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Outdoors

More intrepid travellers are opting for life in a van

This #vanlife trend is apparently growing in SA, and has its positives and negatives, according to MotorHappy

13 July 2022 - 16:14 By Motoring Reporter
Many local manufacturers, such as Volkswagen, sell campervans and modify them for their customers.
Many local manufacturers, such as Volkswagen, sell campervans and modify them for their customers.
Image: Supplied

Would you live in a van? This is a huge trend according to Barend Smit, marketing director of MotorHappy, a supplier of motor management solutions and car insurance options.

Since the coronavirus pandemic there has been a huge increase in the number of Europeans and Americans choosing to travel, and even live, in a converted camper van or other mobile homes. Does #vanlife have as much potential for growth in SA? 

Van Life is a nomadic, minimalistic lifestyle which many people are choosing as a holiday option to explore a destination, while others actively choose to live in a van and adopt this on-the-road lifestyle as a more permanent lifestyle choice.

A couple packed everything they needed into a caravan and have been exploring SA together with their pets for the past few years while another family of six is travelling around SA in a double-decker bus and home schooling their children along the way. Back in 2018 a Capetonian couple travelled around the country with their three children in a 1974 VW Jurgens camper van. They are once again settled in Cape Town.

“Living on the road long-term or planning extended road trips has become a very real possibility now that many jobs are remote. All you really need is a good internet connection, a power supply and a reliable source of income,” says Smit.

There’s a variety of vehicle options, but if you opt for a kombi-type of van, you will need a conversion kit, or you could do a custom build. Beware though, a custom build is not always the cheapest option and it would only really be handy if you were skilled in DIY.

Smit says there are two key reasons why the uptake in van life might be a little slower in SA: “We have obvious security concerns. Simply parking on the side of the road, called ‘wild camping’, is risky — and, in fact, illegal in SA. You’re not allowed to park on the side of the road here.

“This means you would need to book into caravan parks or campsites, or other types of establishments, all of which drive up expenses and make this type of lifestyle a little less accessible here than it is in Europe or America.”

Below are some of the pros and cons of van life:

Pros

  • Freedom and flexibility to travel and explore our beautiful country
  • Embrace a minimalist lifestyle and learn to live without unnecessary luxuries
  • Connect to nature
  • Learn new things about life and yourself with new experiences all the time.

Cons

  • It might be challenging to find remote work that could fund your adventures
  • This can be an expensive way to live, especially with rising fuel and vehicle prices, and the need to park in camping sites or similar establishments
  • Lack of access to ablution facilities, especially if your mobile home isn’t kitted out with showers and a toilet
  • Living in a tight space can get messy
  • Mechanical issues are to be expected, especially with high use.

 

Here are some campervan sales and rental companies:

campersales.co.za

bobocampers.com

vestronox.co.za

kennis.co.za

safaricampers.co.za

 

There are numerous campervan options including this removable camper body that fits on to the back of a bakkie.
There are numerous campervan options including this removable camper body that fits on to the back of a bakkie.
Image: Supplied
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