Kingsley Holgate Foundation adopts the new Land Rover Defender

Kingsley (left) and Ross (right) Holgate show off one of their new Land Rover Defender expedition vehicles.
Kingsley (left) and Ross (right) Holgate show off one of their new Land Rover Defender expedition vehicles.
Image: Supplied

After three years and more than 250,000km combined, famed humanitarian adventurers Kingsley and Ross Holgate have retired the world’s most travelled Land Rover Discoveries and moved into two brand new 2020 Defenders.

Since the early 1990s, the father and son duo have used various Land Rover vehicles, including 15 previous-generation Defenders, to deliver aid to those in need in every country on the African continent and beyond.

Land Rover’s off-road expertise has helped the Holgate Foundation conquer Africa’s most gruelling geographies in efforts to improve lives in some extremely hard-to-reach places. Now a new chapter begins with the most capable and durable Land Rovers ever made.

The two new expedition vehicles are based on Defender 110 P400 S models, which use 3.0-litre straight six-cylinder turbocharged petrol engines and efficient Mild Hybrid Electric Vehicle (MHEV) technology to provide maximum outputs of 294kW and 550Nm. 

Both of these vehicles have been customised to make them even more rugged. The team started with the fitment of Explorer Packs ­— one of four Accessory Packs available — which transform the Defender into an even more capable overland vehicle suited to crossing Africa’s harshest landscapes.

The Holgates putting the new Land Rover Defender through its paces.
The Holgates putting the new Land Rover Defender through its paces.
Image: Supplied

The Explorer Pack includes wheel arch protection, a raised air-intake, front and rear mud flaps, spare wheel cover, expedition roof rack, Matte Black bonnet decal and a waterproof and lockable side-mounted gear carrier.

Land Rover SA’s technical team also fitted a number of additional accessories, including deployable roof ladders, underbody protection and integrated air compressors that can inflate and deflate tyres, air mattresses and other items to preset defined pressures. Powerful Warn winches were also bolted on as were rear-mounted recovery hooks.

“I’m overwhelmed with the New Defender,” said Kingsley.

“Its presence is so strong, so tough. We are eagerly waiting to put the most capable Land Rover ever created to the test on upcoming humanitarian adventures in Africa and possibly even beyond.

“These are also the most technologically advanced vehicles we’ve ever used and features such as configurable Terrain Response 2 will be useful in Africa. Now we can preset preferred parameters for varying terrains before we reach them so we can quickly adapt drive modes on the fly.

“I’m particularly excited about the digital rear-view mirror, as we’re often loaded from floor to ceiling with malaria nets and other aid. A flick of the switch and we’ll have clear view behind us.

“We’re studying maps and working on an incredible world-first expedition with which we’ll continue our work, but we’ll reveal these plans at a later stage.

“In the meantime, as many African borders are closed under Covid-19 lockdown measures, we’ll start using the New Defenders for some much-needed efforts to supply food, soap and masks to communities at home in South Africa.”

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