Our opinion of our fully equipped Ford Ranger Bushcamper (Group K)
We booked this fairly compact double cab bushcamper for 4 on drivenow.co.za. The supplier was Avis and the pick-up/drop-off point was a depot in a gritty neighbourhood in Windhoek known as “Northern Industrial”. It certainly was not cheap, but I had already booked flights and having called around and been rejected by many, many car companies in February (we were travelling in August), I accepted that we would pay a peak season price (about AUD4600 or NAD46000 including cleaning fees and a compulsory contract fee for 18 days).
From our experience and the paperwork provided, this was the list of things that came with the car:
Upgraded overland suspension – 50mm lift
2.2L Diesel Engine 6 Speed Manual Transmission
BFG All Terrain Tyres 265-70-16 – Reinforced side wall
2.5 Ton Air Jack
165 Fuel Tank (long range)
220v/12v145w Solar Dual Battery Electrical System
80 Litre Stainless Water Tank – 20 Litre Gas/220V Geyser – Pressurised shower and wash up
90 Litre Fridge – Separate fridge and freezer – Twin
2 x Double Beds (sleeps 4 – plus child bed under 5 yr)
Safari Linen & Towels
2 full gas bottles
4 Chairs and a Table
Recovery Kit (jack, tyre iron, etc)
Pro tip #1: The depots in Windhoek and the airport opened from 9am-5pm. If you arrive late or early, you’ll just have to work around this!
The Ford was brand new with USB charging points in the plush cab and tyres that had plenty of tread. The camper was a solid stainless steel contraption and the bedding supplied appeared quite new and very clean. (All the cushions, pillows and doonas came wrapped in plastic, which was removed when the mechanics were prepping the car at handover).
The roof tent took all of 5 minutes to set up each day. The bedding was comfortable and the tent airy – with mesh on three sides for ventilation. “Safari linen” provided comprised of 4 pillows, 2 doonas (duvets) and bedsheets. There were also bath towels. What might be tricky for the less co-ordinated was the ladder. For the uncoordinated, this ladder could pose a challenge.
Two adults could comfortably fit in the rooftop tent, but in our opinion, only two small children could sleep in the bottom compartment, which was where bags and equipment were stored. You’d have to be carrying a reasonably minimal amount of luggage to fit two medium sized people in there. Else you’d have to shift all your bags and stuff into the cab every time you wanted to sleep in the back of the cab. So two of us slept in a ground tent which we brought from home.
The kitchen to the side of the vehicle was great – with lots of shelves and padded holes to hold bottles in place. There were camping utensils including a (blunt) knife, chopping board, mugs and wine “glasses” as well as ample cutlery and plates for four. There was also a fridge/freezer and gas stove, both which slid out on retractable trays. What we didn’t know until more than halfway into the trip was that there was a basin (for washing up) hidden in a compartment on the opposite side of the kitchen.
Pro tip #2: Everything has a place in the kitchen and is secured either with in a drawer or pocket, with clips or elastic. Quite ingenious. But you need to make sure you secure everything before you drive the unforgiving roads. We cracked a plate (that we had to later pay for) probably because it was incorrectly stored.
The deep fridge/freezer ran on the car’s auxiliary battery (charged when driving and supplemented by the solar panel on the roof). It kept cold for two days even when the vehicle wasn’t run at all. This proved quite useful for keeping food fresh even when we stayed for a couple of nights at a lodge and left the camper in the carpark.
A big metal table stowed away above the cab, while there were four foldable chairs. I know I’ve used this image before – sorry – but it’s the best one I had that illustrated our set up as well as the camper.
Pro tip #3: The fridge and freezer are both really cold when the car is regularly driven. Expect everything to be frozen solid in the freezer and icy in the fridge – we made some great coffee slushies on our journey!
On the other side of the Ford Ranger was where the second ladder was stored. There was also a little yellow spade here and a compartment which could be opened up and turned into shower. We used neither spade nor shower given the high quality of facilities at all the campsites we stayed at. Having an 80 litre water tank was a boon in the sense that we always had access to clean drinking water. The long-range fuel tank also provided great peace of mind especially in the remoter parts of Namibia.
Comment: So would we use this car again? For four of us, probably not. For two, definitely yes!
If you’re after a more upmarket, comfortable vehicle, watch our review of the Ford Ranger Group L fully-equipped luxury vehicle for 2 people.