4x4 Travelogue, advise and general comments bases on private and SA 4x4 experiences - Travelling in Africa since 1993

South Africa 4x4 - Rental of Land Rover 110 Defenders & Toyota Hilux Double Cab 4x4s. Equipped, insured, unlimitted kilomtres. Anywhere in Africa!

River Crossing South Africa 4 x 4 Rentals

Many times, we at South Africa 4×4 Rentals have come across issues where clients are not sure about what to do when having to cross a river or deep water. The information below takes you on a step by step guide on what to do when faced with this issue. We strongly feel that everyone should know and be aware of what to do when in such a situation…


Walk across all River Crossings – Use a ‘wading stick’ to check depth. If a river is flowing strongly enough to make you lose your footing, it will be dangerous for your vehicle. Do not drive across anything that cannot be walked easily!
• Do not cross at stream deltas (where they empty into a lake) as they are often clogged deep with mud, and it’s a wider area to cross. In cases, other than deltas, wider is often better because it indicates a shallower section, but deltas are to be avoided!
• Let the vehicle cool down if possible before crossing water. Cold water can warp hot disc brake rotors or destroy the catalytic converter if it gets sucked into the exhaust pipe.
* If necessary, remove underwater rocks and river debris that are in your path. Use markers on the opposite river bank if need be. Check entry and exit points. Is it too steep, will the bank support the weight of the vehicle? Check the angle into the water; if too steep, the engine could flood.
• Attach rope to recovery points and secure the ends on the bulbar as high up as possible. Secure the ends of winch cables like wise. If you get stalled in high water, it’s difficult trying to secure these to recovery points that are under water. Fit wading plugs. This includes wading plugs for the timing cover (if it’s belt driven rather than chain), and the bell housing. These are screw in plugs fitted to some (but not all) Land Rovers.
• If you should get across deep water in an emergency (which is about the only time such a crossing should be attempted), you may increase your chances if you drive across backwards (fit an extension hose over the exhaust pipe). The wake created tends to keep water out of the engine compartment. Drive as fast as possible and do not lift your foot off the gas, or water could flood the exhaust pipe and stall the engine. Make sure that the departure angle will let you get up the bank.
South Africa 4x4 Rentals - River Crossing
South Africa 4×4 Rentals – River Crossing
440mm (18 inches) Beginning of door sill.
600mm (24 inches) Fit radiator ‘blind’ from this point on, remove fan belt.
700mm (28 inches) Top of your tyres.
1000mm (40 inches) Top of bonnet/hood.
 • Be aware that in deep water the vehicle will partially float. This greatly decreases the traction and may make it difficult or impossible to climb up a muddy or rocky bank on the far side. You may need to open the door and let water into the vehicle to decrease the buoyancy. Do not fasten your seat belt as you may need to exit the vehicle rapidly.
• Select low range, 3rd or 4th gear, diff lock and locker engaged.
• Do not change gears once in the water (Manual transmissions). Water will get into the clutch, and although still in gear, the vehicle will not move, however, if the selected gear is too high and stalling is inevitable, then a gear change must be attempted.
• Maintain a steady forward pace, enough to create a nice bow wave. If it appears that a bow wave cannot be maintained due to lost forward motion, immediately switch off the engine if possible before the engine stops.
• If the vehicle stalls, do not get out on the current side, the current could drag you under the vehicle. Do not attempt to restart the motor. Recover to the opposite shore. If you are on your own, remove all the spark plugs, coil lead or multi-pack coils, and drive on, using the starter motor.
• If you are on your own and the current is really strong, and the vehicle is in danger of being swept away, set up a wire cable/rope across the river attached to trees or other anchors at each end (Doesn’t work if your rope/cable is too short).
Attach the front and rear of the vehicle to the cable by means of 2 short
cables with eyes at both ends and ‘D’ shackles. With the vehicle on the downstream side of the main cable…drive across.
If there is another vehicle in your party, set up a cable through a snatch block attached to a tree on the far bank and another vehicle which can back up and tow you across the river. The second vehicle can then be just pulled across.
South Africa 4x4 Rentals - River Crossing
South Africa 4×4 Rentals – River Crossing
 • If the riverbed is deep and rocky, select low range 1st or 2nd gear, diff locks and lockers (if fitted) engaged.
• A ‘BLIND’ is of no use, as your forward travel will be too slow to create a bow wave.
• Moving water (slow) with an unbroken surface may be deep and more likely to have a silt bottom. Lower tyre pressures if need be.
• Moving water (fast) with a rippling or broken surface usually indicates a stony bottom. Usually shallow, clear of silt and easier to cross.
• Rivers fed by melting snow will be at their lowest and slowest level at daybreak.
• In general, it is best to cross where the river is wide and has adequate current. Adequate current means that the bottom is not as deep as where there is less current, and it also means that the bottom is more solid. (If the river or creek is a consistent distance across, and one section has a faster current than another section, then that area with the faster current is shallower).
The current carries with it mud and sand that it puts down where the current drops and that makes the bottom soft and dangerous.
Never cross in a place that you cannot wade. If the place is unknown, wade into the water. If the flow is fast, tie a rope around yourself and have someone hold the other end or to a tree or vehicle if alone.
Once in the water drive diagonally across if possible, that way the current will help push the vehicle and no bow wave will be generated.
If driving straight across a fast-flowing river, the rear end of the vehicle will be pushed faster. Be prepared to turn the front wheels in the direction of the “slide”. If this does not solve the problem, accelerate slightly. If the vehicle continues to turn, facing up stream, put it into reverse and try to reverse up to either bank. Going forward is not an option in such circumstances.




