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South Africa

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Source: This article was taken from the Getaway’s Ultimate 4×4 Trails & Adventures Booklet sponsored by Goodrich Tyres.

South Africa’s vast landscapes are an explorer’s paradise, but reaching beautiful spots often requires an off-road vehicle and some deft driving ability.

Introduction | Western Cape | Northern Cape | Eastern Cape | Free State  | Kwazulu Natal | Gauteng | Northwest | Limpopo | Mpumalanga  | Overlanding

Here is Getaway’s roundup of ultimate 4×4 trails in South Africa and overland adventures north of our borders.


Let’s get going!

South Africa’s vast landscapes are an explorer’s paradise, but reaching beautiful spots often requires an off-road vehicle and some deft driving ability.

Here is Getaway’s round-up of ultimate 4×4 trails in South Africa and overland adventures north of our borders.

Also, industry guru Andrew St Pierre White has handy hints and tips to make the most of your trip.

  1. A beginner’s trail suitable for 4x2s with diff-locks.
  2. Easy to moderate. 4×4 essential.
  3. Moderately challenging. Low-range and some experience necessary.
  4. A real challenge; for experienced drivers only.
  5. Do not try this alone or without recovery gear.
Driving Tips

Andrew St Pierre WhiteAndrew St Pierre White is a filmaker, author publisher and a recognised authority on four-wheel drive. Here are some of his informative driving tips that will help you conquer a range of terrains with confidence.

Terrain made easy
Mud and rock

A good rule is to walk across the obstacle before you attempt to drive through or over it. When traction is marginal, such as on steep, undulating climbs or tricky, lumpy descents, shallow slippery mud or general off-road driving, tyre pressures should be reduced by about 20 per cent of normal operating pressures.


Momentum is the single most important aspect when driving in sand. Engage four-wheel drive even if you do not require it. Tyre wear will be reduced, vehicle control will be better and fuel consumption decreased. On extremely soft sand, tyre pressures can be dropped to as low as 0,5 bar. However, at this pressure the risk of a tyre coming off the rim is high. Steer cautiously and drive slowly. Some tyres will not permit such a low pressure, as the bead design won’t keep the tyre on the rim. If this is the case, don’t go lower than 0,8 bar.


Slow speed is essential and low-range second gear is recommended for most wading conditions. When entering water, do so slowly and avoid creating a splash that will wet electrical components. Drive at a speed that creates a clean bow wave. A snorkel is the ultimate engine protection when driving through deep water.


To improve comfort, safety and stability on corrugations, tyre pressures should be dropped by 15 to 20 per cent. Be careful of dropping pressures too much when carrying a load, because low pressures can also result in reduced directional stability and cause handling difficulties.


When crossing a ridge, stay at a right angle to it and pass both wheels on each axle over the obstacle at the same time. Crossing at an angle could result in a wheel lifting off the ground and loss of traction on that axle.


When negotiating a trough, cross at an angle to drop only one wheel at a time into the trough. This will always keep at least one wheel from either axle on firm ground. When moving along a series of troughs, do so carefully and slowly, otherwise the differential may be grounded if a wheel drops to one side.


A critical safety issue when climbing or descending steep slopes is not to depress the clutch in the event of traction loss or stalling.

Favourite vehicle accessories
  • Tyres
  • Rooftop tent
  • Drawer system
  • Dual-battery system
  • Raised air intake
  • Auxiliary fuel tanks
  • Recovery equipment
  • Spotlight

Western Cape

Western Cape 4x4 Trails
Photo by Jazz Kuschke


The Dunes

Western Cape 1 The Dunes

The name of this trail is a dead giveaway. More than 250 hectares of rolling, snow-white dunes lie just outside Lamberts Bay. Under the trusty guidance of Oom Joos Engelbrecht, you can negotiate this sandy playground on a number of routes.

While getting airborne on a dune crest may sound like fun, it can cause some serious damage to your vehicle. A combination of power, momentum and deflated tyres is what is required to conquer the sand like a pro.

However, there are also escape routes throughout if you feel you should need them.

The way there: The trail is 10 km before Lamberts Bay on the R364 from Clanwilliam.

Accommodation: There are a couple of options in nearby Lamberts Bay. See  Getaway. Contact: Theunis and Susie Engelbrecht tel 027-432-1244. email

Biedouw 4×4 Route

Western Cape 2 Biedouw Route

The Biedouw 4×4 Route is best known for its spectacular scenery and is not a very demanding trail. There are some places where rock and sand need to be negotiated, but the risk of vehicle damage is minimal.

This makes it an ideal trail for a family outing. Rock pools and waterfalls, bushman paintings and awe-inspiring views of Sneeukop and Krakadouw Peak are just some of the highlights of a great day out in the Cederberg.

Remember to pack a picnic basket and swimming costumes.

The way there: From Wupperthal in the Cederberg, head north for 15 km into the Biedouw Valley. From Clanwil-liam, continue over the Pakhuis Pass for 40 km and turn right onto the R364 to the route.

