The scenic 4×4 option
Recently, we visit the De Wildt 4×4 Game Park near Hartbeespoort, in 4×4 Muscle Trucks’ Jeep Wrangler, nicknamed Hellboy. This track offers obstacles for different levels of adventurers, as well as something for those with an appreciation for the wild.
As the name De Wildt 4×4 suggests, there is more to this 4×4 trail than just your everyday 4×4 trail. Nestled in the heart of a game reserve, this 14km trail provides off-road adventurers with plenty of 4×4 action, game sightings and spectacular views. It primarily consists of sections for the more hardebaard adventurer, with some daunting axle-twisters and some seriously rocky terrain where a rear differential locker is recommended. If, however, you are confident in your vehicle’s abilities and you are fairly experienced, it shouldn’t prove too big an obstacle.
There are plenty of opportunities to get properly stuck. This is especially true at the ‘Thick Mud’ area, which is classified as the ‘Extreme 4×4’ section. Even the direction markers along the route spell doom for the inexperienced as they specifically state that only the more experienced should attempt this section. If, however, you choose to attempt it, it is advisable to take along R350 cash as a recovery fee – in the event that the slush gets the better of your 4×4. The definitive obstacle at De Wildt, however, is Gert se Klip. It’s famous for being a 4×4 killer and it really separates the men with the off-road gear from those without it.
While most obstacles did not prove to be a problem for the mean-looking Hellboy, thanks to its robust construction, immense wheel articulation and mountain scampering abilities, not every obstacle proved to be a walk in the park. Most sections of the 4×4 trail have escape routes if the task at hand appears to be too daunting. The Stoney River section leading towards the muddy holes, however, offers very little opportunity for turning back once committed. To tackle the De Wildt 4×4 trail, low-range is essential with good ground clearance.
Attempting some sections might require a rear differential lock, but it comes down to driver ability. In essence, this scenic 4×4 route offers more relaxation and satisfaction upon conquering an obstacle than an all-out adrenalin rush. There is also no route set in stone. Drivers can attempt a section and come back later to try and improve their line, or simply attempt it from a different angle. If you’re looking for something more suited to the abilities of a softroader, fret not. There is a trail specifically suited for you where the entire family can join in on an adventure through the luscious bushveld De Wildt offers. We’ve driven parts of the trail in a BMW X3, to give you an idea of how accessible this section is.
De Wildt also offers 4×4 courses at its own mini training-track for less-experienced adventurers, but booking is essential. For the less mechanically inclined, it offers hiking trails and bird-watching. After a long day absorbing the adventure the game park has to offer, it also boasts a sports bar, braai facilities, picnic areas and a swimming pool. Accommodation is available after a tiring day, ranging from camping areas to tented towns and even log cabins.
I wanna go too!
Name De Wildt 4×4 Game Park
Location Near Hartbeespoort dam, North West
GPS co-ordinates S25°40’10.2”/E27°56’45.9”
Food Braai facilities available
Difficulty Level 1–4 but self-drive element can create a bigger challenge
Vehicle required 4×4 with low-range and good ground clearance, but softroaders are also catered for
Price R300 per vehicle with two occupants, R80 per additional person
Contact Alex 083 253 4641/Louis 082 554 5334
4×4 Muscle Trucks
This 4×4 trail review is brought to you by 4×4 Muscle Trucks, which specialises in creating off-road leviathans. Their most recent builds include the R2-million Hilux called Godzilla and Hellboy, the big and mean Jeep Wrangler featured on these pages. 4×4 Muscle Trucks is owned by Hansie Coetzee, who also owns TJM Pretoria-East.
More information: Tel: 012 809 0090; tjmptaeast.co.za
Text and photos: Deon van der Walt