If you stall during the river crossing (DO NOT RESTART YOUR ENGINE). Water in the engines combustion chamber does not compress, bent rods are usually a certainty. Play it safe. It will cost you thousands if you get it wrong. Recover to dry land by winching, being towed or after removing the spark plugs and coil lead/s by driving out using the starter motor.
* Remove all the spark plugs, even if you think water ingress into the engine didn’t occur. Check carefully the air intake for any more signs of water before you try to start your engine.
Crank the starter to push any water out of the cylinders. Spray each cylinder with WD40 or similar water displacement spray. Crank the engine some more. If the engine doesn’t turn, or has an awful sound, look forward to an expensive repair bill.
* If water gets into the computer (ECU), or other electrical components, strip it down as much as possible, spray with WD40 or similar water displacement spray or use compressed air. Use compressed air with caution when blowing out water from electrical components as the air pressure could force water deeper into the component to be dried and may compound the problem.
* Wading plugs (if fitted) must be removed soon after any river crossing has occurred.
* Check the dipstick for water in the oil. If the oil level is reading too high, there’s water in the sump. If the vehicle is left standing for a while, the water may have separated from the oil, when after pulling out the dipstick there are a few water droplets clinging to it, there may be a problem. If so, remove the sump plug and drain off the water. If the dipstick shows a ‘sauce’, then the water has been ‘whipped’ into the oil and needs changing around 5 times, running the engine between changes. One change will usually get you home if you drive slowly.
* Check the power steering reservoir. If it’s a ‘pinky’ frothy colour, it needs changing. Stiff and jerky steering is the symptom. Damage to the power steering box will occur if the oil is not changed. To clear out the system, remove the low-pressure hose (usually the one without crimped fittings at the reservoir bowl) and drain the contaminated fluid. Reconnect the hose and fill the reservoir with new power steering fluid. If no power steering fluid is carried, vegetable oil or transmission oil can be used; this will at least get you home.
* Check the axles, swivel joints and gearbox oils for signs of water ingress. Lube all U joints and ball joints as soon as possible.
* Petrol in the fuel tank will separate from the water and float on top of it. Use a siphon to remove the water from the bottom of the tank and then add to the petrol, ½ cup of methylated spirits. Check also, the fuel filter and fuel lines for possible water.
South Africa 4x4 Rentals - River Cossing - Carel Pienaar
South Africa 4×4 Rentals – River Cossing – Carel Pienaar

20 Day Namibia Self Drive Safari

South Africa 4×4 Accommodation specialises in Namibia and Botswana reservations. Namibia seems to be the all time favourite. Get your 4×4 vehicle from our Windhoek branch and take advantage of this amazing safari!
Tour can be amended as per request from lodging to camping. A variety of different activities are available for booking as well as meal plans.
Day 1: Windhoek to Waterberg
You start your adventure in Namibia with an easy drive on good tarred roads. Heading North from Windhoek, your first destination is a lodge in the Waterberg Plateau

Day 2-5: Etosha NP

The Etosha NP is the perfect destination to start off your camping experiences in Namibia. This NP not only offers amazing campsites, but also a variety of lodges to suit your every need. For these 4 days, you get to choose your accommodation between the following sites: Okaukuejo, Namutoni, Dolomite, Halali, etc. A variety of activities can also be added at each of the sites mentioned above.