Accommodation: Contact: Barry and Mariette Lubbe tel 027-482-2845.

Western Cape Scene
Photo by Africa Media Online
Buffelspoort Adventure Trail

Western Caoe 3 Buffelspoort Adventure Trail

The start of the Buffelspoort Adventure Trail is at the Driefontein Farm, 30 km outside Laingsburg. It runs along a gorge carved out by the Buffels River and the cliffs can reach up to 500 m above. This makes the trail highly dependent on weather conditions. As this is a national heritage site, each driver receives a booklet containing a detailed history of the area. The trail itself is fairly treacherous and extremely exciting. With names such as the ‘Car wash’ and ‘Devil’s workshop’, you’ll want to be on top form tackling the many water crossings and rocky terrain. Slanggat 4×4 Trail is another option here, taking you up to the top of the Swartberg for breathtaking views.

The way there: From Laingsburg, turn south onto the R323 for roughly 16 km. Then turn left onto a tar road marked ‘Seweweekspoort’. After 5,6 km, turn right onto a gravel road and after another 1,7km, turn right through the ‘Driefontein’ gate.

Accommodation: There is basic camping at the beginning at Driefontein and at the end of the trail at Van Zylsdamme. The cost is included in the trail price for two people for two nights.

Contact: Rudy Nel tel 028-551-2117.

Bojaankop 4×4

Western Cape 4 Bojaankop 4x4

Low-range and high ground clearance rule at Bojaankop, which runs along the Gamka River on Matjiesvlei Farm. The trail runs to the top of Bojaankop, a koppie with uninterrupted views into Gamkaskloof and Die Hel. There’s space to drive around some obstacles.

The way there: From Calitzdorp, take the R62 to Ladismith and after 5 km take the Matjiesvlei turn-off on the right. After 4km, turn left to Matjiesvlei Guestfarm.

Accommodation: Matjiesvlei has four self-catering cottages sleeping between four and six people each. All have fully equipped kitchens, braai facilities, bedding, oil lamps, candles and hot water. Contact: Bennie and Selma Nel on tel 044-213-3756, cell 083-453-2209 or 073-174-1028, email, website.

Kagga Kamma 4×4 Trail

Kagga Kamma 4x4 Trail, Kagga Kamma, Western CapeStarting from the reception area, this slow route descends from 1 160 to 365 metres above sea level and is mostly easy going, but has some very steep places.

On a clear day you’ll have magnificent views over the vast Karoo and the mountains and valleys of the Cederberg, From mid-August to mid-November there are lots of flowers to see, perfect for nature-lovers, Also stay on the lookout for game such as eland, bontebok and, if you’re lucky, caracal and mountain leopard, You wouldn’t ordinarily do every section of the road, so you wouldn’t need more than one night’s accommodation.

Getting there: From Ceres, follow directions to Prince Alfred Hamlet, and go over Gydo Pass, Turn right at the Kagga Kamma sign just after Op-die-Berg, Follow all the Kagga Kamma signs for about 50 kilometres until you reach the gate.

Where to stay: The lodge has various luxury twosleeper caves and huts, Prices Include three meals, two guided excursions and access to the 4×4 route, Camping sites are available 1,5 kilometres from the lodge.

Who to contact Tel 021-872-4343, email, website.

Boegoeberg 4×4 Trail

Enjoy panoramic views of the Cederberg Mountains, Clanwilliam and Graafwater from the top of Platklip, which you’ll climb from the start of the trail.

There’s a variety of challenges from steep ascents and descents to technical driving sections where you’ll have to negotiate your passage around and over large rock formations.

On the last section to the Platklip viewpoint, you’ll cross a stream and the difficulty depends on the time of year. Your skills and vehicle traction will be tested, but damage to your vehicle Isn’t likely.

Boegoeberg 4x4 Trail Scenery

Getting there: The easiest way to reach Boegoeberg is from Graafwater. If you come from Lamberts Bay drive through Graafwater on the R364. As you exit Graafwater you will go over a railway bridge. From the foot of the bridge measure about 1.3 kilometres and turn right at the Jakkelsvlei gravel road (that is at 32°09’19″S, 18°37’30″E). If you are coming from Clanwilliam, this will be 1.3 km before Graafwater.

Continue on this gravel road for about 18.5 km and turn right at the blue sign on the right saying “Nokkie se Hokkie” (the turn-off is at 32°15’59″s, 18°45’46″E). After you turned right here just follow this road all the way until you reach the camping site. (The camping site is at 32°17’14″s, 18°45’15″E)

Where to stay: Five- and seven-sleeper self-catering units are available and there’s also a rustic six-sleeper sandstone shelter with bunk beds, bucket shower and long drop toilet.

Who to contact: Tel 083-632-2634, email OR Website

Gecko Rock Eco Adventure

Depending on your experience, you can choose the hand-built, grade-four trail or the more scenic grade-two drive, which is suitable for 4x2s. Ideally you should try both.

