Quick Tips for Responsible Four Wheeling

Quick Tips for Responsible Four Wheeling

Every true 4WD enthusiast should know the basics of minimizing impact in the great outdoors.  Below are some great tips using the TREAD principles.



Travel responsibly on designated roads, trails or areas.

Travel only in areas open to four-wheel drive vehicles.

For your safety, travel straight up or down hills.

Drive over, not around obstacles to avoid widening the trail.

Straddle ruts, gullies and washouts even if they are wider than your vehicle.

Cross streams only at designated fording points, where the road crosses the stream.

When possible, avoid mud. In soft terrain, go easy on the gas to avoid wheel spin, which can cause rutting.

Minimize your impact by traveling only in areas open to four-wheel drive vehicles. Learn more about our RIDE ON campaign.

Don’t turn around on narrow roads, steep terrain or unstable ground. Back up until you find a safe place to turn around.

Stop frequently and scout ahead on foot. To help with traction, balance your load and lower tire pressure to where you see a bulge (typically not less than 20 pounds).

Know where the differential or the lowest point on your vehicle is. This will help in negotiating terrain and prevent vehicle damage resulting in oil and fluid spills on the trail.

Maintain a reasonable distance between vehicles.

Comply with all signs and respect barriers.

Travel with a group of two or more vehicles. Driving solo can leave you vulnerable if you have an accident or breakdown. Designate meeting areas in case of separation. If this is not possible follow well travelled routes in order for other 4×4 adventurers to assist you.

If you are going to use a winch, choose the appropriate winch for your vehicle size.

Attach towing cable, tree strap, or chain as low as possible to the object being winched. Let the winch do the work; never drive the winch.

When winching always inspect your equipment, use the right winch for the situation, find a good secure anchor and never winch with less than five wraps of wire rope around the drum.

When using a tree as an anchor, use a wide tree strap to avoid damaging the trunk of the tree.  More Winching Basics:  Protect Those Trees and Be Safe

Don’t mix driving with alcohol or drugs.



Respect the rights of others, including private property owners, all recreational trail users, campers and others so they can enjoy their recreational activities undisturbed.

Be considerate of others on the road or trail.  Learn the basics of trail etiquette.

Leave gates as you find them. If crossing private property, be sure to ask permission from the landowner(s).

Yield the right of way to those passing you traveling uphill. Yield to mountain bikers, hikers and horses.

When encountering horses on the trail, move to the side of the trail, stop, turn off your engine and speak—you want the horse to know you are human. Ask the rider the best way to proceed.

Proceed with caution around horses and pack animals. Sudden, unfamiliar activity may spook animals—possibly causing injury to animals, handlers and others on the trail.

Do not idly ride around in camping, picnicking, trailhead or residential areas.

Keep speeds low around crowds and in camping areas.

Keep the noise and dust down.



Educate yourself prior to your trip by obtaining travel maps and regulations from public agencies, planning for your trip, taking recreation skills classes and knowing how to operate your equipment safely.

Obtain a map, (motor vehicle use map where appropriate) of your destination and determine which areas are open to off-highway vehicles.

Make a realistic plan and stick to it. Always tell someone of your travel plans.

Contact the land manager for area restrictions, closures and permit requirements.

Check the weather forecast before you go. Prepare for the unexpected by packing necessary emergency items.

Buckle up! Seat belts are mandatory. Know your limitations. Watch your time, your fuel and your energy.

Take an off-highway drivers course to learn more about negotiating terrain in a four-wheel drive vehicle.

Make sure your vehicle is mechanically up to task. Be prepared with tools, supplies, spares and a spill kit for trailside repairs.  How to clean up a toxic spill on the trail.



Avoid sensitive areas such as meadows, lake shores, wetlands and streams. Stay on designated routes.

Other sensitive habitats to avoid include living desert soils, tundra, and seasonal nesting or breeding areas.

Do not disturb historical, archaeological or paleontological sites.

Avoid “spooking” livestock and wildlife you encounter and keep your distance.

Motorized and mechanized vehicles are not allowed in designated Wilderness Areas.  (What are Wilderness Areas?)

Pack out what you pack in and carry a trash bag on your vehicle to pick up litter left by others. Respected Access is Open Access



Do your part by modelling appropriate behaviour, leaving the area better than you found it, properly disposing of waste, minimizing the use of fire, avoiding the spread of invasive species and restoring degraded areas.