SA 4x4 - 20 day Namibia self drive
SA 4×4 – 20 day Namibia self drive

Day 6&7: Ongula

About 60% of the country’s population live within this small section of Namibia, so you can expect to see lots of people, markets, cows, goats and lots of cuca shops (bars). The predominant cultural group in this area are the Owambo people which you can get into contact with.
Day 8&9: Kunene River Lodge
From Ongula, you will be heading to Ruacana. It is a busy border crossing between Angola and Namibia and here you will meet your first Himba people. They make beautiful jewellery and you can often purchase pieces from them. Kunene River Lodge is a simple camp on the banks of the Kunene River. It offers spectacular views and some exciting day trips, if you want a very special day you should consider joining the river rafting tour they offer- this includes some ‘not so serious’ white river rafting between amazing red rocks. An experience not to be missed!
South Africa 4x4 - 20 Day Namibia tour - Kunene River Lodge
South Africa 4×4 – 20 Day Namibia tour – Kunene River Lodge
Day 10: Epupa Falls
Epupa Falls is spectacular, so take time to visit the falls and perhaps enjoy a visit to a local himba village.
Day 11& 12: Palmwag


Palmwag is an Oasis which is frequently visited by desert elephant, rhino and other wildlife. You have a full day here and have the option to join one of the guided activities that takes you around the concession area in search of these animals
Day 13 & 14: Swakopmund


There are a range of activities to choose from in Swakopmund. Activities from sandboarding through quad biking to sky diving. These activities can be pre-booked or booked on arrival. Being a German inspired town, good food and beer is never hard to find.
Day 15 & 16: Sossusvlei


Leave Swakopmund and travel for about 300km to Sossusvlei. This will take you about 4-5 hours. You will likely reach your destination in the afternoon. Activities available are to be booked on request.
Day 17: Klein Aus Vista


This area is well known for its wild horses of the Namib. You will spend one night at Eagles Nest – Klein Aus Vista from where you can do a day trip to Luderitz or just spend the time exploring this beautiful area.
Day 18: Fish River Canyon


Your accommodation will be at the Canyon Lodge which offers guided hikes, horse riding and scenic drives around the area.
Day 19 & 20: Bagatelle


The Kalahari Desert is very different to the Namib, primarily because it receives more rainfall. You can expect to see fairly large herds of buck species browsing between the dunes. From here it is a fairly quick drive back to Windhoek, the capital of Namibia.
Contact South Africa 4×4 Accommodation at myaccommodation@southafrica4x4.co.za for more information..


SA 4x4 - 20 Day Namibia Safari
SA 4×4 – 20 Day Namibia Safari

14 Day Cape Town to Windhoek Self Drive Trip

Cape Town to Windhoek Self-drive Itinerary 14 days
Want to go on a self-drive tour to Namibia without the extensive long drives daily? Our 4×4 rental branch in Cape Town now makes it possible for you. South Africa 4×4 Accommodation has put together an amazing 14 day itinerary from Cape Town to Namibia. Everything you need and more from one place. The itinerary can be amended to suit the needs of our clients.


Cape Town to Windhoek tour starts after a meet and greet and vehicle hand over at Cape Town International Airport at 8am. Make your way around the Mother city in your own 4×4 vehicle, visit Cape point Reserve, explore the HoutBay harbour and village. Visit Boulders beach for the African Penguin Colony and spoil yourself with a truly African cuisine at V&A Waterfront.  (Own expense)
INCLUSIVE:  Cape point entry fees.
ACCOMMODATION: Cape town Guesthouse, twin or double rooms with en-suite bathroom.
TRAVEL DISTANCE:  Own travel distance in and around Cape Town (± 6- 8 hours)

South Africa 4x4 - Cape Town to Windhoek Self Drive
South Africa 4×4 – Cape Town to Windhoek Self Drive


Depart Cape Town heading towards Ceres. Make your way to the rugged wilderness that embraces the Cederberg ranges.   Explore truly beautiful landscapes with sandstone cliffs, deep valleys and tumbling slopes.  Afternoon hike exploring Wolfberg Arch, Stadsaal Caves and Bushman paintings. Routes are characterized by rocky terrain and should be tackled with suitable hiking shoes.
INCLUSIVE:  Cederberg entry fees and walking permit.
ACCOMMODATION: Campsites with power and good ablution facilities with hot showers
TRAVEL DISTANCE:  250km, ± 3½ hours’ drive.


