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