Getting good and dirty in your 4×4


Did you know that in some countries there are whole movements that want to make driving a big 4×4 in a city as socially unacceptable as – gasp! – wearing real fur?

Those big things on four wheels (4×4 opponents say) consume loads of petrol, emit oodles of fumes, take up more parking space than is their fair share, and should be consigned to far-flung and otherwise impassable areas.

In South African cities, similar vehicles are more likely to draw envious stares than dirty looks.

Still, if you are dreaming of a big and powerful 4×4, it’s probably not because you long to make your neighbours jealous, but because you are ready to explore the bush. After all, the great outdoors is what the 4x4s have been built for. It’s not for nothing that all those ads feature clambering steep mountains or crossing shallow rivers!

South Africa offers plenty of opportunities to the motorists to leave the beaten track and get some mud splattered all over their mean machines. However, when planning your next adventure, do bear in mind that you can’t just go roaming into the wild, even if your 4×4 is perfectly capable of taking you there (and back).

Beaches and coastal areas are already off limits for 4x4s. The focus is now on inland regions.

Sometime this year, a document called Norms and Standards for the Management and Recreational Use of Off-Road Routes and Recreational Use Areas in Inland Sensitive Areas in the Republic of South Africa should come into effect. It aims to put a spoke in the wheel of those brazen drivers who go roaring and crashing through the bush without any regard for the environment. In a nutshell, 4x4s will be banned from inland eco-sensitive areas, unless the vehicle travels on a registered track and the driver is competently qualified or led by a registered four wheel drive guide.

The document applies only to areas that will be identified and listed as eco-sensitive. Meaning – it does not spell the end of 4×4 trails.

Now that you’ve heaved a sigh of relief and stopped clutching your heart, you may want to take a look at the bidorbuy page (or rather, pages and pages) featuring 4×4 vehicles, as the first step in acquiring your own.

And, on the parting note, one more question: do you know which animal most resembles a 4×4?

Yes, it’s an elephant, albeit not due to its size.

Unlike other animals, which (we humans think) use hind legs predominantly for acceleration and front legs predominantly for braking, elephants (again, we think) apply power independently to all four legs, for both accelerating and braking. So, their limb function is analogous to four wheel drive vehicles.

Think about that the next time you, in your 4×4, come upon an elephant in the bush!