Looking for a great 4×4 trail? Here are five of our favourites from the last year of trail reviews.
1. Waterfall Safari Lodge 4×4 trail
The Waterfall trail is a lush 4×4 track that winds its way through a gorge and leads up to a spectacular lookout point. As its name suggests, there’s also a great waterfall that you can visit along the way. Although this isn’t an utterly murderous trail, it is still quite difficult. Gradients are steep and the surface is often loose. When it’s wet, it gets properly tough. You need a 4×4 with good ground clearance, low-range gearing and preferably a diff lock to complete it.
Location Off the N11, between Middelburg and Groblersdal, Mpumalanga
Difficulty Grade 3 (Grade 4 when wet)
Contact CJ van Dyk on 083 629 7410, or visit waterfallsafarilodge.co.za
2. Serendipity Eco Trails
Whether you’re interested in some (very) serious off-roading, or simply want to spend some time away from the hustle and bustle of the city, Serendipity Eco Trails is a wonderful destination. It offers something for everyone. There’s a three-hour trail that’s not too hard (probably around a Grade 2 or 3), and an extreme trail that’ll test just about any 4×4. Just be warned: when there’s a lot of water, things can become quite interesting. Even the easier three-hour trail can become difficult (and even risky) when there’s a lot of water. Be sure to find out what the condition of the trail is before venturing out.
Location R101, just outside Modimolle, Limpopo
Difficulty Grade 2–4
Contact: Cornelia on Tel: 082 553 3266, or visit serendipitytrails.co.za
3. Letele Pass, Lesotho
There are 4×4 trails that offer bags of family fun and some mild off-road driving. There are 4×4 trails that provide a bit more of a driving challenge. And then there are trails such as Letele Pass in Lesotho, which has seen off many a potential 4×4 conqueror and has caused untold misery. This bucket-list trail is one of the toughest off-road tests in Southern Africa. With this in mind, it is not a trail that should be tackled on a whim. It requires careful preparation, as well as a convoy of well-prepared vehicles. Needless to say, you need a modified vehicle with massive ground clearance and all the off-road bells and whistles.
Location S28.98716 / E28.36052
Difficulty Grade 5
Self-drive Yes (but don’t go alone!)
Contact None. You arrive, you drive. There is no support should things go wrong.
4. The Rock, Moegatle 4×4 Trail
The Moegatle 4×4 Trail in the North West Province has long been known as one of South Africa’s ‘terror trails’. In other words, a 4×4 trail where passengers scream in panic, drivers scream in panic, and 4×4s may not look quite the same after they’ve completed the trail. But for some off-road junkies, the standard trail is just not, well, ‘terrible’ enough. For them, there is a special route at Moegatle. They call it… The Rock. To tackle it, you need
37-inch tyres, plenty of ground clearance, excellent approach and departure angles, and preferably front and rear locking differentials. A winch is also highly recommended.
Location North of Brits, North West Province
Difficulty Grade 5
Self drive No
Contact Alex Fullard on Tel: 082 823 1004, or visit moegatle4x4trails.co.za
5. Carnage Canyon, Limpopo
Carnage Canyon is not the sort of trail where you can pitch up, pay an entrance fee and spend a leisurely Sunday driving some obstacles. It is arguably the toughest 4×4 test South Africa has to offer.
Carnage Canyon is 6.2km of extreme off-roading in a riverbed that features massive rocks, thick sand and loads of water. To make matters even worse, it’s a ‘one way in, one way out’ sort of trail, so once you’ve completed it, you need to find your way out via the same route that you just travelled. A service road runs next to the trail for much of the distance, so escape is a possibility at certain sections, but this is the sort of trail where you need to commit for the long haul.
There are no traditional escape routes or ‘chicken runs’. The last 500m is particularly daunting. It provides the toughest challenges of the entire trail, and no service roads runs next to it, so if you get stuck there, you’re properly stuck. Completing that section of trail with a small convoy of vehicles can easily take five hours.
Location Somewhere fairly close to Polokwane
Difficulty Grade 5
Contact Ronald Hairbottle at 4×4 Traction in Polokwane.
Tel 015 293 0736/7, or 082 376 5378.
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. 4×4 Muscle Trucks is owned by Hansie Coetzee, who also owns TJM Pretoria-East.
More information: Tel: 012 809 0090; tjmptaeast.co.za