Our friends at Safari Centre have compiled a simple trail guide which they use for rating trails, it’s concise and to the point, establishing the degree of difficulty is important as it will prevent possible damage and an insurance claim.
Easy; this trail is suitable for 4x2s with diff lock, or novices in 4×4 soft-roaders.
Easy to moderate; basic 4×4 driving experience principles and a 4×4 with low range is recommended.
Moderate; 4×4 driving experience and low range is essential.
Difficult, Challenging terrain; only for experienced drivers. Low range is essential. Recovery equipment and a diff lock or traction control strongly recommended/essential.
Extreme; This trail is suitable only for off-road experts with serious 4x4s with recovery back-up. It should not be undertaken on your own.
Now that you know what the trail is like in terms of your vehicle and your own capabilities what else do you need to look at to ensure a totally enjoyable experience? Remember one nasty weekend in the bush could see your wife and kids totally against off-roading!
With regards comfort it’s always worthwhile to find out exactly what facilities are available in terms of a camp site, whether you have to take your own tents and bedding and if the facility is fully catered or self catering. On that score you will also need to know if there is electricity so that you can run a fridge and hairdryer.
Then there are the ablutions, critical when traveling with family, are there clean toilets and hot water? If the facility is self catered other than you groceries do you need to bring your own pots, pans, cutlery and crockery?
Then what will the family do whilst you are away, some trails have amazing activities such as bird watching, stargazing, hiking, swimming and even archery. Some even offer lounges, pool and libraries; it’s the little things that add to the experience.
At All Terrain we are advocates of sound environmental management and love trails that are pristine without exotic bush and farm animals, however we do accept that many trails are on working farms and the two must co-exist. All good trail owners should ask you to sign an indemnity and either guide you or provide you with a route map and waypoints. Check if escape routes are indicated, although you should not attempt a difficult trail on your own.
Do not forget your personal stuff, binoculars, cameras, bird books and the necessary 4×4 stuff such as a complete recovery kit ,gloves, a spade and suchlike.
Lastly ensure that you have sufficient fuel or are able to access fuel in the region, there is nothing worse than running out of fuel on a trip.