A qualified guide leads groups. If you want to do the tougher nine-kilometre route, you’ll have to demonstrate your abilities at the test terrain beforehand.

Vehicles must have good ground clearance, low-range and a diff lock is recommended.

The 12-kilometre one-hour trail is great for novice drivers and there’s a training course for 4×4 drivers.

Gecko Rock Eco Adventure 4x4 Trail, Touws RiverGetting there: From Touws River, pass the Bloutoring tumoff and continue for 25 kilometres. Tum left at the Gecko Rock sign.

Who to contact: Tel 023-358-9902, email  Or Website.

Oher Trails in the Western Cape

Other Trails 4x4 Trails in the Western Cape

bf goodrich website

Northern Cape

Introduction | Western Cape | Northern Cape | Eastern Cape | Free State  | Kwazulu Natal | Gauteng | Northwest | Limpopo | Mpumalanga  | Overlanding

Northern Cape Scene
Photo by Africa Media Online
Kalahari Seekoeibaard Sand Route (5)

On Transboegoe Farm, which borders Kalahari Witsand Nature Reserve, there’s a 4x4er’s paradise. With more than 100 km of off-road wonders, it’s a great place to spend the weekend and leaves you wanting to come back, again and again.

There are four trails that work their way through the red sands of the Kalahari Desert – the pick of the bunch being the Seekoeibaard. The start of this trail involves a rocky climb to get over the Boegoeberg Mountains. There’s also a shady stopover on the route, which makes for an ideal lunch break.

The way there: The trail is off the R64 between Kimberley and Upington. Accommodation: There’s a campsite at the riverside. Contact: Louwrens and Elzahn Fourie cell 083-500-7180 or 083-238-9188.

Loch Maree 4×4 (6)

Northern Cape Loch Maree 4x4

Loch Maree offers two trails, a 50 km self-drive trail and a 100km guided trail.

The shorter option is predominately on sand and gets progressively more testing as you move further into the dunes.

The longer trail will take you through savannah, across saltpans and over dunes that will test you and your vehicle’s skills … if you dare.

There’s plenty of game along the way – springbok, gemsbok, blue wildebeest, giraffe and other species.

Northern Cape Windmill

The way there: Loch Maree is 30 km southwest of Askham, just off the R31.

Contact: Retha Stadler tel 082-351-1834, or e-mail, website


Papkuilsfontein (7)

The Papkuilsfontein trail carves its way through the breathtaking scenery of the Bokveldsberg. It’s not only the seasonal Namaqualand flowers and the endemic Sterboom trees that will leave you breathless, but the sheer drops at the edge of the road. Drivers and their co-pilots will need to keep a vigilant watch as they negotiate this rocky mountain pass, which can be even trickier in wet winter conditions.

The way there: Follow the main street through Niewoudtville until it becomes a dirt road. Papkuilsfontein is another 22 km.

Contact: Mariette and Willem van Wyk tel 027-218-1246, email, website

Northern Cape Scene
Photo by Danie Nel
The Mountain Desert Tour (8)

Northern Cape Desert Tour

The Mountain Desert Tour is an off-road experience with a difference. Although it starts and ends in Springbok, the trail officially begins in Peila and runs along the Orange River to Vioolsdrif.

The guides, Ian Wheeler and Peter Raine, take care of all the planning and catering and are happy to part with their local and 4×4 knowledge. The trail itself is generally quite gentle and carves its way through some spectacular flora and fauna in this amazing part of the country.

The way there: The tour starts and ends in Springbok.

Accommodation: Along the way, it’s all camping under the night sky. For places to stay in Pofadder or Springbok, visit www, getaway.co.za. Contact: Peter Raine or Ian Wheeler tel 021-683-4175.

For more places to stay in the Northern Cape.

Other Trails in the Northern Cape

Northern Cape Other Trails

bf goodrich website

Eastern Cape

Introduction | Western Cape | Northern Cape | Eastern Cape | Free State  | Kwazulu Natal | Gauteng | Northwest | Limpopo | Mpumalanga  | Overlanding

Eastern Cape
Photo by Jazz Kuschke
Brakkeduine 4×4 Sand Trail (9)

Eastern Cape Bakkeduin Trail

Sand, sand and more sand. Here, it’s all about sand and there is probably no better place for it. The 15 km of shifting dunes will keep you busy for at least three hours while grinning from ear to ear (if you don’t bog down for too long – make sure your recovery skills are exercised).

After challenging the ups and downs of the dunes and playing around ‘Banggat’, an area completely surrounded by sand, your confidence in your sand-driving skills will have spiked.

If you’re unsure or want to fast-track it, don’t be shy to request one of Brakkeduine’s experienced guides.

The way there: Brakkeduine is 32 km on the dirt road from Humansdorp towards Oyster Bay.

Accommodation: For accommodation in this area, check out Getaway.

Contact: Choppie Lindstrom tel 082-400-3720, or Arthur Loretz tel 082-336-2055, email.

