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OFF-ROAD TEST

OFF-ROAD TEST: Kungwini 4×4 Trail





31 December 2016


Kungwini is an off-road academy. It is also a really tough 4×4 trail. Welcome to the Vin Diesel School of off-road driving.

The big red Jeep named Hellboy is like the Vin Diesel of the 4×4 scene.  It lives its life one off-road obstacle at a time and never  says no to a challenge. It could best Chuck Norris in  a staring contest. So, when this Jeep rolls up to the Kungwini 4×4 trail, it’s just another day at the 4×4 trail, right? Not exactly… Back to school Kungwini consists of three main 4×4 sections – the primary of which is focused on 4×4 training – and it is no cakewalk. The 4×4 academy track is where newbies can get to grips with different off-road techniques. Each obstacle aims to equip drivers with a basic skill for off the beaten track.

Obstacles range from your more run-of-the-mill axle-twisters and steep gradients  to deep water-wading, and  even a unique seesaw that deliberately upsets the balance of a vehicle.  Obstacle difficulty ranges from grade one to three and is not designed to be intimidating. They simply seek to familiarise a driver with his or her vehicle (and its capabilities) in a controlled environment. The second section on the list is the advanced 4×4 track. It’s designed to challenge both the driver and the vehicle. Kungwini recommends nerves of steel to fully enjoy this part: it boasts obstacles ranging from grade three to four, with the odd grade-five thrown in to keep things interesting.

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To tackle the advanced section, a recovery kit, decent ground-clearance and a rear-locking differential, are pretty much necessities. This will not only make your life easier, but also help to preserve the sensitive environmental system of the Magaliesberg-east region.  This segment, consisting of 18 obstacles, teaches drivers to take the line of least resistance through any given obstacle.

A rock and a hard place
Not even these allowed Hellboy to fully flex his muscles. Hansie Coetzee from 4×4 Muscle Trucks insisted that he “wanted a real challenge”. As a result, Kungwini owner Johan Klopper pointed him in the direction of an obstacle with near 90-degree walls surrounding a narrow and sandy ditch. Looking satisfied at what this obstacle could offer, Hansie went for it. But, he had no success. He tried again. Hellboy looked like it was going to topple over backwards! Still no luck. Adjusting his angle for a final try, the Wrangler somehow managed to get stuck in the soft sand at the bottom of the obstacle. We stood there, dumbstruck. Hellboy had finally met his match. It was like that time Vin Diesel got smacked in the teeth by Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. This must have been how the captain of the Titanic felt, as his unsinkable ship slipped below the waves.

Winching Hellboy out, Hansie mentioned that it might have been wiser to deflate the tyres, since Hellboy had completed the rest of the trail running on a firm 2 bars. But we decided against a fourth try. Hellboy had had enough of a workout. Time for something easier… and more scenic.

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School’s out
If you’re not interested in tackling difficult obstacles, Kungwini also offers a 4×4 eco-trail that’s easy and relaxing. It’s a 20km trail that winds through the mountainous terrain of this region. The sights are spectacular, with a panoramic view of Kungwini Lake (formerly known as the Bronkhorstpruit Dam). After an eventful day on the trail, enjoy a braai or camp at one of the sites scattered around the trail. Booking is essential. The Kungwini 4×4 trail caters for anyone with adventure coursing through their veins, just remember to deflate your tyres, though.

4×4 Muscle Trucks
This 4×4 trail review is brought to you by 4×4 Muscle Trucks, who specialise 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

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I want to go, too!
Name Kungwini 4×4 Location: R25, near Bronkhorstspruit, Gauteng
GPS co-ordinates E28°42’01.6”/ S25°51’58.3”
Accommodation Self-sustaining camp facilities available
Food Braai facilities
Difficulty Academy track: 1-3 | Advanced track: 3-5 | 4×4 eco-trail: 1-3
Vehicle required 4×4 with low-range, good ground clearance, rear lock and recovery kit comes highly recommended
Price R270 per vehicle, two persons max, R50 per extra person.
Self-drive 4×4 Academies (guided), 4×4 Eco-trail (self-drive)
Contact Johan Klopper @ 083 277 4648
Web www.4x4kungwini.co.za