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Our story: It comes a long way… Why go into a business like this? Why make our passion and hobby a business?

There is the saying never to make your hobby your job. Which in many cases is true, but sometimes the calling and passion is much stronger. How we ended up with Turkana comes from way back when we were all still young.

Namibia Sossusvlei desert TurkanaGear luggage for tough travel

Elsebie & Michnus

Our first trip was back in 1994 when we just got married. My bother in law wanted to go back to Namibia to show my sister the places he saw when we were still at war with the “bad guys” during the Cold War. We were in our early 20’s – finished studying, poor as hell and just started to work.

We saved up, worked, and reworked the calendar to see how we can squeeze 30 days of holiday time and public holidays without taking unpaid leave. It all came together, and we were able to take an old Land Rover and 4x4 Toyota pick-up through some of the remotest parts of Namibia at the time.

TurkanaGear%20adventure%20roots%20overlanding2.jpgWe used geographical maps we got at the Dept of Land affairs to navigate – no GPS. There was nothing, fuel stations were very far between, and we only saw Himba tribes for many kilometres.

We had no idea of 4x4 driving, no idea of what ‘overlanding’ was, but the freedom, the cultures, people and challenges grabbed us by the scruff of our necks, and we loved it!

It got into our blood, and we travelled for years in and around South Africa. Years later, and with more affordable motorcycles and choices we were able to trip more and longer distances.

Peter Schelten Turkana gear founder long time passion for adventure motorcycle travel

Leonie and Peter

For Peter and Leonie, the overland adventure travel seeds were planted at an early age. As kids, they both spent each endless summer on camping trips across Europe. For Peter, this meant road trips through France with a different campsite every few nights and new places to find the best fishing spot.

At the same time, also somewhere in France, Leonie’s parents showed their kids the fine art of camping. At first in the trailer tent, but in 1994 they went on an epic family adventure when they cycled from the Netherlands to the Mediterranean Sea in France carrying their luggage on their bicycles.

The adventurous paths of Peter and Leonie crossed in 2007 when they booked the same overland group tour to Kenya and Tanzania. It was love at first sight, both with each other and with the African continent. It was the start of many more adventurous trips, from riding bikes across Europe and backpacking in Asia to a full-on 3-year-round-the-world motorcycle trip.

It was a trip of multiple lifetimes, feeding into the adventurous travel bug that was there since an early age and ended up staying! They have now infected the next generation with that travel bug, taking their young kids on their first camping trips.



One day back in the late 1990’s, fresh out of university and a poor backpacker in the UK, while drinking their warm beer, he and two close friends decided to buy an old, 1973 Series III Land Rover to drive it through Africa.

This decision changed his life and got him hooked on adventure travelling. From that moment, his currency was measured in the amount of travel and new places and cultures you can experience. No point in elaborating on this. You can only truly discover this for yourself.

To get back to the question - why make our passion our business?

It is not something that happened overnight. We all worked in corporate jobs. At some stage, we all worked for ourselves. All of us had to grow and understand that thin line between fun and work and where to draw it throughout our careers - how to not get hassled by work but to understand that work, fun and family time can be separated.

It is not easy starting your own business, never mind a new, unknown brand. But eventually, the absolute passion for what we all love and the experience over years got us to a point where it is worth pursuing rather than saying what-if years later…