Test all limits in the Nissan Navara
Test all limits in the Nissan Navara

Trail review: Lion and Safari Park 4×4 Trail

Wild at heart

If you live in Gauteng and you’re looking for a great place to experience nature, then HENK BOGAARDS recommends that you visit the Lion & Safari Park. There is a reason that it has been voted Gauteng’s top tourist destination. It also has a great 4×4 trail where you can put your off-roading skills to the test.

The Lion & Safari Park 4×4 Trail is situated next to the Pelindaba Road (R512) between Johannesburg and Broederstroom and is a mere 30 minutes’ drive from the city. The trail offers something for the beginner, the intermediate and all the way up to the more adventurous and advanced 4×4 driver. 


It can be divided into three different parts:

  1. Hyena Den, which is the starting point
  2. The Deep Quarry
  3. 4×4 Paradise

The trail is open 365 days a year and you don’t have to book if you plan on driving it on your own. You need only arrive and pay at the ticket office. However, if you wish to book and pay upfront, you can do so via the website. There is also the option of doing the trail with a guide, but for this there is an additional fee.

On arrival you will need to check in at the park’s reception where you will complete the necessary indemnity forms and receive a copy of the trail map. This map is also available live on the Zondagh Adventure Finder app and the route will soon also be available on other mapping platforms. These live apps can also be transposed onto the infotainment screens of the vehicles with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay

The start of the trail


The trail commences with a drive through the predator enclosures (this is included in the trail fee). Predators to be seen include lions, wild dogs and cheetahs. From there you will drive to the walk-by hyena enclosure, where you will also find bathroom facilities. 

At this point you will turn onto the 4×4 trail, the first part of which is rocky and requires careful wheel placement. You will then turn onto a two-spoor gravel road, on which you will find some of the more technical obstacles, including Twister and the famous Stairway to Heaven.

Some of these obstacles are rated 4 or 5 in terms of difficulty and it is imperative to get out and walk the obstacles before attempting them. You have to be an experienced driver if you want to attempt them but fortunately you can opt out of driving these more challenging parts by taking the various escape routes.

Slippery when wet

A particularly enjoyable area can be found at a part of the trail, aptly named Slippery When Wet, on the banks of the Crocodile River. Here you will find numerous obstacles that will really help you to get to know your vehicle better, such as hill descent control, traction control and diff-lock.

The tree covering of section 8, 9 and 10 makes this part of the trail particularly enjoyable. Even on a hot summer’s day it is a great place to drive and enjoy the coolness of the tree canopy.

Take a break

From here you can drive back to the lion enclosure and if you wish you can make a stop at the Lion & Safari Park main centre. Here you will find various shops and restaurants. Many other activities are also offered, including feeding a giraffe.

Driving to paradise

Heading back on the trail you can again drive through the predator enclosure after which you can take a scenic 4×4 trail which will take you to the 4×4 Paradise. It is a calm and twisty road with a few rocks on the way, but nothing serious, so you’ll be able to enjoy the majestic views that stretch for miles and miles in every direction. 


It is advised to drive this two-spoor track in 4×4 low range though. Although not very technical, there are a few sections that can catch you out.

Once you reach 4×4 Paradise the possibilities are endless since most of the obstacles can be driven in both directions. There are some nice inclines and declines, together with some side slopes and technical cross axles. This will give you the ideal opportunity to get to know your vehicle better and also better understand how independent and solid axle suspension works.

You can easily spend a good few hours here and plan your own route.

Braai time!


Once you’ve had enough fun at 4×4 Paradise, you might be in the mood for a good old braai! There is a barrel braai at the 4×4 Quarry for this purpose.

The area is also a great ‘playground’ for those who wish to have more 4×4 fun. There are a variety of obstacles to tackle, including inclines, declines, cross axles and side slopes. If it’s the rainy season, there will surely be a proper mud pool to play in.

Ending on a high

After your braai and before heading home you can end your day by driving to the lookout point to enjoy an awesome sunset to crown a truly enjoyable day.

Fast facts

  • The maximum number of vehicles allowed per group is 12.
  • The map of the trail is available on the Zondagh Adventure Finder App.
  • Your vehicle will not get scratched on the trail.
  • You will need a compressor. The recommended tyre pressure is 1.5 to 1.7 bar.
  • You can braai at the 4×4 Quarry.
  • There are a number of escape routes, and you can easily leave the trail halfway through.
  • There is good cell phone reception.
  • The trail is open year-round.
  • The facility is great for family excursions.
  • It takes 5-7 hours to complete the trail, depending on the size of the group and
    the number of obstacles attempted.
  • There are ablution facilities at the main complex and at the Hyena enclosures.
  • The price is R575 per vehicle for up to three people. Extra passengers are charged at R100 each.

How to get there

From Johannesburg or Pretoria take the R512 turnoff in the direction of Lanseria.  Follow the road for about 20km until you find the Lion & Safari Park on your right-hand side.

CONTACT: +27 83 601 7511 | https://lionandsafaripark.activitar.com/services/13429 | ttracey@polka.co.za

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