Carry a trash bag on your vehicle and pick up litter left by others.

Pack out what you pack in. Practice minimum impact camping by using established sites, camping 200 feet from water resources and trails.

Observe proper sanitary waste disposal or pack your waste out.

Protect the soundscape by preventing unnecessary noise created by a poorly tuned vehicle or revving your engine.

Before and after a ride, wash your vehicle to reduce the spread of invasive species.

Build a trail community. Get to know other types of recreationists that share your favourite trail.


Contact Carel Pienaar for 4×4 driver training before setting off for your adventure with South Africa 4×4 Rentals.

South Africa 4x4 Rentals- Trips for responsible 4 wheeling

Important Satellite Phone Notice

Important Satellite Phone Notice


When renting a 4×4 vehicle from South Africa 4×4 Rentals,  you receive a satellite phone included with the rental of the vehicle.Where other companies may charge an additional fee for the rental of a satellite phone, South Africa 4×4 Rentals is the only company that provides the use of a satellite phone at no additional charge. Clients are only responsible for the purchase of their satellite phone vouchers.South Africa 4x4 Rentals- Satellite Phone

For a long period of time, many adventurers have mostly purchased the 25 and 50 unit satellite phone vouchers when going into Africa on their adventure. This has worked out pretty well for these clients and they have come to prefer the 25 and 50 unit vouchers.

Unfortunately, Immarsat have announced important changes relating to GSPS Prepay vouchers. This may upset some of the loyal 25 unit voucher purchasers.


These changes include the following:

  • A zero (0) unit voucher is being introduced. The voucher will not add any credit to the account but will extend the expiry date of units previously loaded. The extension of the expiry period is 30 days from date of redemption.
  • There is a new “balance expiry period” for the 50 & 100 unit voucher (this is how long after redemption the units “stay” on the account)
  • The 25 unit voucher will no longer be available
  • Existing voucher types will no longer be available for creation after 1 July 2016


The following IsatPhone/ IsatPhone Link vouchers are available from 1 July 2016:

Total units Balance Expiry Period from Redemption
0 30 days
50 30 days
100 90 days
250 180 days
500 365 days
1000 365 days
2500 365 days
5000 365 days


All adventurers who will be travelling after the 1st of July 2016 will now have to purchase a minimum of 50 units valid for 30 days from date of redemption.

5 Things To Do In Malawi

5 things to do in Malawi


A visit to southern Africa would not be complete without a trip to Malawi. This vibrant and beautiful place should be on every travel destination wish list.

There are many amazing experiences to be had in Malawi this list hopes to narrow your choices down to a manageable list and to give you a few ideas for your travel guidelines.

It is, as always, important to mention at the beginning of this article that Malawi does fall into a malaria area and it is therefore vital that you consult your doctor before booking your trip.

  • Lake Chilwa: the second-largest lake in Malawi after Lake Malawi, Lake Chilwa is an amazing destination for those travellers who love fishing. Lake Chilwa is in eastern Zomba District, near the border with Mozambique. Approximately 60 km long and 40 km wide, the lake is surrounded by extensive wetlands making it the perfect place for bird and wild life watching. There is a large island in the middle of the lake by the name of Chisi Island. The lake has no outlet, and the level of water is greatly affected by seasonal rains and summer evaporation. In 1968, the lake disappeared during exceptionally dry weather. The lake supports a waterbird population of around 1.5 million with about 160 different species. Some of these migrate along the Asian – East African Flyway from Siberia each year. With twelve bird species, the number is over 1% of their total flyway population. This along with the villages sourounding the lake make this a very popular tourist destination.



