By Francois Huysamen
Arguably one of the most talked-about new caravans to be launched this year is the Okapi by Nayela. This is the first leisure caravan to be built by Nayela, who are actually a manufacturer of multi-purpose trailvans for horses, quadbikes, motorcycles, etc.
The Okapi is an innovative design from top to bottom, front to back. The first aspects you’ll notice on this new caravan is the aerodynamic nose, the double axle, the lift-up roof, and the high departure angle at the back.
These interesting designs are continued on the luxurious interior, where the front area consists of a half-circle of seating, an island bed on a slide-out in the middle, and a bathroom at the back.
The Okapi is constructed from a fibreglass mono-hull body (meaning it’s one piece that comes from a mould), and fibreglass underside on an Al-Ko chassis. Most of the interior is also moulded shapes.
Tare: +/- 1 250 kg
Length: 6 920 mm
Width: 1 998 mm
Height: 2 094 mm
Price: From R395 000
Nayela say they decided on a double axle caravan not due to the weight of the caravan, but because of the safety aspects as well as the condition of the roads in South Africa.
Bennie Cilliers says: “We have an increasing amount of potholes on our roads. And the advantage of a double axle is that your wheel never goes into the pothole, it goes over. You are going to have a much smoother ride.
“Speaking of the ride… when the Okapi’s roof is closed, the caravan is about as high as a Prado, so you know it fits into a standard garage. It’s also much more aerodynamic than some other caravans, because it’s the same height as your tow vehicle. This means you tow easier, and you have better fuel consumption.”
Bennie says the concept of the Nayela is a luxury caravan that can go off-road. Some of the important points of luxury they added include a bigger door which is wider than the average caravan door, a 170 L fridge that’s positioned right at the door for access from inside and outside, and an exclusive lounge area with leather-touch fabric.
Customers can choose to either have the lounge in the front, or another double bed. These designs are not interchangeable.
At the back of the caravan is a bathroom with separate toilet and shower. The toilet is a full flush system, connected to the caravan’s water system. The cassette is removed from the outside at the back.
For ease op setup, the Okapi’s roof and slide-out double bed are operated electronically.
The exterior kitchen is situated behind three hatches. The biggest hatch at the back folds down to set up a two-burner gas stove and washbasin unit.
Above the wheels are two more hatches, one that folds up to reveal packing space, and one below that folds down to create a work surface, and behind which is more packing space and a microwave.
Customers can also choose to have the microwave on the inside, where there is also a work surface.
All of this creates a caravan that looks modern on the inside and outside, and combined with a double axle with 2 ton rating per axle, dual rubber suspension, 205/70/16” wheels and 25 degree departure angle, it seems ready for some rough roads.