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4×4 Trails

4×4 trails allow the visitor to get off the beaten track and explore territories of the park that are rarely seen.

The 4×4 vehicles are essential to minimize environmental damage, and they serve as the gateway to a real wilderness experience in the park.

Some of the trails have dongas or river beds that would make normal vehicles unfit for these trails, especially during the wet season. Because the adventure trails are not gravelled, they are usually closed after a rainfall in order to dry completely.

  • The trails are self-drive and undertaken at one’s own risk.
  • Participants should note that there are no facilities along the routes.
  • Please take great care at all times, especially when alighting from vehicles, and be aware of potential dangers.
  • Participants are requested to take their GPS along.
  • A maximum of six vehicles are allowed per trail, per day.
  • The Kruger National Park is a malaria area and participants must take the necessary precautions.

Mafunyane 4×4 Eco Trail (270km)

A four day (three nights) self-catering guided adventure activity in the northwestern section of Kruger National Park between the Olifants and Luvuvhu Rivers. The trail route covers a distance of approximately 270km and all participants are required to drive their own 4×4 vehicles, with provisions for the four-day trip, including tents and camping gear, sufficient supply of water, firewood and food. A knowledgeable and professional trail guide will lead the trail and also provide the necessary interpretation en route.

Road conditions vary from reasonably good to sections with steep inclines, crossing of streams and rivers and muddy sections during or after rain and therefore only 4×4 vehicles with proper 4×4 trailers or caravans are allowed.

Overnight sites have a fireplace, enviro-friendly toilets and a shower for which you heat your water on the fire.

The trail departs from Phalaborwa Gate every Thursday afternoon (at 12:00) and ends at Punda Maria Camp on Sunday morning and will operate during the dry season from 1 March to 30 November. Only 5 vehicles plus the guide vehicle are allowed on the trail at any one time. A maximum of 4 persons are allowed per vehicle. No children under 12 years unless arranged prior to departure.

Please note that the trail may be cancelled at short notice due to heavy rainfall or any other management related issue such as uncontrolled fires, anti-poaching operations and unforeseen conservation activities in the area. In such event, guests will be informed as soon as possible guests will be fully refunded.

Description of Route and Approximate Distances

Description of route Approximate distance
Day 1 (Thursday) – Phalaborwa Gate to Malopeni overnight site 42km
Day 2 (Friday) – Malopeni to Mafunyane overnight site 123km
Day 3 (Saturday) – Mafunyane to Shidzivane overnight site 90km
Day 4 (Sunday) – Shidzivane to Punda Maria Camp 15km

What To Bring

Together with the 4×4 vehicle with an off-road trailer or caravan participants must provide their own camping equipment.

Camping gear

  • Tent, tent bag or rooftop tent and groundsheet
  • Portable shower (optional)
  • Sleeping bag, pillows and towels
  • Braai grid, stand and tongs
  • Wood (must supply own)
  • Water and bottle (2x 25-litre water containers recommended)
  • Cooking utensils (kettle, cooking pots, mugs, glasses, wooden spoon, can opener, egg lifter, cutlery, crockery, wooden carving board, paper towels, hot water flask, table cloth, drying and washing cloths)
  • Small gas stove/ cooker with spare gas for cooking purposes
  • Inflatable mattress and pump
  • Sufficient food and beverage supplies
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Toiletries (enviro-friendly)
  • Matches, toilet paper and sunblock
  • Refrigerator or cooler box
  • Folding table and chairs
  • Water purification tablets
  • Plastic bowl for wishing dishes
  • Plastic refuse bags
  • Torches (x2) and spare batteries
  • Gas lamp
  • Gas bottles (x2)

Other items

  • Personal toiletries (Remember biodegradable soap for showering outdoors)
  • Road maps (also of Kruger National Park)
  • Binoculars
  • Camera with accessories
  • Appropriate clothing (depending on the season but days generally are warm to hot and winter evening can be cold)
  • Hat/cap
  • Raincoat
  • Reference books (for mammals, birds, trees, etc.)

Medical and first-aid items

  • Antihistamine ointment and tablets
  • Eye drops
  • Paracetamol
  • Stingose
  • Cotton wool/gauze
  • Plasters and bandaging
  • Scissors and tweezers
  • Insect repellents & malaria prophylaxis

Tools

  • Toolbox should have the necessary spanners and sockets etc.
  • Gas utilities with spare mantles and nozzles
  • Nuts and bolts
  • Puncture repair kit
  • Electrical terminals
  • Spare globes
  • Tie-down straps
  • Fuses, epoxy glue and Prestik
  • Jumper cables

Procedures to Follow

  • The speed of the vehicles may not exceed 40 km/h, except in case of an emergency.
  • The drivers must keep the vehicle behind them in mind and at junctions or when turning off, ensure that they wait for the following vehicle.
  • During stops, please stay close to the trail guide and do not wander off.
  • Smokers are reminded that cigarette butts must be taken along and not discarded in the bush.
  • Refuse should be taken along and discarded at Punda Maria at the end of the trail.
  • No food may be discarded in the bush.
  • The toilet at overnight spots must be kept clean at all times.
  • Driving must be responsible and spinning of wheels must be avoided.
  • Once off the main road, vehicles should preferably be driven in four-wheel drive.
  • The ash must be discarded in the designated bin at overnight spots.
  • Any problems with the toilet must be reported to the trail guide immediately.
  • The guide will indicate when participants may alight from vehicles for meals or interpretation and this must be done in an orderly manner to ensure control and safety.
  • Sleeping around the fire is not permitted.
  • All participants must complete an indemnity form before commencing the trail.
  • During the trail all other standard Kruger National Park rules and regulations will apply.
  • Participants must abide by the instructions and requests of the trail guide, and non-compliance could lead to the cancellation of the trail.
  • For safety and ethical reasons, excessive consumption of liquor is strongly discouraged.

Bookings and Tariffs

R7 400 per vehicle (max 4 occupants)

Bookings can be made via SANParks Central Reservations:

For more information or clarity, please contact Tshepo Mathebula (Nxanatseni Activities Coordinator):

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Mananga 4×4 Adventure Trail (48km)

The trail starts 11 km from Satara, travelling a short distance north before turning east into knob thorn/marula savannah. Here you can expect herds of zebra, wildebeest, buffalo, and some predators – including cheetah.

Number of vehicles per day: Maximum of six (6)

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