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Browsing: 4×4 Trails

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

It had been a helluva journey just to get there. Over 700km from the delightful hamlet of Van Zylsrus, deep in the Kalahari, of which at least 300km were on some tough dirt tracks. But I’d take a challenging gravel detour over a narcolepsy-inducing blacktop any day. Stofkraal 4X4 Trail: on the Williston road, NE of Sutherland, NC. One such dirt-track detour is worth mentioning.  91km south of Brandvlei, you turn left towards Koosdrif siding, and this gravel gem shaves about 40km of tar road off your journey and puts you straight onto the Middelpos road that eventually leads to

There’s just never enough time to fit it all in. A cliché that’s been beaten to death, sure; but one that always seems to ring true when I’m on an off-road-travel writing assignment. CARACAL 4X4 TRACK: NAMAQUA NATIONAL PARK, NORTHERN CAPE On our way to the Namaqua National Park in our trusty loaner, the camp-ready Mazda BT-50, I was hoping to start our 4×4 sortie earlier by accessing the park’s southern gate via Brand se Baai – the Groenriviersmond coastal track. But, after picking up my co-pilot and fellow adventurer, David Lowe, later than expected from Bloubergstrand, I had to

I have always been mildly obsessed by rocks of all kinds. Apart from the purported ‘New Age’ healing qualities of some of them (particularly quartz crystals), I just love the way they look and feel in my hands. But they also contain detailed stories of how the landscape in which they were found was formed. TRAIL REVIEW DABERAS GUEST FARM, AUGRABIES, NORTHERN CAPE A man who knows this better than most is Kobus Van Coppenhagen, our host at Daberas Guest Farm − a conservation area and veritable treasure chest of geomorphic wonders on the western border of the Augrabies National

One of the greatest advantages of experiencing new 4×4 tracks is the taking of roads less travelled to get there. And the back roads from Bot River to the Karoo National Park, via Sutherland, certainly made a worthwhile detour. On our first day, my travelling partner, Lionel ‘Tau’ Williams (his Setswana nickname, meaning Lion, will be explained later) and I got off the N2 as quickly as possible and made for Swellendam on the Klipfontein dirt track. From there to Sutherland, we chose dirt tracks wherever we could, losing ourselves in the world behind the scenes − passing through towns

“Jeez, boet, where does the road go? It looks like it might drop right off the edge of that mountain over there,” commented my longstanding co-pilot, Lionel Williams. We’d been in the car just over an hour, following our host’s map showing tracks marked in green (Grades 1-2) and blue (Grades 2-3). We were fast approaching the only red route (Grades 3-4) on our chosen 50km perimeter trail – the aptly named “Banggat” section, when the track suddenly fell away steeply before us. Travelling in our borrowed Isuzu KB300 4×4 LX Extended Cab, we’d ambled along the predominantly green route

When thinking about 4×4 challenges in the Eastern Cape, the Baviaanskloof first comes to mind. Everyone makes this a bucket list tick, but if you are in this part of the Karoo for longer, what else is there? Having headed inland after an Eastern Cape coastal escape, we decided on a detour toWillowmore where one of the attractions is called Finchley Farm: a working sheep farm with two historic guest cottages and a rustic campsite nestled amongst the acacias, just below a spectacular dam. It’s a basic and unpretentious sort of campsite. Electricity is only on demand, the sites are

After getting the shivers again from too much city time, the Cederberg began calling my name this month. A spot of webtrawling and phoning-about soon offered up a solution to the blues: just two-and-a-bit hours from Cape town is Koningskop, which would match my needs – a good campsite and a trail that wouldn’t damage a shiny new test car. While camping, I usually avoid human contact like one should avoid cheap Indian food, but on this particular long weekend the site was packed. There are 50 grassy, mostly shaded sites, though, so it wasn’t a problem… and the little

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