South Africa is home to some of the most beautiful landscapes; we have our deep valleys and luscious forests, never-ending landscapes, high sand dunes, mountain peaks and of course, an abundance of wildlife.
With great natural beauty comes even greater adventures and the Eastern Cape – with Nelson Mandela Bay as the perfect base for explorations – is filled to the brim with activities that will keep your adrenalin levels on an all-time high. Winter, and its temperatures dropping to single digits, is not exactly an open invitation to get into swimsuits but luckily your winter woolies are most welcome when tackling one of the adventure activities in and around the Bay (have a look at all the discounts on activities when you have a Nelson Mandela Bay Pass Card).
One activity perfect for those seeking a bit of adventure is off-roading – or 4x4ing – and if you are looking a muddy challenge, you’re in luck, because things can get quite slippery on the 4×4 routes in Nelson Mandela Bay…
Not only are there plenty of 4×4 trails in close proximity to the Bay – like Baviaanskloof, Brakkeduine and Noorspoort – but there are also trails within the diverse borders of Nelson Mandela Bay so if getting off the beaten track sounds ideal to you, grab a friend, pack a few snacks, check your tyre pressure and get out the GPS because things might get bumpy in the Bay.
Here are a few of the 4×4 trails closest the city. If you are not familiar with how the grading of a 4×4 trail work, click here before you get stuck in a rut (or stuck in the mud).
Maitland mines is situated between Blue Horizon Bay and Beachview and the trail offers drivers the chance to traverse over dunes, forest thicket and grass. There are 3 trails (16 km in total) and the 3 km, 9km and 4 km trail should take about 2 hours.
Grade (1-5): 1-3
The Bedrogfontein 4×4 route is situated in Addo National Park between Kabouga and Darlington and it offers 45km (driving time 6-8 hours) of scenic mountain views and river crossings.
Grade (1-5): 2-3
Offcamber Adventures is situated in the Elandsriver Valley, approximately 40 km from Port Elizabeth. Off-roaders can look forward to a variety of obstacles that stretch over 17 km and it can take up to 6 hours. They also offer accommodation, teambuilding and have a fresh water dam which is great for bass fishing. You can also opt for a paintball game if you are in the area of Elands river.
Grade (1-5): 4
The Meadows – about 44 km from Uitenhage – was described as “one of the best formal 4×4 trails” by SA 4×4 in 2016. The trail is 11 km (about 3 to 5 hours) and takes you over steep rocky climbs and sand rivers. They also offer camping on the banks of the Elands river.
For more information on the 4×4 trails in the Eastern Cape, click here.
Essential things to remember
- Always check the grading of the terrain and your skills set before you attempt it.
- Know your vehicle and its clearance.
- If you are unsure of an obstacle, get out and check the terrain.
- Don’t go alone.
- Pack a few basics like water, a first-aid kit, navigational aids and recovery gear.
- Go as slow as possible and as fast as necessary.
- Maintain momentum.
If off-road driving is not the winter adventure you are looking for, be sure to visit www.nmbt.co.za and see what you can get up to in the Bay!