On day 3 you will drive through the remote landscapes of Northern Cape Province on route to Namibia. Today you can relax on the banks of the Orange River, Noordoewer, Namibia. Popular attractions include rafting and canoeing, bird-watching and fishing. A 10-minute walk from the camp site takes you to some San petroglyphs (rock engravings). Park your 4×4 and camp tonight on lovely green lawns with plenty of shade and a wonderful view over the river and onto the spectacular Geelkrans Cliffs on the opposite bank. ( Canoe and rafting are optional activities)
ACCOMMODATION: Campsite with good ablution facilities and hot showers
TRAVEL DISTANCE:  560km, ± 6 hour drive (excluding sightseeing)
AVAILABLE:  Bar, Wood and Ice

South Africa 4x4 - Orange River - Cape Town to Windhoek
South Africa 4×4 – Orange River – Cape Town to Windhoek
Travel further north today heading for the Fishriver Canyon, second biggest Canyon in the world. Feel the magnitude of Earth-time in relation to the fleeting brush of human life on the canyon rim. Away from civilization, the canyon grandeur is yours alone. Set up your camp on the bank of the dry river bed under shady trees with a backdrop of rocky hills. In the silence, you may be able to hear the call of the canyon, 14 kilometers away.
INCLUSIVE:  Canyon entry fees.
ACCOMMODATION: Campsite with good ablution facilities and hot     showers.
TRAVEL DISTANCE:  230km, ± 3 hours drive (excluding sightseeing)
Today you will enter the Namib desert, exlore the biggest dunes in the world and the remarkable depths of the Sesriem Canyon. Take time to visit the Naukluft National park which take up a large area of the Namib Desert.  Camp tonight on your own individual site  in a clean, tidy and well-kept environment. Cool down in the campsite pool after a long day exploring the vast desert surroundings.
INCLUSIVE:  Sesriem Canyon and Naukluft National Park entry fees
ACCOMMODATION: Separate paved campsite with its own toilet, basin, hot/cold shower, barbeque, kitchen wash-up facility and electricity.
TRAVEL DISTANCE:  550km, ± 7 hours drive (excluding sightseeing)

Suddenly the desert scenery change as you reaches the coast of Namibia on your way to Swakopmund. Appreciate every moment while exploring the Swakopmund area. Pump the adrenaline with one of many activities, sand boarding, quad biking etc. Or take on a water activity with a kayak, dolphin safari, or if you brave enough to take on the Atlantic Ocean – go for a swim.  Enjoy the night time, listening to the waves, while sipping on your wine and indulge in the local restaurant cuisine. (Own expense)
INCLUSIVE:  Bed and Breakfast
ACCOMMODATION: Single/double One bed Chalet with en-suite bathrooms.
TRAVEL DISTANCE:  350km, ± 5 hours drive (excluding sightseeing)
OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES: Sand boarding, quidbiking, water activities and desert tours.

South Africa 4x4 - Swakopmund - Cape Town to Windhoek tour
South Africa 4×4 – Swakopmund – Cape Town to Windhoek tour



Depart Swakopmund early morning heading for Cape Cross en route to Spitzkoppe. Enjoy the sightings of the Skeleton Coast and visit the Cape fur seal colonies at Cape Cross. Head for the granite koppies, well know in Namibia as Spitzkoppe. The Spitzkoppe (“Matterhorn of Namibia”) is nearly 700 million years old. Here you can expect to see the diverse and breath-taking landscapes of bald granite peaks. The peaks stand out dramatically from the flat surrounding plains.  The unique oversized boulders and secret caves, allows the visitor to camp in complete peace and tranquility.
INCLUSIVE:  Skeleton coast and Cape fur Seal colony entry fees.
ACCOMMODATION: Campsite with dry toilets and hot showers.
TRAVEL DISTANCE:  300km, ± 4 hours drive (excluding sightseeing)


On Day 10 you will continue your journey through Damaraland to the tallest mountain in Namibia – Brandberg Mountain. The Ugab River Valley with its old trees and green bushes is home to a great variety of game, birds, fascinating reptiles and insects. The stone-age rock paintings of the San Bushmen give evidence of the presence of the famous desert elephants in the area many thousand years ago. Experience these magnificent giants on one of our guided Elephant drives. A close encounter you will never forget.
INCLUSIVE:  Elephant drive.
ACCOMMODATION: Large campsite in the vicinity of the Ugab river, own braai and water tap.
TRAVEL DISTANCE:  130km, ± 2 hours drive (excluding sightseeing)

South Africa 4x4 - Brandberg Mountain - Cape Town to Windhoek
South Africa 4×4 – Brandberg Mountain – Cape Town to Windhoek

Leave the mountain and head for the animal kingdom at Etosha National park. Etosha Park is known for its remarkable wildlife sightings and unique scenery. Etosha NP is home to diverse wildlife, including over 110 species of mammals. Enjoy the viewpoints at waterholes and beautiful scenery. Tonight you will camp at Okaukuejo campsite or similar campsite in Etosha National park.
INCLUSIVE:  Etosha National park fees, 1x Morning game drive and 1x Afternoon game drive.
ACCOMMODATION: Campsite with good ablution and hot showers. Pool, bar and restaurant .
TRAVEL DISTANCE:  330km, ± 4 hours drive (excluding sightseeing)
OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES: Night drive with a guide.



