Let’s drive right in
African Travel Bird, we’re huge fans of the Landrover Defender. So much so that it has become a huge part of what we post online, who we follow on the social pages and generally what we’re talking about morning, noon and night. Our landy has yet to be named after years of having her but give it time, her name will come to us eventually, when she’s right and ready. Perhaps some suggestions?
Not many get it, this feeling she invokes. It can be said that only those that have driven a landy or have driven in a landy as a passenger can truly appreciate why our world revolves around this big hunk of a beast, this creature that costs us a fortune to fuel, who spends a couple of days in the workshop a year (okay, maybe more than a couple of days), this iconic vehicle that inspires humans to travel, to share, to explore, to wave to their fellow landy drivers, hooting and flashing lights. It’s simple. Or, for us it is.
This is not just a vehicle. This is a community. This is a drive into the past and… into the future where we as humans try to connect more and more with the world around us. A vehicle that encourages that very ideology and, those who drive them…embrace all and everything that comes with the love for a landy.
But you’ve lost your mind, why travel in a landy?
You, yes you reading this blog. Bet you can name one family member who has had a landy. Think back now. Perhaps an uncle, a granddad or… grandmother. Myself, Taryn who writes the blogs you’ll find on this site had two landies growing up. A puke green machine and a brown’ish devil. One of which I managed to roll down a hill by fiddling with the handbrake when just a toddler. Sorry dad.
These were my dad’s pride and joy. Heck, he complained about them nonstop but the adventures we had! Climbing the dunes (and one time rolling down one…), traversing the Richtersveld, sleeping in the back when we camped along the Orange River, sitting on the wheel on the bonnet cruising the salt pans, things I would never let my own child do but… we had FUN! The love for landies was entrenched at a young age. The Man’s grandad also had a landy which would be used along the beach, bringing the boat in and out of the water and, from what I’m told, was held together by pure luck and maybe some spit. We both found the perfect partner. Landy lovers!
We’ve heard all the jokes!
Don’t let your vehicle mark its territory on our driveway.
Did you know that most Landrovers ever made are still on the road? The rest managed to make it home.
When you stop at a petrol station do you ask the petrol attendant to check the fuel level and fill up the oil.
All those stickers landy drivers usually display on their windows…that’s how many towns they’ve stopped at to have repairs done.
Defender drivers are always waving at each other in passing. Not due to comradery but to let the other know that their hands are clean and they have not broken down.
Yes, yes, you’re all willing to make fun of them but secretly want to drive them as well!
We’re not going to lie. S#*t happens! We’ve spent our fair amount of time in the garage shop. But, we think we’ve worked out all the kinks. Touch wood. From wipers falling off mid storm, throttle cable snapping, a bit of water getting in when it rains, someone stealing our petrol cap getting water and dust mingled with the fuel. But…it’s kind of part of the adventure. Some expletives are exchanged at the moment it happens but, we end up laughing about it afterward and our friends certainly enjoy our tails of woe judging by the belly laughs we get when telling them of our latest adventure and…what went wrong with the landy. Okay, slight exaggeration. The landy has managed to make it to Port Nolloth and then back to Durban without one single issue… except we ran out of petrol twice. But it was one awesome trip and there were many waves from fellow landy drivers along the way!
Right about now…
Right now, you’re probably thinking I will never drive a landy. Such an unreliable vehicle. Why put up with the hassle? Would you ask Winston Churchill why he was mad enough to drive a landy? Would you ask the same of Sir David Attenborough or…even the Queen of England? Yes, folks…all landy drivers and they LOVED/LOVE them!
It is becoming exceedingly difficult to pick up an old Defender at a reasonable price. Those that are still running smoothly are snatched up quickly and those that are in tip top shape go for a small fortune. We can’t all be loopy-mad?! There’s got to be something to this madness.
We’ve said it above and we’ll say it again. It’s the sense of community. A sense of connecting with your fellow human through a common love for this classic vehicle, it’s the nostalgia you feel bumping along dirt roads off on an adventure, it’s sharing this love of the Defender with those nearest and dearest to you, it’s the waving to your fellow landy drivers when on the road, the laughter, the breakdowns, the terrain where most can’t go, the simplistic…the love for the Landrover Defender.
If you’ve enjoyed this blog, please do leave us a comment or follow us on Instagram where you can get a sneak-peek on what’s happening behind the scenes.
And, for those landy enthusiasts… some pages we’ve enjoyed following on Instagram:
Over and out and time to go and hop into the noisy beast with no name.