Fancy a breakaway off the beaten track, sleeping far away from bustling rest camps? If you have an off road vehicle, we have the perfect excuse to get those wheels moving to your next adventure – whether you want to rough it, or long for a bit more comfort.
Words by René de Klerk. Originally published in SANParks Times
1. Nuweveld Eco Trail – Karoo National Park
Experience the Karoo at its best when you journey along the Nuweveld Eco 4×4 Trail. This trail branches from the Potlekkertjie Loop. There are no costs associated with the route, only for overnight accommodation at Embizweni Cottage.
This unfenced cottage can accommodate six guests and is fully-equipped. There are some steep, rocky sections and sandy river crossings, but nothing to fear as the route is only Grade 1 difficulty.
Remember: Food and firewood
Cost: R1 060 for four people at Embizweni. Additional adults pay R250 and children R125. Daily conservation fees excluded.
2. Bedrogfontein – Addo Elephant National Park
This trail connects the lush Kabouga and arid Darlington sections of the park and is not only known for its breathtaking views, but also for its rich history. The area is famous for its fierce battles during the Anglo-Boer War. Look out for signs such as old wagon wheels. The route is a Grade 2 to 3 trail. There is rustic camping and fully-equipped accommodation available at Kabouga.
Remember: Payment at Kabouga Gate (near Kirkwood) is cash only.
Cost: R550 per vehicle per day. Camping at Mvubu is R140 for the first two people (maximum four). Additional adults pay R60 and children R30. The Kabouga Cottage sleeps six people and is R560 for the first two, thereafter R240 for additional adults and R120 for kids. Daily conservation fees excluded.
Bookings: +27- 42-233-8619
3. Nossob Eco 4×4 Trail – Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
Explore the park’s rusty red dunes away from the crowds when you take this route between Twee Rivieren and Nossob. You will have to set aside four days and pack everything you need as it is a rustic experience (think long-drops and no running water). This is a guided route and at least 2 vehicles, but no more than 5, must book together in order to take this route.
Cost: R3 125 per vehicle, excluding daily conservation fees. No children under 12 allowed.
4. Bitterpan 4×4 Trail – Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
If you don’t want to rough it, perhaps this route starting at Nossob with its fully-equipped accommodation might be a better option. Bitterpan offers a communal kitchen and braai area. Units have 2 single beds, gas and solar energy.
Distance: 120km on a one-way route
Remember: No children under 12 allowed. Camps are unfenced and the route is for Bitterpan guests only. No trailers are allowed on the route.
Cost: R1 495 for two people for accommodation, excluding conservation fees.
Gharagab 4×4 Trail – Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
This trail starts near Union’s End and is also a good option for those that don’t want to rough it by setting up a campsite. It offers fully-equipped overnight accommodation with 2 single beds, gas fridge, gas for hot water and solar lights
Distance: 61km on a one-way route. From the start to the overnight accommodation is 32km.
Remember: No children under 12 allowed. Camps are unfenced.
Cost: R 1495 for two people, excluding the daily conservation fees.
Mafunyane 4×4 Eco Trail – Kruger National Park
Looking for adventures in the flagship national park? This four-day, self-catering, guided trail in the north-western section of the park takes place between the Olifants and Luvuvhu Rivers. Departure from the Phalaborwa gate is every Thursday, but note that the trail only operates in the dry season between March and November.
Overnight camping spots have fireplaces, environmental toilets and showers, but water needs to be heated on a fire. No more than 4 vehicles are allowed at once.
Remember: Bring everything you need along, including camping gear, water and food.
Cost: R 6000 per vehicle, excluding daily conservation fees.