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!

Equipment Guide and Important Info for Toyota Hilux DC 4 x 4

Equipment Guide & Important Information – Toyota DC 4 x 4
The most important thing to do when going on a safari adventure in a rented vehicle, is to familiarize yourself with the vehicle and gain basic knowledge about the vehicle. Not having this kind of knowledge can be the cause of a bad trip altogether. At South Africa 4×4 Rentals, we provide our clients this basic information regarding the vehicle and equipment. Please keep all these factors in mind regarding your rental of a Toyota Hilux Double Cab 4×4 vehicle:
Fuel
– Diesel 50ppm / Standard ( some garages / filling station states
500ppm ) No Eco Friendly / Evolution Diesel
– Full tank = 110 / 140 lt – do not overfill
– Average driving range = 950km to 1100km ( Jerry can / 20lt = 110km )
Tyre Pressure
Cooper Tyres   2.1 Bar – All tyres
All Other Makes  – Front =  2.3  ( Full Load = 2.3 )
Back =   3.1  ( Full Load = 3.2 )
Deflate by 20% for sand and mud driving.
If you have deflated the tyres to drive off road, remember to inflate when you make your way onto tarmac.
Oil

– Castrol 10W / 40 – You have 4 x 500ml in your mechanical box.
DO NOT OVER FILL WITH OIL.

Coolant   – Use any coolant and mix one part coolant to 4
parts water. If not available, clean tap water.
Charging Battery

– Use your battery cables, only charge the main
battery ( they are marked MAIN and AUX )
Using electricity 220V to charge the battery, take out the
battery / disconnect it from the vehicle before charging.

The radio will not work when you re-connect the batteries. You will need a code which I must give you. DO NOT try your luck with the code. You will lock the radio and it will have to be replaced.
The Vehicle – Very Important – Start Up and Shut Down

Turn the key to the on position ( where the dashboard lights go on ). Wait for the coil and diff lights to go off before starting the engine ( 20 seconds ).
Idle the engine for 2 minutes on a cold start. ( drive the first 5 minutes with low revs and speed )
Idle the engine for one minute on a warm start.
On switch off / stop park the vehicle. Idle for 1 minute before switching off the ignition.
Always drive with your headlights on and your doors locked.

Stop every morning to check Fuel, Tyres, Water and Oil, Wheelnuts

 

Equipment
Tents
Each tent can sleep two persons. We fit the 140cm wide tent to ensure that little bit of extra space. Tents are fitted with a mattress which is sufficient for camping. A brush and scoop is provided to sweep the tents out as sand always find their way in. Two main things to watch out for. Do not drop the fold over part of the tent when setting up. Use the ladder as a support for the section that hangs over.
South Africa 4x4 Rentals - Toyota Hilux Tent
South Africa 4×4 Rentals – Toyota Hilux Tent

 

Fridge / Freezer
The fridge / Freezer are a 40lt to 80lt that will provide enough space for cold storage of food for 4 to 5 days for a group of 4 persons. At the camp plug into main electricity supply. Extension and cord is supplied ( inside fridge ). Plug in fridge / freezer to 12v ( vehicle battery ) while driving only. We also supply a plug that can be used from the cigarette lighter as a back up option.
South Africa 4x4 Rentals - Important Info - Fridge
South Africa 4×4 Rentals – Important Info – Fridge

 

Dual Battery System
A dual battery system allows you to run your fridge and other items without draining your main battery which you will need tomorrow morning to start the vehicle. The auxiliary battery is fully charged before we hand you your vehicle. You have about 5 to 8 days of use of this battery. This battery is charged from the alternator but only charges after your main battery has been filled up. The auxiliary battery takes a long time to charge – 4 days, so keep usage of fridge to a minimum when the engine is not running.
Do not press the link button on the control or change anything on the battery display unit!

 

Flat Tyre Repair
Slow leaks use the Tyre Weld as it should seal the thorn or whatever caused a minor leak. Replace the flat tyre with the spare and have the flat tyre repaired at the nearest town. If not possible use the repair kit as shown on the instructions.

