Safari camping perfected!
If you’re a bakkie owner, there are few better ways to transform your vehicle into a fully kitted bush contender than with an Abba Camper canopy.
Jos Joubert of Abba Campers has been camping all his life and is fortunate enough to have met and married a partner who shares his passion. Together they have tried all possible forms of camping, from army tents to caravans to off-road trailers and rooftop tents. As their family expanded, their camping needs changed, and eventually Jos decided to build his own trailer.
When the kids grew up, Jos and his wife once again found that their exact needs were not being met. This, combined with challenges regarding his health, gave rise to the concept of a safari camper that fits onto your everyday vehicular workhorse, sets up in minutes and is easy to install or remove.
Abba Campers offer various models that fit Land Cruisers or club-cab and double-cab bakkies, as well as other off-road vehicles and larger trucks. These models vary in length and width and are custom-made to fit your particular vehicle.
We took a closer look at two models offered by this innovative manufacturer.
This model is the widest and longest in the Abba line-up; it fits snugly onto the rear of the Land Cruiser range of pick-up vehicles. The basic concept is the same for all the models in the Abba range, offering daytime living space between the two side walls of the camper and an interior bedroom accessed via a stepladder that’s fitted onto the rear of the unit. The bed is towards the front of the camper unit, above the vehicle’s roof. The roof of the camper is split into two sections that pop up quite cleverly using gas struts. These sections form a V-shape, which means there’s sufficient headroom at the point where you step inside and also in the bedroom area.
The left side of the Cruiser Safari houses the kitchen. As with many off-road trailers and caravans, this unit can be accessed through a portion of the side wall that folds open and is kept in a horizontal position by chains attached to the side of the camper. Not only does this concept provide a handy area for food preparation, but it also allows you to fit an additional table that slides neatly into the access door of the kitchen unit; this means all your food preparation requirements are within easy reach. The interior of the kitchen has several shelves and pockets for your crockery, groceries and other food items. To the left of the kitchen is a second door housing three plastic sliding drawers ideal for food items, cutlery and cooking utensils. This storage area also contains additional packing space below the drawers that’s deep enough for pots and pans. A door to the right of the kitchen unit opens to reveal three additional shelves. So, overall, there’s more than enough packing and stowage space for long trips.
A Howling Moon awning fitted to this side of the camper takes just a few minutes to erect when you need shade or shelter from the elements. There’s certainly no shortage of place to stash things. On the right of the Cruiser Safari, packing space for other camping equipment is provided behind two more hatches. A feature that’s sure to be very popular on this model is the shower, which you’ll find in an exterior cupboard on this side of the camper. It comes complete with its own stepping platform! The on/off switch for the 220 V/gas geyser is easily controlled from this shower unit, and various attachments for a shower tent can be installed if preferred.
You’ll make your way into the sleeping quarters through a door at the back of the camper, where a built-in ladder folds down to ground level. Inside the door there’s a convenient liquor cabinet that’s reachable from both inside and out. Inside there’s packing space aplenty! On the left I noticed a corner cupboard with a handy basin at counter height, a portable toilet storage unit with seating space above it, and a third cupboard with stacks of shelves and packing space. The road side has an additional corner cupboard, more seating space, and a secured frame for a fridge-freezer, designed to accommodate one of the larger models. Interestingly, the camper is wide and spacious enough not to feel cramped. The front wall of the rear section, just behind the cab of the bakkie, has more stashing space. Here you’ll also find the camper’s electric power unit. A plastic stepladder provides access to the bed – speaking of which, the bed’s dimensions are massive. It’s also surrounded by canvas, with mosquito netting in places, bolstering the sensation of spaciousness, luxury and freedom.
The interior layout in the double-cab model is very similar to that of the Cruiser Safari. But, because this unit is shorter and narrower, some space and luxury has been compromised. For example, this model contains only one seating area and doesn’t include the interior basin.
The philosophy behind Abba Campers’ products is all about ease of use. Every effort has been made to reduce weight, without compromising on camping convenience or even luxury. You’re encouraged to contact Abba to chat to them about having a camper designed for your specific camping needs, whether it’s hot and cold water on tap, an electronic management system, carpeted interior walls or jerrycans and gas bottles. And the most convenient part: the entire camper can be mounted on your bakkie as and when you need it, and dismounted just as quickly and easily.