Recently Katy achieved one of her lifetime ambitions: she bought her own Land Rover Defender. Its a bit bigger than the Ford Ka she drove in Durham, and a lot heavier on the diesel, but that’s not the point. In Zimbabwe we missed out on a lot of the wilder places that we always wanted to visit because we didn’t have our own 4×4. Now we don’t have to miss out. A popular sticker on the back of 4x4s says “you can go faster but i can go anywhere”. We have always enjoyed exploring remote places and watching wildlife, and now the Landy will allow us to do just that. We used to drive Defenders for work in Zimbabwe, so its great to finally have one of our own.
Dad would be impressed with the cargo space and roof rack – imagine how much timber and foam you could carry dad!
In southern Africa there is a big rivalry between owners of the different types of off-road vehicle. Although often referred to as the vehicle that tamed Africa, today Land Rover owners are in the minority and they get a bit of a tough time. We became the butt of a few jokes before we collected the vehicle. But Defender owners are a passionate bunch – we always get a wave from other Defender drivers, and one guy we met said
if you cut my veins, little defenders come out!
Since our Landy is white we christened it Mukiwa, which is a term used to refer to white people in Africa (plus the title of a good book). It was derived from the word originally used by Africans to refer to Europeans explorers, and translated literally means “aimless wanderer”. We thought it was a good name for the Landy. That plus its going to get very mucky!
We will be testing out Mukiwa on a camping trip to Kruger National Park over New Year with Julia and Pete. A Defender is overkill for Kruger, with its tar roads, restaurants, shops, bank, post office and golf course (!), but it is nearby and has great game viewing. Hopefully we will be able to avoid the worst of the crowds by staying on the gravel roads and sticking to the less populated north of the Park. Stay tuned for (hopefully) pictures of lions, leopards, cheetahs, wild dogs, crocodiles, hippos, elephants, rhinos, impala, giraffe and zebra, all gnawing on each other/humping! Or, more likely, a few shots of us braaing and looking hungover.