Ferndale 4×4 Trail and Adventure Centre (10)

Eastern Cape Ferndale Trail

Ferndale offers four trails (Scenic, Redcone, Wild Route and Diff-lock Alley) that weave through the lush Henderson Heights mountain range near Cathcart.

Although the trails are signposted, you’re given a GPS because they’re all connected, leaving you the choice of which one to attempt and which obstacles you’d prefer to avoid.

It’s a rocky ride, but whether you’re going for a scenic drive or are a hardcore adrenaline junkie (don’t miss the action on Adrenaline Hill or the Play Pit), Ferndale has it all.

The way there: Follow the R351 out of Cathcart and after 2,3 km turn right onto a gravel road. Ferndale is 22 km further on.

Contact: Butch and Jenny James tel 045-843-1714, email, website.

Offcamber Adventures (11)

Eastern Cape Offcamber Adventures

Offcamber Adventures 4×4 – run by Tony Webb and his wife, Sharon – is in the heart of the Elands River Valley. The trail is divided into four sections, the first three being more like obstacle courses, designed to test the driver’s skills and knowledge of the vehicle, and the last one offering more sightseeing opportunities.

All the trails have optional additions that provide extra challenges and therefore attract a wide range of drivers. Tony even offers training and guided tours to those less confident, Nevertheless, be prepared for steep ascents, sharp descents, rock crawling, cambers, pole crossings and river driving on this 4×4 playground.

The way there: Travel on the R334 between Uitenhage and Van Stadens Wild Flower Reserve and turn at the Exel Garage. Offcamber Adventures is on your left after 10km.

Tony or Sharon tel 041-955-5572, email, website.

Photo by Jazz Kuschke
Slagboom (12)

Eastern Cape Slagboom

The route, named after the battle of Slagboom, has five sections that wind their way along the Suurberg. To conquer all of these would be a serious achievement, as two of the sections are graded five.

Much of the trail requires low-range to tackle the steep inclines and tight angles. That said, it attracts beginners and experts alike and there’s plenty of time to take in the sights and sounds of the surrounding natural beauty.

The way there: Follow the signs on the R335 from Port Elizabeth.

Accommodation: Contact: Boy or Boetie Whittle tel 042-233-0578, email.

For more places to stay in the Eastern Cape.

Other Trails in the Eastern Cape

Eastern Cape Other Trails

bf goodrich website

Free State

Introduction | Western Cape | Northern Cape | Eastern Cape | Free State  | Kwazulu Natal | Gauteng | Northwest | Limpopo | Mpumalanga  | Overlanding

Free State
Photo by Rory Bruins
Korannaberg/Van Zoelens-hoek (13)

Free State Korannaberg

Korannaberg Adventures, on the farm Van Zoelenshoek on the Lesotho border, offers two trails of varying difficulty. Matopos is a laid-back route that takes about five hours to complete after passing seven waterfalls (in rain season, of course). The Malutis Trail is shorter, but takes about seven hours due to hairy obstacles that will test both you and your vehicle’s skill.

The way there: Van Zoelenshoek is at the foot of the Korannaberg Mountains, 30 km east of Excelsior on the R703.

Contact: Heleen Conradie cell 082-706-0058, email.

Riverside 4×4 Trail (14)

Free State Riverside Trail

If you’re looking for a great day of fun, Riverside 4×4 won’t disappoint. The grading might be a little misleading, though. While it’s novice friendly, the overlapping circular route will test you and your vehicle through sand, mud, water, over rocks, up steep inclines, down sharp descents and across some serious cross-axle cambers. It may even test your recovery skills. With all that to get through, make sure you have time to park off for lunch among the willows..

The way there Riverside 4×4 is about 20 km from Steynsrus on the R76 towards Lindley.

Contact: Hans and Alethea de Vos tel 056-471-0812, cell 083-444-5499 or 083-290-4344.

Moolmanshoek 4×4 Eco Routes (15)

Free State Moolmanshoek Trail

More than 50 km of 4×4 tracks can be found at Moolmanshoek Nature Reserve in the Witteberg Mountains. Best done over a weekend, the four trails – Kiepersol Garden, Visierkerf, Langesnek and Suikerhoek – cover different terrain and are suitable for newcomers and experienced drivers.

Grasslands, sandstone plates, streams and rocky inclines and descents are just some of the obstacles. To top it off, a variety of game can be spotted along the way.

The way there: Take the R70 from Senekal or Ficksburg towards Rosendal. The turn-off is about 10 km before Rosendal (on the Ficksburg side).

Contact: Willie or Wiseman Nel tel 051-933-2220, email, websites.

Free State Scene
Photo by Africa Media Online
Tussen-Die-Riviere (16)

Free State Tussen-Die-Riviere

The 23000-hectare Tussen-Die-Riviere Nature Reserve takes its name from the Orange and Caledon Rivers between which it sits.

There are two trail options that aren’t particularly challenging (although there are optional sections requiring low-range), but they do offer spectacular scenery and game viewing. It’s a long day on the road, so make sure you have enough padkos and a good set of binoculars.

