Nissan bakkie crossing a river in one of the best 4x4 trails in South Africa

Nissan bakkie crossing a river in one of the best 4x4 trails in South Africa

Put Your Skills To The Test

Following our articles on the best 4×4 Trails in Gauteng and the Western Cape, we have decided to bring you an overview of some of the best 4×4 trails in South Africa.
Whether you are going on a guys weekend or want to show off your amazing skills in motor control, we can guide you to the right place to test and hone your ability to navigate different terrains.

The trails we have chosen cater for different difficulty levels and we have worked hard to bring you only the best that South Africa has to offer in off-road entertainment.

If you think we’ve left out any amazing 4×4 spots, leave your comment below so that we can go check it out!

4×4 Trail Grades

Are you a 4×4 Novice or do you have a black belt? Let’s discuss the 4×4 trail grading criteria:

Grade 1: Easy – Suitable for 4×4 novices or 4x2s with differential lock
Grade 2: Easy to Moderate – Suitable for 4x4s and all-wheel drive vehicles with traction control
Grade 3: Moderate – Only suitable for vehicles with low range gearing
Grade 4: Difficult – Suitable for experienced drivers; low range and differential lock
Grade 5: Extreme – Suitable for experts, not for solo trips; low range, high ground clearance, traction control or differential locks – Recovery back-up essential

Beef up on your skill by checking out these top 4×4 driving techniques.

Explore The Ultimate Off-Road Trails

Hennops 4×4 – Gauteng

Grade: 2-4
Terrain: Mud, water, rocks
Closest Town: Hartebeespoort

This 4×4 trail has been known to offer an exhilarating experience to novice and expert alike. Steep rocky climbs, mud-holes and dongas add to the wide variety of obstacles that are waiting to be tackled. The experienced driver can push for the definitive experience in a 4WD while a novice is given the choice to bypass them via the various service roads around the obstacles.
Trails can last 2-3hours and offer an abundance of wildlife to view if you can manage to take your eyes off the road.
Explore Hennops 4×4 for more details.

Toyota bakkie preparing for an offroad climb at hennops off-road trail

Grootwater 4×4 – Limpopo

Grade: 1-5
Terrain: Sand, rock, mud, mountain
Closest Town: Lephalale

Grootwater 4×4 is made up of a number of shorter trails that total about 23km. It caters for all levels of difficulty and should ideally be done with a low range vehicle with high clearance. Situated on the banks of the Poer-se-Loop river, this off-road experience is a self-drive and no guidance is needed.
During the summer you may expect more mud due to the rain, where the winter offers firmer dry terrain.
If you do all the trails in one go, you can expect to spend about 3-4 hours off-roading. This is a beautiful area, also offering a large variety of wild animals in the area, should you take some time to slow down.
Explore Grootwater 4×4 for more details.


Atlantis Dunes – Western Cape

Grade: 2-3
Terrain: Sand
Closest Town: Atlantis

This 4×4 experience offers a little something different from the norm. We mentioned this trail before and we still feel that it rates high on our list of Best 4×4 Trails.
The setting is simply fantastic, out on the endless sandy beaches and the majestic Table Mountain in the background.
Trails can last around 1-3 hours, there are many to choose from so make a weekend out of it and travel the entire area.
Take note: a permit is required for this route, which can be obtained at the City Council in Wale Street, Cape Town or from the Atlantis Municipality.
Explore Atlantis Dunes 4×4 for more details.

Bakkies drive down magnificent dunes at Atlantis Off-road trail

River Wild 4×4 – Nelspruit

Grade: 2-4
Terrain: Mud, rock, sand, dongas
Closest Town: Nelspruit

From rock and sand to densely wooded areas. River Wild offers a 12-kilometre 4×4 route that can take between 3 and 5 hours to complete. The steep inclines and declines offer an exhilaratingly fun time and will cater to most driver experiences.
Choose from 9 different off-road trails that you can do either with or without a guide and if you feel like you need a bit of extra help, they even offer driver training!
This is an all year 4×4 trail, but remember to check for flooding levels after big rains.
Explore River Wild 4×4 for more details.
Have you had the privilege of completing any of these 4×4 routes? Tell us all about it in the comment box below! Tell us if you know of other off-road trails in South Africa that are worth checking out.

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