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4×4 Trails

Explore the Waterberg Mountain’s untrammeled land. The Marakele 4×4 Eco Trail is a 3-day (2 nights) outdoor adventure spanning the wilderness, primitive zone of Marakele National Park which is the core of the Waterberg Biosphere Reserve.

Called the “wilderness experience on wheels”, the Trail follows the management tracks on the eastern boundary of the Marakele National Park on top of the Waterberg Mountains. Experienced, professional guides act as trail leaders and will interpret the various eco-zones the trail crosses, at regular intervals.

The trail is strictly 4×4 challenges and 4×4 driving skills are required. Road conditions vary from reasonably good to places with steep inclines and muddy patches where guests are asked to engage in 4×4 and low range. Without 4×4 and low range capabilities, wheels might spin and the road might be damaged. Therefore only 4×4 vehicles with low range, rear diff ground clearance of 240mm and front diff ground clearance of 330mm or above will be allowed and no trailers allowed at all. Strict vehicle inspections are done before departure.

The trail departs from Marakele National Park main entrance gate and ends at Moralane exit gate.

There are two trails per week during the dry season (first Sunday in April to the last Sunday in October), after which the rainy season normally commences:

  1. Tuesday to Thursday
  2. Friday to Sunday

Only 5 vehicles plus the guide’s vehicle are allowed on the trail at any one time, with a maximum of 4 people per vehicle. No children under 12 years unless arranged prior to departure.

Please note that the route may be closed completely after heavy rains. Marakele front office will contact guests accordingly if this happens.


Bookings can be made via Central Reservations or by contacting the park’s Reception.

The current tariff is calculated per vehicle  and excludes conservation fees (which are payable on arrival).

If any accommodation is required before or after the trail, please make a separate reservation.

Route Information

  • You start off by driving from the main entrance gate to the Northern exclusive entrance gate to the 4×4 Eco trail on the northern boundary of the Park.
  • The trail has two unfenced camps, each with its own unique and natural feel. Two Enviro-loos (mobile toilets with no chemical component) are provided at each camp. Each site has its own unique bush character as they have been left as undisturbed as possible.
  • The departure time from the camping sites varies depending on the season but will be no later than 07:30 in the morning. Each day is filled with a variety of experiences – from seeing different animal spoor, animals, plant species and birds to dense bush.
  • The trail is quite exceptional, giving participants’ time to explore the unfounded core of the Waterberg Biosphere Reserve and the endangered Waterberg Cycads Eugene marainsii named after the well known SA lawyer, poet, writer and naturalist Eugene Neilen Marais, who explored the region. The trail’s duration is two nights and three days.
  • View/Download the Equipment and Accessories Guidelines
  • View/Download the Trail Map

Additional Information

  • This Trail ranges between level 3 and 5 due to the challenges on the route and the best scenery route in the Park due to diversity of the fauna and flora encountered en route.
  • Guests are required to drive their own vehicles, cater for themselves and to carry their own equipment. Guests also need to bring their own firewood and water (can be bought from the main entrance gate). At each of the campsites there is a drum for ash but each vehicle needs to carry their own rubbish until it can be disposed of at one of the camps.
  • Only 5 vehicles are allowed on a trail at one time to ensure that the environment is not unduly affected and to afford groups some exclusivity. A ranger from the park, who leads the convoy in his own vehicle, accompanies each group. Regular stops are made by the ranger to interpret aspects within the environment or to share special experiences. Participants should bring enough food and refreshment for the duration of the trail since there is no stop to replenish food supplies.

Please Note

  • All participants have to complete an indemnity form before embarking on the trail. These forms should be handed to the trail ranger before departing on the trail.
  • The general rules and regulations of the Marakele National Park also apply to trailists.
  • Trailists depend on the trail ranger for their safety and for guidance. The trail ranger must therefore be obeyed at all times. Failure to co-operate in this respect could lead to the immediate cancellation of the trail.
  • It is advisable to cover radiators with a seed net as long grass grows during Summer and Autumn which might hamper proper functioning of radiators.
  • For safety and ethical reasons excessive consumption of liquor is strongly discouraged.
  • Trailists provide their own food, liquor and soft drinks.