Behind the Brand: Bushwakka Australia

Sam Richards — 20 February 2020
Bringing a long-standing South African brand to Australia was a bold move, but it's paid off.

Johnny and Annelize Loots, Australian owners and operators of South African made Bushwakka camper trailers, threw themselves headlong into Aussie camping when they purchased a Bushwakka camper at auction five years ago.

The couple, who moved to Australia from South Africa over 20 years ago, then sold the camper to fund the purchase of a caravan — the first of many. The Loots spent a few years renovating vans so they were suitable for families, before starting Bushwakka Australia in October 2018.

“We thought, we’ve got to look to a sustainable business model,” Johnny told Camper in the Gold Coast. “We knew the quality of Bushwakka and felt comfortable that there was a space for it in the market.

“We called the South African owner and got things up and running. The brands are different, but he’s our supplier; we’ve grown very close. We now communicate on a daily basis.

“We knew it was a good quality camper and would suit Australian conditions,” Annelize said. “South Africa and Australia have rather similar conditions. The ruggedness, the vast open areas, the climate, the outback. Parts of Australia are very similar to the Namib Desert, the Karoo Desert.”

Johnny added: “If you drive the other side of Dubbo, close your eyes, open your eyes, you could be in South Africa.”

When we talked to the Loots in late November, they said Bushwakka campers were built to order. That approach has posed some challenges, such as needing to fill containers before bringing the campers over, which means the first customer waits the longest. So, to constantly have stock, they’re changing their process. 

“We are changing to a 20ft container that will have one camper and five rooftop tents,” Johnny said. 

Annelize added that these tents have “Proven very popular. There’s eleven on the way now, and nine have already been sold.”

“The debate for people has always been, an expensive home-grown camper versus a cheap import,” Johnny continued. “We wanted to provide an inbetween option.

“Everything is built in one factory, the Bushwakka factory in South Africa, using local suppliers. Then, the rims, tyres, burner, hot water system, solar panels and fridge are added by us here in Australia.”

The Loots tell Camper that Bushwakka has been an exciting journey so far and that they have big plans going forward. 

“We’re working on a model beneath the Tourer, that has a rooftop tent on top and the kids sleeping inside,” Johnny says. 

“We want to get the Kid, or the Wombat, or whatever name is decided upon, under $20,000.”

If you’re keen to give a Bushwakka camper a look, you can suss Bushwakka 4x4 Campers Australia’s very active Facebook page to find out what shows they’re going to, or give Johnny a buzz to arrange an inspection. They aim to have a demo of each model at all times. 


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