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Breakdowns, car problems, flat tyres

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Re: Flat tire

Unread post by madach » Sun May 15, 2005 10:44 am

Little1 wrote:Has anybody ever had the unfortunate experience of a flat tire while driving through the park? If so, what did you do?

I had two flats on my last trip to Kruger.
There's really only one thing you can do and that's get out of your car and change the tire.
I had my wife on the lookout while I changed the tire.
At a couple of camps in Kruger, but not all of them, have workshops where your tire can be repaired.
My tires were fixed at Letaba and Shingwedzi.

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Unread post by Jose » Sun May 15, 2005 5:05 pm

Reminds me of a story I've heard several times over the past few years told by different people on different occasions...

A couple actually experiencing this mishap had waited in their car for a while, hoping for another visitor to drive by.
No one came and it was getting later and later, so finally the husband decides the only thing he can do is get out and change the tire.
Like madach; with his wife on the lookout.
He changes the tire, she watches his back and while at it takes some pics of courageous hubby.
Nothing happens and they make it back to the camp in time and on 4 healthy tires.
It wasn't until after they'd arrived back home and had their photos developed that they noticed the male lion in the grass right by the side of the road. :shock:

I don't know if this is at all true, but even if it isn't, it's still a great story simply because it COULD be true.
The talent of lions to turn themselves into plain nothingness right in front of you is second to none.
All they need is a handful of dry grass, and sometimes not even that. :lol:

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Unread post by Guinea Pig » Sun May 15, 2005 8:14 pm

A different version of this one has been circulating in our family! :lol:
My brother-in-law's fav story is how they had to change a tyre on their way back to Lower Sabie on that quiet stretch of road coming from Nkumbe.
After changing the tyre and getting in the vehicle a car coming from the other side frantically tried to get their attention -
A leopard was lying in a tree a few metres from where they were changing the kombi's tyre, watching them. :lol:

Lucky me he doesn't read the forum, because I'm now rather doubting the "truth" of that episode! :twisted:
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Re: Flat tire

Unread post by arks » Sat May 21, 2005 6:53 pm

This is great if there are 2 or more of you.
However, I have always traveled alone in Kruger and when I was last there, in July 2000, I had a flat.
Not sure what caused it, but fortunately I was fairly close to Olifants when I discovered the flat and as I was alone and had no cell phone, I just drove on it for the final 9km to the petrol station in the camp.

Of course not only the tyre but the wheel as well was destroyed.
One of the men at the petrol station changed over to my spare and I spent much of the next day at the Avis offices at Phalaborwa, because with another week ahead in the park, I couldn't travel without replacing the destroyed tyre and wheel.
Avis was very good about it, tho of course I had to pay for the cost of the tyre and wheel and it took most of a day out of my time in the park.
I have NO idea what I could have done had this happened farther from camp or in a more remote area, but I'll be sure to have a cell phone next time and just hope I can get a signal should I need it.

When I visited the old Gemsbok park in the early 1990s, each camp made certain that you checked in at the gate each evening when you returned, so that they could be sure that everyone who was booked was back in camp.
This is fairly easy to do when there are only 3 relatively small camps.
However, one night when I was staying at Twee Rivierien (sp?),
I arrived to find the camp gates closed and locked (chain and padlock), although it was still about 5 minutes before the closing time.
I sat leaning on my horn for quite a few minutes before someone finally appeared, very surprised to see me!!
So even that system was not perfect ... and of course would be impossible in Kruger, where I guess a camp would have no idea if a resident should not return before the gates were closed.

Moral? Be prepared and always take extra food and water (and even a blanket) in case you should get marooned in your car overnight in the park.
Has anyone ever heard whether this has happened in KNP?

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Unread post by Freda » Sat May 21, 2005 7:03 pm

In the early 80's we came across a couple, early one morning, in a VW Beetle who had slept out in the park because they had run out of petrol.
In those days you could still syphon petrol out of a car and we did this for them with a hyaena circling both vehicles. It was very scary but we had to help them even if we thought they were a bit irresponsible and told them so.
I'm sure if you got a flat someone would eventually stop and help you, people really aren't that uncaring.

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Unread post by DinkyBird » Sat May 21, 2005 8:23 pm

We had a flat years ago but just as we were driving into Balule so were able to change it in the camp. Someone suggested to us that a reason one gets flats in Kruger is from driving over sharp bones :shock: anyone else heard this theory?

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Unread post by Freda » Sat May 21, 2005 8:30 pm

I've never heard about sharp bones, but I do avoid ellie pooh as it often has thorns in it and also I'd hate to kill a dung beetle.
I'm also very careful when doing three point turns not to let my tyres touch the veld, would rather take about seven turns (angel thing :lol: ) to avoid thorns.
Once drove straight from Kruger to Mossel Bay with a slow pucture and they took out a Kruger thorn and repaired the tyre when I got there.
Last edited by Freda on Sat May 21, 2005 8:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Unread post by Bush Baptist » Thu May 26, 2005 8:22 pm

In 2001, I tragically had a flat just before exiting Biyamiti.
Sadly I was not first out of the gate that day, but it forced us to change plans and take the tyre to Skukuza, via Lower Sabie (no facilities).
Just past Sunset Dam I saw my very first ever leopard, IN A TREE nogal, growling at lions.
The Skukuza garage closes for lunch, so plan your punctures.
We now take a repair kit and a compressor.
It is quite easy to fix actually, my wife does it in next to no time!
In my early years in the park (circa 1956/7) my mother needed to wee, so my dad stopped the car and she opened both side doors and squatted.
My brother and I were instructed to look for game on the other side of the road.
My dad shouted "Get back in the &*#$* car!!"
She flew in and shut the doors.
In the wintry yellow grass, nobody had spotted the two lionesses about 4 metres away.
They were unconcerned fortunately.
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Unread post by Freda » Thu May 26, 2005 8:46 pm

I've been visiting the park for over 20 years and I never knew you could have a puncture repaired at the camps :cry:
In January we had a puncture on the Matjula loop, we got out and changed it and next day headed for Crocodile Bridge and went into Komatipoort to get it repaired, would have been so easy to go to Skukuza.
We have now bought two cans of something that is supposed to inflate your tyre so I don't suppose we will get another :lol:
Which other camps do tyre repairs?

