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Browsing: 4×4 Trails

Rushing to get things done is never good, and when our freelance journo in KZN was minus a vehicle to do a trail review, the task was dumped on my desk. “Find somewhere beautiful you’ve never been to before, and have fun.” That was my brief. Yeah. Life is tough. I have been burned before, though − driven hundreds of kilometres, only to find a place that’s no more than a few gravel roads masquerading as a 4×4 destination, or one somewhere with terrible accommodation. This time, though, luck was on my side: after five or six phone calls, I

When it comes to strong vehicles, nothing really compares to a Nissan Patrol; so, when one such brute gargled up into our driveway two years back, twin tanks full, I needed a place to test it properly. The obvious nearby 4×4 trails surrounding Cape Town came to mind, but a seemingly overlooked spot between Touwsrivier and Montagu cropped up on my mud hunt – Wagon Wheel 4×4, or Karoo Adventures, as it’s also known.Words Andrew Middelton Upon my arrival, the rain had turned to ice, sheeting down like gravel dumped from a plane and easily defeating the Patrol’s feeble wipers.

Wanting to follow in the footsteps of adventurers past is an often-used excuse for modern explorers to leave the house. And when you consider the Ox Wagon Trail, its name alone conjures up the spirit of adventure.Words & Images Andrew Middleton & Kayla Cloete Historically in use by westerners since the 1600s, and before that by elephants and Khoi San people, the route is of important historical and ecological significance to the Attaquaskloof and Outeniqua regions. The Trail itself stretches around 450km, and follows exactly the same path that trekboere, hunters, traders and military personnel used for centuries. Had the

Words Stephen Smith, Images David Van Den Bergh & Stephen Smith Scroll down to watch the video. A buffalo lumbers out of the mist. It’s a muted spectre emerging just metres in front of us, crossing the road and fading away again within seconds, disappearing with that typical, slow motion gallop of the species. Its muted hoof-steps fade away quickly; the whole episode surreal and fleeting. We’re somewhere in Somkhanda Game Reserve. Exactly where is hard to say, because, although we aren’t lost, we also don’t know where we are or where we’re headed. The mist doesn’t help matters. But

With the kids chewing gum wiped all over your leather, and ‘are we there yet’ ringing in from the back seat, you know you need a break, but where? Your wagon is full of kit and there’s a long road ahead but you’re keen on some adventure and respite from the noise. Touwsberg certainly offers the latter, but what about the former – adventure? Well, on a recent trip deeper into the Karoo, we stopped in to check it out. Located just off Route 62, past ‘Ronnie’s Sex Shop’ between Barrydale and Ladismith, and four hours out of Cape Town,

‘A getaway best reserved for a long weekend in nature’s splendour.’ Yes, it sounds like a flowery brochure, but it’s true of Bosch Luys Kloof, a private nature reserve nestled in the middle of the Seweweekspoort Karoo area, adjacent to Die Hel. Bosch Luys Kloof does not market itself as a 4×4 destination; however, my best praise would be to say that the management of the reserve is being extremely modest about their beautiful routes. The three 4×4 trails on offer dish up enough excitement for hardened 4×4 enthusiasts, while also intriguing nature lovers and history buffs alike. Though some

It was pitch dark in the dense trees surrounding our campsite. The fire was tingeing the umbrella of Jackalberry tree branches above our heads with licks of red, orange and yellow. Our first night’s camp was on the banks of the Letaba River, and I guess we were still in ‘city’ mode, because Tshepo Mathebula, our Kruger National Park guide, said,“Hey guys, keep quiet − don’t make a sound.” He quietly added, “Listen… Can you hear that that low cough?” Except for the crackle of the fire, a deadly silence surrounded the laager of vehicles with the tents pitched protectively

The Eastern Cape is chock-full of 4×4 routes, and you don’t even need to stray far from the major towns to drive them. In our case, we decided to visit Off-Camber Adventures, an outfit sited just 40km from Port Elizabeth in the Elands River Valley. With a name like ‘Off-Camber,’ you already know what to expect – this place isn’t a walk in the park. Cutting through dense indigenous undergrowth, the various rough trails on the property head up and down the Elands River valley with no thought for your easy passage. Delve deeper, and there is ample evidence that

“The old bugger will be faster than a bullet, now! Just listen to that.” In still damp clothes because of our collective dunking in the tidal estuary, I jumped back from the open bonnet and raised a screwdriver in triumph. Mandi raised an eyebrow. After the clean-up and tune, the soggy old truck sounded beautiful, but his soggy passengers sounded lost as we draped the map on the bonnet to find roads with the elusive Saadani and no damn estuaries. Mandi asked reasonably: “So, where are we, exactly?” I carefully studied the map, pointed to my boots and scratched a

As it had been previously described to us as a ‘scenic drive’, our biased opinion of the Meadows 4×4 trail was initially set to a fairly low bar. So, we were delighted when our expectations were blown out of the water by one of the best formal 4×4 trails I’ve ever had the pleasure of exploring. The majestic working farm, ‘Meadows’, which lies on the picturesque Elands River about 60km east of Port Elizabeth, harvests honey from beehives in the fynbos while also milking a herd of 30 cows. Eight years ago, it was these cows that created the ‘4×4’

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