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Despite a high diversity of small carnivores in Africa, little is known about their ecology and their role as primary and secondary consumers. This is partly due to our general focus on what I like to call the ‘hairies and scaries’ – those large and charismatic animals that possess features such as tusks, horns, or very large teeth! We often overlook the smaller, and often nocturnal, predators which also play a crucial rule in ecosystem functioning. In this article, I would like to focus on one group of these small carnivores, in particular, the genets. Members of the genus Genetta

Mind control can save lives One of the greatest killers in a survival situation is often not the situation itself, but what’s going on in your mind. Your psychological state can have a great impact on whether you survive or perish. Often the negative thoughts can be stronger than the rational ones, and these can lead you to do otherwise irrational things. Do not believe that only the strongest will survive. Simply not true. There is an interesting story of a US pilot in World War 2 who crashed his plane on a lake. The lake was surrounded by trees

When you’ve just purchased your new pride and joy, the first thought after unwrapping the ribbon in the dealership could well be along the lines of, “What’s the best way to run-in the engine and transmission to ensure optimum performance and the longest possible service life?” Older mechanics will probably give detailed schedules of maximum rpm and periods of cooling off for both a new and rebuilt engine. Some of what they say might be true, but this remains a contentious topic with many opinions and no single ‘right way’ to do it. Manufacturers these days make things simple and

It’s time to talk straps, a key element when it comes to vehicle-to- vehicle recoveries. It is so easy to fall into the trap of buying the wrong equipment when it comes to recovery, especially recovery straps. Straps need to be tested and rated for the task at hand. Forget about the tow straps that you get at auto shops or the local supermarket chain. There is no way you can verify that the straps have met stringent manufacturing requirements, nor typically do they carry genuine certification. Please buy the correct straps from reputable manufacturers. This is the only way

Enter & Win! desert Product full recovery kit Email an image of your 4×4 in an overland location (or post it on Instagram), and be eligible for the Readers’ Rides prize. The prize is a heavy-duty Desert Air Jack which retails at R2 581, at any one of the 27 4×4 Mega World stores throughout South Africa. Rassie Kotze’s stunning pic of his Hilux in the Swartruggens area earns him a brilliant new prize from 4×4 Mega World – a Desert Air Jack. To enter, post a pic of your rig on Instagram, or email it to us. For more

“And though they be but little, they are fierce…” (William Shakespeare) Story by Lorraine Doyle Although this is a cheeky misquote from Shakespeare’s a Midsummer Night’s Dream, it is so apt when applied to the subject of this month’s article – the Dwarf mongoose (Helogale parvula). What this southern African small carnivore might lack in stature, it surely makes up for in attitude! A Dwarf mongoose weighs between 210-350g on average, with a maximum shoulder height of about 7.5cm and a total length (including their tail) of 35-40cm. The Dwarf mongoose is the smallest of the family Herpestidae (derived from

Words & pictures Paul Donovan The very first article I wrote for SA4x4 was way back in a distant time, and it covered the subject of snake bites. In that article I detailed the technique universally endorsed as the first-aid treatment for snake bikes: the Pressure Immobilisation Technique. I’d like to bring that article up to date, as there have been advances regarding the first aid treatment of snake bites. It has to be done properly The problem with using the Pressure Immobilisation Technique is not only carrying enough compression bandages to apply to the bite but, more importantly, applying

The leaf versus coil debate has been going on since Land Cruiser 70 Series drivers got jealous of the comfy ride in coil-sprung Land Rover Defenders. We joke, but both leaves and coils have a range of benefits and drawbacks that suit different vehicles and needs. How you value these attributes could affect your next choice of vehicle… The task at hand Your vehicle’s suspension system is possibly the hardest-working, least understood, most abused and under-maintained aspect of your rig. The average bakkie is expected to safely carry a ton, but remain comfortable and stable when empty on the school

Recovery tracks have a long history. In fact they probably go back as far as the advent of wheeled vehicles, in one form or another. Early explorers in the Namib resorted to wooden planks and plane tyres to get their thin-wheeled trucks through the soft sand. Certainly, today’s tracks can trace their origins to the heavy perforated steel sheets called Marsden Matting, which the US army used from around 1941 to build stable landing platforms in the mud for planes and armoured vehicles. The next development of the Marsden Matting, also called PSP for Perforated Steel Planking, was the use

Enter & Win! desert Product full recovery kit Email an image of your 4×4 in an overland location (or post it on Instagram), and be eligible for the Readers’ Rides prize. The prize is a heavy-duty Desert Air Jack which retails at R2 581, at any one of the 27 4×4 Mega World stores throughout South Africa. This lightweight and versatile air jack, made from PVC, requires no specialised mounting points, can lift up to three tons in almost any conditions from mud to sand, and can be inflated using either a compressor or exhaust pressure. For more 4×4 Mega

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