Many South African national parks and reserves are a playground to those exploring in a 4×4. Take your time and overnight at one of these three spots only accessible to 4×4 drivers. It will be the highlight of your next trip to the wilderness. By Arnold Ras
Stay here: Luiperdskloof Guest Cottage
Where: Namaqua National Park
About: The arid Namaqua landscape is famous for its intriguing succulents, striking quiver trees and dolerite hills. Although Namaqua is a don’t-miss-destination during its spring wildflower display, this national park appeals throughout the year. To explore off the beaten track, a 4×4 is highly advisable. A night at the secluded Luiperdskloof, a restored farmstead, will not disappoint. Luiperdskloof also offers a variety of short hiking trails and picnic spots only for guests.
Good to know: The cottage boasts three bedrooms and one bathroom with a shower, toilet and washbasin. A fireplace and an outside braai area will make winter nights extra charming. Take note that there’s no electricity, so don’t expect a fridge, freezer or electrical stove. From Skilpad Rest Camp, it takes some three hours to reach the cottage, so make sure to check in no later than 14:00.
Bookings: +27 (0)27 672 1948
Blissful mountain views
Stay here: Umthombo or Bakana mountain cottages
Where: Mountain Zebra National Park
About: A stone’s throw away from Cradock, Mountain Zebra National Park is home to the impressive Bakenkop Peak, a variety of plains game and the endangered mountain zebra. The scenic Eastern Cape park has plenty on offer for 4×4 enthusiasts, including three adventurous 4×4 trails. Don’t rush home; rather spend the night at one of Mountain Zebra’s mountain cottages: Umthombo Cottage near Weltevrede Picnic Site or Bakana Cottage in the Berghofkloof area.
Good to know: Each cottage has two bedrooms (linen and towels provided), and a hiker’s bedroom with six bunk beds. The cottages have no electricity, but you’ll be happy about hot showers and an equipped kitchen with gas stove and solar-powered fridge and freezer. When dinner calls, prepare a meal at the outside braai area or get snug next to the indoor braai.
Bookings: +27 (0)12 428 9111
Rustic and memorable
Stay here: Ou Kraal Huts
Where: Gamkaberg Nature Reserve
About: Known for many natural wonders, the Klein Karoo is heaven to any 4×4 traveller. Gamkaberg Nature Reserve, a World Heritage Site, epitomises solitude and seclusion. And with four vegetation biomes on offer (Fynbos, Succulent Karoo, Subtropical Thicket and Evergreen Forest), you’re truly spoiled for choice. While meandering along the reserve’s 4×4 routes, see if you can spot caracal, honey badger, red hartebeest or black-backed jackal. When night falls, retire to one of Ou Kraal’s four herder’s huts.
Good to know: Each hut sleeps two guests, there’s no electricity and don’t be surprised by the enviro waterless loo. Don’t forget to bring your own firewood, lighting, drinking water, cutlery, bedding and towels.
Bookings: +27 (0)21 483 0190