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Breakdowns, car problems, flat tyres

Discuss and find information on the Kruger National Park
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General Advice re Flat Tyres etc

Unread post by icurrie » Thu Feb 01, 2007 8:12 am

Hi there

Apologies if this has been answered before .....I have searched the forum and can't find an answer. :cry:

Please can you tell me what the correct procedure is if you have a puncture in KNP? (not the how to change a tyre part - sort of got that :D :D )

I was watching a wildlife programme and the game vehicle had a flat tyre and I thought .... Oops ... what if that happens in KNP! Come to think about it ..... what about breakdowns in general? (I am hiring a car so should be okay but you never know!!!) :shock:

Ta for now


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Unread post by Wild@Heart » Thu Feb 01, 2007 8:35 am

Hi icurrie,
In the case of a flat it would be okay to get out to change it ... try and stop in an open place where you have a good 360 degree view.
If possible and you can have another car that can stop with you even better.
Ensure that all the occupants keep a lookout all the time while changing the tyre.

As for breakdowns, if another vehicle passes, ask them to report the breakdown at the nearest camp, they will come out to either tow you in or if it's a small problem fix it for you.

If you have a cellphone signal you can also contact the following number (013) 735-4325 the Kruger Emergency Call centre who should be able to help you.

Have a look at these topics as well which might give you more info as well

AA Emergency Service
Vehicle breakdowns

Whatever you do .. don't try to walk to the nearest camp.
If none of the above options are available.
Stay with the vehicle.
Camps usually know when a vehicle has not returned and they will send out a search party.

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Unread post by wildtuinman » Thu Feb 01, 2007 8:38 am

If you have cell reception phone Kruger emergencies @ 013 735 4325.

Try and flag someone down and ask them for help.

I will go as far as change the tyre myself if I have someone to stand watch and if the coast looks clear from nasties. I would love to sleep in the veld for a night but I don't know if anyone will believe my story when I do eventually get back to camp.

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Unread post by bucky » Thu Feb 01, 2007 9:55 am

At worst , sleep in the vehicle .
Never ever try walk back to a camp , during the day or at night .

There is always traffic , so you will get help , people are also not likely to go off and leave you there .

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Unread post by madach » Thu Feb 01, 2007 10:08 am

I've had a number of flat tyres in KNP.
I always slowly drive to a spot where it is 'safe' to change the tyre.
I then quickly change the tire while my wife is on the lookout.
Never try to walk back to a camp or main road!
If you can't change the tyre yourself then stay in your car and wait for somebody to turn up and help you. Chances are that you'll be parked on an incline when you're changing the tire so don't forget to put a big rock behind (or in front of) one of the wheels.

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Unread post by Bush Baptist » Thu Mar 22, 2007 1:07 pm

If you have any breakdowns you have no choice.

Some helpful suggestions. (Some might be irrelevant to specific situations)
1) Wait until another car comes (a reasonable time).
2) Let them park opposite you
3) LOOK ALL AROUND - lions can be camouflaged in mid winter
4) Get out and change the puncture as quickly as possible.
5) Get a tow to camp
6) Take an aerosol puncture can along
7) In the past (2001) I have had a puncture repaired at Skukuza.
8) Keep well clear of elephants

Before you leave home
1) Buy an aerosol puncture can
2) Pump up your spare wheel
3) Replace tyres almost ready for replacement

For those who were boy scouts
4) Take a puncture repair kit and a compressor
5) Fix your next puncture yourself. Last year Mrs BB and I each fixed one on our own, so we can do it now if we have to.
6) Take basic spares along & a spare key/immobilizer remote with working batteries etc.
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Unread post by matthew » Thu Mar 22, 2007 1:10 pm

I have a vivid recollection of a trip I took with my father in his old 4x4 about 5/6 years ago.

We were staying at Biyamiti at the time, and there was a herd of grumpy elephant hanging around the private road.
On one of our animal finding missions, we set out from the camp along the main road heading towards the S114.

A couple of km's before the end of the road, we found that the ellies had littered the road with branches and the like and shortly afterwards there was a sharp crack and a huge hiss- we had driven over one of the branches.
The front right tyre deflated in record time- no tyre doctor or can of air was gonna be able to fix that rent!

A damage assessment was done and a plan of action detailed.
Father's role was to assume the look-out position on the roof of the car, while I was to remove and replace the damaged tyre- a rather heavy process, them tyres ain't light! (I didn't have a hope of being assigned the lookout role)

I had barely gotten the nuts loose, when my dad shouted- the ellies were back, and not happy that we were in their vicinity (although in hindsight, it could have been the old man standing on the roof).
With much trumpeting and breaking of nearby trees, they signaled their intention.

We piled back into the car (spanner in my hand, beer in the old mans) and reversed further back until they left us alone.
The bush was a bit thicker in our "new" pit area, and the old man decided that he should definitely return to his position and that I should hurry up and change the tyre.