Gas

The gas equipment has a 3kg bottle and a plate for cooking. The 3kg bottle provides gas for 15 meal preps. 200gm of gas per session. This is ideal in the mornings when you want to boil some water or fry a few eggs and you do not want to start a fire.

Light

In addition you have 2 x led camp lights. They provide light for 100 hours (25 nights at 4 hours per night). They can be re-charged with electricity ( cords are supplied ).

Water Tank

The vehicle is handed to you with an empty tank. Do not fill unless you plan to go out in the wild where water supply may or may not be available. Filling the water tank only adds weight and higher diesel consumption. The tank has been sterilized before your rental and water can be added with the hose and nozzles provided.

 

Breakdown
Stop at a safe place. Pull as far as possible off from the road. Assess the problem. Have a cup of coffee ! Then realise that some problems are minor and can be fixed by yourself.

You may experience some of the following problems:

1. Your vehicle is kitted with a safety measure that will cut out the fuel supply too the engine if you are involved in an accident. This devise is sometimes activated when you hit a pothole hard. Your vehicle will be have no electricity and will be dead. Open the bonnet and reload the computer program by pressing the lever.
2. The vehicle will show signs of having no electric power – check the earth and the fuses. 90% of the problems enroute is resolved with this point.
3. Check the mechanical quick fix sheets for assistance.
Use your mobile / satellite phone to let us know how your are doing ! Enjoy your adventure!

Central Kalahari 4 x 4 Adventure

Central Kalahari Game Reserve 4 x 4

I was driving this weekend out to the Central Kalahari Game Reserve to assist a client who had a wooden stick puncturing a hole in his radiator. I have not been in this area for awhile and really enjoyed the open roads, 4×4 tracks and wild animals. A really good experience and highly recommended. My visit also reminded me about a couple of realities.

I was reminded also how you need to be able to survive in this hostile environment by yourself and be well prepared for anything the African bush can throw at you.Water, food for 2 to 3 days. Mechanically sound to fix tyres, small mechanical problems. Nights were cold. The extra blanket really helped !

The picture was taken after 340km of driving on day one. Our radiator was completely blocked up. Air conditioner stopped working, at 40 degrees plus that functionality was sorely missed !!

The reaction to clean the radiator was to scrape off the leaves and grasses that accumulated. This is NOT good enough and additional grasses has to be removed from between the thin blades of the radiator. One needs to be very careful as to damage these soft aluminum plates. It take about 30 minutes and needs to be done daily. What about a seed net ? I found even with a seed net there are many leave and grasses that comes through under the net and still blocks up your cooling system.

The Central Kalahari Game Reserve offer a selection of camp sites, From Xade to Deception Valley. Go and explore this remote part of Africa !

Written by Carel Pienaar based on his own experiences. Go 4×4, Go Africa, Go Now !

Central Kalahari Seeds
Radiator blocked up by seeds in Central Kalahari.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

General Safety and Precaution When Traveling in Africa

General Safety and Precaution when traveling in Africa!

One of the most important factors of traveling in Africa, is knowing and keeping in mind some general and safety precautions. An unfortunate incident can really spoil your long-awaited holiday. Therefore, you need to consider a few general points on safety and precaution.

Rule number 1:

Rule number one for traveling anywhere in Africa, is to be as informed as possible. Before your trip, read up as much as possible about the areas which you will be visiting. There are various overland forums on the internet where you can ask experienced travellers just about anything that you need to know.
You would also be wise to make sure that you have good basic understanding of your vehicle and the equipment which you will be using on your trip. South Africa 4×4 offers clients all this information during the handover of your rented 4×4 vehicle. If you are planning a trip to remote areas, it is a good idea to do a bush mechanic course, or at least watch some video clips on how to fix some basic mechanical problems. You can go onto our website and click on the youtube link for such videos. https://www.youtube.com/user/southafrica4x4
Make sure that your travel partner can also drive your vehicle, in case something happens to you. Familiarise him/her with the basics of the vehicle, like where to open the bonnet, how to change a tyre, etc. Make sure to carry important information like emergency contact numbers in case of an emergency.
South Africa 4x4 Rentals - Safety & Precaution in Africa
South Africa 4×4 Rentals – Safety & Precaution in Africa

Always keep with you

Carry your passport with you at all times, as well as copies of all your documents. Do not leave it in your tent or wherever you stay.

