Best 4x4 trails and competitions in South Africa

There is no doubt that many South Africans have a passion for the off-roading experience, and 4x4 trails are a great way to understand and learn the capabilities of yourself and your vehicle. The Sani Pass 4x4 trail is a well-known and much-loved trail in SA, but there are three other tracks that we think should be at the top of your off-roading list, too: 

  • Location – KwaZulu Natal
  • Fee - R70 per vehicle and R40 per person
  • Time of 4x4 trail – 30min to 3hours


The Ithala Game Reserve has an option between two different 4x4 routes, the short 5km route is recommended for first time 4x4 drivers, as it’s holds some smaller and less intimidating slopes. Secondly there is the longer 17km route that is recommended for someone who is familiar with their vehicle and understands some 4x4 characteristics. The longer trail has a much tougher off-road experience which allows someone to push their vehicle to its limits. However, if a section of the 4x4 trail is not passable there has been a bypass route added along the side of the trail for an easier route through that section. The game reserve is companied by white rhino, leopard, oribi and plenty of bird species.


  • Location – Northern Cape
  • Cost – R320 per vehicle
  • Time of 4x4 trail – 5hours


The Witsand Kalahari has some of the biggest and most beautiful red sand dunes in South Africa and this 4x4 route can be a real challenge for many people, as the hot sand acts differently to rocks and mud. The 4x4 route provided by Witsand Kalahari is good lengthy trail which stretches for just over 40km and passes through the Langberg and Skurwe mountains. There are also scenic lunch stops along the route, where you can enjoy your meal surrounded by wildlife.


  • Location – Gauteng
  • Cost – R180 per vehicle
  • Time of 4x4 trail – 3 hours


40km outside of Sandton and Pretoria lies one of the best and most challenging 4x4 trails in South Africa. The 4x4 route runs along the Hennops river and features some steep descents and inclines, water crossings and axle-twisting side slopes. However, if the route becomes to challenging there is a bypass route where you might also spot wildlife like zebra, impala, blue wildebeest and blesbok.


Bonus : Spirit of Africa – Amarok

For people who want to attend a 4x4 adventure with more competition, they would have to consider the Spirit of Africa in the Volkswagen Amarok. This challenge is set out over three to four days and is hosted by rally and track legend, Sarel Van der Merwe. Every year the Spirit of Africa is hosted in a different province and gives you full access to a Volkswagen 3.0 V6 TDI to participate against other drivers in the same vehicles.  


The event features speed stages, technical stages and reverse stages, with points deducted if the vehicle touches any narrowly spaced flags and poles during these stages, and it’s all a race against the clock. Winners of Spirit of Africa can win huge discounts on buying their very own Volkswagen Amarok. If you’re looking for a competition to show off your 4x4 skills then there is not better place to prove yourself than the Spirit of Africa. 


Your 4x4 trail often requires a road trip

If you’re planning on visiting a 4x4 trail in another province, chances are you will need to plan a road trip, too. We’ve got your back – besides offering cost effective and easy to manage service plans, motoring plans, extended warranties and car insurance, we’ve also created a website jam packed with some of South Africa’s top road trip destinations: Ultimate Journey. 

For the past two years, South Africans have visited our Ultimate Journey website to list and vote for their top road trip destinations. The result? Thousands of destinations and the perfect road trip planning tool. Visit today to start planning the next escape in off-road vehicle!

Please note the imagery supplied in this blog was taken off each destinations respective website.

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