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Day Tripping Destinations around the Western Cape

With today’s frenetic pace, where data moves faster than people and the demands of modern living make it hard for us to escape, an opportunity to break free from the concrete confines of the city is something we all long for. Let’s face it, we’d all love to have weeks at our disposal to roam around the country side, travelling of the beaten track looking for adventure. Luckily, the Western Cape offers some great road tripping routes that welcome weekend warriors. With Drive Africa you are sure to find the perfect getaway for both your short and long term car rental needs. Whether you only have the weekend to play with or have a few extra days to add on, we have the best recommendations to get you jumping into your car and hitting the open road.

1. Cape Peninsula

Time required: Day trip
Key Attractions: Rhodes Memorial| Kirstenbosch Gardens| Kalk Bay| Cape Point Nature Reserve.

The Cape Peninsula offers the perfect playground for a round-about daytrip. Start in the city centre, stopping off for breakfast at the historic Rhodes Memorial with panoramic view of the city followed by a leisurely stroll amongst 7000 species of plant life in the beautiful Kirstenbosch Gardens. As you head further south along the coast make sure not to miss the coastal towns of Kalk Bay and St James which offer great weekend shopping destinations. Here you’ll be able to find one of a kind gifts and unique antique finds in the many quirky and quaint stores along the Main Road. Don’t forget to include a visit to Simon’s Town, this naval town is home to the world famous Boulder’s Beach and African Penguin Colony. No excursion on the peninsula is complete without a visit to Cape Point offering world class views.

2. West Coast Route

Time required: West Coast Route
Key Attractions: West Coast National Park| Langebaan Lagoon| Paternoster| Strandloper Seafood Restaurant.

Pummelled by the Atlantic the west coast route stretches an awe-inspiring 650 kilometres in its entirety, leading all the way up to the Namibian border. In spring, the surrounding landscape is carpeted in hues of burnt orange and magenta. The West Coast National Park is a pristine piece of nature nestling on the shores of the Langebaan lagoon, with a high concentration of birdlife it is often referred to as a “birding paradise”. The lagoon is home to water sport enthusiasts and is well known its wind and kitesurfing spots. The West Coast route is also renowned for its open air seafood restaurants right on the beach. You will need to set aside at least 3-4 hours to enjoy a long, leisurely lunch consisting of a wide arrangement of freshly caught seafood and traditional West Coast cuisine such as bobotie and waterblommetjie bredie. If you’d like to venture further up the west coast, we would suggest spending the night in the quaint fishing village of Paternoster.

3. Stellenbosch Wine Route

Time required: Day trip
Key Attractions: Wine estates | Oude Libertas Amphitheatre | Dorp Street

Established in 1971, the Stellenbosch Wine Route is the oldest wine route in the country and boasts over 200 wine and grape producers. This is an excellent day tripping destination as the heart of the Stellenbosch winelands is less than an hour’s drive from Cape Town. Daily wine tasting and cellar tours are offered at most wine estates, many of which have excellent restaurants and picnic facilities. The Stellenbosch Wine Route has been divided into five sub routes to make travelling along them more user-friendly. If viticulture doesn’t tickle your taste buds the area offers great historical insight to the first settlers in the Cape as well as a multitude of interesting heritage sites, art galleries, restaurants, museums and theatres.

Stuck in the Mud: A crash course in 4×4 off-roading terms

An avid 4×4 driver, by the very definition of the term, is someone who enjoys a challenge, far off the beaten track! At some point or another you will inevitably find yourself stuck in the mud or between a rock and a hard place. It is important for those of you new to 4×4 off-road driving that you have a good understanding of your vehicle and your route’s terrain. When properly prepared, you should be able to conquer almost any obstacle that may arise. Remember that that the length and difficulty of the route will determine the extent of your preparations.

But before you venture off the beaten path with your 4×4 rental from Drive Africa, here are some important tips to prepare yourself and your vehicle for your next off-road adventure.

Bridging the basics of off-road driving

  • Have a good understanding of your 4×4 and make sure that you check the tyres, air filter and all the fluids.
  • Plan your route and identify the type of obstacles and terrains that you might encounter.
  • Make sure that tyres are correctly inflated depending on what terrain you will be driving on.
  • Maintain a constant speed by ensuring that the throttle is applied smoothly and released slowly. This will prevent the tyres from spinning when slowing down or picking up speed.
  • Keep sudden braking to a minimum.
  • Always position the vehicle in a head-on direction when approaching ridges and slopes.
  • Approach obstacles such as ditches, rocky steps and logs diagonally so that there are always three wheels in contact with the ground.

