Do you own a 4×4 and only use it for the annual Mozambique or Botswana trip, or worse for pavement jumping and shopping trips. You have other options as well. There are plenty of fun outrides and 4×4 trails in our area that is definitely worth a visit. Some more so than others, but fun none the less, and fun for the whole family if they fit in your 4×4.

Again this isn’t an exhaustive list, not that we have so many places right here in Pretoria East, but there are some fun places to visit.

Rhino Park McCarthy 4×4 Club

First on the list is Rhino Park and the McCarthy 4×4 Club. This is a family orientated outing and is fun day usually done on Sundays. This trail is open for everyone and not just for club members, but you have to book on days where there is no 4×4 day organised. Rhino Park McCarthy 4×4 Club is a guided trail with knowledgeable guides to give you advice as well as show you the correct lines to take on the more difficult sections of the trail. The trail is rated at 3½ grading and is definitely NOT for your 4×4’s without diff lock, low range and good ground clearance.

The trail starts off with a few inclines and declines to get you in the mood and then you make your way up the koppie from where you have a very nice view. The trail has some really nice testing obstacles to put both you and your 4×4 to the test. My personal feeling is that the hardest obstacle is a pole bridge crossing, it starts off with a steep decline where you have to get to the bottom of the decline then right, then you have the guide on the other side of the bridge guiding you and telling you where your wheels should be pointing, then once over the bridge you have a steep incline where difflock is essential in my opinion because of loose gravel and rocks. If you haven’t done something like this and it’s your first 4×4 outing, this obstacle should give you a sense of accomplishment. I suffer from vertigo and it was fine for me, so this shouldn’t put anyone off at all. On the old trail this obstacle was for us the highlight on the koppie and after that you wind your way back down a few declines on the way down to where another fun place awaits you. This is the sandpit, a large area filled with typical sea sand that is loads of fun for the whole family, in a weird way it makes you feel as if you’re on the beach. This is where you could let loose and play in the sand like you did when you were young. Kids enjoy it as much as the adults and most times one of the 4×4 guides will take the kids on a conveyer belt type thing, hook it to the tow  bar and take them around the sandpit, kids really enjoy it.

It has to be stressed here that this isn’t one of those trails where you’re going to walk away with battle scars if you take it easy. The trails is ideal as a refresher or to get to know your 4×4 better. The McCarthy 4×4 club also has a 4×4 training area and they offer new 4×4 owners basic 4×4 training as well.

The trail has been extended since our  last visit and is a bit longer now. We will definitely revisit and give you a better writeup of the trail in the near future. If you haven’t been there yet and you and your family enjoy the outdoors and 4×4, Rhino Park and McCarthy 4×4 Club is a must visit.

Trail Cost

  • R150 for non members
  • R75 for members

Groenkloof Nature Reserve

Groenkloof Nature Reserve also offers a 4×4 trail that is a bit of a game and nature drive with obstacles thrown in for good measure. The trail is rated at about 2-3 grading and isn’t tough on the vehicle at all. This is a self drive trail and is about 14 kilometers from start to finish and takes about 2 hours to complete.

The trails isn’t very hard, but in my opinion still requires good ground clearance and low range. The obstacles include some nice mud pits, steep inclines and some axle twisters. This trail also has some wildlife which include Zebra, Kudu, Blue Wildebeest, Impala, Giraffe, Jackal, Duiker, Blesbuck, Sable, Ostrich and Red Hartebeest. When we drove the trail we only saw Zebra, Giraffe and Ostrich. You get a booklet with the trail information showing you where you are on the trail, what you should be able to see as well as what to look for with regards to trees and wildlife.

The trail is a great way to get to know you 4×4 or as a refresher before leaving on your 4×4 holiday. Pack your picnic basket and/or meat and charcoal and have a nice relaxing braai after your trail, or between your second trip around the 14km trail. There is a lot of other activities to be enjoyed there, so maybe the best advice is to go early and do some of the walking trails and enjoy the birdlife or take along you mountain bikes and enjoy some bike trails as well.

We did this trail quite a while back and the experience has faded a bit, we will revisit Groenkloof Nature Reserve again and do a writeup with more details about the 4×4 trail.

Trail Cost 4×4

  • Price per 4×4 Vehicle R100.00
  • Adults (18+ years) R35.00
  • School Children (7-17 years) R20.00
  • Pre School Children (0-6 years) R10.00
  • Pensioners (60+ years) R20.00
  • Recovery of 4×4 on route R450.00

Day Hiking and Mountain Biking Trails

  • Adults (18+ years) R35.00
  • School Children (7-17 years) R20.00
  • Pre School Children (0-6 years) R10.00
  • Pensioners (60+ years) R20.00

We will be visiting 4×4 trails again soon and give you an idea of what grading they are as well as other relevant info on the trails. It makes sense if you paid for a 4×4 to not just use it in Menlyn Park Shopping Centre to get parking on the pavement where you’re not really supposed to park, or at the school events to park where no other vehicles can park. They’re great for recreation and seeing parts of our country where you normally wouldn’t be able to go and see.

Please also keep in mind that when you drive in nature and also trails, don’t take things out of nature that don’t belong to you, don’t leave your rubbish in nature and always keep a bag for your refuse and throw it away when you get to a place where it is safe to do so. Last but certainly one of the most important things to keep in mind, DON’T go off the trails and start your own trail, stay on the marked trail. It takes a long time for nature to recover from your quick venture of the track, not to mention what you could have killed in the process.

Go out and enjoy nature, take photos and have fun with the family outdoors. In our daily lives we hardly have any time to bond, we’re always rushing here and there, we have too little time for our families. Remember that time isn’t something you can buy even if you have billions in the bank. So go on and spend valuable time with the wife and kids, you’ll really bond while sitting in the car enjoying nail biting obstacles.

Of all the important things you have to remember, the one that I feel is THE MOST IMPORTANT is to be safe, don’t take changes because you have nothing to prove to anyone, the main objective is FUN and being able to tell your story is part of the fun.

Go enjoy the outdoors.

Pretoria East Community Web.

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