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Destination & Trails

Just inland of the Tsitsikamma lies a narrow, mystical valley, shielded from the elements by two monstrous mountain ranges. Where the Kouga Mountains clash with the Baviaanskloof, you’ll find an oasis of lush greenery along the otherwise arid outskirts of the Karoo, feeding off rainwater that fell far afield of the fertile valley. The Baviaanskloof is so peculiar, in fact, that it forms part of the Cape Floral Region World Heritage Site. In all, the area is home to an incredible seven of the eight major biomes of South Africa: ranging from fynbos on one side all the way to…

You need a range of skills to take part in the Mystery Rally, not the least of them being able to punch co-ordinates into a GPS and turn out a tasty braai meal for the judges… The Mystery Rally has now become my weekend 4×4 highlight of the year, as I was invited as a tag-along photographer to last year’s event and, for some reason, again to the 2018 rendition. Run by the Western Cape 4×4 and Diff Lock Club over the last (long) weekend in September, the Mystery Rally doubled in size to around 50 vehicles this year. This…

Few people are aware that the mighty Namib Desert extends into southern Angola. This seldom-visited region lies in the very remote south-western corner of Angola, straddling the border with Namibia. My paper maps and GPS show virtually no roads, and not a single town for many hundreds of kilometres.  I intend to take a route through some of the most remote, and least inhabited, terrain on the entire African continent. To increase my maximum petrol capacity, I strap a 20-litre container to the spare wheel. Together with the stock tank and my Titan Transfer Tank, I now carry a touch…

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…

Ultimate Adventures started 11 years ago, with the dream of exploring Africa’s wildest destinations while delivering top-quality self-drive tours that the whole family could enjoy. Attention to detail and personalised service was the foundation of our business, and hasn’t changed throughout the years. We offer off-road adventures in all corners of Southern and Eastern Africa, from the snow-capped mountains of Lesotho, to the wide-open plains of the Serengeti. Ultimate Adventures is our baby, and with our husband and wife partnership comes passion and dedication, differentiating us from the rest. Our mission is to make every adventure memorable and to create…

As one of the least densely populated countries on the continent and one with a stunning array of wildlife and natural beauty, Botswana is high on the must-see list for any visitor to Africa, and a country I have been looking forward to for a very long time. It has extremely strict conservation laws, and in the more than 17% of the land mass dedicated to National Parks, animals roam freely and are a fixture of everyday life. National Parks are well organised and affordable, and thousands of kilometres of remote tracks lie waiting to be explored. In many regions,…

Night challenges are not new in the world of 4×4 adventuring, and the Superwinch 4×4 Night Challenge (which took place on Saturday, 1 September 2018, at Rust de Winter) was right up there for calling on the endurance reserves of all the participants − competitors and organisers alike. With over 400km of trails to choose from at Rust de Winter, the participants were in for a night to remember. Because of the degree of difficulty, the number of participants was limited to 12 vehicles. All types of vehicles were present: from stock standard, to those which had been heavily modified…

Having been involved in several severe 4×4 challenges of late, it came as a welcome relief to tackle the Nossob Eco Trail, which runs through the remote Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. Here was a chance to enjoy open wilderness without any stress about vehicle damage. Starting at the Twee Rivieren post right on the border of Botswana in the Northern Cape’s most northerly point, the five-day, four-night trail begins at the point where the Aoub and Nossob river intersect – hence ‘Twee Rivieren’. These rivers flow only once every century, but, even so, are lined with massive camelthorns and populated heavily…

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…

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