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Breakdowns, car problems, flat tyres

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Re: Breakdowns, car problems, flat tyres

Unread post by don » Tue Nov 10, 2009 3:55 pm

July 2008 my son and had just arrived in Kruger after a long trip from the US.
We immediately launched out from Berg-en-Dal for an afternoon drive.
On a dirt road, we came upon a white rhino and offspring grazing by the road, maybe 50-70m away.
Naturally, this was a popular sighting with quite a few cars.
As it was nearing gate closure time, we decided to leave.
The road declined over a stream, with a one-lane bridge.
As the grass had grown quite high the edge of the bridge was not visible and upon negotiating the traffic jam the left front wheel slipped off the road and we "bottomed out".
Needless to say, it was not possible for the Yaris to extract itself from this predicament.
I was thinking...all these people are going to leave for camp and we will spend the night with these rhino. But, the first car to pass saw that we were in trouble.
The occupant, a young South African man whose name I never did get, hooked his 4x4 to our bumper with a tow line and pulled us out, with the rhino continuing to graze peacefully.
While the tow line was attached, we watched the rhino continuously for any sign of interest in us.
This young man saved us from quite a mess; it was heartwarming to be assisted so quickly and competently.
Once freed, our hearts were racing.
Whether one agrees with how we were rescued is not the point; the point is that one never knows what might happen in Kruger and being a little "extra prepared" can never hurt.
The other point is that there are still many wonderful people out there who in a time of need will come to your aid.

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Re: Breakdowns, car problems, flat tyres

Unread post by RogerFraser » Thu Feb 25, 2010 9:52 pm

We got a puncture on our last trip in Jan 09 .
Were doing our last loop down towards Croc Bridge before gate closing and as we turned onto the H4 to head back to Lower Sabie realised it was gone .
Decided to limp back :wall: and was passed by many who just drove on guess they were looking for wounded animals not vehicles :roll:

Got into camp and changed it but the tyre was gone,
then following day had to make a run into Komatipoort to get a new tyre ...
only to find out the car has unusual tyre size :cry: so ended up with an odd size spare .
Next month trip I am taking a tyre repair kit and an old casing I saved when I changed the tyres so I have a spare and and a half..
Certainly don't intend spending precious viewing time in Komatipoort again.....

Last edited by RogerFraser on Fri Feb 26, 2010 9:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Always planning the next trip......
~ Nothing exists for itself alone, but only in relation to other forms of life ~ Charles Darwin

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Re: Breakdowns, car problems, flat tyres

Unread post by Bushbaby30 » Fri Apr 09, 2010 8:00 pm

I’ve had 3 breakdowns in the park through the years

The first one was as a child visiting the park with my gran, mom and sister.
We stopped at a giraffe carcass and the stench was unbearable…
When we couldn’t bear it any more and it was really to hot my gran turned the key and nothing happened. Somebody gave my gran a lift to Skukuza who returned with the breakdown vehicle…
Can’t remember what was wrong with the car but I can definitely remember the smell!!

The second time my sister and I broke down on our way back from Satara and we were towed back by a Parks board truck.
Being towed for 90km at 80km/h in the park was terrifying!
Especially if you seldom go faster than 30km/h…
Skukuza couldn’t help us with a new alternator so we had to go to an auto electrician in Hazyview.
Luckily we were sorted out and could enjoy the rest of our visit.

The third time was about 3 years ago when our wheel bearing started packing up just before Tshokwane. Nox the mechanic came from Skukuza and temporarily helped us so that we could get to Phalaborwa.
Being 1 January most places were closed and the guy from the dealership that would have come to help us never pitched.
In the spares shop another guy told me to come with him and I was so desperate that I did…
My car was parked under a Marula tree and put on bricks.
I am still disappointed that I never took photo’s but being 2 woman alone safety had to be considered.
A half an hour later my car was fixed and what would have been over a thousand rand ended up being only R150…
And it is still going!
Nature does not hurry yet everything is accomplished- Lao Tzu

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Re: Breakdowns, car problems, flat tyres

Unread post by jungle jenny » Fri Apr 09, 2010 9:12 pm

When I was very young +/- 6 years old, our family were travelling on the main road from Skukuza to Lower Sabie.
It was not tarred in those days and had quite few dry dongas ( a dry riverbed) on it.
As luck would have it, we got a puncture in a donga.
With my Mom, brother and I as lookouts, my father hopped out the car to repair the tyre.
Soon after we were on our way again.
As we reached the top of the donga, we saw a rather large elephant walking towards us on that little sand road. In those days the road was known as the elephant road.
(At the T-junction near Skukuza there was a sign saying beware of the elephants!).
The ellies were not as used to traffic like they are nowadays and were not very friendly!!
It was definitely scarey!!

