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Destination & Trails

SA4x4’s official tour operator, Ultimate Adventures, has expanded its tour line-up with four luxury expeditions, adding to its industry-leading range of trips. The addition of new tour leader Laurent Changuion has freed Simon and Desiree Steadman up to focus on longer, more decadent adventures. We spoke to Simon to find out more. So, what’s new? In addition to being longer than standard Adventure Tours, the Prestige Tours offer both breakfast and dinner, both prepared by the masterful Chef Esrom. There are also more activities on offer, and a higher standard of luxury with lodge and guesthouse accommodation. “One of the…

For many years, it had been on my wish list to drive from Gauteng to the Serengeti. Flying would be the easiest, but I wanted to drive. I have done numerous 4×4 trips into Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia and Lesotho, as well as through South Africa, and I have reasonable experience of this type of adventure. However, the Serengeti is over 4 000km away, and this adds a new dimension to travel – especially if one wants to do it in twelve days. So, where does one start to plan a trip of this magnitude? My starting point was to see…

“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…

Most people head up to Namaqualand during the annual spring flower season, but for those who prefer peace and quiet, rather travel during the secret ‘Green Season’… Intrepid travellers who venture along the lesser gravel roads high along the western reaches of the Northern Cape, where arid desert land tumbles towards the tempestuous Atlantic Ocean, will be lucky enough to discover ‘Eenkantland’. This ‘Land on the Side’ is also known as Namaqualand, and the region’s Namaqua Coastal Route traverses the north-western parts of the area. It is a place of stark, jaw-dropping beauty, where a semi-desert inland escarpment transitions into…

Everybody’s heard a Zimbabwe travel horror story. Under the rule of Robert Mugabe, corruption thrived in all but the most remote reaches of the vast and diverse country. One would encounter dozens of roadblocks between Bulawayo and Harare, each ‘staffed’ by police or scammers seeking nothing more than to extort one for a couple of trillion Zim dollars. Journeys by road became arduous and expensive – and often dangerous, too. Well, I’m happy to report that things have changed. Zimbabwe, it seems, is open for business. The fall of Uncle Bob has paved the way for optimism and recovery, and…

Each year, Zambia plays host to two of the best kept secrets in the natural world. These two wildlife spectacles are only ever witnessed by the avid adventurer due to the remoteness of the areas in which they occur. This year, we have combined two of our most popular tours in order to witness both migrations in one magnificent Zambian expedition. Liuwa Plain National Park is situated in the Upper Zambezi flood plains of Western Zambia. The park covers an area of 3 600km2 of vast grasslands and wooded islands, and the plain from which the park takes its name…

Traversing the West Coast of Africa requires visiting a minimum of 12 countries, and optionally up to 24. There are many reasons to skip certain countries – safety, weather, visa issues, and even Ebola outbreaks closing the borders. More often, sometimes a country is skipped simply through lack of interest. On the coast, and straddling the Equator, lies the small and often-overlooked country of Gabon. Gabon seems to be one of those countries that are skipped due to a lack of interest. Virtually no-one explores the remote corners, and there is almost no information about what can be found when…

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…

South Africa’s secondary roads are full of possibilities and 4×4 potential, as Nick Yell proves on two Eastern Cape loops – an alternative to the Baviaanskloof, and a history-inspired meander through the Amatola region inland of East London. Baviaans-lite. This is how I had imagined the first of the two routes that my fiancée, Annette and I, were to go on: a 270km dirt track that was to take us off the tarred N9 outside Uniondale and eventually deposit us on the R334 to Uitenhage. Although we planned to detour off this route to wrestle with the Gonjah 4×4 trail…

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