Off-road checklist

  • First Aid Kit
  • Basic Tool Kit
  • Extra fuel
  • Spare tyre, jack and tyre iron
  • Tow rope/strap
  • Shovel
  • GPS, maps and information on the off-road trail
  • Water and food
  • Weather appropriate clothes and personal items.

We’ve unearthed some great tips and guidelines that will help you overcome a range of terrains with confidence.

Mastering the Slopes

  • When attempting to ascend steep inclines make sure that you investigate the terrain and find out what is on the other side of the slope. Explore the area on foot and know where all the obstacles are.
  • Ascend the slope using the highest gear that your vehicle is comfortable with. If the selected gear is too low then the wheels will spin.
  • Do not depress the clutch in the event of your vehicle loosing traction or stalling.
  • To avoid rolling your vehicle, never approach the slope.

Overcoming the Sand barrier

  • Steady momentum is the most important aspect when driving on sand. Always make sure that your four–wheel drive is engaged, even if you think you might not need it.
  • Identify what type of sand you are driving on. If you are driving on soft, dry sand ensure that your tyre pressure is between 0.5 – 0.8 bar.
  • Attempt driving on sandy terrain at dawn when the sand is damp and at its firmest.
  • Avoid climbing sand dunes, circumnavigate them instead.
  • At all costs try and avoid wet sand as it may contain unstable areas of “floating sand”.

Dealing with Mud

  • When driving in mud make sure not to use a gear that is too low to avoid the tyres losing traction.
  • If your tyres start spinning during loss of traction, ease off the throttle and allow the tyres to slow down and regain traction.
  • During wet and muddy conditions, always make sure that you know which direction your front wheels are pointing in.

Wading through Water

  • Do not cross deep, fast-flowing rivers and streams. Where possible, walk along the waterway, using a stick to gauge the depth and possible underwater obstacles.
  • When crossing shallow streams, approach the water slow and steadily to create a small bow wave in front of your vehicle. This will reduce the height of the water behind your bumper, keeping it away from your vehicle’s electrical components and air intake.
  • Slow speeds and a lower gear is recommended for wading conditions.
  • Do not let the clutch slip as this reduces your control over the vehicle. When approaching the opposite bank, ease off the accelerator.

Off the beaten track for beginners

Have you ever glanced out of the window while driving on the long road and watched forlornly as untouched mountains and natural terrains pass you by? South Africa offers spectacular scenery and experiences which are at times only accessible by 4×4vehicles. Sometimes the best adventures are found off the beaten track. If you’re the type of driver who enjoys a challenge, traversing natural obstacles, winding mountain passes and low lying rivers, Drive Africa offers fully equipped 4×4 rentals at an affordable rate.

Jumping into a 4×4 vehicle, with a taste for adventure and your heart set on venturing off the beaten track might be daunting to novice off road enthusiasts, however South Africa boasts a number of 4×4 routes that can be attempted by even the most timid explorers. Set your mind at ease with Drive Africa; with our exceptional  4×4 hire services and a range of new and well maintained all-terrain vehicles, you have the perfect launch pad to start your next adventure.

4x4 road trail
4×4 off road trails for beginners.

Want to explore the raw, rugged beauty of the Drakensberg mountain ranges? Perhaps you want to navigate through the heart of the bushveld region of the Waterberg, stopping en route to cool down in the rock pools framed by glistening waterfalls. Maybe the lure of the Blyde River Canyon with its towering Mac Mac Summit Route near Sabie is just too appealing to ignore. Whatever the case, Drive Africa has the right vehicle, tough enough to handle whichever off road challenges interest you!

There are great beginner trails in South Africa which make good practice grounds before venturing through more remote and challenging trails which require an experienced 4×4 driver. With literally hundreds of 4×4 trails in every province of South Africa, you are spoilt for choice.