The way there: Turn right about 30 km after Bethulie on the R701.

Contact: Francois van den Berg tel 051-763-1000, cell 084-549-6676.

For more places to stay in the Free State.

Other Trails in the Free State
Other Trails Free State

bf goodrich website


Introduction | Western Cape | Northern Cape | Eastern Cape | Free State  | Kwazulu Natal | Gauteng | Northwest | Limpopo | Mpumalanga  | Overlanding

Photo by Africa Media Online
Cedarville 4×4 Trails (17)

Kwazulu-Natal Cedarville 4x4 Trails

Cedarberg Guest Farm owner Gerrie Nel offers a variety of tailor-made trails that carve through the picturesque foothills of the Drakensberg. The Cedarberg Scenic Trail is a laid-back meander, while those looking for a rush will find the Dagga Trail a must.

Equipped with a GPS and a map, drivers navigate their way to the Three Sisters’, overcoming rocky gorges and muddy conditions along the way. A high-clearance vehicle with low-range is essential and recovery equipment is recommended.

The way there: From Kokstad, drive to Cedarville on the R56 towards Matatiele. Cedarberg Guest Farm is then 8 km beyond Cedarville.

Contact: Gerrie Nel tel 039-757-5535, cell 083-262-5464, website.

Stoney Ridge Offroad Academy (18)

Kwazulu-Natal Stoney Ridge Offroad Academy

Stoney Ridge Off-road Academy, in the Thukela Biosphere Reserve, is a top-class off-road training facility that runs two-day courses. There are six trails traversing shale, rock, sand, rivers, dongas and steep slopes. Owner John Rich will customise a route depending on your experience and vehicle restrictions. There’s also a self-drive GPS route should you feel up for the challenge. There’s gorgeous scenery and great hospitality, and it’s the perfect place to jump-start your 4×4 skills.

The way there: From Weenen, take the R74 to Colenso, then travel for 5 km until you see a sign for Stoney Ridge on the right.

Contact: Jacqui Ikin tel 036-354-7012, or John Rich tel 073-697-5108, email, website.

Kwazulu-Natal Scenery

Tugam Safari Network (19)

Kwazulu-Natal Tugam Safari Network

Tugam 4×4 Safaris is on the slopes of the Magudu Hills. The safari network consists of more than 75 km of off-road tracks with four distinct trails – Breakfast Plains, Waterhole Watch, River View and the Tugam Sundowner Trail.

These are all done at certain times of the day to enhance your chance of spotting game. Sightings of impala, giraffe, wildebeest, zebra and even rhino are common. While most of these are gentle dirt tracks, the Sundowner Trail has quite a steep ascent over rocks to get to the stunning Lookout Point at the top of the mountain.

The way there: Take the N2 south from Piet Retief and turn right at Pongola onto the R66. Then turn right onto the R69. Tugam Game Farm will be on your right.

Contact: Cobie Botha tel 034-413-1405, cell 082-990-9807, email.

For more places to stay in Kwazulu-Natal.

Other trails in Kwazulu-Natal

Kwazulu-Natal Other Trails

bf goodrich website


Introduction | Western Cape | Northern Cape | Eastern Cape | Free State  | Kwazulu Natal | Gauteng | Northwest | Limpopo | Mpumalanga  | Overlanding

Photo by Jazz Kuschke
De Wildt 4×4 (20)

Gauteng De Wildt 4x4

De Wildt 4×4 in the Magaliesberg is a place where both beginners and experts can take their 4x4s and enjoy game.

There are two trail options, making it accessible for 4×4 and 4×2 vehicles.

The steep 20-metre rock face and the old quarry playpit provide a massive challenge, but don’t get tied up at these for too long, because you wouldn’t want to miss the magnificent sunsets from one of the viewpoints.

The way there: De Wildt 4×4 is off the R513 in the Magaliesberg Nature Reserve.

Contact: Louis van der Merwe cell 083-268-8185, website.

Bass Lake  Adventures (21)

Gauteng Bass Lake Adventures

Getting out of Johannesburg to visit a water-filled quarry may not sound appealing, but Bass Lake Adventures is far from a hole in the ground. In fact, it’s bustling with activities and a 4×4 trail set up by Alan Pepper.

The terrain varies from forest to grasslands, from soil to gravel, and from open spaces to rock driving. Alan also runs training courses that he personalises to suit your needs.

After you do the trail, stay for the rest of the day and enjoy the use of the resort’s facilities. These include diving, hiking, mountain biking, archery, paintball, bass fishing and birding.

The way there: Take the R59 south of Johannesburg to Vereenlging and turn off at Henley Drive. Bass Lake Adventures is on your left after 5 km.

Contact: Alan and Karen Pepper tel 016-366-1127, email, website.

Photo by Rory Bruins
Groenkloof 4×4  Nature Trail (22)

Gauteng Groenkloof 4x4 Nature Trail

Groenkloof 4×4 Nature Trail, in the picturesque Groenkloof Nature Reserve just south of Pretoria, offers a mildly challenging trail. However, visitors go to see the sable antelope, zebra, duiker, kudu, impala and giraffe, all pointed out by an informative booklet. All the obstacles have bypass routes, and the trail features a challenging water obstacle and some rocky climbs.

