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!

South Africa 4×4 Automatic Toyota Hilux

South Africa 4×4 Automatic Toyota Hilux

Since the start of South Africa 4×4 Rentals, we have been operating on manual transmission vehicles. From our Toyota Hilux & Land Cruisers to our Land Rover vehicles. We have never had any automatic vehicles apart from our recovery vehicle. We are very proud to welcome our very first automatic Toyota Hilux vehicle, Springbok.

South Africa 4x4 Rentals Automatic Toyota Hilux Springbok
South Africa 4×4 Rentals Automatic Toyota Hilux Springbok


Where did the decision arise from?

In the past few years, a few of our clients have asked for automatic transmission vehicles. We have not had any in our fleet until recently when director, Luan Dreyer, decided to get our very first one on board. This was a very well thought out decision from Luan and I must say that it was a great one. The vehicle is amazing both in looks and on the road. I guess that is what you should expect from a Toyota Hilux Double Cab 4×4.


Benefits from the decision

  • Some of our clients are used to driving automatic transmission vehicles. They may even own their very own automatic vehicle.
  • This means that they are most comfortable with driving this vehicle and in turn will enjoy their adventure much more.
  • An enjoyable adventure means happy clients which leads to loyal clients.
  • We now have a wider variety of vehicles to choose from in our fleet.


The transformation!

When we purchased our very first automatic Toyota Hilux, like all our other new vehicles, they come standard. Our well groomed workshop staff then transformes the vehicles and creates the best possible vehicle for your adventure. You can follow the whole transformation process on our facebook page. From the purchase of new Springbok to the final product. You can follow us on facebook using the following link. https://www.facebook.com/SA4x4/

South Africa 4x4 Rentals Automatic Hilux
South Africa 4×4 Rentals Automatic Hilux




South Africa 4 x 4 Legal

South Africa 4×4 Legal  

6 Years ago, just as we started out with South Africa 4×4 full time we quickly ran into clever clients. Clients that abused our vehicles, rolled them over, caused accidents, wrote off vehicles and caused major damage to our vehicles. I must admit that these clients frustrated me tremendously. This is not what I signed up for when I started the 4×4 rental business. This was suppose to be a fun, sharing of a 4×4 passion and a way of exploring the continent with fellow travellers. What a rude awaking it was !

I can deal with the accidents, but an interesting fact is that not one of the accidents / roll overs were caused by a 3rd party. All of them were caused by the client, all on their own, with no assistance.

You can imagine the major impact on our business. Some clients that had to be cancelled ( and everyone has something to say about this on TripAdvisor and other platforms ), lost growth, stress and plenty more !

A few comments around this matter :

  1. The court case proves that my rental contract is enforceable in South Africa and outside of South Africa.
  2. The court has awarded me an order to attach the property of this client to repay the full cost of the Land Rover that was written off.
  3. Other clients ( there are 22 of them ) that thought they could jump on a plane and run away from their responsibilities, are in for a shock. I am coming for you.

The legal process turns slowly. After almost 4 years I won my first court case against a client in the District Court of New York. Now it is time for the other 22.

As always I share everything that is going on with South Africa 4×4.

Some people do not like my honesty, but at least you know what you get and what not !

Time to level the playing field. If you you want to come to southern Africa to fuck up my vehicles, you can go and rent from someone else. Go to Bushlore. They might appreciate your detailed taking care of a 4×4.

Carel Pienaar

Be Realistic on your 4 x 4 Overland Adventure

4 x 4 Overland Adventure

Be realistic ! I base the following comments on actual experiences the past two months, This may assist you in preparing you for your 4×4 Overland Adventure !

  •   Day 1. Do not  drive more than 400km.

If your plane is delayed, or we need to assist you with anything before your depart you will not have enough time to drive more than 400km. Do not put yourself ( and ultimately me ) under unrealistic pressure. I have seen to many clients who arrived delayed and then want me to skip the hand over of the 4×4 and just basically give them the keys. NO.

  •   Leave enough time for shopping to stock up for you 4×4 Overland Adventure.

It does not take 30 minutes to complete your shopping before setting off on your 4×4 adventure. On average I see clients take 90 to 120 minutes ( How do I know? I satellite track the vehicles on how long they stop at the mall ).

  • Assistance while on the road is provided by 24 hour phone.

This number is supplied to you when we hand over the 4×4 to you. A 24 hour number does not mean we I can do 24 hours a day any of the following :

  • Supply Tyres – We are bound by service providers and their shop hours. Unfortunately I cannot get a tyre shop to open on a Sunday afternoon.
  • Auto Electrician to come to you in remote locations. You need to go to them.
  • Bring you replacement equipment. Yes, your fridge may stop working. no it does not mean I will drive 1200km to bring you a replacement the next morning. I will attend to it at the next town at a service provider. See point point 3.
  When we hand over the 4×4 to you

We take you through everything ( I do not take 90 minutes to hand over a vehicle just to waste your time ). Please take the time to pay attention ( some clients are half a sleep and I am sure they cannot remember much ) and check the items / equipment with us. We do not deliberately forget to pack equipment. We are also human and can forget to pack something you requeste and will gladly add as needed !

  Make sure you know how to operate your 4×4.

I recently had a client that complained bitterly that the aircon did not work on their trip. She did not switch it on. You need to be able to do the following :

  • Know how to operate your fridge
  • Change a tyre
  • Check fuses
  • Operate High and Low Range
  • Operate Diff Lock – Recently had a client that within 30 minutes of receiving their Land Cruiser broke the diff lock and left me with a 30k repair bill – not fun.

6.  READ YOUR CONTRACT – I take great effort in posting my rental contract on my website and add explanation notes. It clearly states whet I will do and when. Do not try and get me afterwards to give in to your demands. EG – Pay for your accommodation if there has been a delay on your trip. That is what travel insurance is for.

If you need details please contact me and I will gladly take the time to explain, in detail, what I do and do not do.

7.  Most important.
I treat you with respect and I speak to you properly. If that cannot be returned, I walk away and will refuse to communicate with you any further.

Thanks for taking the time to read this article. As always I state it as it is. NO sugar coating. Hope it helps !
Carel Pienaar
South Africa – Actually, mostly Africa !

South Africa 4x4 Rentals - Toyota Land Cruiser 4x4
South Africa 4×4 Rentals – Toyota Land Cruiser 4×4

Equipment Guide and Important Info for Land Rover 110 Defender

  Equipment Guide & Important Information for Land Rover 110 Defender

               24 Hour Emergency Phone – + 27 + 63 061 5701

There are many things that you need to remember about your rented 4×4 Land Rover 110 Defender. Just as with the Toyota Hilux Double Cab, here are a few things you need to know and remember about your Land Rover 110 Defender.


    – Diesel 50ppm / Standard ( some garages / filling station states
500ppm ) No Eco Friendly / Evolution Diesel
– Full tank = 110lt – do not overfill
– Average driving range = 650km to 750km ( 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.


    – Castrol 10W / 40 – You have 4 x 500ml in your mechanical box.

Coolant   – Use any coolant and mix one part coolant to 4
parts 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 connect the batteries again. 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
South Africa 4x4 Rentals - Land Rover 110 Defender
South Africa 4×4 Rentals – Land Rover 110 Defender

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.

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.

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!
Hi Lift Jack and 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. Lift the vehicle only with the hi lift jack and at points in the front and back ( not on the side of the body ).
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 Land Rover 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 me know how your are doing !