South Africa has a smorgasbord of natural beauty for tourists to feast on. From the magnificent mountain scape of the Drakensburg to the beautiful, desolate beaches of the West Coast and the desert landscapes of the Karoo.
One of the best ways, says SA Venues, to really explore these landscapes is on a 4×4 as this will bring you closer to nature and will really give you an authentic experience. While you could hop on a tour bus and experience the South African countryside this way, this will give you a very ‘sanitized’ experience of the country. In other words, you’ll only experience what the tour company wants you to.
So, if you’re keen to get behind the wheel of a 4×4 and truly experience South Africa – off-road style – here are some trails that will leave you gasping at the beauty that the country has to offer.
Known as the Gateway to Lesotho, the Sani Pass extends from KwaZulu-Natal to Lesotho and – according to Suzuki – this trail is 2 865m above sea level. As it becomes quite treacherous is misty and rainy weather, it’s advised that enthusiasts only attempt to traverse this trail when the weather is clear.
Quthing Valley 4×4 Route: Lesotho
The Quthing Valley Off-Road Route beings at Moorosi and ends at Ongeluksnek. While traversing this route, you’ll go through:
- Malekgonyane Nature Reserve
- Letseng-la-Letsio Lake
- Mt Moorosi Fortress
- Fort Hartley
- Manyemotsa Pass
- Ongeluksnek Pass
Namaqua Eco Trail: Northern Cape
The Namaqualand is famous for its carpets of flowers that bloom in early to mid-August. The Cedarberg’s flowers bloom during the entire month of August and the West Coast takes over from late August to early September.
The Namaqualand Eco Trail is the longest off-road, 4×4 route in South Africa and ranges from the easy terrains to the more difficult. Attractions on this route include the Southern Richtersveld, the Caracal Trail and the Road to Hell.
Augrabies Falls National Park: Northern Cape
Established in 1966, the Augrabies Falls National Park is about 120 km west of Upington. The area was originally inhabited by the Khoi people who named the park Ankoerebis, which means the “place of big noise”.
There is also a great amount of wildlife in the area, such as springbok, kudu and eland as well as leopard, black backed jackals and caracals.
The off-road trail here is about 100km and is quite beginner friendly, much like Ausbet!
Three Provinces 4×4 Trail: South Africa
Although it doesn’t actually traverse three entire provinces, the Three Provinces 4×4 trail takes place on the Waterval Farm, which is located near Volksrust. It gained the name “Three Provinces” at the route taken fuses the borders of KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and the Free State.
This route is only recommended for seasoned off-roaders.
South Africa has indeed many beautiful landscapes to be proud of and some are best seen from the seat, or behind the wheel, of a 4×4. A word of caution: if you’re a beginner, don’t go for a difficult trail. Save these for when you get more experienced.