The way there: From Pretoria, follow the R21 south to the Fountains Circle, turn to Centurion and enter Groenkloof at the Fountains Valley Resort.

Accommodation: There are many options in and around Pretoria. Visit Getaway for places to stay.

Contact: The trail is managed by the City of Tshwane. Tel 012-440-8316/341-5204, email, website.

For more places to stay in Gauteng.

Other Trails in Gauteng

Gauteng Other Trails

bf goodrich website

North West

Introduction | Western Cape | Northern Cape | Eastern Cape | Free State  | Kwazulu Natal | Gauteng | Northwest | Limpopo | Mpumalanga  | Overlanding

North West

Doornrivier (23)

The farm has four 4×4 routes with mountainous, rocky and sandy terrain. Two of the trails are designed with the beautiful scenery in mind, while the other two are more technically orientated and require low-range.

Doornrivier also has a 4×4 playground area. Whether you go for a weekend or are just passing through on the way to Botswana, it’s the perfect spot to test your skills.

The way there: Drive north from Zeerust on the R49 for 15km. Doornrivier is on the right.

Contact: Andre and Mariesa van der Merwe tel 018-642-3394, website.

Karee Krans (24)

North West Karee Krans

If you’re looking to escape the bustling city life, Karee Krans in the Magaliesberg is an ideal weekend destination. Although the three trails are short, they are designed for slow-going and taking in the beautiful surroundings.

After receiving a map on arrival, it’s up to you which trail to tackle first, as they vary in difficulty. If your confidence is low, you can request the assistance of a guide who will be happy to help you.

The way there: Take the N4 through Rustenburg. About 2 km after Moedwil, turn right at the Hoe Bome sign. After 8 km, turn left at the T-junction and follow the Karee Krans signposts.

Contact: Robert van der Merwe cell 073-158-1545, email.

Gauteng Scenery
Photo by Africa Media Online
Berakah 4×4 (25)

North West Berakah 4x4

In this area of unspoilt beauty surrounding the Vredefort Dome World Heritage Site, you’ll find 15km of marked 4×4 trail, which twists and turns through open savannah, bushveld, riverbeds, mud, water, over hill climbs and scenic mountains.

Although there are bypass routes for the main obstacles, low-range and diff-locks are a must, as is a trusty co-pilot to negotiate the many pole crossings. Don’t forget to pack some lunch, as there are braai and picnic spots along the way providing a perfect rest opportunity.

The way there: From Parys, take the R53 to Potchefstroom. Follow the Berakah signs after crossing the Vaal River.

Contact: Lenie and Andre Pretorius: 056-818-1313, website.

Moegatle 4×4 Trail (26)

North West Moegatle 4x4 Trail

The trail varies from a 4×2 and soft roader-friendly route, to a 4×4 trail that is challenging in places and where low-range, high ground clearance and care is required.

If you drive with confidence and take directions from the guides, you should be able to cruise through the riverbed, sand, rocks, mud and water without needing the bypasses. The pressure is on though, as the events of the day are recorded on video and played back at the pub.

The way there: Take the R511 from Britz towards Thabazimbi. After 21 km, turn right at the Moegatle sign. Moegatle is 10 km further.

Contact: Alex or Betsie Fullardtel 012-277-1430

For more places to stay in the North West.

Other Trails in the Northwest

bf goodrich website


Introduction | Western Cape | Northern Cape | Eastern Cape | Free State  | Kwazulu Natal | Gauteng | Northwest | Limpopo | Mpumalanga  | Overlanding

Photo by Africa Media Online
Grootwater 4×4 Trail (27)

The best part of the Grootwater experience is the challenging rock driving – and the rocks and stones along the trails are mostly smooth, so they are not likely to damage your vehicle or tyres.

That said, vehicles require good ground clearance, so take care at all times and don’t get overconfident; the steep descents can get nasty. Once you’ve tackled all the routes, it’s up to you to choose whether you’d like to go for a hike, test your quad, go canoeing or just relax next to the pool or in the bar.

The way there: Take the N1 north from Johannesburg and turn left towards Modimolle at the Kranskop Tollgate. On the Vaalwater road, turn right at the Lephalale sign. After 50km, at the Witkop sign, turn left onto the dirt road. The turn-off for Grootwater is 11 km further.

Contact: Herman and Dawn du Toit cell 083-280-9772 or 082-338-3115, email.

Rust de Winter 4×4 Bundu (28)

Limpopo Rust de Winter 4x4 Bundu

Although two very experienced guides will join you on this two-day adventure, you are required to have some off-road experience and knowledge of your vehicle.

The trail includes steep climbs up mountain passes, rocky descents, rock slabs and a narrow passage through ‘Lovers Lane’, a water-formed gorge over alluvial rock. The 33 gates along the way provide great opportunities to absorb the tranquil surrounds and refuel with a snack, but can be annoying at times.