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Re: Breakdowns, car problems, flat tyres

Unread post by Mant » Thu Apr 15, 2010 9:11 pm

On the 26th March we had a little bit of a scary experience, we decided to go to Timbavati Picnic Spot for breakfast that morning and as we were driving up the road there were four lions, 2 lionesses and 2 cubs.

There was a car behind us and all of a sudden they told us that we had a flat tyre, we didn't even know it.

So we waited for the car to go in front of us, like it was sort of herding the lions.
My dad has this tyre pump that you attach to the engine of the car so that you can pump the tyre.
Once the lions went up the road and over the hill he had to get out of the car and attach it to the engine and he turned it on.

It pumped the tyre quite well until we reached the Picnic Spot which was 11 km away.
We had to keep an eye out for any more lion or any other dangerous animals.

Then we told the car in front of us that we had to get past them and the lions to go and change the tyre.
So we went past them and then the lions walked off into the bush and then we finally reached the Picnic Spot had breakfast and then my dad changed the tyre there.

That was really a scary experience!!!
I mean we were stuck in the middle of these lions until they moved off.

Here are some of the pictures of the lions.





Satara 25 - 28 March 2018

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Re: Breakdowns, car problems, flat tyres

Unread post by Snakeman » Tue Apr 20, 2010 6:05 pm

Being a safari guide, I am in Kruger more frequently than most people and have had my fair share of flat tyres.
Fortunately for me I usually have 9 eager pairs of eyes on the back of my vehicle looking out for any dangerous creatures while I change the tyre.
On most of these occasions, members of the public have stopped to lend a hand, or park their vehicle in a strategic position to protect me from game, (or other road users) while changing the tyre.
I find the general attitude of people visiting the park is to help someone else in need or difficulty.
One fellow even loaned us his spare wheel when our spare turned out to be flat!
We returned it to him the next day once we had our spare and flat repaired. :clap:

If you have ever been in the unfortunate position to need the services of these willing, good Samaritans, then return the good deed by being the good Samaritan the next time you come across someone in a similar predicament in the park.
---------- Snakeman ---------
| Kruger - my second home |

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Re: Breakdowns, car problems, flat tyres

Unread post by Bundu_SA_Guy » Wed Apr 21, 2010 8:19 am

Ahhh this topic brings back memories of one of my favourite Kruger trips,
This was in 1982 when we did an "all Male" family Easter Weekend trip and stayed at Satara.
We used a hired Combi and late one afternoon, I think we were on the S100 and after viewing a herd of Elephants, we decided to had back to camp as gate closing time was nearing, when suddenly, less then 500m from the ellies we got a puncture,
Luckily we were a large group so we got the flat changed quick enough to make it back to camp in time
Stress levels are rising ... need a Kruger fix

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Tourist breakdown stories

Unread post by UKWAZI » Tue Apr 27, 2010 1:05 pm

Hi Everybody;

We just returned from a GREAT trip in Kruger (Will post the TR soon) BUT I have to share this with you... :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

We were staying at Letaba last night and just before we got to camp we came accross a lion sighting on the dirt road, not very far from camp.
After a while we left the sighting and headed for camp, leaving a traffic jam behind.
Well, to make a long story short, we booked in and started the fire next to the fence.
Whilst enjoying a cold one we noticed the 'lion watchers' speeding down the road to the gate but they were already 10 minutes late.
Little did they know, that they left a fellow 'watcher' behind at the sighting with a broken down vehicle.
Soon thereafter we heard the 'car trouble victims' hooting, and the hooting carried on well into the early evening.
The hooting became more and more intense until the battery went flat and so did the 'auditory distress signals' which gave way to the Scops owl.

We informed the authorities about what happened and the local ranger rescued the 'game spotters in distress'.

