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Product Review: Bush Lapa Ratel 4

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The ratel or honey badger is, without a doubt, the toughest little oke in the African bush. Jannie Oeschger and his team at Bush Lapa have taken this feisty bushveld creature’s characteristics and built them into their new Ratel range of off-road caravans.

We joined Jannie on the banks of the Berg River Resort near Paarl to go over the new unit. As Jannie went
about setting up the Ratel 4, I took photographs and asked lots of questions. One answer was, ‘We brought out the Ratel at the end of last year. We saw the need for a larger caravan in the market and we wanted to grow our range.’

Like all the Bush Lapa range, the Ratel is incredibly strong, yet lightweight, with the main body and chassis made from 3CR12 stainless steel. All the Bush Lapa models besides the Ratel range fit into a standard garage.

I have met many fanatical Bush Lapa owners on my trips around the country. The common refrain is, ‘They’re so easy to set up, they’re comfortable, and you can take them anywhere your 4×4 can go.’

There are plenty to choose from, as there are six variants in the Ratel range alone. Our mission was to get up close, photograph, ask questions and see whether the Bush Lapa Ratel 4 lived up to its advertising: ‘…Think light. Think 4×4. Think compact. Think queen-sized bed. Think 10 minute set-up, fully equipped kitchen and long-lasting rust resistance… Once you have a Bush Lapa, you’ll never travel without it.’

I’m hoping to take one of Bush Lapa off-road caravans on an extended trip, to southern Namibia. After having spent a whole day with Jannie, the chief designer of the Ratel, I really was impressed.

Words & Images Richard van Ryneveld

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