Here are some of our favourite 4×4 trails that are ideal for beginners and unmatched in their amazing, natural beauty:

  • Mac Mac 4×4 Summit Route – Mpumpalanga. Rated as one of the easiest routes around, it is a great introduction to the Sabie region known for its scenic beauty.
  • Blombosch 4X4 Nature Trail- Yzerfontein, Western Cape. This great beginner trail allows you to experience all that the Sandveld region has to offer.
  • Witsand Kalahari Mountain View 4×4 Dune Route – Northern Cape. An award winning track nestled between the Langeberg and Skurwe mountains; the Dune Route offers a fun but fairly easy track ideal for beginners.

Get out of the city, get exploring and discover the many wild and remote locations that 4×4 enthusiasts dream about! So what are you waiting for? Contact us now and book your 4×4 with Drive Africa.

Rolling with the homies over the rocky hills

rocky-hillsThere is nothing quite like a drive through rough terrain to send your senses and adrenalin soaring. If you’re looking for a great place
to test your 4×4’s wheels out, look no further than the Western Cape. The beautiful mountain ranges and ideal weather temperament make for an idyllic place for any fun-loving adventurer to go to. If this kind of exploration has always been a dream of yours, but you don’t have the necessary vehicle at your disposal, why not try long term car hire in Cape Town? You’ll be able to lease the car for as long as you need to, enabling you to enjoy your time in the mountains without having to worry about getting the car back within a day or two.

If you are willing to travel just a short distance outside of Cape Town, you will absolutely love the Glen Oaks 4×4 trail. Close to the sleepy town of Greyton, Glen Oaks is home to dense, lush forests and some of the Western Cape’s best views. What’s more is that while journey across this trail, you will be contributing to a fantastic cause. Glen Oaks trail is on a working fruit and livestock farm, and all the proceeds from the use of the trail go towards the removal of any alien vegetation in the area. It’s really just a win-win situation – you get to relax, unwind and have a good time while contributing to a good cause.

Although the Glen Oaks trail is only eight kilometres long, it could take anywhere between three and seven hours to complete. Each obstacle is a great challenge to even the most experienced of drivers, but there is also an alternative challenge for those who are less knowledgeable about trails. With a difficulty rating of between three and four, the general frustration that one may usually face with an obstacle course all dissolves into the sheer beauty of your surroundings once on the Glen Oaks trail.

Safety also comes first at Glen Oaks, so each challenge is colour-coded according to the level of difficulty. This colour-coding allows drivers to decide what they will and won’t do, depending on their level of expertise as well as what they feel most comfortable with. The obstacles that you can decide to tackle are, however, obviously dependent on the car that you are driving. Renting a 4×4 with everything that you need to go on a great, mountainous adventure is your best option if the car you are driving is not ideal for rough terrain. Drive Africa offers 4×4 rentals to anyone with a valid driver’s license, including Under 21s. This is a fantastic service, as not very many car rental places are willing to rent vehicles to drivers younger than 25.

The Glen Oaks trail is one of the most beautifully changeling trails available to 4×4 enthusiasts. If you are one of them, be sure to put this on your bucket list – it is certainly well worth it.

Adventures for Under 21 Drivers

You’re 19 years old, you’ve had your driver’s licence for a year and you’re yearning to hit the open roads. The majority of car hire companies in South Africa will turn you down or charge you excessive rates – Drive Africa is different. Providing specialised Under 21 Car Hire, with no surcharge, unlimited kilometres and no excess, we cater specifically for younger drivers.

If you’re over eighteen, have had your driver’s licence for a year and have your own credit card then you probably qualify for Drive Africa’s special deal, which focuses on being budget friendly and is valid for cross border entry to Swaziland, Namibia, Zambia, Lesotho, Zimbabwe and Mozambique. Grab your friends, pack your bags, make a playlist and prepare to go exploring – you’re young and free and the time for adventure is now.

Here are five quotes about travel to inspire you:

~ Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

~ The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page ~ Augustine of Hippo

~ I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move ~ Robert Louis Stevenson

~ What is that feeling when you’re driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? – It’s the too-huge world vaulting us, and it’s good-bye. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies ~ Jack Kerouac

~ The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes ~ Marcel Proust

So what are you waiting for? Book your car and set out on a new exploit – you will come back from the journey with fresh eyes, new ideas and a changed perception of the world.

