4×4 Africa, Off-road travelling in Africa
If you like doing battle with off-road trails all over Southern Africa, you can find your next challenge here. Browse our listings on trails that require from a few hours to a few days to complete. We provide detailed information on the skill level required by the driver as well as required equipment and protection on the vehicle. All listings include the difficulty grading of the trail based on a rating from 1 to 5, with a grading of 5 being the most difficult and challenging.
Additional listings include the location of the trail, a description of the type of terrain, contact details of the operator, closest town, and mention of especially dangerous or challenging aspects of the trail. Off-road trails, that include eco-trails, are listed in the Eastern Cape, Free State, Gauteng, Kwa-Zulu-Natal, Limpopo, Northern Cape, North West, Mpumalanga and Western Cape provinces. Other countries in Southern Africa that offer both one-day trails and longer eco-trails are: Botswana, Namibia, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Swaziland and Lesotho.
An overland expedition through Africa is without any doubt the most rewarding, albeit the most challenging, difficult, exhausting, and sometimes exasperating things any off-road tourist will ever experience. A task of this magnitude is nothing like crossing North America, or even Australia, since those continents happen to have roads.
Crossing Africa requires dedication, a passion for Africa, patience, adaptability, and at least 18 months of planning and preparation. Here you will find everything you need to make your expedition a success- from route planning, to visa regulations, to bush mechanics. While the Internet may be a useful resource when preparing for an overland expedition through Africa, here we provide all the relevant information under one roof, so to speak.
Here you can find everything you ever wanted to know about 4×4 Clubs and Off-road Associations in South Africa. Read about who they are, what they do, such as working to protect the environment, why they do it, and the undoubted benefits of joining a club.
Find a club in your area that caters to your specific interest, whether it be rock crawling, eco-tourism, or anything in between. However, if you prefer a club with a more international flavour, find details on joining one of the many online “clubs” and forums.
It is said that the best off-road driving Instructor is “time behind the wheel”, and we agree wholeheartedly. However, every off-road driver has to start somewhere, and here you will find “How-to…” guides on the basics of off-road driving.
However, contrary to most other resources on the Internet, we provide detailed technical explanations on why 4WD vehicles behave the way they do in off-road conditions. In addition, we explain how driver assist systems such as ABS, Traction Control, Low Range, Diff Locks, and others can help you (or sometimes hinder you) in negotiating obstacles.
Here you can find out more about Sand Driving, Mud Driving, Hill Climbs, Rock Driving/Crawling, Water Crossings, Snow Driving, Driving on Gravel roads, Driving on Grass and much more besides.
Here you can find technical articles on anything that pertains to 4WD vehicle construction and maintenance. No matter if you are not a professional mechanic- all articles provide clear and concise information on topics that range from:
♦ Buying a used 4×4 ♦ Choosing a 4×4 ♦ 4×4 Brake systems ♦ 4×4 Explained ♦ 4×4 engine cooling systems ♦ 4×4 Exhaust systems ♦ 4×4 Suspension systems ♦ 4×4 Turbos and Intercoolers ♦ 4×4 Engines and transmissions ♦ 4×4 Wheels and Tyres ♦ 4×4 Wheels and Tyres ♦ 4×4Differentials and Diff Locks and even articles that explain why some types of 4WD vehicles are unsuitable for serious off-road driving.
And So Our African Journey Begins…
Welcome to 4×4 Africa, a website that is designed with the all the needs of 4WD owners and enthusiasts in mind. So, if like us, you are passionate about 4WD vehicles, off-road driving, and off-road tourism, join us in exploring the back roads of the African continent- from Cape Agulhas in the south, to Ras ben Sakka in Tunisia in the north, or from Ras Hafun in Somalia in the west, to Cap-Vert, in the east. 4×4 Africa will show you how to escape the madding crowd to explore the sights, sounds, and exquisite scenic beauty of this vast continent. Thus, If you are of like mind, we are pleased to meet you, and we invite you make yourself at home, even if you do not own a 4WD vehicle-yet.
While travelling in Africa, though you will discover that regardless of the direction you take, the route becomes a destination in itself. By joining us in our epic off-road adventure through Africa, we hope to share with you our experience on matters such as:
- Off-road driving techniques
- 4WD vehicle maintenance
- How to cross international borders in Africa
- How to recover a bogged-down 4×4 vehicle
- What to take along and what to leave behind
- And everything else you need to know to make your journey unforgettable- but unforgettable for the right reasons.
4×4 Africa does not claim to be the last, or even the only word on 4WD vehicles and off-road tourism ever written. Nonetheless, we firmly believe that the practical advice and information we offer even the casual visitor to this site on a wide range of technical topics related to off-road driving and off-road tourism in Africa will go a long way toward establishing 4×4 Africa as the top go-to destination for accurate, up-to-date, and relevant information on all off-road driving and outdoor related issues, particularly as they pertain to Africa.
