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More Back-Road 4×4 Trips by Mariëlle Renssen, MapStudio, 2012

More Back-Road 4x4 TripsHaving read this book from cover to cover, I’m rather impatient to get off the tar again. Presented with detailed route maps and GPS coordinates, accommodation options, web resources and a packing list, More Back-Road 4×4 Trips brings valuable insights.

For each of the ten routes there is a trip summary and an explanation of what makes the route special. Wild Card members take note, six of these routes are centred on our national parks.

The first route features mountain passes and muddy, rutted and stony gravel roads with steep bouldered ascent and descents in Addo Elephant National Park, Mountain Zebra National Park and Camdeboo National Park. To quote the author, “the gravel back roads surprised us with awe-inspiring scenery”. The route includes a handful of recently established national park 4×4 trails, one being Addo’s new 45 km Bedrogfontein trail, which featured in Wild magazine, Summer 2012/3 issue. If you did not get the magazine, you can still read our article in the digimag or electronic version.

The second route, to Tankwa Karoo National Park and Karoo National Park, allows you to get under South Africa’s skin via a slew of gently challenging 4×4 trails. It is scenic, with rocky, mountainous terrain, embedded rock, loose stones, sand stretches, dry river crossing and steep ascents/descents. What more could your 4×4 desire?

The third route is to Namaqua National Park and |Ai-|Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park, where you will stay in wilderness camps in spectacular natural settings with rockscapes of granite, dolerite, quartz and sandstone, amongst others.

The route that includes Mapungubwe National Park and Marakele National Park is through wild bushveld with fat baobabs and an umbrella-thorn skyline. Embedded boulders, stony tracks and tight S-bends await you. The book provides a handy identification guide to bushveld trees and Commiphera species.

The Kgalagadi’s wilderness camps constitute a route by themselves. They are truly remote and your driving skills will be tested by steep sand ascents and descents and middelmannetjies with high grass and seeds.

When you drive back-roads in Kruger, exclusivity is key. You will have a taste of dirt, corrugations, dongas and river crossings and explore unfamiliar park territory. Read our article on the Lebombo 4×4 Eco Trail in Wild magazine, Spring 2012, or if you missed receiving a copy, check it out on the digital version at www.issuu.com/wild_magazine.

The author writes about her own experiences, which makes for an authentic touch. The personal account is refreshing and humorous. Even if you’re an armchair traveller, you will enjoy reading about their escapades.

Reviewed by Romi Boom

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