Every time I drive into the premises of Motorhome-World, I get a tingling of excitement because I know that I am going to see something exciting.
My latest visit was no different – as usual, the latest custom motorhome to come out of the factory was standing waiting in the parking area.
It doesn’t take more than a second or two to notice a couple of interesting design elements on the brand new Sprinter: first, there are the bubble windows on the sides at the back of the van, and then there’s the custom-shaped roof rack which spans the entire roof and even curves over the front to above the windscreen.
But before I start poking around the motorhome, I pull up to the office to greet Dennis Bouwers, one of the managing directors of Motorhome-World.
To my surprise, I find him in discussion with a client: well-known writer and TV personality Patricia Glyn, whose unique motorhome we had featured back in 2018.
Patricia was all smiles and only had high praise for Dennis and the team after enjoying years of travel in “Big Al” (the name she had given to her motorhome).
Apparently, she is planning even more amazing adventures and additions to her vehicle… watch this space!
After a quick chat and a cup of coffee, it was time to take a proper look at the latest custom build from Motorhome-World.
Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 319 CDI AWD
Engine: 2987 cc
Power: 140 kW
Max Torque: 440 Nm
Dennis tells CaravanSA: “The client already had a vehicle: a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 319 CDI AWD.
“It was an enjoyable project to work on, because this is a short wheelbase and the client wanted a lot: double bed, lots of storage, kitchen, and even a bathroom.”
In order to fit everything the client requested, the Motorhome-World team came up with a smart design that allowed fitting the bed sideways in the rear without compromising size.
Short wheelbase vehicles usually don’t allow for motorhome conversions with a sideways bed in the rear… there’s not really enough space.
“If you are short, you can have a smaller bed, but you also have to think about resale – who is going to buy a motorhome with a bed they don’t fit in?” says Dennis.
“So for this vehicle, we installed ‘pop eye’ windows in the side panels at the rear. This gives you just enough extra space to fit the bed sideways.”
Very clever. And I have to add that it also adds a nice aesthetic touch when you look at the vehicle outside.
Fitting the bed sideways is not all that makes it special: In order to create more storage space (and easier access to your “cache”), the bed can be fully lifted to the roof.
Imported from Europe (Motorhome-World is the sole supplier for Lippert Components Inc in South Africa), the system lifts or lowers the bed in seconds with the press of a button.
Below the bed are storage spaces on either side, now easily accessible thanks to the bed hanging securely in the roof.
The passenger-side storage has two sections, the smaller which also gives access to the batteries (2 x 170amp/hr Victron Super Cycle).
The driver-side side storage section provides packing space, and also houses the 120L stainless steel water tank.
Between the built-in storage sections is a walkthrough, which can also be used for storage.
Above the bed is a Fiamma 12V turbo vent.
Having the bed sideways in the back allowed the Motorhome-World team to install a full bathroom in the middle section of the vehicle on the driver’s side.
With space (and weight) that are limited on the short-wheelbase Sprinter, the bathroom is a wet bathroom with a toilet, basin, shower (hot and cold), a toiletries cabinet, and two small shelves.
The kitchen area is on the passenger side (opposite the bathroom), and apart from providing you with the luxury of a fold-out work surface, Thetford two-burner gas stove, sink with running hot and cold water, and a 90L 12V compressor fridge/freezer (next to the bathroom on driver’s side), you also get an astonishing amount of storage space.
There are cupboards everywhere: one to the left of the kitchen (next to bed), two cupboards above the kitchen, three big slide-out drawers below the stove, another big storage space above the fridge, and two more drawers below the fridge.
Wait, there’s more: next to the fridge is a hanging closet.
And finally, below the fold-out work surface on the side of the kitchen is another cupboard with a small safe.
The kitchen also has a fold-out work surface on the outside (revealing more storage) that is accessible when you open the sliding door on the passenger side.
Dining area & details
To round off the house-on-wheels comfort of the motorhome, this unit also has a small dining area.
Simply swivel around the driver and passenger seats, fold out the arm next to the fridge, attach the table surface on top, and voila: you have a space to sit and eat inside the motorhome.
Sitting in the comfy seat and looking around, I notice the high-quality finishings and expert design and material that we can always expect from Motorhome-World.
From the reflective black surfaces of the fridge/freezer and stove to the shining hinges and locks, and of course some rounded cupboard doors and corners, as well as the elegant LED lighting strip in the kitchen panel… this really is as good as you can get in a motorhome.
The pinpoint downlights in the roof perfectly round off the ambiance of luxury. And if you need more light, there are multiple touch-LED lights spaced throughout the vehicle.
And with more than enough plug points and USB ports conveniently situated all over the interior of the motorhome, all your electronic needs are taken care of.
Building a custom motorhome is always a challenge – finding a way to make the client’s dream a reality is a delicate balance of practicality, innovation, and creativity. With a big amount of expertise added, of course.
This is what Motorhome-World specialise in!
Dennis says: “These clients do a lot of traveling. They have an off-road caravan, but they wanted an overlander for Southern Africa bush experiences.
“And this vehicle is an overlander for long term travel experiences.
“The biggest challenge is to fit everything the client wants – it’s tough to keep the Sprinter 4×4 light since you already start with a high threshold as the base is heavy.”
Apart from clever design, Motorhome-World also incorporates a special technique for lining their motorhomes. This not only saves weight (and time), but because the panels are bonded with a signature technique, you also get a beautiful, clean look on the inside since no screws are used.
“For this build, the client also wanted a big roof rack, solar panels, as well as an awning – all basically essential for long African travels,” Dennis adds.
That’s a lot to get on the roof of the Sprinter.
Motorhome-World’s solution was to build a custom roof rack with two 200 watt solar panels below it on slide-outs.
The Fiamma 3,2m manual crank out awning is then attached to the vehicle, not the roof rack.
Access to the roof is via a ladder on the driver’s side.
The exterior finishings are as neat as the interior, with Motorhome-World’s signature styling and design decals and Discoverer branding.
◦ 52L National Luna fridge (slide-out underneath bed)
◦ Spare wheel bracket at rear
◦ LED work lamps in corners
◦ Fiamma 3,2m manual crank-out awning
◦ 200 Watt solar panels
◦ Victron Energy MPPT 100/50amp solar regulator
◦ Victron Energy Inverter System – 12 volt / 2000W / 80amp charger
◦ Interior control panel and separate high precision battery monitor
◦ 2 x 170amp/hr Victron Energy Super Cycle batteries (with hold-down system)
◦ Outside shower
◦ Aluminium roof rack (including slides for solar panels)
◦ Pop-eyed (bubbles) at rear to create more room for sleeping
◦ 120L stainless steel water tank
◦ Full wet bathroom
◦ 2-burner gas stove
◦ Sink (hot and cold water
◦ Fiamma 12V turbo vent
◦ Lipper drop-down bed
◦ 90L Thetford fridge/freezer (12V)
◦ Downlights in roof
◦ USB ports & 220V plug points