When it comes to size and car­ry­ing ca­pac­ity, noth­ing beats a De­fender 130

Land Rover Monthly - - Welcome - ED­I­TOR PA­TRICK CRUYWAGEN

“I was lit­er­ally star­ing down sev­eral bar­rels at once”

The in­ter­view for our cover feature on page 42 got me think­ing about some of the crazy trips I have done in a De­fender 130. At the top of the pile has to be a trip through cen­tral and west Africa a decade ago. We flew into Ban­gui, the cap­i­tal of the Cen­tral African Repub­lic (CAR), on a mil­i­tary plane. Our mis­sion was sim­ple: drive a De­fender 130 pick-up back to Ghana via Cameroon, Chad, Niger, Burk­ina Faso and fi­nally Ghana. There were six of us, in­clud­ing me, plus kit, and I got to sit in the open back with our guide.

We wanted to see the low­land moun­tain go­ril­las and Pygmy tribe, which was not a good idea as they were in a no-go area of the coun­try at the time. All was go­ing rather well un­til a Toy­ota pick-up, with a rather large gun mounted in the back, pulled in be­hind us. It’s oc­cu­pants were all armed with AK-47S and they did not look happy. I was lit­er­ally star­ing down sev­eral bar­rels at once. For­tu­nately we were not the source of their un­hap­pi­ness and af­ter a few miles they pulled off the track and left us alone. At that time CAR, Niger and Chad were not very tourist-friendly places and so we kept a low pro­file. Still, it was mem­o­rable trip; we wild camped in the desert and stayed with friendly lo­cals.

Our 130 was pretty stan­dard and was car­ry­ing a se­ri­ous load – a job it did well – with­out raising a sweat and we de­liv­ered it safely to the Land Rover deal­er­ship in Acrra, the cap­i­tal of Ghana, be­fore fly­ing home. If you’re look­ing for a heavy­weight De­fender then a 130 will not let you down. I can vouch for that. I hope you en­joy this is­sue and it in­spires you to plan your own trip this year, whether you have a 130 or not.

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