Some Hints and Tips for Off-road Driving: 4×4 Rental is Exciting and Rewarding. You will be given a full introduction to your vehicle and its operation on handover, please ask as many questions as you wish – we are here to help. Safety is critical, never venture into an area you are not certain you can get out of
You will encounter several different types of Terrain, namely:
Some Gravel roads are in great condition but it is important you do not get overconfident and increase your speed. Gravel roads often are designed with a camber to allow water to run off and due to the loose dirt, it can be easy to lose control if you are going too fast. It is also worth noting that ABS systems do not work well on gravel and therefore your stopping distance is increased. Pay close attention to your tyre pressures and it is recommended to decrease your pressures to approximately 1.3 bar. We recommend a maximum speed of 60KMH on Gravel
You will mainly encounter Sand roads in wilderness areas. It is important when driving on Sand to ensure that your vehicle is in the right gear and that you maintain momentum when the sand becomes thicker. It is advisable to drop your tyre pressures to 1.0 bar as this increases the footprint of the wheel in contact with the sand. Throttle control is very important, too much throttle will make your wheels spin and you will dig yourself in and too little throttle will mean you lose valuable momentum. It is also important to note that sand behaves differently at different times of the day. Early morning the sand is cold and bound together with moisture so is easier to traverse, late afternoon the sand is dryer and therefore looser and becomes a lot more difficult to traverse. Where possible you need to exit the vehicle before you enter sandy areas assess the conditions and decide whether you should put the vehicle into 4-wheel drive. As a general rule you can put the vehicle into 4H or 4L if you feel the conditions require, but always remember to change back into 2-wheel drive as soon as the conditions allow
You may encounter muddy roads in some of the Wilderness Areas, so it is advisable to engage 4-wheel drive as soon as possible. Muddy roads can be very treacherous, especially for the unprepared and it is important to be aware of your surroundings. The key for muddy roads is momentum and choosing the right gear. It is important not to change gear as this will reduce your momentum, a slow steady speed is required. Do not use too much power as this will make your wheels spin and dig you down deeper
These perhaps are the riskiest to navigate. There are several factors that you need to be aware of and these are both reliant on your knowledge of the surroundings as well as your understanding of the vehicle you are driving. You first need to gauge how deep the water is. Can you see the bottom and does the bottom look solid? How fast is the water flowing? Have other vehicles used the same route? Is there a clear entry and exit point? What is the wading depth of your vehicle? Generally, our camping vehicles are able to traverse water in the region of 700mm, however, you must ensure that the water is no deeper. If you are uncertain, look for alternate means of crossing. Once you have entered the water it is all about maintaining your momentum, do not change gear or use the brakes if possible. Do not allow the water to come over the bonnet of the car and always point the vehicle slightly into the flow of the water. Remember that there are crocodiles in many waterways so please be careful when choosing a crossing point
You may come across areas where there are no defined roads, please be respectful of the environment when driving in these areas. As a general rule in most Wilderness areas, you are not allowed to leave the clearly defined road. However, there alaso roads which require a minimum speed of driving depending on the corogation. These are common in Ngorongoro and Serengenti in Tanzania. A self-drive tour here is a bit tricky and that’s why some comapanies will avail you with a driver these specific National parks to save time and money.
You will find a wealth of information about off-road driving on the internet and Self-Drive Africa will advise you on your vehicle’s capabilities, however, each scenario is different and it is important for you to assess each situation individually before you attempt it. Your safety and the safety of your passengers is of the utmost importance