Travelling Remote Areas

When you travel remote areas, a satellite phone is a must. We provide this with the rental of your 4×4 vehicle at no extra rental fee. Clients are only responsible for the units of talk time.
Apart from extra fuel, it is vital that you take enough extra water and dry food rations, and a few packets of rehydration solution so that you will be able to survive five extra days in emergency situations. If you really need to, you can ration yourself to 2 litres of water per person per day, but remember to take that on top of your normal daily water ration. Under normal circumstances, you could work on 6 litres of water per person per day for drinking, cooking and dishes. Ideally, you should always travel with at least 40 litres of water with you.
Insurance
Make sure that you have appropriate medical and vehicle insurance before you leave, and that your vehicle includes vehicle recovery. We offer 3 types of insurance options. Standard insurance, CDW1 and CDW2. You can also add tyre and windscreen insurance to any of these insurance options. Click on the following link for more info. https://southafrica4x4.co.za/insurance-support-security/
We also have 24-hour vehicle recovery services. Check our website for more information on this.
Taking Photographs
Remember common decency. You should respect people’s privacy; therefore it is always best to first ask before taking photographs of them. Specific groups are especially sensitive to tourists taking photographs of them. It is uncommon to be expected to pay a fee for each photo you take of someone or his possessions.
In Africa, you should rather not take photographs of official buildings like airports or official residences. Road blocks, guard posts and people in uniform are a definite no. You do not want to clash with anybody who is in a position of power.
South Africa 4x4 Rentals - Safety & Precaution in Africa Photos
South Africa 4×4 Rentals – Safety & Precaution in Africa Photos

Best Time to Visit Botswana

Best time to visit Botswana

Botswana is a largely wild and untouched country, dominated by the Kalahari Desert and home to the Okavango Delta, a magnificent wetland fed by water from the Angolan highlands. Botswana is hot and dry as it is classified as a semi-arid country. Rain falls mainly in summer, between October and March. During the peak rain months, December to February, the humidity can get as high as 80%.
South Africa 4x4 - Botswana
South Africa 4×4 – Botswana

When is the best time to visit Botswana?

A question we are asked quite a few times by our clients is, “When is the best time to visit Botswana?”. It is rather difficult to say as likes differ. Some people prefer rainy conditions and others prefer sunny conditions. Everyone will have a different answer to such a question, but as they say, majority rules.

What do the experts say?

Because of the heat in summer, most people find April to October a more comfortable time to visit Botswana. You also need to bear in mind that roads can become very treacherous during the rainy season, therefore you should be extremely cautious if you want to travel Botswana between December and March.
April and May are lovely months with only the odd afternoon showers. June and July are the coldest months. From August to September, temperatures gradually rise and the humidity stays below 40%. During October and November, temperatures rise even more, humidity builds up and rain showers often occur in the late afternoon. Because of the clouds and rain, some days are cooler than others. During December, afternoon showers are a regular occurrence, the humidity is around 60% and the temperature can rise to 40˚C.
South Africa 4x4 - Botswana Adventure
South Africa 4×4 – Botswana Adventure

What do we say?

Most of clients decide to visit Botswana during the months of July and August. This has been proven the most popular time visit Botswana by our clients. Our clients visit Botswana as well as other African countries right through the year without any complaints. Should there be any problems in around Botswana, we inform our clients so that they may be cautious when travelling in Botswana.
Who to contact
Get a 4×4 vehicle to suit your needs from South Africa 4×4 Rentals by contacting Carel Pienaar at info@southafrica4x4.co.za.
It can be very difficult to get bookings in the national parks, therefore you should plan your itinerary at least a year in advance. Contact South Africa 4×4 Accommodation at myaccommodation@southafrica4x4.co.za for assistance.