Heading south from Etosha towards Windhoek. Stop at Waterberg National parklWaterberg is a massive table mountain east of Otjiwarongo in the northern reaches of central Namibia. It is about 50 km long, up to 16 km wide and rises to a height of up to 200 meters. You can experience this wonderful mountain scenery up and close, with or without guide, on well-demarcated hiking trails.
INCLUSIVE:  Entry fee and Guided walking hike.
ACCOMMODATION: Campsite with good ablution, hot showers. Pool.
TRAVEL DISTANCE:  280km, ± 3 hours drive (excluding sightseeing)


Your Cape Town to Windhoek self-drive tour will end in Windhoek. Explore Windhoek city and enjoy the last day of this amazing experience.  Take this day to relax before heading home. You will hand the vehicle back at around 3pm at the Guesthouse.  A friendly driver will do the Airport Transfer the next day. Tell us all about your wonderful trip!!
INCLUSIVE:  Bed and Breakfast.
ACCOMMODATION: Windhoek Guesthouse, twin or double rooms with en-suite bathroom.
TRAVEL DISTANCE:  280km, ± 3 hours drive (excluding sightseeing)
Contact South Africa 4×4 Rentals http://southafrica4x4.co.za/ for your 4×4 rental in Cape Town or Namibia. Interested in the itinerary above? Contact South Africa 4×4 Accommodation http://sa4x4accommodation.co.za/ for your tailer made itinerary from Cape Town to Windhoek or vise versa.

Elephant Charge 2008 / 2017

Elephant Charge 2008  –  2017
The Elephant Charge is an annual 4×4 challenge raising funds for Wildlife Conservation in Zambia. It challenges teams of cars and motorbikes to complete a gruelling course through the Zambian bush. The event is held at a different location each year. The 2016 Elephant Charge teams, sponsors, supporters and the committee raised over $63 000.
South Africa 4x4 Rentals - Elephant Charge 2017 - Carel Pienaar
South Africa 4×4 Rentals – Elephant Charge 2017 – Carel Pienaar
How does it work?
The winning team is the team that completes a course of 10 checkpoints in the shortest distance possible. Each team must find their own route between checkpoints through a range of:
• Valleys
• Over Ridges
• Up Escarpments
In a trial of driving, navigation and endurance…
Who benefits from this initiative?
The Elephant Charge raises money for 10 beneficiaries who are all well-reputed grassroots conservation projects located all over Zambia. It is up to the teams to donate a pledge. A minimum of $800, to the Elephant Charge. The committee distributes the monies accordingly to the beneficiaries that have applied for funding.
Who are the beneficiaries?
The Elephant Charge offers funding to the following beneficiaries:
• Wildlife and Environmental Conservation Society of Zambia
• CSL – Conservation South Luangwa
• Kasanka Trust Ltd
• Conservation Lake Tanganyika
• Game Rangers International
• Children in the Wilderness
• Chipembele Wildlife Education Trust
South Africa 4x4 Rentals - Elephant Charge - Beneficiaries - Carel Pienaar
South Africa 4×4 Rentals – Elephant Charge – Beneficiaries – Carel Pienaar
Rules and Regulations
The minimum allowed unladen weight of a vehicle is 500kg.
The maximum allowed unladen weight of a vehicle is 3000kg.
Tyre size and design is free. Studs, chains and spikes are prohibited.
Each vehicle must be fitted with seat belts (full harness recommended) for front seats, and carry a First Aid kit, a Fire Extinguisher and a can of fly spray (for bees). These will be checked at Scrutineering.
Each vehicle must carry at least 10 litres of water. It is recommended to carry sufficient food for the crew for 24 hours as well as warm clothing and blankets. A torch is recommended to enable search parties to locate lost vehicles at night.
More rules and regulations can be checked on the following link. http://www.elephantcharge.org/rules-and-regulations.html
When does it take place?
The 2017 Elephant Charge takes place on the 13th to the 15th October of 2017.
South Africa 4×4 Rentals has a variety of 4×4 vehicles to choose from for this challenge. From Toyota Hilux to Land Cruiser and a variety of Land Rover 110 Defenders. A great opportunity to support a great initiative.. What are you waiting for? Limited vehicles available during this period.
South Africa 4x4 Rentals - Elephant Charge - Carel Pienaar
South Africa 4×4 Rentals – Elephant Charge – Carel Pienaar