The way there: Follow the N1 north from Pretoria and take the Hammanskraal/ Boekenhoutskloof turn-off. Turn right to Rust de Winter. It’s then 14 km to the 4×4 ATV campsite.

Accommodation: Bring your own camping equipment and drinks for the panoramic overnight camp (cost included in the fee).

Contact: Peter Claasen tel 012-379-1715, email, website.

Limpopo Scenery
Photo by Africa Media Online
Mabote River Camp (29)

Limpopo Mabote River Camp

Mabote (Sotho for ‘small, strong river’) has four well-designed and marked trails that traverse sand, water, mud and rocks, and vary in difficulty. You could do all these in one day, but rather make a weekend of it.

On arrival, you’ll receive a detailed map and an update of the trail conditions (it can get tricky after summer rains, especially at the river crossing). Don’t miss the waterfalls, rock art, fishing and canoeing opportunities that Mabote River Camp offers.

The way there: From Mokopane, take the R101 towards Mookgophong. After 12 km, turn right to Doorndraai Dam. After 40 km this road turns to dirt. Mobote is on the left after 6km.

Contact: Esme Peens tel 015-453-0792, cell 083-601-9866, email.

Serendipity Eco Trails (30)

Limpopo Serendipity

If you’re looking for a weekend getaway where you can take the family on a scenic (yet challenging) drive, or an adrenaline boost for you and your vehicle, Serendipity is the perfect destination.

Set on a bushveld farm, owned by Johan Kopper, two trails pass over mountain streams, through savannah, up inclines and down declines with beautiful scenery and abundant wildlife. Low-range and diff-locks are recommended for both trails, but the shorter of the two is far more challenging.

The way there: Serendipity is 23km from Modimolle on the R101.

Contact: Wilma or Delia van der Merwe tel 014-743-3540, cell 082-553-3266, email.

For more places to stay in Limpopo.

Other Trails in Limpopo

Limpopo Other Trails

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Introduction | Western Cape | Northern Cape | Eastern Cape | Free State  | Kwazulu Natal | Gauteng | Northwest | Limpopo | Mpumalanga  | Overlanding

Photo by Africa Media Online
Mac Mac Summit Route (31)

Mpumalanga Mac Mac Summit Route

Mac Mac Forest Retreat may be in the middle of the Komatiland Forest Conservancy with pine and gum plantations being hacked down, but it still holds its natural beauty with pockets of forest, waterfalls and rolling green hills.

A network of tracks makes up the Mac Mac Summit Route, where guests can choose between a one-day or five-day adventure through this magical area. The route itself is not too challenging and won’t damage your vehicle, but it will take your breath away.

The way there: It’s 15 km from either Sabie or Graskop on the R532.

Contact: Mac Mac Forest Retreat tel 013-764-2376/1018, email, website.

Riverwild 4×4 (32)

Mpumalanga Riverwild 4x4

Riverwild’s nine routes, all leading off one arterial dirt road, are for experienced drivers who want to test their skills and vehicles. Some obstacles include tight corners, river crossings, mud pits, jagged rocks and steep ups and downs.

There are escape routes and drivers can return to sections. River-wild offers driver training that covers the environment, vehicle information, off-road techniques, recovery and practical training driving through a number of obstacles. Advanced courses include navigation. GPS, advanced recovery and other skills to help ensure a safe off-road experience.

The way there: Turn off the N4 from Nelspruit onto the R37 towards Sudwala Caves and Sabie. From there, follow the signs to Riverwild.

Contact: Mpumalanga Tourism Information tel 0860-104-069, email.

Nzikasi River Trail (33)

Mpumalanga Nzikasi River Trail

The Nzikasi Trail – named after the Nzikazi River, which the trail follows – is a pleasant mixture of scenery and off-road challenges that are suitable for the whole family. It features sand, rocks and a climb up a huge granite koppie, from where you can enjoy magnificent views of the surrounding bushveld.

The route borders the Kruger National Park, so keep your eyes peeled and your binoculars handy because you never know what’s lurking around the corner.

The way there: Meet the guide at White River, which is 8 km from the start of the trail.

Accommodation: There are numerous options around White River. Getaway.

Contact: Janco Scott tel 013-755-3073, email.

Mpumalanga Scenery
Photo by Africa Media Online
Lebombo Eco Trail (34)

Mpumalanga Lebombo Eco Trail

This five-day trail is quite exceptional, starting where two countries meet and ending at the joining of a third (South Africa, Zimbabwe and Mozambique). It runs the length of the Kruger National Park. Although it’s not an obstacle course or a testing ground for 4x4s, participants will need to be true bush lovers. It’s self-catering and, while stops are made in Lower Sabie, Olifants and Shingwedzi Camps for fuel, water and showers, the rest is bush camping. Booking is essential through South African National Parks (which has recently opened up the overnight Malopeni Eco Trail).

