This Apartment on Wheels Took a 1930s Explorer Through Africa

Attilio Gatti was an explorer who ventured deep into the African wilderness. He trekked through the “Heart of Africa” in finer luxury than many other explorers could ever dream of. While most journeymen were surrounded by insects, disease and harsh conditions, Gatti was sleeping in style. He drove a five-room motor home style apartment that featured five rooms. Instead of packing a light backpack of minimal belongings, Commander Attilio Gatti was able to bring his bedroom, kitchen, and full amenities along for the adventure. The amenities were so nice, in fact, that his wife happily came along for the duration of his exploration.


These monstrous machines were lovingly titled the “Jungle Yachts.” They were custom-built to meet the needs of an avid explorer. Their exterior was designed with the front-end of an older Buick and the rear is reminiscent of a bubbly airstream. It was extremely oversized and seems incredibly cumbersome to navigate with. While traveling to the Congo, the custom-built trailers were luxurious. They featured metallic detailing, added window canopies and streamlined designs. They had geometric shapes angled towards the rear of the vehicle in order to give them an active flair. They also were seamlessly connected to the front of the trailer in order to create visual unity.


Once inside the vehicle, a passenger would be greeted with a living room, two bedrooms, a bathroom, a kitchen and spacious additional room. The added room was an area for relaxing and viewing the sights outside the apartment. There was a library and bar included in this area, making it the ultimate place to take a break from the stresses of a traveler’s lifestyle. The room was styled in architectural details that were consistent with the time.

Laughing Squid

The bedrooms in the back had romantic, soft lighting. They were designed with comfort in mind and were crafted in order to create an oasis in the midst of a jungle that held bugs the size of a human’s hand. The bathrooms were filled with all the amenities that one would find within a stationary home. There was a full-size bathtub, vanity, sink and more. Extra detailing was given to this area as well.

Wisconsin Historical Society

The Gatti’s reportedly lived in a Penthouse on Park Avenue when they weren’t exploring. This mobile apartment rivaled the features of their permanent residence in the United States. The kitchen even boasted that it held all the electric-powered conveniences that Mrs. Gatti would enjoy using at home. Instead of prioritizing practicality, these machines were purely created for ease of livability. There was ample storage that held all of the items that passengers would possibly desire.

Unfinished Man

The other explorers were spending rough nights in tents while the Gatti family was in a world of their own. A quote from Commander Gatti reads, “On our automotive power hangs the success of our venture in the jungle trails and mountains of Africa. We had to have as power cars the very, very best on the market.” Mr. Gatti was reportedly traveling in this luxurious home for three years during his tenth expedition. He also enjoyed it so much that he used it again for his eleventh. He is best known for his reports of tribal rituals, exotic species and Pygmy people.