South Africa 4x4 Rentals- 5 things to do in Malawi
South Africa 4×4 Rentals- 5 things to do in Malawi
  • Liwonde National Park: Tourism in Malawi is still low key and that is reflected in the number of visitors to Liwonde National Park. That said, it is Malawi’s premier wildlife-viewing destination. As there are so few dangerous predators, it is one of the few wildlife national parks that offers game walks, an alternative to the more common game drives. There are also canoe and boat safaris.
  • Nyika National Park: Nyika National Park is Malawi’s largest national park, with an area of 3200 Square km. The name Nyika means “where the water comes from” as the plateau’s elevation makes it wetter than surrounding areas. Most people experience the Nyika by staying on or driving over the plateau itself but this represents only around one third of the National Park. The escarpments and northern hill areas descend to lower altitude and feature a much drier landscape seasonally. The plateau itself is recommended for trekking and mountain biking, as well as more conventional 4×4 excursions. The montane vegetation attracts large numbers of antelope from the diminutive Common duiker to eland and roan. Zebra are common near Chelinda and the highest part of the plateau.
  • Lengwe National Park: Lengwe National Park  is a national park in Malawi located near the town of Chikwawa and about 40 miles southwest of Blantyre. Lengwe’s topography is unusual for Malawi and consists of open deciduous forests and dense thickets. It is the home of the reclusive Nyala antelope. The climate of Lengwe is hot and dry, and the only source of consistent water is from the rain. Many man-made water holes have been constructed to attract and maintain the animal population.
  • Chongoni Rock Art Area: The Chongoni Rock Art Area is located in the Central Region of Malawi consisting of 127 sites in the forested hills of the Malawi plateau with depictions of rock art and paintings of the farmer community of the Late Stone Age and the Iron Age period. The rock art sites are near the mountainous region of Dedza which is the highest town in Malawi which was settled during pre-historic times. It is reported to be the “densest cluster of rock art” in Central Africa.


South Africa 4x4 Rentals- 5 Things to do in Malawi
South Africa 4×4 Rentals- 5 Things to do in Malawi
















When traveling it is always important to remember and accept that you will never be able to do everything in one trip. There will always be things that you can’t cross off your travel list because you ran out of time or because of some unforeseen circumstance. There is nothing wrong with not sticking to your pre-planned itinerary, often the most amazing experiences are things that never even crossed your mind while you were planning your trip.

The best way to experience Malawi is, as with any country, to interact with the people who live there. Don’t be afraid to try something that falls outside of your normal comfort zone.


Which is Best ? Ground or Roof Top Tent

Roof Top Tents vs Ground Tents

When deciding to go on an adventure, there are various aspects to consider. Aspects such as what to pack, where to go, what to do on your adventure, etc. Another major aspect which many of our clients face is whether to choose roof top tents or ground tents to sleep in on their adventure. A decision of this nature could make or break your adventure. Before deciding, it is always wise to weigh your options and also do simple research on the campsites you will be visiting. The weather or ground of the campsite can play a major role in deciding which is best.

Advantages and disadvantages of both roof top tents and ground tents should be evaluated when making a decision. Some of these advantages and disadvantages of both include:

Roof top tents

Advantages Disadvantages
Easiest way to sleep off ground You need to close the tent when using your vehicle
Helpful when ground/campsite is uneven, overgrown or water-logged or soil is too soft Roof top tents only cater for two people. Three or more people will not fit into one roof top tent
Keeps you away from wild animals Roof racks and tents on the roof of your vehicle increases your vehicle fuel consumption
Can withstand wind speeds It could be uneasy to get up and down the stepladder, especially in the dark
It is quick and easy to set up It is not as safe as you could trip and fall
Roof top tents for Toyota Hilux 4x4 - South Africa 4x4 Rentals
Roof top tents for Toyota Hilux 4×4 – South Africa 4×4 Rentals











Ground Tents

Advantages Disadvantages
Safe in a tent that is properly zipped up Ground tents are time consuming to set up
Your tent can stay behind at your campsite should you wish to go somewhere. You do not have to set up every night. It is not ideal if you tour and move camp regularly
Big ground tents are comfortable Ground tents are difficult to set up when campgrounds are uneven, water-logged or overgrown or too soft.
Ground tents come in variety of sizes for larger groups  
Ground tents are safe and easy to walk out of  
SA 4x4 Ground Tent - Which is the best ?
SA 4×4 Ground Tent – Which is the best ?









With South Africa 4×4 Rentals knowledge and experience, we always suggest that our clients use roof top tents, because it is safe and easy to use. The decision, however, remains theirs and they are responsible for their choices.

You decided that you do not want to stay in a ground tent or roof top tent and you would rather want to stay in a bungalow, hut or luxury lodge etc.? You can contact South Africa 4×4 Accommodation to assist with your bookings.