From Senegal to Mexico - 6 off-roading destinations from around the world where you can push SUVs to the limit

With almost 40 per cent of cars sold across the world in 2018 being SUVs, you would think people are exploring rough terrains regularly and pushing these powerful cars to their limits. However, that is not the case and most SUVs are only used the school run, rarely getting the opportunity to make the most of their rugged looks and four-wheel-drive systems.

If you're interested in exploring the full capability of SUVs, travel site Smart Lemur has put together a list of 6 off-roading destinations - from Dakar in Senegal to Baja in Mexico - where you can push SUVs to their limits.

Dakar - Senegal

Dakar Senegal off road

Dakar is the name most synonymous with off-roading thanks to the Paris-Dakar Rally - a motorsport event, which used to run 10,000 kilometres from the French capital to Dakar in Senegal on Africa’s west coast. The event was characterised by dirt tracks, camel grass, sand dunes, as well as rocky terrain and temperatures of +40C. In 2008, the event was moved to South America due to safety concerns. However, off-road enthusiasts who are adventurous enough can still follow the original route across North Africa to its original destination should they wish to be responsible for their own route and follow in the footsteps of off-road legends.

The Sahara Desert - North Africa

The Sahara Desert off road

The Sahara covers the entirety of North Africa, and its +40 degree celsius temperatures, unforgiving terrain, and stunning landscape make it one of the most challenging off-road destinations in the world. The 12,000 kilometre trip from Casablanca in Morocco to Cape Town in South Africa is one of the 'must do' adventures for 4x4 enthusiasts, and will push even the most experienced off-road drivers and their vehicles to the limit with its sand dunes, dust, and general obstructions that will inevitable arise when attempting to cross the largest desert in the world.

Baja - Mexico

Baja Mexico off road

Baja ranks amongst one of the top destinations for the petrolhead and the wellness seeker alike. On one hand, this northwestern Mexican peninsula is much-loved for its long, sandy beaches, rich wildlife, and generally laid-back, California-esque vibes. That’s no surprise really though, as it borders the Golden State. For automotive enthusiasts, it is better known for the Baja 1,000 - one of the fastest off-road endurance races on the motorsport calendar. Visitors to Baja do not have to be professional race drivers to enjoy the best that Baja has to offer because its sandy, off-road trails can also be explored by SUV, ATV, or even motorbike.

Makgadikgadi - Botswana

Makgadikgadi - Botswana off road

Botswana's Makgadikgadi region is home to one the world's largest salt flats, as well as some of the world's most challenging off-road conditions. The African nation's most popular trail takes drivers through its national park, where they will encounter some of the most spectacular and most-photographed landscape on earth. However, this visual feast comes as a reward for successfully overcoming +35C temperatures and a flat and dusty terrain, which is littered with suspension and potentially vehicle-destroying potholes.

The Rubicon Trail - California

The Rubicon Trail - California off road

The Rubicon Trail is 35km of spectacular rock formations and twisty off-road conditions that require plenty of forward-thinking, a steady hand, patience, and dose of natural ability behind the wheel. This internationally recognised trail is so iconic amongst off-roaders around the world, that U.S. car manufacturer, Jeep, bestowed one of its popular Wrangler models with the Rubicon name. Those willing to brave the conditions and put their vehicle and driving skills to the test will with finish their adventure with a stunningly beautiful drive through the Sierra Nevada mountain range, as well the satisfaction of defeating one of the most notoriously tough off-road drives in the world.

Moab - Utah

Moab - Utah off road

Utah's Moab region is recognized to be amongst the finest off-road locations in the United States thanks to its stunning natural desertscape, which is defined by its trails for drivers of all abilities. Furthermore, Moab’s expansive and seemingly endless sandstone-scattered scenery is not just a playground for off-roaders - outdoor enthusiasts can also enjoy some of the best conditions in the Western US for hiking, camping, and mountain biking.

No comments