The way there: Take the N4 towards Komatipoort. Enter the Kruger National Park at Crocodile Bridge Gate.

Accommodation: Campers have to take all their own equipment.

Contact: Hesther van den Berg tel 012-426-5117, email, Website.

For more places to stay in Mpumalanga.

Other Trails in Mpumalanga

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Introduction | Western Cape | Northern Cape | Eastern Cape | Free State  | Kwazulu Natal | Gauteng | Northwest | Limpopo | Mpumalanga  | Overlanding

Overlanding is a different ball game to 4×4 trails. While the vehicle is definitely important, an overlanding adventure isn’t only about getting your tyres over rocks and through sand. It’s an exploration of Africa’s beauty, places, people and cultures, all done as a self-sufficient traveller. Kit out your car, get some friends together and take leave. Africa is waiting…


NamibiaNamibia is characterised by its vast landscapes, ranging from desert in the south and west to the wild and windswept Skeleton Coast, the white saltpans of Etosha and the dense bushveld of the Caprivi Strip.

Entering Namibia in the south, either at Vioolsdrif or Nakop, is quick and easy. From there, it’s smooth driving along the B1 or B3 tarred roads until you turn off onto the corrugated dirt road that leads to the Ai-Ais / Richtersveld National Park.

This is home to the awe-inspiring Fish River Canyon, best seen from the main viewpoint near Hobas. Further north, entering into the Namib-Naukluft Park, are the magnificent sand dunes of Sossusvlei. As this is a photographer’s dream spot, it’s best to get there early to catch the golden morning light. Be prepared to deflate your tyres, as you’ll need to negotiate a rutted sandy track to reach the main picnic area.

If you have two days to spare and are up for a challenge, try the Namib-Naukluft 4×4 Trail. North of here is the start of the desolate Skeleton Coast.

Northern Namibia is divided into Damaraland and Kaokoland. Roads are mainly corrugated gravel with the occasional dry riverbed and are suited only for high-clearance 4×4 vehicles. Highlights include the spectacular Spitzkoppe mountain range, the Kunene River, the saltpans of Etosha National Park, Epupa Falls and Ruacana Falls in the extreme north and great game viewing in the Caprivi Strip to the northeast.


With as many as 15 different border posts between Botswana and South Africa, its doors are wide open for visitors. And why wouldn’t you want to go? Botswana offers some of the best wilderness and wildlife in southern Africa, with the game-rich Moremi Wildlife Reserve, the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, Chobe National Park and Central Kalahari Game Reserve. Add the Okavango Delta and the Makgadikgadi and Nxai Pans into the mix and you have no excuse not to go.

Overlanding is by far the best way to see this country. You’re the master of your route and can decide whether or not to spend more or less time in a place. There are some excellent lodges and exquisite campsites throughout Botswana. In the more remote areas, driving conditions can be harsh and water, petrol or food may not be readily available. A 4×4 is essential and supplies recommended when accessing these areas.


Despite its political problems, Zimbabwe is still a safe, beautiful destination with abundant wildlife, adventure sports and scenic wilderness areas. Overlanding here does take some organising (make sure you have all the necessary documentation) and huge amounts of patience, but the rewards are well worth it.

From the border post at Beitbridge, take the A4 towards Harare to see the incomparable Ruins of Great Zimbabwe near Masvingo and the Eastern Highlands attractions of the Chimanimani Mountains, Nyanga National Park, Bridal Veil Falls, Eland Sanctuary and the Chirinda Forest Botanical Reserve. Alternatively, take the A6 past Bulawayo towards Hwange National Park, the mighty Victoria Falls, placid Lake Kariba or the thrilling Mana Pools in the extreme north. If you have enough time, all these places can be toured in a circular route. It’s a good idea to carry extra fuel when travelling longer distances and be aware of potholes and stray cattle in places.



Immediately after entering Mozambique at its southernmost border at Kosi Bay, you’ll need to engage 4×4 mode, deflate your tyres and take your best guess as to which line you want to take through the sandy track. It’s a great way to get the adventurous spirit going. Many of the lodges and camping grounds in Mozambique require 4x4s for access and, although your car might get a little battered, it’ll be worth it once you hit the warm coastal waters.

Moving north along the EN1 national ‘highway’ requires extreme concentration, not only to avoid potholes and police, but the oncoming and overloaded buses that seem to crab and wobble all over the road. Travelling north from the lively and charismatic city of Maputo, the change in vegetation from dense bush to lush palms becomes apparent, as does the culture, with many roadside vendors selling fruit and vegetables, cashews and locally made piri-piri. While the sea remains the focus point for holidaymakers – there are plenty of spots to pull into with more than 2700 km of coastline – don’t forget the flourishing Gorongosa National Park in the interior, just north of Beira.

From here, distances become longer and tourism less developed. Your two options are to turn inland towards Blantyre, Malawi, or to continue and explore Nampula, Nacala Bay, Pemba and the island paradises of the Quirimbas Archipelago in northern Mozambique.

For more places to stay.

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