As seen in Melomag.

Is winter creeping up on you? Check out these five fun 4×4 trails and cosy stays to trump the chills and bring a few thrills. So, start your engines and let the adrenaline kick you into gear!

Biedouw Valley 4×4 Route

Clanwilliam, Western Cape

A view of the Biedouw Valley from Enjo Nature Farm.

You’ll find this valley hidden amongst the Cederberg Mountains between Clanwilliam and Uitspankraal. This route offers amazing views of the green valley, Biedouw River and a whole host of natural pools and waterfalls. If you time your trip just right, you’ll be able to watch the wildflowers open closer to the end of the winter season. The last section of this route is very steep and reaches a plateau from where you can gaze at the Sneeukop, Krakadouw and Citadel Kop Mountains as well as the Tankwa Karoo in the distance.

Difficulty 2 – 3
Distance: 30 km
More information: 049 851 9804

Stay at: De Pakhuys, Clanwilliam

Witkruis unit at De Pakhuys

There’s something to suit every budget at De Pakhuys – from luxurious cottages to camping facilities. We recommend that you make your way to this beautiful part of the world towards the end of winter, so that you can look forward to loads of wild flowers. Take a walk to the famous rock formations and cave drawings after a day on the 4×4 tracks.

Baviaans-Kouga 4×4 Route

Baviaanskloof, Eastern Cape

View from Baviaans Lodge

Set in a World Heritage Site, this route has no shortage of spectacular sights to offer. You’ll make your way past several mountain ranges, rivers, birds and wildlife on this route. Cycads, fynbos and honeybush tea will fill your senses and nature lovers alike will be right at home on the overgrown paths. Please keep the erosion in mind and don’t underestimate it.

Difficulty: 2 – 3
Distance: 33 km
More information: 049 839 1160

Stay at: Baviaans Lodge, Tsitsikamma

Baviaans Lodge

This lodge borders the Baviaanskloof Heritage Site and is situated really close to the route’s starting point. The cottages have fireplaces and no electricity, so you can truly immerse yourself in your natural surroundings.

Bergwoning 4×4 Route

Golden Gate National Park, Free State

Striking mountain views from SANParks Glen Reenen Rest Camp.

This route starts approximately 15 km from Clarens and you have the option of taking it on on your own or with the help of an expert. The route is seldom closed due to the fact that each season boasts a new challenge as the terrain changes. You can return to this route every season to appreciate what it has to offer.

Difficulty: 3
Distance: 6 km or 26 km (circle routes)
More information: 058 256 11 24

Stay at: Dynasty Red Mount Ranch, Clarens

Dynasty Red Mount Ranch

If you want to be close to the charming town of Clarens as well as the Golden Gate Highlands National Park, this self-catering mountain ranch is just the place for you.

Sani Pass 4×4 Route

Drakensberg, KwaZulu-Natal

A view of the Sani Pass (Wikimedia Commons)

Possibly one of the most famous routes in South Africa, this route stretches all the way from Underberg to the border of Lesotho and back. It’s prime location makes it possible to see some snow in the winter months and offers a unique challenge for those daring enough to take on the slippery slopes. The view from the top of the pass makes all the hard work worthwhile.

Difficulty: 2 – 4
Distance: 45 km
More information: 033 702 0330

Stay at: Over the Edge Cottages, Underberg

Over The Edge Cottages

This one is for true 4×4 enthusiasts as the route starts on the gravel road leading to the cottages. If you’re lucky, you might catch the snow falling while staying in Underberg during the winter – keep an eye on the weather report!

Hennops 4×4 Route

Pretoria, Gauteng

Hennops 4x4 Route

You can find this jam-packed route between Pretoria and Hartebeespoort. Even though some experts find it really challenging, beginners can simply skip the tricky sections and still be able to spot a blue wildebeest, kudu and even zonkeys (zebra-donkeys)! Keep in mind it can get quite muddy during winter when the Hennops River breaks its banks.

Difficulty: 2 – 4
Distance: 9 km
More information: 082 825 9205

Stay at: River Place Lodge, Centurion

River Place Lodge

Nestled in the Hennops River Valley, this lodge sports some stone-clad suites and a restaurant overlooking the river. 

Trail grades

1. Easy – for 4×4 novices or 4x2s with differential lock.

2. Easy to moderate – 4×4 vehicle and some driving experience is essential.

3. Moderate – low range and 4×4 driving experience recommended.

4. Difficult – experienced drivers, low range and differential lock. Recovery equipment recommended.

5. Extreme – experts only with serious vehicles, not for solo trips. Recovery backup essential.

That’s our list of tracks to try. What’s yours? Please leave us a comment in the section below.


Cover image: Big Stock
Sani Pass Image: Wikimedia Commons
Hennops trail photo: Big Stock