See also Encounter Magazine's comprehensive guide on 4x4 adventures
in South Africa.
Harsh, arid, extreme climatic conditions, awesome, vast, beautiful, serene....these describe the Northern Cape Province perfectly but at the same time, inadequately.
They unique features of the Northern Cape lay in its diversity: desert landscapes, extremely sensitive veld conditions, fascinating plants, totally unique in the world and the "bossieveld" of the Great Karoo.
Come the rainy season the total landscape changes so that nothing seems familiar at a second visit,a veritable two worlds in one, necessitating a return trip to experience the 4x4 wonder anew.Important Hints
1. Plan each day's meals and snacks. Pack the meals and snacks separately.
2. Keep the cab tidy at all times. You are going to spend many hours in the vehicle.
3. Clean ashtrays as often as possible. Empty them into a waste bag and not outside.
4. Before attempting difficult areas, unload the vehicle completely.
5. Wear your seat belts. Make sure that everything in the cab is properly secured. Check under the seats as well. Round objects (like tins and oranges) can cause obstruction under the petrol or brake pedals.
6. Check the condition of your tyres, studs and wheel nuts after each rough drive.Trails
Travel vast open plains and absorb the unique rugged beauty of the Northern Cape by exploring 50km of sand, rocky hills and dongas.
Tel 053 831 2659 / 082 493 4756.
Probably the longest 4x4 trail in South Africa - starts at Pella; ends at Alexander Bay; harsh terrain; some areas extremely desolate; requires careful planning;
Tel 027 718 2986.
Breathtakingly beautiful with a new scene meeting the eye at every turn.
Tel 012 428 9111.
Three routes covering approximately 160km of deep sand to steep and very rough tracks, deep dongas and rocky plateaus.
Tel 054 431 0945.
Takes trailists through surrealistic moonscapes.
Tel 054 452 9200.
Offers 6 trails varying in distance between 10km and 66km.
Tel 02062 ask for 1930.
De Postjes Trail
A challenging route, preferably for experienced drivers, situated in the Nuweveld Mountains.
Tel 023 741 1839.
In the Mier area.
Tel 054902 ask for Mier 19.
Northern Cape 4x4 Trails Map:
Clothing & Accessories:
Clothes for warm and cold weather.
A pair of hiking boots.
A hat and warm cap and scarf for the cold evenings.
Camera and sufficient films. Most visitors run out of film. Protect the camera at all times against dust.
A pair of binoculars is a must.
A wheel pump,
A good supply of drinking water and other beverages.
A plastic bag for rubbish. What you take in, you take out!
First aid kit.
Mosquito repellent for the summer season.
A good sun block and moisturiser. The dry climate can play havoc with one's skin.
Fruit, especially oranges and apples.
Jerry cans for extra fuel.
Tents; folding chairs, rucksacks, stretchers and sleeping bags.
P S. Lip balm.
Health & Climate:
The Northern Cape is largely a semi desert area with warm temperatures all year round and minimal rainfall.
Summer temperatures: l7 C - 36 C.
Winter temperatures: Minus 5 C - l9 C. Wet, rainy conditions will be an important factor on the trails of the Northern Cape.