4/2014 – Need eco-friendly 4×4 tracks? Here’s how:

Subtle but durable: new access tracks for Geelkrans Nature Reserve

The client, Cape Nature was looking for a permanent, yet flexible solution for jeep tracks on deep sandy substrates at Geelkrans Nature Reserve, Stillbaai, without the associated footprint impacts of commonly used hard structures such as asphalt or paving.

I have also attached some editorial for your consideration. It is a lovely piece on eco-surface jeep tracks at the Geelkrans Nature reserve.

Jeep tracks on deep sandy substrates

Jeep tracks on deep sandy substrates

Minimal impact with Terracrete

Minimal impact with Terracrete


Mobicast, Terraforce licensee in the Garden Route area, suggested the Terracrete paving block, a permeable and interlocking eco-friendly paver that can be laid in different patterns and may be used with or without ground anchors for the lining of riverbanks, roads and other areas subjects to soil erosion.

Finding a versatile solution

Permanent, yet flexible jeep tracks

Permanent, yet flexible jeep tracks

Tracks are lined with sour fig vegetation

Tracks are lined with sour fig vegetation


The blocks where installed to form a two-wheel jeep track as an erosion control and maintenance measure for existing sand tracks. Says Jean du Plessis, Conservation Manager, Geelkrans Cluster & Stilbaai Marine Protected Area (MPA):

“We have a network of maintenance jeep tracks that give us access to the different sections of the reserve. The substrate is mostly deep dune sand, making it inadequate to surface with normal paving. Putting down a road base foundation and or compacting have been proven to be very costly due to the nature of the substrate.

Interlocking eco-surface paver

Interlocking eco-surface paver

The tracks are permeable and plantable

The tracks are permeable and plantable


“Investigating alternative solutions produced the principle of putting down a “hard” surface that is permeable for water and vegetation. The idea is also that the surfacing material should then be able to move with the substrate while keeping its shape and integrity. We decided to use the Terracrete blocks because of their permeable nature, minimal impact on the environment and cost-effectiveness. “

A brief description of the installation process

  1. Blocks are transported to the target area.
  2. The substrate is prepared by removing 10-15cm and then levelled.
  3. The Blocks are packed in the desired pattern.
  4. Binding wire threaded through holes in the blocks to increase overall stability.
  5. After correct placement and threading, substrate material is used to fill any gaps.

Low impact, low cost

Terracrete eco-surface paversPermanent, yet flexible solution for jeep tracks

The blocks are relatively easy to work with, compared to other methods that involve more sophisticated machinery and labour. Says Du Plessis: “We do get breaking of about 2% of the blocks during handling as the transport of the blocks to the target areas does require a minimum of two loading/offloading processes due to the nature of the terrain, but on the whole the process is straightforward and causes very little disturbance in the reserve, which is what we were looking for. Another benefit is that the blocks, if they do break, are easy to replace, making maintenance of the tracks quick and easy”

Construction commenced in March 2013 and is still ongoing. The tracks are installed in stages of 250m each, with 7000 blocks already laid down. To rehabilitate any destabilization that did occur during construction Carpobrotus edulis (Sour Fig)were planted on the verges of the jeep track.

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6 Responses to 4/2014 – Need eco-friendly 4×4 tracks? Here’s how:

  1. Theo Johannes says:

    It is heartwarming to see this approach working in such sensitive areas and also to see the veld being relieved of the aliens at the same time. Well done

  2. Aubrey Ngake says:

    Good Day

    I have a similar project in Borakalalo Nation Park, in North West Province. i like the idea and would like to know where can i get these blocks

  3. Hi,

    I really like the look of this solution, although my application is slightly different.
    I have a farm in Tulbagh that currently can only be accessed by 4×4 especially in Winter when it is wet.
    The road surface is mixed from good well drained thick red earth to harder sections that are eroded and have a lot of run off – damaging the sides of the roads etc.
    There are also long stretches full of stones and smooth round rocks (terrible for traction when wet even with a 4×4).
    The road is around 500m long and I am interested in getting someone to look at it and quote for twin track solution (and in some places potentially also some drainage to control run off water etc.
    Do you have a partner who works the Tulbagh area that could I speak to?


    • Karin says:

      HI Gerald

      So sorry I am only getting back to you now, my notifications to the web site comments were not working and I only saw this comment today.
      We have a partner in Piketberg, but he does not manufacturer the Terracrete blocks.

      I have passed you request to our supplier in Klapmuts, maybe he can work out something for you.



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