The Vredefort Dome originated when a meteor hit the earth over 2 000 million years ago – right here in South Africa. And one of the biggest attractions in this particular patch of earth, which has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, is the Berakah 4x4 Eco Trail.
Berakah, which means “blessed”, is an unaccompanied 15 km route that consists of different sections, each with its own challenges.
On arrival you get a map, and everywhere along the route are signs that you use with the map to determine exactly where you are. The route is also thoroughly discussed with you before you leave, so you have a good idea what’s waiting for you around the next bend.
The first part of the route is not too serious, but it’s a good idea to engage low range from the get-go. The route basically consists of two parts and increases in difficulty as you go: the second section is in the mountain and significantly more challenging and intended only for experienced off-roaders in vehicles with a decent ground clearance.
You start off on a wooden bridge (after reducing your tyre pressure to at least 1,4 bar and removing your running boards) and follow the trail through a patch of trees before the landscape turns to grassland. And along the way, there are more than enough obstacles to test your off-roader’s ability and your driving skills to the limit.
The first part is called the Riverbed Run – here you have to know your stuff as the trail winds up and down and back and forth between the trees. The Otter Slide is your first challenging downhill, but as long as you take it slowly and stay in control of your vehicle, you shouldn’t have any problems.
When you get to the bottom, drive along the stream to a challenging water crossing, especially after heavy rains. In fact, if it has rained heavily, this crossing is sometimes closed.
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