While a lot of vehicles are sold as 4x4 they may not have the capabilities to negotiate the dunes. It’s inevitable that you’re going to get stuck and you need a vehicle that has a low range gear capability. Many modern 4x4s don’t have this and therefore need constant assistance to make their way over the sands. They also have a range of electronic aids that help vehicle stability on the road but make it almost impossible to drive over any soft surface. With this in mind, the Desert Diva has compiled a list of suitable cars.  The list is not exhaustive so please inquire if you would like to join one of our trips and your 4×4 is not on the list.


For 4×4 driving in Dunes

  • Dodge Ram (lifted),
  • Ford F150 (lifted), Raptor, Ranger 3.2TD
  • GMC Silverado (Lifted),
  • Jeep Wrangler,
  • Landrover Defender, Discovery, LR3 or LR4,
  • Mitsubishi Pajero,
  • Nissan Patrol Safari, New Patrol (models with “City” bumpers not recommended), Pathfinder pre-2005, Xterra,
  • Toyota FJ Cruiser, LandCruiser, Landcruiser Prado, Tundra (lifted)

For easy track Driving

Any AWD or 4WD or 4×4 with adequate clearance


What’s the Difference Between a 4×4 and an AWD/4WD?

Features of four-wheel drive cars vary between manufacturers and models; some cars are billed as ‘All Wheel Drive’ (AWD) whereas others are ‘Four Wheel Drive’ (4WD) – or more popularly referred to here, as ‘4×4’.

AWD cars generally have permanently engaged four-wheel drive; power is delivered to each wheel via a computer, ensuring good road holding. However, these are not ideal for sand dune driving (commonly known as sand duning) because in the split second it takes for the computer to decide which wheel to channel more power to, you could find yourself stuck!

Many experts are of the opinion that prolonged sand driving can put immense strain on an AWD vehicle’s drivetrain, possibly leaving you with a broken down car at the edge of the desert and a hefty repair bill to follow.

However, 4x4s are heavier, often more expensive, but with a competent driver behind the wheel, they should be able to traverse extreme terrains. Most 4x4s have part-time four-wheel drive meaning that 2WD – normally to the rear wheels – is used for road driving, cutting down on fuel and tyre costs.

When you hit the sand or the rocks, switch the vehicle into four-wheel drive and a series of differentials will deliver equal power to each wheel There are times when maximum power and control are required – a 4LOW function changes the gear ratios to assist you out of the trickiest of situations. Remember though, that most 4x4s have a maximum speed of 45kph when this is selected – so you will need to change back to 4HIGH for more moderate terrain.


Car Requirements

4×4 vehicle

  • Must be in tip-top condition (this includes the spare tyre too)
  • Those with locking wheel nuts should carry a key to release them
  • Must have recovery points front and rear – they will probably look like those in the images below, but are unlikely to be shiny and red!  Most 4x4s will have them – if in doubt send us a photo!
Recovery Equipment

None, you do not need any!

Our lead car is equipped with a Warn winch – most of our recoveries are done with this as we believe it to be the safest and most gentle way to recover stuck cars from sand.  We also have an array of snatch straps, shackles, shovels and sand boards so we are well prepared for most eventualities.

If you do have some recovery equipment already, feel free to take it along!


Please arrive at the start point with a full tank.  If there is any requirement to carry extra petrol we will list this in the trip description.Most of our trips can be completed on 3/4 a tank or less.


Car damage on our trips is extremely rare and even then is usually limited to slight damage to bumpers.  However we do recommend you have offroad insurance, just in case.