IMAGINE THAT - being stuck next to a lion sighting at night!!! :lol:
To be or not to be, that is the question...I am and I want to be!!!

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Re: Tourist breakdown scare with lions

Unread post by DinkyBird » Tue Apr 27, 2010 1:24 pm

H. erectus wrote:What if it had happened further away and no one could hear the distress
You hope the night drive comes your way, or you settle down for a night in your car and just be grateful the lions had had supper :lol: (that is IF they had)

UKWAZI - I bet those folk will never be the last to leave a sighting again.
- Dalene

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Re: Tourist breakdown scare with lions

Unread post by Sanpfan » Tue Apr 27, 2010 2:45 pm

Good point about if breakdown further away and no-one can hear you. :shock:
An uncomfortable night in the car will be unwelcome.

Funny when it happens to others but not to you :D

I wander what the lions thought of it all??
Are we really the most intelligent species??

2009 and 2010 trips are a distant memory but will remain special.

TMNP - Got Married and had the Honeymoon blinkers on!! Too busy for TMNP!!.

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Re: Tourist breakdown scare with lions

Unread post by terryc » Tue Apr 27, 2010 3:41 pm

It must actually be quite a frightening experience, particularly if you have kids in the car who are complaining that they are hungry, thirsty and scared.
26 June to 29 June - Berg N Dal
30 June to 1 July - P'kop
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Re: Tourist breakdown scare with lions

Unread post by carolynn » Tue Apr 27, 2010 3:58 pm

Couldn't someone have helped them earlier? - you would have got to hear the scops owl much sooner! Hope they at least enjoyed a good sighting. Lions are OK for the night, but ellies... no thanks- the car needs to function fast when I see them! :)
Live each day as if it's your last... and one day you'll be right!

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Re: Tourist breakdown scare with lions

Unread post by ndloti » Wed Apr 28, 2010 9:10 am

Reminds me of a currently inactive forum member who spent a night in the wilderness when their vehicle was stuck on the Mananga trail near Satara in December 2007 .
KNP is sacred. I am opposed to the modernisation of Kruger and from the depths of my soul long for the Kruger of yesteryear! 1000+km on foot in KNP incl 56 wild trails.200+ nights in the wildernessndloti-indigenous name for serval.

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Re: Breakdowns, car problems, flat tyres

Unread post by Paul Marshall » Wed Apr 28, 2010 3:51 pm

Just returned from 2 weeks in the park but had an interesting experience on 1st day.

About 20kms from Berg en dal on a dirt road at 17.15 we had a puncture on our motorhome.
All the air went in seconds and the camper was un-driveable.

We followed the rules and rang through and eventually spoke to the ranger.
We were told that all his staff were busy on an anti-poaching patrol and no-one was available to help us, we'd have to do it alone.
By this time it was getting pretty dark and by the time we'd changed the wheel (not easy on a big motorhome) it was 18.30 and pitch black.

I think the experience raises an interesting debate.

What would the response have been in the media if visitors had been attacked?
But, I would rather the rangers were out catching poachers.

I don't see that there is a perfect solution to this dilemma.

Raise the entry fees to employ an extra ranger at each camp just for such "emergencies"?

On the plus side, we did get a private night drive on our way back to camp.
Unfortunately we only saw a Hare!

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Re: Breakdowns, car problems, flat tyres

Unread post by issi » Mon May 10, 2010 10:42 am

Just been reading the thread, and it reminded me off an incident, in 1970,
It was in the time when KNP was “woes en leeg”. (Wild and empty)
My dad had a C 280 Mercedes, the one with the “wings”.
We were 5 kids, mom and dad.
Well the one day they were sick and tired of the kids and left us in Shingwedzi for the afternoon and set off on a romantic sunset drive.
Being kids we got hungry and it was time for the gates to close so we all went to the gate to wait for them. There were my parents, reversing into the camp!
On the S50, now the Kanniedood dam, they drove down one of the little road to the river and as my dad put the car into reverse, something went wrong and the car was stuck in reverse.
Well he had to reverse all the way back to the camp, 8 miles.
They asked at reception if anyone could help them,
well one of the staff grew up on a farm and with a spanner and a piece of Bloudraad they fixed the problem. The Game ranger’s wife remarked that she though it odd that the man liked reverse so much that the reversed into the camp!

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