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4x4 in the Western Cape

Highlights

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

4X4 in Garden Route National Park

Valda 2:59pm 2 Oct

The SANParks Honorary Rangers, Wilderness Region, are calling 4X4 enthusiasts to the “Road Less Travelled Off-Road Experience” in the Garden Route National Park from the 6th to 7th October 2018. Last year the event attracted close to 100 drivers with friends and family.

The event gives 4x4 enthusiasts and nature lovers the opportunity to travel along roads normally closed to the public. Participants get to experience indigenous forests, fynbos, sparkling streams and sweeping mountain views.  

There are three routes available (graded 1-4), with each route offering a...

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Toyota Fortuner 2.4 GD-6 AT Adventure Drive

Valda 1:28pm 1 Jul

Words & pics Elise Kirsten

Over the December holidays, many Vaalies normally head the way of the coast. Like Cape Town, for instance. But what do Capetonians, who also happen to be in the midst of the worst drought in more than a century, do over the same time? We handed Cape Town’s Elise Kirsten the keys to the new Toyota Fortuner 2.4 GD-6 4×4 AT and sent her and her family in search of water. And some adventure…

Like water to a weary soul

The Western Cape is somewhat parched, with the City of Cape Town particularly hard hit by the worst drought in over a century....

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Land Rover Discovery - Seven Passes

Valda 5:38pm 12 Dec

Words Elise Kirsten, pics Elise Kirsten and Grace Kirsten

Luxurious, sumptuous and lavish are words that spring to mind when you ease yourself into the cabin of this all-new, three-row, seven-seat Discovery SUV.

I have driven and been seated in plenty of very plush vehicles, such as top-of-the-line Lexus models, German luxury brands and most notably the Rolls Royce Wraith Black Badge. Excluding this last example of ultimate opulence (and perhaps those customised gold-plated, diamond-studded OTT vehicles belonging to princes of oil rich, human rights poor nations), the Land...

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The Art Of Losing Control: ‘Mad’ Mike Whiddett

Valda 6:18pm 21 May

Words Jazz Kuschke, pics Craig Kolesky & Tyrone Bradley/Red Bull Content Pool

‘Mad’ Mike Whiddett, the Kiwi risk-taker who tore around the Franschhoek Pass at speeds approaching 250kph, understands focus. To maintain it while drifting at such insane speeds, he says, you need see the car you’re driving as an extension of your body. 

Drifting is hard – you always need to be thinking about the next corner, because you set the car up for the turn on the previous one

Drifting may look like a sport that requires the driver to lose...

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Chevrolet Captiva in the Karoo

Valda 9:55pm 23 Aug

Words Elise Kirsten, pics Jannie Herbst

You may have wondered how the Moordenaars Karoo got its name and what exactly you can find in this seemingly inhospitable place. We took the recently facelifted Chevrolet Captiva there to find out.

With a name like Moordenaars Karoo you might imagine that we would discover, if not real bandits, tales of folk with murderous intent or a past that is less than honourable. We didn’t come across any thugs but found something far more mysterious, possibly extraterrestrial. We began our journey at the Cape Town International...

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Bojaankop 4X4 Trail

Nightjar Travel 11:55am 22 Nov

BOJAANKOP 4X4 TRAIL

As you may have gathered by now, the only thing hardcore about the Nightjar off-road team is its bakkie. It’s not that we mind a bit of a hard slog now and again, but it has to serve a greater purpose. In other words, it has to be about more than just surviving a bad stretch of road. If it’s a bad road experience you are after, rather do a road trip on the provincial roads of Mpumalanga. At least it comes with farm stalls as compensation.

The Bojaankop (baboon’s head) 4x4 trail is our kind of trail. (http://nightjar....

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My Kingdom for a Spade

Nightjar Travel 6:45am 20 Nov

MY KINGDOM FOR A SPADE

Three thoughts crossed my mind as we drove into the Walker Bay Nature Reserve. 

I reminisced about a time when we were out photographing ground squirrels in the Karoo. Not keen to lose sight of a colony on the move, we decided to “feel” our way through the veld, but were brought to an abrupt stop when both left wheels simultaneously dropped into discarded borrow entrances. We had to dig our way out, but only after having walked about half a mile to borrow a spade.

The second thought was about how “over the top” it looks to...

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Zebra Crossing

Valda 5:55am 2 Oct

Words & pics by Kate Collins

A steep cement track marks the start of the Gamkaberg Nature Reserve’s 4x4 trail. We arrive a day before we aim to try out the route and have the entire place to ourselves. Around me wild grasses and arid fynbos glisten in the late afternoon light, inviting us to take a stroll through this bewitching landscape of rugged rocks, succulent plants, fynbos, forest and subtropical thicket. 

A quarter moon shines down as darkness...

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The Punt at Malgas

Nightjar Travel 5:55am 23 May

What a novel way to cross a river. We have used the punt across the Breede River at Malgas a number of times over the years, but still feel like little kids in a candy store when we do so. The novelty just never wears off. The tariff for a crossing is R40 for cars and bakkies (R15 for a tractor), but there are monthly and annual tariffs, so for some folk this must be like a trip to the office. The ferry is “hand operated”, meaning there are two guys who pull it across, and the whole process takes no more than a few minutes from one side to the other.

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