call. We got a contact from Toom of an Defender expert in Antwerp and he was willing to show up and support us on a sunday. He showed up with his girlfriend and we talked for a while. A realy nice couple and I can highly recommend them for any kind of Defender things.

Here a link to his page:




 The day after we did some photos of the car and drove to the ICO Terminal to handover the car.

Handover was smooth and easy and took just 1 hour.

* Park here and walk to the ICO Building

  • Scan your passport on one of the machines to get a barcode sticker
  • Fill out a form with car and shipping details
  • Get a discharge note, key ring for the car keys and a directions map

*  Drive to the inspection bay (We had to use bay 2)

  • Enter the 4 digit PIN number from the discharge note and drive through
  • An inspector will check your car and put a sticker on the windscreen.

* Drive to the waiting position

  • Wait for an instructor and follow him

* Park your car and leave your keys in using the key     ring

  • The instructor will drive you back to the exit (Gates building)

If needed you can call a Taxi from the security building (building with the 3 flags in front)

Direction map                                                                                                                         Discharge note


We took the taxi to Antwerp Central Rail Station and the train in direction to Amsterdam.

From Amsterdam we took the plane back to Hamburg.


Enough excitement for just two days.

Link to track my route and current position

using Garmin MapShare and the Garmin InReach Mini. Password required.