After removing the 2nd nut, a herd of kudu came charging passed and I found myself back in the car, pale and sweating!
I'm not sure what spooked them, but it sure spooked me!
The end of the story is that the wheel was replaced in installments, although still in record time- and a trip to Malelane followed!

I think that the morale of the story is that, yes, you can replace a flat, but do it warily and watchfully, preferably with a lookout!
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Unread post by Bush Baptist » Thu Mar 22, 2007 6:06 pm

bert wrote:BB
Do you think that my car will have room for a compressor :shock:

You can get a little job Bert that works off the lighter. It takes a while but works. :thumbs_up:

We use one after travelling on 'Jannie's' roads.
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Unread post by Mgoddard » Thu Mar 22, 2007 6:50 pm

I went to the Park last year with my daughters...we stocked up on supplies in Nelspruit and Malelane.
I went through a dip in the road and heard the bottom of the car slam into the road, we were driving a Jetta.(Still not in the park and music blaring from the girls, I did not notice anything)...
We drove into the Park on the Monday am ( and as tradition has music, and no radio's allowed in the car, unless u have headphones)
As soon as I drove through the gates, I heard a tractor ( it turned out to be my car)...
I did not know what to do and continued on and slept at Berg n Dal...
the next morning, true to my nature..we leave as the gate open at 6am...
not long after we turned on the road to Afsaal from Malelane, the car stopped...refused to go any further...
Ppl stopped to ask what we were seeing and I said " Nothing, car problems!!!!
Anyway, I grabbed the brochure given to you at the gate when entering and there it was an Emergency Number...
I called (6 times during the next 10 days)...the ppl were very helpful, asking exactly where I was, what the problem was(forgive them, I'm not a hopefully they understood what I said) and giving me advice on what to do (stay put, till another car comes by and ask for help)
No really they were just so happened that whenever I called them the car would go and not stop!!!
A big thank you to those at the emergency tel no...I appreciate all the help you gave me when I was STUCK!!

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Stuck in the park ??

Unread post by bentley » Tue Aug 14, 2007 2:03 pm

If a persons vehicle was to break down in the park :cry: , no signal on your cell phone, garmin etc. and not a car in sight to maybe help out...What would be the best advice you could give if it should happen ?
Life is what we make of it..we can not control what happens in our life but how we handle it.

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Unread post by Senyetse » Tue Aug 14, 2007 2:08 pm

You know that could actually be quite a problem.
Imagine breaking down in that situation and on a gravel road just before gate closing time.
You would have to wait until morning as someone is bound to come along.
Otherwise use some means of signalling - a spotlight (or mirror in the day) would be a good idea.
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Unread post by DuQues » Tue Aug 14, 2007 2:25 pm

You would have to hope you got stuck in a good place, plenty sightings, and that your batteries are full.
It's a reason to pack some food, and plenty drinks! :wink:

And then just wait, and wait, and wait...

Under no circumstances get out and walk to a camp!
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Unread post by Luren » Sun Mar 30, 2008 6:31 pm

I came across a couple on the dirt road towards Timbavati.
They were anxious and had been there for 3 hours- saying they could go no further with their puncture.
I got out and changed the tyre while they kept a look-out- a bit scary but exciting, as hyenas were spotted somewhere nearby!
Last year as I was nearing Satara, I heard a terrible sound from my Rt front tyre-
didn't know what to do!
got to the camp and spoke to the guys who work at the workshop that takes care of the ranger and game-viewing vehicles-
they don't service public cars, but they helped me- a stone got jammed between the brake discs and cover!
I was soon ready to go out again.
Big thank you to the guys from Satara workshop
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Unread post by wingman » Sun Mar 30, 2008 8:46 pm

All I can say from past experience in the park is do not rely on the emergency guys, they are spaced too far apart and generally have more calls than they can deal with not because of the volume but the distances apart. If you get a puncture get out and change it and do yourself a favour before you go on your next trip go to the local garage and see how easy it is to fix a puncture.
I now carry a kit with me cost R45.00 as well as a can of tyre weld for the minor problems.
I have had a number of punctures in the park the last was at Timbavati picnic spot I had a thorn in the side wall of the tyre, not wanting to get dirty in all the dust I pushed the thorn back into the tyre and drove back to Satara where I changed the tyre and had it repaired.
I had to replace the tyre which was new as a side wall puncture repair is not safe at high speeds.

The best thing to do to prevent punctures is as said earlier on the forum replace tyres just before a trip if possible and do not ride over elephant dung!

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Unread post by Bush Baptist » Sun Mar 30, 2008 9:07 pm

My wife and I always take our own puncture repair kit along. We both did a repair on 2 vehicles in our own driveway, so now if we get a puncture in Kruger it will be no trouble for her to fix :roll:

Seriously, ALWAYS take along extra food and drink in case you travel lonely roads and get stuck.
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