Camper Trailer of the Year 2021: Bushwakka Bhoma

Various — 20 May 2021
The Bushwakka Bhoma dazzles with its ability to be both compact and cavernous

DAVID COOK

Score: 84.5

At last year’s CTOTY the Bushwakka Bohma landed with a bang and a victory in the $25,000–$50,000 category, thanks to some very different design ideas and an expansive camper that left all the judges grasping for adjectives. Campers that are outside of the usual mould often suffer for their individuality, but the Bhoma has carried its South African origins with pride and rolled back in for 2021 with a bunch of new features for a second shot at the title.



The Bhoma, as you may gather, is no ordinary camper. You could use it in any mode you chose, from one-nighters on the way to some distant destination to a couple or a large family, but it would excel as a grand base from which you could radiate out to explore a region.

From the inside, the Bhoma has a majestic panoramic sweep that has to be experienced to be believed. I could think of no better place to be taking in the cooling breeze while holed up at the back of a white coral beach in the Kimberley or up on the Cape. The accommodation could work for up to a family of six, all in comfort, and it all packs down into a trailer with a tare of just 1300kg and a ball weight of 120kg.

Don’t try and tell me that any forward-fold or double-fold could be this imposing.

The Bhoma’s secret is in its innovative approach to bedding. You have a very flexible option of two queen beds, two king beds, or a king and a queen, that fold out either side of a storage-saturated central corridor. I don’t usually like campers where the sleeping arrangements protrude out into the elements, as they are inevitably impacted by the environment, leaving them cold in winter, dripping with condensation at other times or sizzling in the heat if you’re craving an afternoon nap in summer. The Bhoma interposes four layers of insulating material between any bed occupants and the outside world, including a layer of moisture-absorbing ceiling wick-away material.

And if that doesn’t satisfy your taste for innovation, take a look at that huge, well laid out and very practical kitchen, with all its included crockery, cutlery and cooking implements, right down to three bottles of wine, that folds out of a strange looking box on the rear.


KATH HEIMAN

Score: 79

While many camper manufacturers set their sights on accommodating every new turn in technology, the Bushwakka Bhoma isn’t one of them. Its X-Factor is firmly rooted in its capacity to let you get lost for as long as you like, happily. This rig is simply begging to stay outdoors with you, on a savannah somewhere 300km from the nearest habitation.

The Bhoma targets families and adult groups who know what it takes to get off the grid and to stay there. This is a camping market who expect their rigs to go anywhere their tow-tugs can, to keep them fed, watered and safe from the elements, and to provide functionality over gimmicks. 

At $55,000, the Bushwakka Bhoma is highly competitive against campers in its price category and offers a whole lot more than many others that are also pitched towards adventurous families. 

This deceptively small camper takes up little room on the road but unfolds to generate a camping headquarters that could sustain anything from a weekend away to endless days of remote roaming. From the massive king bed/queen bed combo; the cavernous internal and external storage bays; the 300W solar panel supported by 2x100Ah lithium batteries; the Victor power management system including 1200W pure sine wave inverter; the Duetto hot water system; the multiple water points including external shower; the 74L Brass Monkey dual zone fridge freezer; to the fully equipped swing-out kitchen. With this rig, your camping needs have been fully considered, with little left to chance. 

The Bushwakka Bhoma is a rugged, highly capable, no-nonsense travel partner whose company you’ll continue to enjoy regardless of how long you choose to spend in the great outdoors. For campers who are hankering for endless nights under a million stars, the Bushwakka Bhoma will take you wherever you’d rather be.


TIM VAN DUYL

Score: 82

Can we all just admit that the driver is the defining difference in the offroad ability of all campers? Thanks. Now for my next rant, I love Cruisemaster’s excellent XT suspension but I don’t think you need it on a camper trailer unless it’s some big beast that weighs a couple of tonnes and would struggle to fit down the Suez canal. Why am I ranting? Because some of you won’t understand my justification of the offroad ability of the straight axle, leaf-sprung Bhoma, but you should. 

We towed the South African-built Bhoma on the same roads and tracks as every other camper this year and it was one of the most stable and smooth riding of them all. Hit some bumps at speed (and I did thanks to the infectious acceleration of the heavily tuned Navara we towed with) and nothing crazy happened. There was no excessive bounce or lurching. Offroad, the Bhoma was flawless but for one thing, she does sit low to the ground, so rocky riverbeds should be carefully navigated — what was that I said about the driver being the difference? The Bhoma is as simple as needed and as tough as can be. That gets a big tick from me. 

