Any new vehicle is a big expense. I have never owned a new vehicle in my life, not even a demo model. The price of new vehicles invariably make me choke.  A “cheap” new 4x4, of any class, which is able to take my family to the places I want to be, is a couple of light years beyond my financial abilities and I don't even bother to investigate the possibility of ever getting one. Not even if I win the Lotto.

I can only watch with amusement when people start arguing about cars, trailers, accessories for both and “essential” camping gadgets. People who spend on accessories for their cars alone, more than what I paid for my car, my trailer and all my camping equipment together. It is nothing unusual to see camping rigs on the liberal side of R 500 000 and upwards in the middle of the bush.

Lets be realistic: From whatever angle one wants to argue, going on a yearly holiday is a luxury and a blessing and it will never be for free.  Holidays generally are expensive.  First of all, accommodation for popular camp sites alone will total a couple of thousands of rands for a two or three weeks holiday.  If you opt for a chalet or flat, the cost is many times more. 

The saying goes that a change is a good as a holiday. Extrapolate that and the bigger the change, the better the holiday. So why not go away from the city, cell phones, electricity, computers and entertainment and play with sticks and stones, smell the plants, feel the sun burn, listen to the silence, look at the stars. Priceless.

I will show you how I managed to make my setup work for comfortably below R120 000 including a vehicle that I can use every day, and it can be done for even less if the vehicle you choose do not have to do duty every day. I am convinced that this could empower other families who really want to experience bush holidays, but are trapped in the paradigms that one needs a 4x4 vehicle full of expensive kit for camping holidays.

The truth is that you don't need it. If you are prepared to live with a 10 or 20 year old 4x4 vehicle, skill yourself in the maintenance thereof and have some patience to look for good used camping equipment, it is very possible to get all you need for a comfortable holiday. Forget about the hundreds of gadgets that others claims to be a necessity.  My usual argument is, what did people do 20 years ago when those gadgets were not available? If they had a perfect time without it, why do we need it now?

Breakdown of Equipment Cost

Below is the breakdown of what I paid for my camping equipment. It took some patience to find the vehicle and trailer for these prices, so let's be reasonable and say that the budget should be raised to about R 130 000 all included. Furthermore, I like to have R 35 000 in cash available in the event of a major breakdown - like an engine overhaul. There is really no use to hope that major failures will not happen. Be prepared for it, and be safe. The rule even applies to a new vehicle.

Item Cost
1999 Land Rover Discovery 1 Tdi R 55,000.00
New tyres at time of purchase R 7,500.00
Madman EMS System R 3,500.00
Tyre Pressure Monitor R 1,500.00
Wheel Compressors R 900.00
Steel Bumper R 3,000.00
Duel Battery System R 1,500.00
Trailer R 12,000.00
6x Plastic Bins for Trailer R 700.00
Tent + Reflective Sheet R 10,000.00
Camp Furniture (beds, chairs) R 6,000.00
3x 25 litre Jerry Cans R 750.00
Kitchen Equipment R 1,000.00
Camp Fridge R 8,000.00
Torches, Batteries, Inverter R 3,000.00
Total R 114,350.00