Drive Africa Cross Border Entry

Drive Africa is known for two things – our exceptional service and our unrivalled deals. The Cross Border Rental is one of our best known specials, allowing people to traverse the borders of Swaziland, Lesotho, Namibia, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana at very little additional expense. In fact, it’s only R750 per cross border letter per country. Both International and South African drivers can capitalise on this deal, which also includes the added perk of unlimited kilometres car hire and no excess.

Explore the beauty and diversity of the African continent in style and comfort, without breaking the bank. Here are a few reasons why you should visit each one of the cross border countries listed above:

Swaziland

Meander up the Lebombo Mountains, revelling in panoramic vistas of lush valleys traversed by mighty rivers and kingdoms of old. Soak up the history and culture of one of the world’s most ancient and enigmatic countries, cross golden savannahs dotted with wildlife and creep through dense rainforests covered in whispering trees.  Drive to the western border of the country, nestled at the foot of an immense escarpment and listen to the hypnotic rhythm of vast rivers rushing through the ravines.

Namibia

Traverse the barren landscape of Namibia, immersed in the haunting desolation of dissipating red-gold dunes adorned in sparse vegetation and specially adapted fauna. Tread lightly through abandoned ghost towns, ascend Big Daddy – Sossusvlei’s tallest dune, listen to the thunderous chorus of the migratory herds in Etosha, enjoy a cold home-brewed beer in Windhoek and wander into the desert and sleep under the stars.

Zambia

Visit one of the numerous protected parks in the country to delight in intimate game-viewing encounters. Look out for great herds of elephant lumbering across the plains, along with shy cheetahs and lazy lions, sleeping the day away. Drop into one of the villages to appreciate the local lifestyle and spend some time at Kapishya Hot Springs soaking in the sun-drenched pools.

Lesotho

Ascend one of Lesotho’s myriad mountains and admire the rugged terrain and vast natural splendour of a land cloaked in legend. Discover epic waterfalls tucked away in hidden forests and delight in numerous adventure activities such as abseiling, hiking and horseback riding.  Immerse yourself in the culture of the Basotho people, adorned in beautiful colourful blankets and known for their astounding arts and crafts.

Mozambique

Leave stark footprints in the soft grains of Mozambique’s blanched beaches, dive into the cobalt sea, explore an underwater world of astonishingly diverse marine life, feast on shellfish of every description, sample the local rum, take a trip on a somewhat unsteady dhow and lie in a hammock absorbing the irresistible warmth of the sun.

Under 21 Car Hire in Namibia

Known for offering outstanding service and deals, Drive Africa’s Under 21 Car Hire in Namibia is certainly no exception. If you’re an international traveller under the age of 21 and wishing to explore the vast terrain of Nambia then this is the best option for you. Pay a mere R750 extra and you can enjoy cross border entry into South Africa, Lesotho, Zambia, Mozambique and Swaziland; this is your opportunity to truly traverse the vast African continent in style. Remember that you must be over the age of 18 and have had your driver’s licence for a year to qualify.

Namibia is one of the most beautiful places in Africa, synonymous with sun-kissed, dusky-pink, gold dunes, a wealth of wildlife, haunting ghost towns and numerous outdoor activities. If you’re an aspiring photographer then this inspiring landscape should be your first port of call. Capture the rippled patterns painted in the sand by the wind, snap a lone gemsbok wandering aimlessly across the dunes or shoot the incredible merging point where the sand gives way to the sea.

Look out for rough diamonds glittering in the sandbanks, rent a 4×4 and fly across the dunes or simply wander into the desert and sleep under the stars. Explore the bustling capital of Windhoek and enjoy a cold beer and a braai, or visit the enigmatic Sossusvlei salt pans and admire the evocative surrounds. Summit Big Daddy, a massive dune approximately 380 metres high, or head to Dead Vlei and gaze at the stark, blackened braches of the dead trees in the middle of the vlei.

Visit the remarkable Etosha National Park, which spans an impressive a 22 750km², including a 5 000km² salt pan. Here, animals escape from their remarkably arid surrounds by congregating at numerous waterholes, resulting in outstanding game viewing opportunities. From endangered black rhinos, to elephants, lions, antelope and wildebeest, this is a place known for its vast array of wildlife, not to mention its birds. The salt pan is an astonishing spectacle and, after heavy rains, every inch of it becomes coated in a tapestry of pinks as thousands of flamingos ascend on the area.

Book your Under 21 Car Hire in Namibia and start exploring the remarkable desert terrain for yourself.