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Mzansi has many impressive off-road tracks to explore and test your vehicles. As always, ensure you book your 4×4 in for a service check before tackling any harsh terrains. These checks include making sure your car’s battery is in peak condition.

Another element to remember when going off-road is that your car might have an additional battery. You can easily find your closest SABAT Xpress stockist, who will gladly check your battery charge.

Most of the following suggestions will take you far into the wilderness, where it is man and machine versus the world.

So, let’s quickly go through the 4×4 checks to perform before heading out onto the trail.

 

4×4 Checklist Before Exploring SA’s Top Off-Road Tracks

 

It’s always in your best interest to do your own vehicle check along with getting an additional professional opinion.

We’re going to make an essential list for now, but the basic tips for any off-road journey are as follows.

Travel in a Group

When planning any off-road journey, make sure that you are traveling in a group. If an emergency occurs or a vehicle gets stuck, you will want someone to help.

There is also merit in informing someone at home when you expect to return.

And those who fail to prepare are preparing to fail.

Basic Kits

The most essential item to have is a first aid kit. There are several sizes of first aid kits, but you want the following to be included:

  • Adhesive tape
  • Antiseptic ointment
  • Band-aids
  • Alcohol swabs
  • Disposable gloves
  • Gauze
  • Burn aid gel
  • Snake bite kit
  • Instant cold and hot pack

Medication should include an anti-diarrheal, pain killer, allergy meds, and an epi-pen in case of extreme allergic reactions. Also, make sure to pack a supply of water and food rations just in case.

Tools you’ll want in your vehicle include:

  • Full-size spare tyre
  • Jack and tyre iron to change your tyre
  • Tow strap
  • Rachet strap
  • Recovery kit
  • Basic tool kit – recommended to have a 10 and 13 spanner
  • Tyre sealant
  • Portable tyre pump
  • And a spare key for the car

Once you’ve gathered your equipment, it’s time to do a vehicle check.

Vehicle Checklist

Before leaving your home, make sure that you do all the fluid checks, which include:

  • Engine oil
  • Transmission oil
  • Brake fluid
  • Radiator fluid

This also means taking a look at all the areas that require grease.

In addition, it’s best to double-check under the bonnet for hose connections, fan belts, lug bolts, and, of course, the battery.

Also, take a close look at the tread on the tyres and check whether the shocks are up to standard. If your vehicle has a winch, make sure to test it before going on your adventure.

Now that your vehicle is ready, it’s time to select where you want to go!

Selecting the Best South African 4×4 Track

While we can only assume that the closest track to your home will be the first choice, let’s go through all the best options in each province.

Ferndale 4×4, Eastern Cape

Described as a 4×4 playground, Ferndale offers a route for all enthusiastic adventurers. Because the track is located just outside the small Eastern Cape town of Cathcart, be aware that temperatures in the area can be extreme.

Trails are rated between three and five in difficulty, and they can take between 24 and 48 hours to complete.

Also on offer are the ancient cycads and incredible aloes. The family can also do some game-viewing, mountain biking, hiking, quad biking, fishing, canoeing, or micro-lighting.

Bergwoning 4×4, Free State

Tucked amongst the Golden Gate National Park hills are the scenic trails of Bergwoning. It is just a few kilometres outside of the Free State town of Clarens.

This trail is more suited for novices, with a 6km route that should take around two hours to complete. For longer drives, you will need to book with the park.

Be aware of the seasonal weather, as your vehicle will need lower-range gears for high rainfalls or snow. It’s truly a piece of 4x4ing paradise.

Sandwani Adventure 4×4, Gauteng

With its beautiful natural surroundings and loads of activities, this is an excellent destination for the entire family. The venue offers numerous routes and is only an hour’s drive from OR Tambo International Airport.

Whether you’re experienced or not, there’s a trail perfect for you and your abilities. For those looking to view wildlife, a game drive can also be organised.

