Tracy Lee Stark
Photographer and Multimedia Producer
2 minute read
4 Aug 2020
5:42 pm

MUST SEE: SA couple converts run-down bus into a home

Tracy Lee Stark

The pair invested in a non-starter double-decker bus without a roof for R35,000.

Sonja Van Niekerk prepares lunch in her tiny home kitchen. Picture: Tracy Lee Stark

On the 19 June 2019, Rheinholdt and Sonja Van Niekerk-Van In invested in a fascinating purchase that would change their lives. The pair invested in a ‘run-down’, non-starter double-decker bus without a roof for R35,000. Their plan was to convert the bus into a mobile home for them and their four children.

Their dream is to travel across South Africa and eventually further up the continent. As a bonus, if they could, they also want to attempt to cross over into Europe by ferry with their mobile home.

Both teachers, they were massively affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Sonja was running her own preschool which she had to close due to the financial loss of parents not being able to continue paying school fees. That was when they decided to go full steam ahead and finish converting the bus into what is now their new tiny home.

Most of the work was done by Rheinholdt, with Sonja doing all the decor and finishing touches, their dream took shape and took just over a year to complete. With a solid hope to hit the road within the next few days, travelling the province seems to be the first priority on the destination map until lockdown travel restrictions are lifted.

They have converted their family home into three units which they have rented out in order to pay their expenses while travelling. Sonja qualified as a TFEL teacher in recent weeks and will be teaching English as a foreign language online while they travel. Their brood will be homeschooled on the bus. Katie, who is 6, will start with Grade 1 next year, while the younger children Kaden, 4, and the twins Karlien and Kayla, 1, play along with other activities.

The bus has everything needed in a home – a fully equipped kitchen with a gas stove, full-size fridge, a bathroom both upstairs and downstairs with composting toilets, bedroom upstairs and a lounge area downstairs.

“We always loved to travel,” says Sonja. “Now we’ll be living our dream and be able to share that with our children.”

You can follow along with their adventure on their Facebook page, 4 kids and a bus

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