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4x4 in the Free State


4x4 in South Africa

High mountain passes, steep slopes, rocky deserts, deep mud, river crossings, sand dunes and game-filled plains. With its varied terrain and remote wilderness areas South Africa is a wonderful playground for those who love to grind their gears and rev their engines.

There are a myriad 4x4 trails from easy to gnarly throughout the country. There are also dedicated 4x4 parks in the major cities where new owners and inexperienced drivers can learn the ropes. Whether you drive a soft-roader or a hard-core beast you’re sure to find a trail to suit you.

Having a 4x4 is not just about how the vehicle performs on the obstacle courses or organised routes of the urban fringe. It’s about exploring inaccessible parts that others may never see. It’s about escaping to the remote corners of the country, sleeping out under the stars, venturing deep into the wilderness to watch game, throwing a line or simply soaking up the magnificence of Africa.

Popular 4x4 destinations include the rugged Baviaanskloof and Wild Coast in the Eastern Cape, the Maluti Mountains in the south-east Free State, the Kruger National Park in Limpopo/Mpumalanga, the sand forests of Maputaland in northern KwaZulu-Natal, the |Ai-|Ais/ Richtersveld Transfrontier Park and the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park in the Northern Cape, and the Cederberg Wilderness area in the Western Cape.

If you’re of a more cultural bent there are numerous multi-day routes, like the Ivory Route in Limpopo, which provide fascinating insights into human and natural history.

Various companies and clubs offer advice and logistical support for experienced drivers. There are guided or tag-along trips for the less experienced or for those who want to go off-road to enjoy specialist activities such as wilderness photography or birdwatching.

There aren’t many places on the planet where you can so easily go for days without seeing another human being or vehicle.

If that thought makes your heart beat faster, get behind the wheel and head out on one of these trails.

Articles & Blogs

Isuzu KB versus Plane

Valda 6:58pm 23 Jul

Words Danie Botha, pics GG van Rooyen

Like all highly important social debates that affect the core of human society, this dispute was sparked around a campfire: would a small plane or a bakkie be faster on an overland jaunt of say, around 150km? Needless to say, the race was on.

You see some weird things around a campfire. Especially when the refreshment supplies are running low, and the conversation has lasted into the small hours of the next morning. A case in point: a campfire in...

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Mitshubisi ASX Goes the Gariep Route

Valda 7:40pm 18 Dec

Words Gerhard Horn, pics Deon van der Walt

Mitsubishi recently updated its top-selling ASX crossover with a bit more kit and some added features. We took the ASX on a family road trip to the Gariep Dam, which is a great stopover on the long drag between Johannesburg and Cape Town.

The stretch of N1 tarmac between Johannesburg and Cape Town has to be one of the most mind-numbing sections of road in existence. There’s nothing to look at for the first 1 000km, while the final 200km can be a huge amount of fun if you happen to have the right car. Unfortunately, one is usually too...

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Adventure Weekend - Gently down the stream

Valda 3:51am 4 Oct

Words GG van Rooyen, Pics Jannie Herbst

First released more than a decade ago, the Nissan X-Trail remains one of the most popular compact SUVs around. We recently took the vehicle on a trip to Parys to find out why it is such a dominant player in its segment

If you live in Gauteng, the town of Parys is a great weekend destination. From Johannesburg, it won’t take you much more than an hour to get there, so you can easily leave early on a Saturday morning and spend...

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