Sani Pass 4×4, KwaZulu-Natal

This pass is the stuff of legends and is the road to the sky. Working its way up the Drakensberg into Lesotho, or the Sky Kingdom, it is a must-do for all 4×4 enthusiasts.

The trail is 45km long, and you should expect to tackle loads of rocks, boulders, gravel, and more. While the grading is rated between two to four, drivers should be aware there are a few sheer cliffs along the way, and the weather can really factor into the trip.

A must-stop is the Highest Pub In Southern Africa.

Aardwolf Adventures Modimolle, Limpopo

As your one-stop motor adventure spot, Aardwold Adventures has tracks for quads, bikes, and 4x4s.

The facility will soon offer a bicycle track and camping spot. It’s also open from Wednesday to Sunday from 08:00 to 18:00.

We’d recommend booking a day and having some fun. Also, if you’re a bit nervous heading off into the wilderness, this is a great place to start.

3 Province Adventure, Mpumalanga

Situated on the Waterval farm, this trail works its way up the Drakensberg and through three provinces, KwaZulu-Natal, the Free State, and Mpumalanga.

This course is comprised of three separate routes that climb up to 2253 meters above sea level. Perfect for novice drivers, experienced 4x4ers will also find the views amazing.

Expect stream-crossings, rocky terrain, as well as some muddy bits. It’s also just a three-hour drive from Johannesburg.

Augrabies Falls National Park, Northern Cape

One of South Africa’s most majestic natural wonders, the Augrabies Falls are a must-see. And the national park offers ample space to explore, with just under 100km of 4×4 trails.

Take a leisurely drive over a few days with the family, viewing the stunning surroundings of the Karoo.

It’s worth venturing off the trail to take in some sights of South Africa’s longest-flowing river, the Orange River.

Expect to make a few river crossings on the path, but don’t worry, it won’t be the Orange River.

Zeerust Area, North West

Zeerust is home to several excellent 4×4 trails, but be warned, as these trails are demanding and challenging. Expect a difficulty rating of between 4-5. This area requires a vehicle that is a proper 4×4 with lower-range gears and a diff-lock.

Expect steep inclines, river beds, rocks, and more.

Do not attempt if you are a novice.

Matroosberg 4×4 Trail, Western Cape

One of the most popular trails during the winter months, this scenic trail has loads to offer. The trail is around 30km long, and you do not need a guide to assist with obstacles.

Expect loose rocks, sand, and steep inclines. For those not wanting to do the full track, there are some options to circle back to. If you’re not keen on the trails, you can do horse riding, hiking, quad biking, and in season, snowboarding and kloofing.

Always Stop In At Your Closest SABAT Stockist

As always, before any lengthy adventure, get your vehicle checked at your nearest SABAT Xpress Centre. The last thing you want to discover in the middle of the trail is a dead battery.

Authors

  • Andrew McFarlane

    Andrew Macfarlane has accumulated over a decade of experience in content creation - graduating from the Red & Yellow Creative School of Business with a Diploma in Copywriting. When he is not engrossed in writing at his computer, he can be found tending to his garden or engaging in various DIY projects. His contributions as an author have been acknowledged in reputable publications such as the Sunday Times, Bizcommunity, and HotCars, further solidifying his reputation as a skilled and versatile writer.

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  • Heine Coetzer

    Name: Heine Coetzer Current Position: OEM and R&D Manager Qualifications: - N.Dip Electrical Engineering (Light Current); - B.Tech Electrical Engineering (Cum Laude) and; - Programme for Management Development (Gibbs) Experience: 17 years of experience in the South African battery industry covering Aftermarket sales and distribution, OEM sales and support, OEM product development, OEM quality systems, Research and Development, battery design, battery testing and benchmarking.

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  • Roger Harden

    Name: Roger Harden Current Position: Marketing Service Manager Qualifications: - National Higher Diploma Technika and; - Diploma in Marketing Management Experience: 30 years of experience covering new product and product gap analyses, range expansion, technical liaison for brands, product training, technical marketing as well as battery replacement updates.

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