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 Post subject: A hard lesson learned
Unread postPosted: Thu Aug 08, 2013 11:34 am 
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Joined: Tue Jan 23, 2007 5:09 pm
Posts: 105
Location: Bellville, South Africa
We had a hard lesson to learn this time around when we visited the KTP . . . despite the fact that we’ve been going to the KTP for many moons. At the time of this posting (as you’ll see at the signature below), we would have had still another 5 days left at Nossob . . . . this was however not to be.

We left Cape Town late 27th July and stayed over at both Van Rhynsdorp and Askham . . . with the wonderful thought of the 17 nights ahead of us at Mata Mata and Nossob respectively . . . unknown to us, Susan was already carrying a type of flu virus and she really started complaining about not feeling well , when we were booking in at TR. We immediately continued onto Mata Mata and on the way we had some wonderful close-up sightings of 7 spotted hyenas, a honey badger having a scrap with an African Wild Cat at the by-pass of 14th borehole . . . and 4 young cheetahs killing a half-size ostrich in the road in front of us at Craig Lockhart . . . it was a fantastic first day for us !

After pitching tent right-up against the fence (next to the little wooden bench) at Mata Mata, we were set. The first night was quite OK with only minus 2 degrees the next morning. Susan was however notably going down with flue all the time. The second night, the cold really hit us and we woke with minus 8 degrees . . . by that time I realised that that we were looking down the barrel of pneumonia with the freezing dry air being like petrol in a fire . . . we were by now disturbing the whole camp with our coughing. At 04h00 on the 3th night the thermometer showed another minus eight degrees again ... when I realised I was going down myself.

We then made the decision that we had to abandon the trip (the remaining 13 days) and to make the 1240km break via Koes, Keetmanshoop to Cape Town for medical treatment as quickly as possible while I could still drive . . . slipping over the border at 10h00 and being able to make Springbok at 17h00 only barely alive. We eventually arrived with high fever in Cape Town the next afternoon . . . hardly being able to read the registration of oncoming vehicles . . . or the reading the speedo meter.

What could we learn from this story ? :
(and the lesson) : if we had taken our flue injections in time . . . before going to the KTP in the dead of winter . . . the consequences as described, may not have been as bad as we experienced . . . and this little entry is surely going to put onto our “take-with-list “ in future . . . . . (A LESSON LEARNED ! !)

(a good option) : when you arrive at Twee Rivieren reception . . . and you should be visiting Mata Mata during your stay in the KTP . . . maybe a good idea to also go to customs (as I unknowingly did) and just have your passports and vehicle cleared and stamped . . this does not cost you anything and will give you that peace of mind for that unforeseen emergency. For what it may be worth . . . to remember that the Keetmanshoop hospital is only a bit more than two hours away . . . where Upington could be close to the of 5 hours from MM.

http://www.reddune.info/

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Nossob : 6 days from 5th March 2015
Namibia : on a sheep-farm in Nambia for 2 nights (14kms out)
Mata Mata : back to Mata Mata for 4 days from 15th March 2015



. . . with the red sand in my shoes . . I'll always return


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 Post subject: Re: A hard lesson learned
Unread postPosted: Thu Aug 08, 2013 12:55 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 01, 2011 5:57 am
Posts: 179
Location: CAPE TOWN
I hope you are both feeling better. It must have been a nightmare for you. I must admit it is something I always worry about and that is getting ill on one of my precious holidays to KNP or especially KTP. I do hope you are able to reschedule another visit soon when it is a bit warmer and you are healthy


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 Post subject: Re: A hard lesson learned
Unread postPosted: Thu Aug 08, 2013 2:46 pm 
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Wow, what a story! A big pity about cutting the trip short, but glad you guys made it back safely.

Out of interest, we stayed in the exact camp site at Mata Mata on 16 and 17 July and we may have got -2, but I don't think it went below freezing. (The same applies for the rest of our 10 days in KTP, very mild weather)

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 Post subject: Re: A hard lesson learned
Unread postPosted: Thu Aug 08, 2013 2:55 pm 
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Very good topic. I have seen a thousand check lists which outdoor magazines and others publish as to what you should pack, what to do when you are there, how to cross border posts etc etc.

But what the readers have not been told is to go for a proper medical examination before you venture off into the wild.

The most important thing is to go to a dentist first. A loose filling which exposes the nerves can wreck a holiday completely. With a cold or flue, you can consult the nearest doctor or pharmacist and get medicine for what ailment you have but, if you have got a broken tooth deep in the African bush, there is no quick solution.

