Importing & Licensing the Land Rover

After tearful goodbyes and handing over the keys to our lovely home we were on our way and ready to deal with the importing and licensing of Landy.

Of course Landy was still on the ship when we arrived in Cape Town and so we had rented a car and a cute little place in the village of Kommetjie on the Cape Peninsula for 3 weeks so that we could collect Landy and complete her kitting out whilst living in comfort.

Kommetjie is a pretty place with lovely sandy beaches which are popular with surfers due to some pretty good waves.  The beach here joins up to the one in Noordhoek where the sand goes on for miles and it is perfect for walking. A stroll along here became something of a daily routine for us and, as we had arrived in April, we had some lovely warm days but the notorious winds were starting to pick up and the walk could quickly turn into a natural exfoliation experience. However the sunset over the ocean, creating wonderful colours in the clouds and on the water was something you can easily get used to. This part of the trip was very much a long holiday, no roughing it in the wild bush here!

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Golden Sunset in Kommetjie


The wonderfully sandy Noordhoek beach.

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Shipping the Land Rover, England to South Africa

And so the Land Rover was ready for packing, ready for shipping.

We now had storage space and we began to fill it up. We had eight sturdy plastic boxes and storage space in every nook and cranny we could find. Two of the boxes would be for food, two were filled with the clothes, one was full of medical supplies and  toiletry items, one for shoes and other sundry items (including Julie’s hairdryer and straighteners!), another box would be filled with charcoal and the last would contain various replacement oils for Landy (well, it is a Land Rover- you only know its run out of oil because it stops leaking!)

Spare parts and a full tool kit were packed in as well as Bradt guide books for every country and wildlife books as well as all the other bits and pieces we felt we couldn’t live without.

We had booked a container and the car would be driven into it, with the roof tent strapped to the back as it was too high to fit in the container with it fixed onto the roof. So on 19 March Keith drove up to Tilbury, followed by our good friend Dom in his Landy  to bring him home. All the paperwork had been completed and we left Landy in the dockyard all ready to load onto the Maersk Langkloof ship for shipping to Cape Town.

We were able to track the ships progress on a useful website, just to make sure it was still afloat!

So all that was left for us to do now was pack up all our personal belongings in our house and get it ready to rent out, have a farewell get-together with our friends and family, leave our jobs and get on the plane. That sounds really simple, but the last few weeks were manic and as the day of the flight approached our excitement was tinged with apprehension. It was suddenly dawning on us – we were really doing this!

Landy at Tilbury 2

Landy at Tilbury and her ship.

Landy's Ship

We have put together a list of everything we took with us – see the tab above.

Kitting out the Land Rover for overlanding in Africa

We have owned our Land Rover for about 10 years and it was basically a good runner when we decided to embark on our overland adventure. We did toy with the idea of buying a vehicle in South Africa but taking our own gave us a couple of distinct advantages:

  1. We knew what we were getting. Keith would be able to do all the work on her and by the time she was shipped would know every engine part, nut and bolt intimately. Better the devil you know…..
  2. All the kitting out of the car could be done here and we could get it exactly how we wanted it. No time wasted once we arrived and much cheaper as, again, Keith could do the work over several months instead of paying  someone in Cape Town to get it done in a couple of weeks.

There would, however, be some advantages to  buying a ready equipped vehicle in South Africa instead of shipping your own, particularly if you are not mechanically minded. All the equipment for camping and overlanding is much cheaper in South Africa and there is plenty of choice. There is also the option of buying a fully equipped overland trailer. These are seriously cool and do have the advantage of being able to leave them in a campsite (although there are security considerations with this). Probably a Toyota would be the easiest vehicle to get fully equipped and there are plenty of companies selling them in South Africa. Try

In any event we decided to kit the car out ourselves and the only large purchase we made when we arrived was a fridge/freezer; they really are much cheaper there. In a friends barn Keith took all the back seats out and fitted sliding bases into the footwells to take a cooker and a fridge/freezer. He then ordered two gull wing side doors for the back which would house our kitchen storage and clothes storage with lesser used items stored  underneath them.  The back was fitted with a heavy duty sliding platform which then had eight storage boxes put onto it to hold everything we would need.  Keith also changed the door arrangement at the back so that half of it dropped down and the upper half lifted to make access easy. Underneath this slider was the Land Rover spare parts – lots of them! Around the edges of the back storage area, up near the ceiling, were stored larger items. On the top of the roof was the roof tent as well as a spare wheel and jerry cans. We already had the roof tent but they are cheaper to buy in South Africa as they are very popular. A space for spare wheels and jerry cans and a water tank fitted underneath where the back seats used to be finished the transformation into overland truck. All this took several months of work, all in the evenings and weekends as Keith still had a full time day job.

Here are some photos of the Landy at the kitting out stage:


The cooker on the sliding out floor. The water tank is underneath these sliders.


The space for the fridge/freezer showing the slider. The fridge/freezer was purchased in South Africa.


The side panel gull wing doors – one would house the “kitchen” and the other for clothes bags.


The back slider – 8 clear storage boxes would be stored on top of this 

Once fully kitted out this is what she looked like, but we did tweak a few things along the way as we thought of better ways of organising our “house on wheels”



Any questions on kitting out a vehicle? – Post a question for us by using the comments button at the top of this post .

Check out our Facebook page for snippets of our trip.