Words Brian Jefferies
Pumba Adventures 4×4 trail was designed by Alf Middleton, an experienced 4×4 driver-training instructor and tour guide at Shelly Beach on the south coast of KZN.
The tour started back in March 2014, and has since seen many an excited tourist traverse its tracks.
The tour caters for a minimum of four vehicles at a time and is suitable for any type of driver – from novice to expert and anything in between. Similar to most 4×4 trails, Pumba Adventures can get really tricky in wet conditions, but Alf is always nearby to guide drivers out of awkward situations.
The meeting point is at the Engen filling station, South Coast Mall, Shelly Beach. Bring the family, pack a picnic, and prepare yourself for a full day’s guided trail, with rest points which overlook some of the most breath-taking views one can imagine.
While the south coast of KZN does offer wonderful beaches and malls for holidaymakers to explore, the places really worth exploring are hidden just beyond the concrete jungle. The inland areas in Shelly Beach are evergreen pieces of paradise filled with rich bird-life, indigenous trees and beautiful wild flowers.
Before starting the trail, Alf provides a short driver-briefing and hands out the 2-way radios. Apart from allowing playful banter to fly back-and-forth between drivers, the radios also allow Alf to provide some instruction to the drivers when needed.
For a really tricky obstacle, Alf stops the entire convoy and asks all the drivers to walk through the obstacle and assess the terrain. He then allows drivers to decide for themselves which gear, which line and how much momentum is needed to get safely to the other side.
The trail starts at a relaxed pace, with some easy driving through sugarcane fields about a kilometre away from our starting point. The further from the ocean the convoy travels, the more challenging the trail becomes.