Well-travelled: the green Oberaigner Sprinter 4×4

Green 4x4 Sprinter in Namibia

Laura and Heinrich Kunz have travelled more than 300,000 km in their green Sprinter 4×4 from Oberaigner. At an interview in Bern the two adventurers share stories of their experiences.

Infected with wanderlust

“Two years after we got married we travelled along the hippie highway to India and Nepal, like so many young backpackers and overland drivers did back then”, remembers Laura Kunz. “In those days we were driving an old VW van which we had converted ourselves and which was also green.” But in the following years the two settled down for a while: Heiri and Laura raised their daughter and saved money for an apartment in Bern’s scenic Steffisburg. They were not infected with wanderlust again until just before their retirement.

Their route on their journey through South America clearly shows that Heiri and Laura Kunz rarely drive the direct way to their destination.

An optimum partner for long-term journeys

Laura was born in Scotland and spent her childhood in Zimbabwe and that is why they absolutely wanted to travel to Africa together. “We were looking for the right vehicle that would serve our purposes. We spent years looking at various brands and models before we finally chose our green Sprinter in 2002″, explains Heiri Kunz. “In addition to all-wheel drive and the optimum length, the worldwide service network from Mercedes-Benz also convinced us and we have repeatedly profited from that on our travels”. Because they focus on long-term journeys, the van was converted accordingly over the course of three years – and includes a shower, toilet and solar panels.

Laura Kunz with the Sprinter 4x4 in the Jordanian desert. Laura Kunz with the Sprinter 4×4 in the Jordanian desert.

Completely independent for up to three weeks

The first long trip took them from Baltimore to the south through Central America to Panama and back again. A short time later, Heiri and Laura followed the Silk Road to Tibet together with friends. Their longest journey so far through Africa and South America took four and a half years. “When we are on the road the Sprinter provides us with everything we need”, says Heiri Kunz. “With a full tank and enough water supplies we can travel and camp independently for up to three weeks. This is exactly the freedom that we value so much when travelling in the green Sprinter.”

The green Oberaigner Sprinter 4×4
Engine: 2,700 ccm CDI Diesel, 5 cylinders, 156 hp
Chassis: High-roof panel van, 3.55 m wheelbase
4×4 drive system: Activatable all-wheel drive with reduction gearing and differential lock from Oberaigner
Tires: 245/75/16 with aluminum rims
Roof carrier: Corrugated aluminum roof cover (sun protection)
Tank: 100 liters
Water separator: standard diesel filter retrofitted with an electrically monitored water separator

Travelling keeps them young

The next big trip is already planned and will begin in summer: Laura and Heiri want to spend two years travelling through North America in their green Sprinter. “This will probably be our last major van adventure outside Europe”, says Laura. Although the two do not feel at all old on their travels. “We feel much older when we are here at home in Switzerland”, says Laura and laughs.

The Green Sprinter by Laura & Heinrich Kunz

Photos: Laura & Heinrich Kunz