Parts of the West Coast, north-eastern coast and the Drakensberg, are 4x4 or high-clearance vehicle only. Unless you specifically look for 4x4 trails, most Drakensberg roads are easily manageable, even by inexperienced drivers.
In the west and northeast, you’ll find soft sand and you’ll need to drop your tyre pressure before tackling it. Around 1.5 bar is usually fine, but drop to 1.2 bar for deep sand. Avoid going below 1 bar or the tyre may come off the rim. Note that tyre pressures should be taken when tyres are cold. Hot tyres will read up to half a bar higher than when they’re cool. Once you have the right tyre pressure, stretches of deep sand (and mud) become a lot easier to manage. Engage 4x4, choose and remain in either first or second gear depending on how steep or bumpy the track is, and keep your engine revs high, applying constant power until you’re through.
Image by: Luigi Manga
Be sure to re-inflate your treys once back on firmer ground. Hitting rocks or potholes with soft tyres can severely damage the rim. Most travellers opt for booking a vehicle with 4x4 hire South Africa to accommodate their African Safari plans.