Our aim is to convert you to our way of life, so whatever your needs, we have it covered. If you own a 4WD vehicle and enjoy weekend trail bashing on trails that will test both man and machine the utmost, we have information on dozens of these, and other off-road trails- such as many several-hundred-kilometre-long eco trails through some of the most scenic parts of Southern Africa.
If you are an international tourist and you need information on 4×4 vehicle rental, we cover everything you need to know in depth. In South- and indeed most of Southern Africa, you can find a 4×4 rental vehicle for anything from a weekend away in the bush, to a year-long overland expedition from Cape Town to Cairo. If you need information on route planning from Egypt all the way down to Cape Town, we do that too. If you feel you need additional driver training and certification to be able to access some of Southern Africa’s most sensitive ecological areas, we can even tell you how to go about obtaining what you need at an accredited training facility near you.
Our mission is to provide both local and international tourists with accurate information on all aspects of off-road driving and tourism in Africa. But we also provide accurate information on localised off-road tourism opportunities in all nine of South Africa’s provinces, as well as the neighbouring countries of Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, and the Kingdoms of Swaziland and Lesotho. However, while seeing the sights in these countries from the main roads is one thing, venturing into wild, often uncharted territory is something else altogether.
While we believe that “it is only a 4×4, when used as a 4×4 … and that roads are optional, but Africa is a must”, it is not quite that simple. For a 4WD vehicle, and off course its occupants, to survive the harsh off-road driving conditions in the hinterland of Africa, you need to make the right choices with regard to some critically important issues. The wrong choices could literally mean the difference between life and death; therefore we offer a wealth of information on some all-important choices about;
- Vehicle recovery methods
- Recovery gear
- Vehicle modifications
- Suitable vehicle types,
and many others, but we also provide practical advice on how to use these items safely, and to the best effect as well.
Of course, we realise that nobody is born an expert off-road driver. It takes years, and many thousands of kilometres of serious off-road driving to acquire the skill to drive a 4×4 vehicle safely. Therefore, we also provide details on 4×4 clubs, associations, and regulatory bodies. Joining an off-road driving club is without doubt the best way to learn the required skills, the meaning and advantages of trail etiquette, and why there are so many rules and regulations.
The rules and regulations, to which everyone must adhere if we wish to retain the privilege of practicing off-road driving, are necessary for the benefit of all. Without rules, and the clubs and regulatory bodies to enforce them, off-road driving in Africa faces a slow death by over-regulation of the industry by the authorities. Therefore, 4×4 Africa will always strongly advocate responsible driving practices, and the rule of “Safety Before All Else.”
However, much as we hate to admit it, it is a fact that not everyone has the time, resources, or inclination to undertake long, and extremely challenging overland expeditions through the length and breadth of the African continent, which is why we devote a large part of the knowledge base on the site to off-road tourism in Southern Africa. So no matter if you do not own an off-road vehicle- we will tell how, when, and where to hire the 4WD vehicle that is best suited to your needs to enable you to make the most of the time and resources that you do have available.
This is however only half of the story with 4WD vehicle rental. It is one thing to hire a 4WD vehicle to undertake the adventure of a lifetime, but it becomes something else entirely when that vehicle breaks down, or you find yourself in a tricky situation from which you cannot extricate yourself. This can happen to anyone, which is why we provide complete information on support services such search and rescue services no matter where you are; in the middle of a dessert, lost in a forest, or even if you are hung up on a rock in a remote mountain pass.
Moreover, since much of Southern Africa does not have adequate cell phone reception, we also provide information on how to obtain a licence for a two-way radio to summon the assistance that could save your life. Rescue and support services are provided by more than a dozen official and volunteer bodies such as the South African Police Service, The National Sea Rescue Institute, The Mountain Club of South Africa, and many others that freely give of their resources, time, and expertise to provide aid and support to off-road drivers in need of assistance.
But regardless of long you are in Africa for, we urge you to always enjoy the freedom of the back roads, and to allow the continent to introduce itself to you on its own terms, since Africa does not take kindly to being dictated to. Provided you pay this rich land and the people who live on it proper respect, you will always have willing guides from the local population, a roaring campfire at night, the Southern Cross to light your way, and the calls of the black-backed jackals and fish eagle as confirmation that you are in a paradise on Earth.
Off-road tourism in Africa is a vast, and hugely complicated subject, and to those who call Africa home, it might be common knowledge that the continent has an incredibly rich variety of plant, animal, and cultural life. Therefore, we take great pleasure in the fact that we can bring that rich variety home to those who have not experienced Africa from up close, and even more so because we get to do so using 4WD vehicles as the primary means of transport.
All the information presented to both novice and experienced off-road travellers here is the result of extensive research that is generously leavened with personal experience. Therefore, we believe all information to be correct and accurate. However, we invite readers and visitors to contact us via the Contact 4×4 Africa page on anything from general comments, route descriptions through Africa, descriptions of mountain passes (both scenic and dangerous), sites and spots worth visiting, spots and regions to avoid for whatever reason, and particularly about changes in visa regulations. All contributions are welcome, and all contributors will be acknowledged.
Enjoy the ride!