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 Post subject: Re: A hard lesson learned
Unread postPosted: Fri Aug 09, 2013 6:27 pm 
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That (exept for your amazing sightings on day 1), is a terrible story! But so true! Flu tends to come at the most inconvenient of times. So get that flu vaccine! Having a good dental checkup is a great idea Rooies, and recommended before any long trip. For trips into far off or isolated areas such as KTP, I would also advise that you go to your dr beforehand, and get a good medical kit to take with. An antibiotic to take with in case someone really gets very sick on the trip, eye drops for the unexpected pink eye, antibiotic ointment for opened wounds or bites, antihistamines in case of a bite, a sting or hayfever, tablets for nausea, diarrhoea and painkillers. We take even more stuff - stitches and drips for in case, but have the knowledge and experience to use these. :wink: Also - ask around in camp if you need to. There might be a sister or doctor with a medical kit camping next to you who can help out! :thumbs_up:

Thanks for the good advice, Red Dune! Will definitely remember the passport next time...


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 Post subject: Re: A hard lesson learned
Unread postPosted: Fri Aug 09, 2013 8:33 pm 
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Joined: Fri Apr 06, 2007 2:58 pm
Posts: 267
Location: Stellenbosch
I feel for you, I once had a trip to KTP which ended and started in Upington Mediclinic
I wonder would you have been a little bit earlier the park would have 'healed' you, I was there from the 13 th of July and I never ever had such a warm winter week in the last 8 years (did not pack any shorts or shirts unfortunately) Glad you are home safe, only thing I can say I do hope you will go back and back again


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 Post subject: Re: A hard lesson learned
Unread postPosted: Fri Aug 09, 2013 8:45 pm 
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oups... poor of you :cry:

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 Post subject: Re: A hard lesson learned
Unread postPosted: Sat Aug 10, 2013 5:52 am 
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Red Dune, firstly so sorry to hear that you had to cut short your holiday due to illness and secondly I am glad you made it home safe and sound and are now on the way to a full recovery. I don't mean to hijack your thread but one year I left home for our annual Kruger holiday with a sore throat, I didn't think much of it, by the time we had set up camp and had a braai my throat was killing me but I didn't say much, the next morning I could not swallow and had a high temperature, we left Balule very early to drive to the Phalaborwa gate, that was the worst trip of my life, I was vomiting all the way and my temp was getting worse. Eventually we found a doctor in the town of Phalaborwa, we had to wait hours to see her and she charged me R950.00 for a consultation, that is double what you get charged at a doctor in Johannesburg, but I was so sick I didn't care, then we had to find a chemist that was another mission, eventually we got medicine and now the long trip back to Balule and all I wanted to do was lie down. We were supposed to leave Balule the next day but I was very sick but was starting to feel a bit better, so we had to extend our booking, the camp was very full but they made a plan because I was so sick and I could not travel and I spent the next 3 days recovering from some mystery "flu". After that experience I keep a very well stocked medical box and if I am not feeling 100% healthy the week of leaving to go on holiday I go to the doctor just to make sure that nothing is brewing.

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 Post subject: Re: A hard lesson learned
Unread postPosted: Sat Aug 10, 2013 6:00 am 
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Red Dune, so sorry about your ordeal. :( What a disappointment for everyone.

Tent Dweller, a good reminder to never overlook symptoms. We tend to take medical facilities for granted and it is always worth taking a good medical kit and going for a check up even if there is the smallest niggle.

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 Post subject: Re: A hard lesson learned
Unread postPosted: Sat Aug 10, 2013 1:32 pm 
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This is one of the worst cases I can imagine for a KTP holiday. Really sorry to hear that!
Hopy you and the SO will both fully recover and that you'll be able to make up for the
trip you lost out on.

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 Post subject: Re: A hard lesson learned
Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2013 12:03 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jan 23, 2007 5:09 pm
Posts: 105
Location: Bellville, South Africa
Thanx for the good wishes . . . its nearly 14 days since we arrived back in Bellville . . . and we are only just beginning to surface again ! ! With a son-in-law being a GP . . . there has also been more than regular visits to our home over this period !

We have no hang-ups at all . . . . . having missed the best part of this trip . . . next year’s excursion is bound to make up for this little mishap for sure. We are just so very thankful that we got back in the nick of time . . . because it could have been so much worse if we had continued onto Nossob for those additional 11 nights . . . I can only emagine . . . because a colleque of mine, who returned from Nossob only yesterday, said that the last couple of nights was like a deep freeze ! !

Due to the circumstance I have submitted a request to Sanparks (specifically KTP Management) for a possible credit to be carried over to a new booking that I have now made for May/June 2014 . . . and I have a good feeling that they will adhere to this request.


http://www.reddune.info/

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Nossob : 6 days from 5th March 2015
Namibia : on a sheep-farm in Nambia for 2 nights (14kms out)
Mata Mata : back to Mata Mata for 4 days from 15th March 2015



. . . with the red sand in my shoes . . I'll always return


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 Post subject: Re: A hard lesson learned
Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 17, 2013 7:33 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 02, 2010 11:17 pm
Posts: 27
Location: Brighton, East Sussex, UK
This topic raises a question that i have been pondering since our recent (first) visit to KTP. What happens in cases of real medical emergency when in a park like KTP?