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Unread post by Bush Baptist » Thu May 26, 2005 8:56 pm

There used to be a full on car repair service run by the AA at Skukuza, but that was discontinued years ago. Also there were lesser services at Letaba and Satara, and the map book confirms it.
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Hello all

Unread post by Jburg » Wed Nov 09, 2005 9:44 pm

My parents just returned today 2005-11-09 from the Kruger and they had a bit of shock.
My dad decided he would take his big Merc (s500) and landed up with a flat between Mopani and Shingwedzi . My dad did not have much of choice to change it as that heavy car would rip the rest of the tire and rim to shreds.
So he decided to change it.

To make the story short.
He changed it not really looking around for any predators.
He started up the car and look what walking down the middle of the road, 3 lions.

Needless to say he had a another flat the next day and did not bother to change it in a hurry.

If he just waited 5min more before changing the tyre , he could have been lion food.

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Unread post by Ollie » Wed Nov 09, 2005 10:46 pm

When we last visited the Kruger in 2003, we had a flat tyre.
Must have happened on the gravel road between Lower Sabi and Crocodile Bridge on the S28.
We only really noticed it when we turned onto the H4-2 going South to the Crocodile River Camp.
We were in a hire car (VW Micro Bus), so unfamiliar with the tyre placement... we stopped on the bridge at Gomondwane (hope I have spelt this correctly!).. and finally worked out the spare was under the front of the vehicle.
What I was not prepared for was how to get it out :huh:
To cut the story short, you undo the bolt and it drops down.... :oops:
I was under the vehicle at the time, so ended up with the freaking tyre on top of me....any way after feeling like a complete idiot :doh: we replaced the flat.
The hire company were fantastic and had a replacement at the camp when the gates opened in the morning...... perhaps not as entertaining as some of the other stories......but memorable!

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Re: Hello all

Unread post by Loams » Thu Nov 10, 2005 8:18 pm

Jburg wrote:If he just waited 5min more before changing the tyre , he could have been lion food.

Well, now we all know how to find Lions ;-)

Seriously, if I had a flat, I would wait just a bit for another car to come around (Depending where you are) so they can park in such a way that they cover your back while you change the tyre. Otherwise the other person you are traveling with (If applicable) must keep watch outside the car while you are busy.
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Unread post by Jazil » Thu Nov 10, 2005 10:34 pm

I must say that I like the advice given by Loams if you have a flat......... wait for another car to come, hope they stop, and get them to watch your back, especially if your alone, as I will be next week. Its not actually changing the tyre that worries me, but undoing the frigging wheel nuts :(
So hopefully if this happens to me, some STRONG male will be in the car, that hopefully will stop for me :lol:
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Unread post by bucky » Fri Nov 11, 2005 11:29 pm

Hi , branches lying in the road are a big culprit of punctures ,
and the jagged bits sticking out really damage tyres .

I have helped about 3 people stranded in kruger now , 2 with breakdowns and 1 with a puncture .

Most memorable story is this 1 though .

Myself and my boet took 2 of our staff up into kruger after we did a job repairing a machine in Louis Tichardt (We are Jhb company , and this was there first trip to a game reserve) .
We stayed at Orpen on our second night and where on the way along the Sweni road when
we came across a white merc with 2 elderly couples in the car.
They had been stuck there for over 45 mins and we where the first car to come along (they where there from early as they stayed at Talamati).
Apparently they were following a pair of lionesses when car had died :shock: .
After a good scan of the bush , and posting my now very exited staff members on the roof of my double cab as look outs (How good an idea this was , i don't know , seeing as neither had ever seen a lion in the bush before) , we proceeded to check the vehicle , and found the immobilizer to be faulty .
Luckily we had an assortment of tools and spares as the machine we repaired in Louis Trichardt was an electronic forklift .
After stripping the immobilizer box , and proceeding to "hot wire" the car so it could work without it , I heard the following from the 2 aerial watchmen
Charles "Do you see something over there down the road"
Vusi "yes , isn't it a lion "
Charles "yes I think there are 3 "
So I look up to see the 2 lionesses and a male lying on the side of the road a fair distance off, needless to say , the progress of the repairs happened very hastily after that and we got the vehicle back on the road in double ... no triple quick time .
I don't think I have ever seen a group of people so thankful in all my life, was great and was even better to know they where there on a round table fund raising weekend .
Got a letter from the gent after about a month thanking us and saying the vehicle had gotten them home safe and sound .

Well , we where handsomely rewarded for our good samaritan deed , and our viewing for the 3 night long weekend entering at punda , and exiting at numbi , was this -
African wild cat , wild dog , cheeta , lions , plenty of ellys buff and all the rest , and an awesome night drive at lower sabie with good sightings of lion,rhino,elephant,buffalo and other night goodies .
I doubt many people have had a first time trip to kruger like my 2 staff members .

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