Anyone looking for a challenging and rewarding (wildlife as well as scenically) of-road 4x4 safari experience need search no farther than these five amazing South African trails.
The ranking is based on trip reports, forum comments, magazine articles and general consensus within the travel industry.
In no specific order, here are five trails that will more than exceed your off-road expectations...1. Kruger National Park - Mpumalanga
Driving your 4wd vehicle in this world famous national park is an amazing experience.
It's not just the opportunity to see all the usual wildlife suspects like lion, leopard, cheetah etc but also the fact that you get way off the beaten track into areas of the reserve that other tourists never see.
There are four self drive trails that you can undertake here varying from 46 - 49 km in distance. The Lebombo trail is guided and covers a distance of 500 km running almost the full length of the KNP from north to south and takes 4 days to complete. Highly recommended.
The routes have been designed to take guests as close as possible to the different wilderness areas in the Kruger National Park and were carefully chosen to bring out the uniqueness of the different landscapes and associated fauna and flora.
With 40 mammal species making their home in the reserve your opportunities for wildlife viewing are very good as you tackle the network of over 90km of 4x4 routes.
The terrain varies from rocky in the north to some steep ascents and descents culminating in a valley in the east.
Camping or self catering cottage facilities make sure you get an excellent nights sleep for the next days trail blazing.
The Kgalagadi is a magical place of wide open spaces and excellent opportunities to test your 4x4 safari skills.
The trail takes 4 days to complete and daily distances travelled are between 50 and 65 km.
A guide accompanies you with his own vehicle and makes regular stops to highlight places of interest and enjoy the wildlife.
This reserve has more than 100km of 4x4 safari trails crisscrossing the southern Cedarburg.
Accommodation is in camp sites or the more luxurious Bushmen lodge which is situated beneath some rugged rock formations.
Most areas of this national park are only accessible using a 4x4 safari vehicle.
All the large game species like elephant and rhino to the big cats as well as an amazing variety of birds including probably the largest colony of endangered Cape vultures (more than 800 breeding pairs) in the world, have settled here.
Accommodation is possible in the Tlopi tented camp overlooking a river and the Bontle camp site.