Their story began with a Unimog. When the interviewer inquired as to how you can step over from a Unimog (albeit extended) to a ‘monster’ like the MAN KAT, a nice story about cause and effect emerged.
‘I wanted a fixed bed, a cassette toilet, a slightly larger fridge-freezer and a passageway to the cabin. I left the rest up to Jan,’ says Claire with a mischievous smile on her face. Only for Jan to then say: ‘That’s right, but I also wanted to bring a motorbike and a lot of tools and a big generator. That meant that the weight of a vehicle like this could easily grow to 16 tons.’ Claire then adds, ‘And then a dishwasher, a fridge-freezer and a washing machine could fit as well…’ In short, going from a Unimog to a MAN KAT is actually only a small step.
They have already covered a lot of countries with the Unimog, which they still own. They have travelled through Near East, Russia, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Turkey and many more areas.
In 2000, they built their expansion on the existing chassis at Twiga, then still located in Rilland. They included a roof rack, of course, as well as a built-in engine garage, since space was no longer an issue. Then they set off and stayed on the road for about five years, mainly in South America. They originally had the intention of doing a bit of Africa as well, but due to the instability and Ebola in particular, they decided to return home in 2015. This was to carry out the necessary maintenance at Twiga (now located in Ooy). ‘Maintenance plus’ exclaims Willie, because we look very closely at things that could happen on their next trip. That’s the preventive care we provide for all expedition vehicles, which is so much more than a regular service.