Four wheel drive vehicles, or 4x4's as they are often referred to, offer you the opportunity to access places that are inaccessible to drivers of conventional vehicles with their great traction, ground clearance and power.
But no matter how great your 4x4 is, there will be times when you will need additional equipment to cope with particularly difficult situations or terrain. Even the most cautious driver in the world's best 4x4 can sometimes misread a situation and get stuck or bogged.
In situations like these an electric or hand operated winch can be a lifesaver. Securely fitted to the 4x4 bumper, the steel cable can be used to pull the vehicle out of a deep mudhole or patch of sand, provided the end of the cable can be attached to a tree or rock. Along with the winch, you'll do well to add a tree strap, to protect the tree from the cable, a pair of sturdy gloves to protect your hands and shackles to hook everything together.
Other recovery tools you should consider especially if you intend to travel into really rugged terrain, include a ground anchor, for situations where there is no obliging tree close at hand, and a good jack.
Although the jack supplied with your 4x4 will do the job on most occasions, a high-lift jack will often get you out of a deep pothole, while the ingenious exhaust jack uses the 4x4's exhaust to inflate a rubber envelope to raise the vehicle. South Africa, with prolific wildlife, mountains, deserts and forests, is one of the world's top destinations for 4x4 enthusiasts, and whether you pick a short trail or a long expedition, there are almost unlimited opportunities for 4x4 excitement with literally hundreds of 4x4 trails in every province. Two of the best trails in South Africa are the Boegoeberg trail, just over two hours drive from Cape Town, and the Marakele 4x4 Eco Trail in the Waterberg region, Limpopo.
The Boegoeberg trail covers terrain between the Cederberg Mountains and the Atlantic Ocean. The comprehensively signposted trail and stunning views including GPS waypoints, will take a full day to traverse and requires some 4x4 experience,.
The Marakele trail is longer and is a three-day, two-night experience following tracks in the Marakele National Park on the Waterberg Mountains. Only 4x4 vehicles are allowed on the trail, with a maximum of five vehicles plus a guide vehicle on the trail at any one time. These are just two of the hundreds of 4x4 trails waiting for you and your 4x4, so what are you waiting for? Start your engines!
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