Thursday, 17 April 2014

MOTORHOME NO 9 - Milly a Bedford "C" class in South Africa

Meet our one and only female named van (after Camilla) and what a bitch she was so males only from now on !

Milly was a 1988 Bedford Pioneer motorhome.  Dual real wheels and pretty sturdy although basic.  The layout was a "U" shaped lounge at the back which made a superb bed, fore of this a kitchen on one side then wardrobe and bathroom on the other.  The toilet was the very basic porta poti type.  Just behind the cab was a single dining area with seats on either side of the vehicle and this could make a single bed.  There was an overcab bed but the mattress was very thin so we didn't use it.

Sourcing a motorhome in South Africa was not easy as they are few and far between and relatively expensive.  By luck I found this for sale at a caravan dealer in Pietermaritzburg and as usual agreed to buy it unseen.

We paid Rand 64950 which at the time was about £4200.  The biggest problem seemed to be with the starter motor which twice had to be removed and reconditioned.  7 months into the trip we found out the fridge was wired in to the starter and draining it immediately, once rewired we had no further problems.  Other problems were all things that could be fixed cheaply and easily but just caused delays.  One good thing about an old basic van in Southern African countries is that they can botch just about anything. In Botswana the radiator hose burst and they inserted a metal pipe and connected it with jubilee clips.

We had Milly for 9 months and toured in South Africa, Swaziland, Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia and Botswana.  Absolutely loved having a motorhome over there.  Most of the time we stayed on campsites for safety but they were all reasonably priced and had great facilities.  Driving in the National Parks was amazing, in Kruger we stayed for about £10 a night in the same parks as the expensive lodges and we were able to use their swimming pool and eat at the same restaurant.

Nearing the end of the trip we went to a South African motorhome rally and were bombarded with people wanting to buy Milly.  It seems like these people had the slightly smaller version with single rear wheels and the instability had caused many accidents so they wanted our type.

Now here's the funny part of the story, whilst on the bus from Johannesburg to Pietermartizburg to collect the van we got chatting to Diana, a passenger, who invited us to visit them on their farm in the north of the country.  We did this and whilst there they fell in love with Milly and asked for first refusal when we sold her.  After being approached by people at the rally (and being offered amazing prices) we went back to  Diana and explained the situation and agreed to sell Milly to her for Rand 69500.  We came to that figure by working out roughly what it had cost us in terms of repairs and expenses to kit it out and buy new curtains and seat covers.   However the exchange rate had turned against us so in real terms we only just got the purchase price back but needless to say were happy with that as we expect to lose money on motorhomes.

Were it not for our health problems we would both have gone back in the future for another visit as we enjoyed it so much.

Motorhome number 8 in Australia

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