Jaco Van Der Merwe

By Jaco Van Der Merwe

Head of Motoring


IN PICTURES: How to pimp a Toyota HiAce into a camper van

Clever conversions transform South Africa's favourite minibus taxi into extraordinary rides.


In South Africa, the Toyota HiAce is mainly used as a minibus taxi to haul the masses around. But over in Japan, Mzansi’s favourite van is put to many uses.

While the Toyota HiAce is commonly used in daily traffic as private shuttles in Japan, a variety of aftermarket conversions transform this van into a sight to behold. The end result being a Toyota HiAce that can be anything from a camper van to a super luxurious people carrier.

At the recent Japan Mobility Show in Tokyo, hordes of these converted Toyota HiAce buses were on display at the outdoor and camping section. While some of their transformation’s where quite dramatic, the base vehicle remained the same. The good old 2.7-litre petrol Toyota HiAce we see in Mzansi every day. Just without the famous Ses’fikile moniker they are sold under in South Africa.

Attending the show as a guest of Suzuki Auto South Africa, The Citizen Motoring had a look at the most impressive version of the Toyota HiAce on offer.

Toyota HiAce with a twist

Relax Wagon bed
The Relax Wagon is unlike any camper you have ever seen. Instead of offering the usual kitchen and dining facilities, it basically turns into one gigantic bed. Complete with tissue box holder, aircon and plugs to charge your phone. Picture: Jaco van der Merwe
Toyota HiAce Ceebus Tokyo
The Ceebus was a site to behold. The exterior of this Toyota HiAce featured gloss black and chrome finishes. Picture: Jaco van der Merwe
Ceebus coach
The Ceebus did not disappoint inside. It featured high-end brushed steel kitchen finishes complete with white leather seating. Picture: Jaco van der Merwe
Ceebus bed
In the back of the Ceebus we found a bed that could easily pass for something from a five-star hotel. Picture: Jaco van der Merwe

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Mobile spa

Sauna in van
The Nuku Maru version of the Toyota HiAce offers a mobile spa, complete with sauna an shower. Picture: Jaco van der Merwe
Toyota HiAce with extended roodtop
Some of the Toyota HiAces on show featured an extended rooftop which creates more space inside the cabin. Picture: Jaco van der Merwe
Toyota HiAce camping conversion cabin
This sample featured a sofa and dining area which all converts into a bed. Notice the giant air-conditioner mounted inside the window. Picture: Jaco van der Merwe

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Travel in style

Driver's seat luxury van
This Toyota HiAce is a luxurious lounge complete with heightened roof and big television. Notice the closeable curtain between the front and rear like the ones which divides business and economy class on an airplane. Picture: Jaco van der Merwe
Luxury converted Toyota HiAce
The rest of the cabin features four individual leather seats that can recline. Picture: Jaco van der Merwe
Kitchenette camper van
The all-rounder features a dining area, kitchenette and a bed in the rear. Picture: Jaco van der Merwe
Rear storage camper van
Clever positioning of the bed means that there is space for two bicycles in the rear. Picture: Jaco van der Merwe
Toyota HiAce camping cabin
A rooftop extension gives this Toyota HiAce a lot more space inside the cabin. Picture: Jaco van der Merwe

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