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Karoo National Park - 4x4 Eco Trails

Eight off-road, 4×4 trails that keep locals coming back for more

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Are you looking for an ideal South African 4×4 self drive getaway that will only leave you with unforgettable memories?

Trails are often graded between 1 and 5. What does this mean?

  • Grade 1: Easy – for 4×4 novices or 4×2’s with a differential lock
  • Grade 2: Easy to moderate – 4×4 required and some offroad driving experience required.
  • Grade 3: Moderate – Low range and 4×4 driving experience recommended.
  • Grade 4: Difficult – Experienced drivers only, low range and differential lock. recovery equipment recommended.
  • Grade 5: Extreme – Experts only with highly capable vehicles, not for solo trips. Recovery back-up essential.

We have put together a list of the top 4×4 destinations that are simply a must add to the bucket list for newbies, but could be a walk in the park for the more experienced 4×4 off-roaders.

 Here are our top choices of destinations to explore for those who enjoy 4X4 trails: 

Kagga Kamma Nature Reserve, Western Cape

Kagga Kamma Nature Reserve offers guided 4×4 and quad bike safaris, hiking trails and star gazing at the mini Observatory. The Karoo itself is an absolute beauty and it keeps locals coming back for more! There is so much to explore in this desert in the middle of nowhere and there are a variety of  accommodations to choose from after you get back from 4×4 adventure. From Cave Suites, to Outcrop Open Air Room and a selection of luxurious Rondavels.

Click here to view and book the Kagga Kamma 4×4 trail.

Bass Lake Adventures, Gauteng

The 4×4 trail is open, for self driving, 5 days per week, except in the case of heavy rain, when the track is closed. If you wish to use the 4 x 4 trail after heavy rain, please call first to check if the 4 x 4 track will be open before driving out. A maximum of 6 vehicles permitted in 1 group on the trail. Larger groups may stagger departure time on trail.

The length of this trail is 14 km long and has a number of technical sections. If done in full, the trail will take around 3 hours. This trail is a natural track and includes ascents / descents and water sections. Escape routes are available at the difficult sections. There are many fun-filled activities for the entire family too!

Click here to view and book the Bass Lake Adventure 4×4 trail.

Sani Pass, Drakensburg, KwaZulu-Natal

The Sani Pass allows 4×4 fanatics to enter the popular mountain of Lesotho that can only be described as mesmerising, and is the only road crossing the summit of the high Drakensberg. The views from this 2873m altitude are nothing less than awe-inspiring, with snow and frozen waterfalls in winter, and a blaze of flower blooms in summer.

It is important to remember that passports are essential for each person, while some may require a visa. It is also important to phone ahead and check if the road is open as it is closed for safety reasons when there are harsh weather conditions. Guests are welcome to book in at the Sani Mountain Lodge.

Click here to view and book the Sani Pass 4×4 trail.

Riverwild 4×4, Mpumalanga

The Riverwild 4×4 Trail is a 12 kilometre route that takes between three and five hours to complete on your own ( if without a guide). The trail has different sections with a variety of challenging natural obstacles, such as river crossings, mud sections, steep ascents and descents and plenty of rocky areas, all under expert guidance. For those who do not want to participate in the extreme sections, a detour is optional.

Click here to view and book the Riverwild 4×4 trail.

Knysna Forest 4×4 Trail

The trail is situated in the Garden Route National Park and it’s one of South Africa’s newest national parks, and straddles Eastern and Western Cape provinces. This mystery trails takes your deep into ancient yellowwood and stinkwood trees forests. Upon your journey, you can expect to come across a crashed helicopter that was undetected for 7 years, and then along an old narrow-gauge railway that was used to transporting the timber felled back in the day.

If you’re really lucky, you may even spot the rare Knysna forest elephant. The trail is challenging, certainly, but not difficult.

Baviaans Kouga 4×4, Eastern Cape

The Baviaanskloof does not only offer a spectacular 4×4 trail, but it’s also a special, diverse, World Heritage Site. The Baviaans-Kouga 4×4 trail and 2×4 Baviaans Trail  Travel Route adds credance to this wildernes region and offers a different perspective to entering the Baviaanskloof. Its a little different and challenging with its “Fynbos  4×4 route” joining the main R332, Baviaanskloof Road, in the heart of the Baviaans, 2×4 Bakkies with experienced drivers can also do this 2×4 trail route, inot the Baviaanskloof as an adventure challenge.

The Baviaans -Kouga travel route offers you a stunning Baviaanskloof accommodation venue at Baviaans Lodge and brings you into the Baviaans from the blue ocean, rocky shoreline of the Tsitiskamma.

Click here to view and book the Baviaans Kouga 4×4 trail.

Gecko Rock, Western Cape

The famous Geck Rock 4×4 trail is situated in Breede Valley and awaits any 4×4 adrenaline junkie who has the guts to take it on. There are two routes named, “Seattle” and “Boyz to Men”which offers more of a challenge than the 4×2 or “soft-roader” options available.

4×2 and ‘soft-roader’

There are a number of roads around the reserve which are ideal for these vehicles. A challenging and scenic drive that can be completed in 4×2 is the Bothashoek route. Circular (starting and ending at de Wet’s Rus campsite), this route of about 12 km will take an hour to complete.

4×4 Driver training

4×4 owners wishing to learn more about their vehicle’s capabilities can book a driver training course ranging from introductory to advanced. Course content can be modified on request to accommodate a specific emphasis – for example – overland, sand, recovery etc.

Gecko Rock also offers nature walks, abseiling, bike trails and star gazing at night. 

Click here to view and book the Gecko Rock 4×4 trail.

Hennops off-road 4×4 trail, Gauteng

The Hennops Offroad Trails is one of the most popular and renowned 4×4 trails in Gauteng and is sited in a high mountainous section of the property with dongas, mud holes and other treacherous, man-made obstacles. The course covers some 200 hectares in an area that is also game-fenced and stocked with Blue Wildebeest, Zebra, Kudu, Blesbok and other game species.

Hennops Hiking trail offers the choice of 3 circular routes (2,5km, 7km and 11km) with overnight facilities for up to 18 hikers. Hennops Picnic Spot is sited next to Hennops River itself and offers 2 swimming pools, ablution facilties and ample braai facilities for day visitors.

Click here to view and book the Hennops 4×4 trail.