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!

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.

South Africa 4 x 4 Email Issues

South Africa 4×4 Rentals has been known for fast and reliable service. The communication process between us and our clients is of utmost importance as this is where long lasting relationships start.

Where did all the trouble start?

In the past few months we have had a few problems which lead to our clients loosing somewhat faith in South Africa 4×4 Rentals. Some of these incidences include amongst others:
 Clients not receiving emails from us
 Us not receiving emails from clients
 Emails somehow getting lost (Disappearing)
 Slow website speed
All the above mentioned, lead to some of our clients panicking and making other arrangements for their 4×4 adventures.

How did we handle the situation?

Carel Pienaar, director of South Africa 4×4 Rentals, examined the situation and felt that the best move would be move servers. This was decided after all the options has been weighed and carefully considered. This decision has been made with our clients in mind. As of the first week in March 2017, the process of moving servers has started. We humbly apologise for the delay in replying to your emails, our website being down and other problems that may have occurred during this process.

Reasons for moving servers

There are various reasons for moving servers as seen above. The goals set by Carel Pienaar for this decision includes the following:
 Faster service speed
 More stable emails
 Faster website accessibility
 More secure sending of private information
 Faster communication
All the goals mentioned above ultimately leads to one greater outcome which is better customer service. We are pretty certain that most of our clients would agree that we pride ourselves in attending to customer questions, enquiries, queries and bookings as quickly as possible.
We understand that clients would like to handle all of their holiday reservations as quickly as possible to avoid those unwanted, nasty surprises.

The good news!

Our emails and website is now back up and running and we expect no further problems. Should you have sent us an email and we have not yet replied to your email, kindly send us the email again and we will attend to it as soon as possible.

River Crossing South Africa 4 x 4 Rentals

RIVER CROSSINGS
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…

PREPARATION

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
BASED ON STANDARD LAND ROVER HEIGHT
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.
GETTING UNDERWAY
 • 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
DEEP and ROCKY
 • 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.
SIGNS TO LOOK FOR: –
• 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.

 

WHEN YOU GET ACROSS

 

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

NAMIBIA 20 DAY 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..

http://sa4x4accommodation.co.za/

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