We have just returned from our annual SA trip. We were booked to stay for 14 nights in KTP and having over 30 years experience of wildlife park visits thought we went prepared to deal with any normal medical situation. However, on our first night my husband slipped in the shower and twisted his back - his fault, no blame on anyone else. Didn't seem too bad so we carried on to Grootkolk. Over the next few days he got progressively worse, was in dreadful pain and by day 5 was unable to walk and barely crawl from bed to bathroom. The absolute remoteness from medical facilities hit us....and we panicked (we are not panickers - both copers usually and we have had plenty of experience of dealing calmly in emergency situations). I was terrified that even moving him by car might cause long term damage. Staff in Nossob were helpful - allowed us to seek advice by phone then email. We were advised to head to Upington ASAP.

So we did. It was not a happy drive, we were worried and at the same time upset at the thought we would miss the remainder of our long awaited holiday but fear drove us onwards. We were booked into a hotel who gave us the name of a doctor.... who saw us without delay. After a trip to the medical centre for xrays and a second consultation with a wonderful doctor we were relieved to find that whilst the problem was serious, with a whole case load of strong pain killers and several injections, continuing with our trip would not cause long term harm. Wasn't quite the trip we had planned but we enjoyed it (understatement!) none the less. Home now with back surgery pending.

The real point here is that it made us think about those life threatening situations you can't foresee or really check are not likely to happen to you. What happens if you suffer a heart attack or stroke? What about snake bites? Do the camps, including bush camps, hold antidote and have anyone with the skills to administer them? From what we could glean, being airlifted is not going to happen quickly - and is of course dependent on being able to make a call - which is in turn dependent on radio phones working (which it wasn't at grootkolk). We are already planning a second trip but these questions are ones we would like to have more knowledge on.


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 Post subject: Re: A hard lesson learned
Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 17, 2013 8:07 pm 
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Hi jelico60,

I cannot answer you on your question, but knows it is even more of a problem when you are on Botswana side.

End of September this year a couple (~ 60 years old) was stranded near Swartpan due to their car battery running flat and they had no means of starting the vehicle. Luckily some-one passed them, but were reluctant to help them to jump start their car incase of a short and both cars will be stranded. They had no Satelite phones and the only way out was to get help from the nearest camp.

I am not sure if they tried to get help from Kaa gate, but help was request from Nossob camp and Botswana parks. At first the person could not get any one to come out with a tow truck or mechanic to help and in the end called it a medical emergency. Finally the couple was helped by a team from Botswana defence force at a great cost.

I think in case of a life-threatening situation you will get help, but if you want to make the call it will be best to hire a satellite phone when you further north than Twee Rivieren.

Quote form 4x4 Community Forum:
Quote:
What happened was that, at Swart Pan, (booked for 6 days) we ended up with two flat batteries, two slow punctures and one other flat tyre ""repaired" in Vic Falls. (Slow punctures as a result of reversing full speed for 130mtrs from charging elephant at Bumbusi Waterhole - with armed ranger in our vehicle.) Hand pump was difficult to use in soft sand so also used cigarette lighter pump. I put in one plug which worked. Also had to drive to keep Engel battery charged, but obviously- not enough revs. (battery!) Maybe need a solar panel.....

A person at camp 2 used our jumper leads, but he was afraid of damaging his sophisticated Discovery engine. (he had prev been flat-bedded out of Kaokoland....) He left and I req him to contact Nossob. He tried 9 diff numbers supplied by phone Co and passed on from pillar to post by previous number - Nossob Camp, SAPS in SA, Bots Police in Tshabong, DNPW Gabs, Dnpw Kaa, (no vehicle) and the they contacted BDF) for 45 min and eventually in desperation, he declared it a "med Emergency" - he was being shunted from pillar to post and needed someone to react. Three days later BDF came to help us start. Had food for 10 more days, 35ltrs of own water, and a sweet-water tap at Swart Pan. PS., We checked beforehand on other bookings for S.P. - there were, but they did not arrive. Satfone? Don't think so - lots of Hyltons around to help sometime whenever wherever... Barry 63 and Dorothy 65.... "old" . Thanks and happy driving.

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 Post subject: Re: A hard lesson learned
Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2013 12:18 pm 
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Hi jelico60;

I have asked my colleagues based in the Kgalagadi to assist us with this and hoping to get a response before the end of this week.

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 Post subject: Re: A hard lesson learned
Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2013 8:01 am 
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Hello again jelico60;

Anti-venom is very expensive and snake bites are treated differently than in the past, we are NOT allowed to give any type of anti-venom only medical doctors are. Regarding strokes etc in the park we could assist as first responders and treat with first aid, but again medical assistance from doctors are needed and KTP does not have a doctor in the park.

Hope this answers your questions? :thumbs_up:

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