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Browsing: 4×4 Trails

We are invited to test-drive two long-closed 4×4 trails, experience Songimvelo Nature Reserve, and get a taste of Mpumalanga’s lesser-known natural wonders Story Jacques Viljoen Photography Jacques Viljoen & Anton Willemse Mpumalanga is Zulu for ‘the place where the sun rises’, and its major natural attractions have long been a favoured escape for travellers the world over looking for wildlife and dramatic scenery. But there’s a lot more for the traveller once the Kruger National Park, Blyde River Canyon, and Dullstroom have been ticked off the list. Truth is, many of these places are a long drive from the main

At around 600km, the Namakwa Eco Trail is SA’s longest and most remote 4×4 trail. We went in search of solitude along the Orange River Having read about it over four years ago on a forum one evening, the Namakwa Eco Trail has been eluding me ever since. While living vicariously through the photographs of others’ adventures is better than not at all, we simply had to go ourselves. Through all my travels with SA4x4, no other trail in South Africa promised to be so remote, long, and beautiful, so off we went, hunting silence. The route technically starts along

If you need a short trail to put your low-range 4×4 to a mild test, and you are based in the Cape, then Sneeukop 4×4 near Rawsonville may be just the thing. It’s ideal for those who are pressed for time and want to fit in a few other activities (from mountain biking to wine tasting) into their weekend visit, or have family members who are not too keen on spending the entire weekend bumping over rough ground. Whatever the case, as 4×4 trails go, Sneeukop is short and sweet. We used the trail as  a quick shake-down test for

“Okay, so which way from here, my lovely,” I asked my fiancé-cum-co-pilot. In truth, without a map between us and little in the way of intelligible signboards en route, this was not a question Annette could’ve been expected to answer. I was merely trying to get a rise out of her as a she was still a little put out from not being able to shower earlier that morning — the donkey boiler water which I’d stoked for ages, and nearly asphyxiated both of us in the process, was deemed not hot enough. We were on the first of the

“Perhaps we should have done the easier Red Cone Farm route, after all,” I told my fiancée, Annette, as my furrowed brow channelled rivulets of sweat down my temples. Although Ferndale Farm’s Circle Road North route had already provided us with a fair number of Grade 3 challenges in the form of a large boulder crossing and some axle-twisting ruts, plus the odd 35° ascent and numerous narrow roads riding atop precipitous cliff-faces, we had until then been comfortable that our trusty Mazda BT-50 would not fail us on this route; especially as we’d had the more aggressively-patterned Dunlop AT3

Even the most adventurous 4x4ers don’t always want to push themselves and their vehicles to the limits. And besides, the less adventurous members of your family sometimes want to come along and enjoy themselves, too. Leeupan, near Van Zylsrus on the Northern Cape’s border with Botswana, offers an easy “Eco-Trail” that should please everyone. “Okay, so do we take the right or the left fork, boet?” I asked my co-pilot, David Lowe, who was looking as dazed and confused as I was after our previous evening around the campfire. Needless to say, he didn’t know; and it was only after

In the dark days of apartheid, banned daily Despatch editor Donald Woods made for the Tele Bridge border post on New Year’s Eve in 1977. Disguised as an Irish Catholic priest, Woods, with the help of an Australian diplomat and an ex-security-policeman, managed to cross the border successfully; and when his family joined him later, they all flew to London. THE TIFFINDELL SUMMER EXPERIENCE Although the resort appears to be run by a skeleton staff in summer, and a number of its facilities are closed during this time, guests will still be well looked after in centrally-heated and serviced accommodation. 

Part of the allure of the Karoo National Park is its expansive network of 4×4 trails which take capable visitors out to the far-flung corners of the reserve. There, in the most remote places, remarkable sightings are often made. The park does quite a bit to market the refurbished Klipspringer Pass, a sedan-friendly climb to a plateau that serves as the final exit point from the rest camp area. Yes, it’s a beautiful drive, but it won’t get your blood pumping. TRAIL INFO Price: R280 per vehicle Terrain: Gravel with large rocks and hard clay, changing to shale and rock

From the moment I saw the Donkerpoort 4×4 website, I suspected that this 19km track would provide some challenges. TRAIL INFO LOCATION: Southern Free State GPS: S 30.521707° E 25.497304° Nearest town: Gariep Dam – 10km Nearest fuel & provisions: Gariep Dam – very good OK supermarket there. TRAIL DETAILS: Opening times: All year, but check with Ernie about rainfall in March. Terrain: A combination of gravel, shale, mud, a touch of sand and a lengthy water crossing through the Karoo flats and mountains, makes this a varied and engaging trail. There are several steep inclines (max 40°+) and steep

When you’ve just completed the five highest passes in South Africa, and been bombarded with jaw-dropping views over svelte mountain scenery for three days, your expectations on reaching a relatively unknown 4×4 track venue near the small town of Sterkstroom are understandably tempered. But how wrong assumptions can be. It was while gazing mindlessly at the rising slopes of the Bamboesberg in front of our converted barn cottage that I caught my first glimpse of the 4×4 track that my co-pilot, Harvey Tyson, and I were to tackle the next day. I only noticed the route when I chanced to

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