Once at camp, you are faced with a choice. Go with the simple setup which excludes awnings, and it will take five minutes for an experienced duo. Or spend around 30 minutes for the whole shebang. I appreciate this choice as I often arrive late at camp (thanks, work) but knowing I can set up space for a crowd after the next day’s breakfast is good. The process is fairly simple but a few high-reaching spots may necessitate a step ladder or tall helper.

Inside is super comfortable. Once the roof is popped, there is a heap of space and the mattresses (one king, one queen) are both innersprung with anti-condensation lining overhead and 12V fans for a properly comfortable sleep. Wake up cold and you’ll be happy to know the 12V HW system takes only 28 minutes to heat 10L to 75 degrees while consuming only 2.8A.


GLENN MARSHALL

Score: 80

The Bushwakka Bhoma is well thought out when it comes to self-sufficiency. Off-grid power is sorted with 300W of solar that keeps 2 x 120Ah lithium batteries charging via a Victron PMS with 20A solar controller, AC charger. A 1200W pure sine inverter with external GPOs connected allows you to run a coffee machine or any other medium-sized electrical appliances. There is plenty of water on hand from the 110L stainless water tank that’s connected to the Duoetto MK2 12/240V hot water unit with 10L storage then plumbed to the kitchen and a shower connection at the front of the camper. The 75L dual-zone Brass Monkey fridge is included and the swing-out pantry and kitchen is expansive with crockery, pots and pans and three bottles of South Africa’s finest red wine also included. The water pump (capable of 8L per minute) can also be switched to draw water from a nearby watercourse and bypass the water tank. 

The Bhoma has functional storage solutions, and the carpentry and pantry design are high quality. All external taps are protected and there are plenty of powerpoints for 12V/USB charging and from the inverter. Both bedrooms use double-stitched 375gsm canvas and include midge-proof screens. Gas struts hold up the front boot lid, which has plenty of storage space. While looking complicated, the awning system provides 360 degrees of cover for long stays, with a quick awning there for short stays. There are monitors for batteries and water mounted neatly at the rear and all the wiring is nicely tucked away and protected where necessary. The kitchen has quality tapware, and the camper has a very clean finish.

It’s obvious that this camper is built the South African way — tough, with loads of comfort. High-quality seals on the doors keep dust and water out, and the roof of the camper is insulated with a 2mm polystyrene compound. The chassis is 3CR12 stainless steel and the aluminium body gives the Bhoma strength while keeping it lightweight.


SPECS

TRAILER

TARE 1300kg

ATM 1800kg

Ball weight 120kg 

Chassis/Drawbar 3CR12 stainless steel

Frame 3CR12 stainless steel and aluminium body 

Coating Aluminium with Raptor coating 

Camper style Expedition

Tyres and rims 3 x 265/65 R17 Monsta Terrain with Black D hole-style rims

Coupling German Knott Coupler 50mm

Brakes Hydraulic

Suspension Heavy duty Progressive rated 1.1m leaf springs with Safari gas struts 

Canopy/Tent Heavy duty canvas 

DIMENSIONS

Body Closed 

Length 4350mm

Height Closed 2166mm

Wide 1850mm

STANDARD INCLUSIONS

  • Water 110L (plus facility to carry 2 x 20L jerry cans)
  • Gas capacity for 2 x 8.5kg bottle — not included
  • Swing-around kitchen fully stocked with cutlery and crockery for six
  • Includes pots, pans, kettle, utensils
  • Two-burner Dometic gas cooker
  • Duoetto MK2 Digital Dual Voltage (12V/240V) Electric 10L Storage water heater (servicing kitchen wash-up and shower)
  • Battery 2 x 100Ah lithium 
  • 300W solar panel
  • Victron power management system (solar controller, AC/DC charge controller, 1200W pure sinewave inverter)
  • 75L Brass Monkey dual zone fridge freezer
  • Option for 1 x king bed and 1 x queen or 2 x queen beds

OPTIONAL ACCESSORIES

  • Air-conditioning Unit 
  • Fan 
  • TV 
  • Lighting kit 
  • Tech pack upgrade to Redarc Manager 30 with Red Vision and 2000W inverter 
  • Fridge upgrade 
  • Outside table
  • Wall Kit

PRICE AS STANDARD

$55,000

CONTACT

Bushwakka

Email: enquiries@bushwakka.com.au

Web: bushwakka.com.au

Tags

Camper Trailer of the Year 2021 Finalist Bushwakka Bhoma Compact Couples