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Too Late at the Gate Stories

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Unread post by Gerber » Wed Dec 13, 2006 11:29 am

What if...

You get blocked on a small gravel road by an elephant near Pretoriuskop. The first elephant you see after 4 days on a 5 day stay in the Park. Eventually he lets you pass and now you have to travel at at least 38km/h tomake it in time for the gate.

After 4 km you spot a leapard in the tree. Your son has not seen a leopard (that he can remember) and it lies in a tree close to the road. (the first cat you see since you entered the park). The kids want to see more, dads want to look longer but mother says you have to go. So you leave. an uneasy silence fills the car.

Dads now driving 40km/h (on gravel) and will have to accellerate to 50km/h when we hit the tar raod or we will be late. At the jusction with the tar raod, dad barely stops (as not to loose time) and turns onto the tar accelerating to 50km/h.

Around the first bend the car comes alive with shouts of exitement as a nother road block appear, this time a male and two female lions lay lazily in the road. The second cat siting in minutes after 4 days of rooibokke, rooibokke & more rooibokke :twisted: (rooibokke=impala).

Dad has to stop, your son is excited and even mother forgot about the gate for the moment. But then reality sets in and you have to leave to get to camp (now late :!: ).

The uneasy silence return to the car as mom blames dad for now having to spend hard saved holiday money on a fine at the gate just because a crocodile was interesting at the dam.

We have to stop again, this time at a closed camp gate. hearts are pounding and the gate guard appear dad explains and plea not giving the guard a chance to speak. When eventually dad stops talking the guard opens the gate and let us in, smiling and saluting as we drive past straight to the shop. :shock:

This was about 24 years ago, I was the little boy and surely one of the best gate closing moments I remeber (and there were many others) :wink:
Elephants kill emerging tuskers (Beeld: 14 June 2007)

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Unread post by Wolverine » Wed Dec 13, 2006 4:39 pm

Last year we visited the park from the 27th of December 2005 to the 3rd of January 2006.

On the 30th we were travelling on a gravel road towards Tamboti Tent Camp, when all of a sudden a angry elephant appears from out of nowhere and storms the car (we were travelling in a Outlander).

So we stop and reverse as we have no choice. The elephant also stops, but every time we start moving forward he charges us again.

After about 20 minutes of playing dodgems with the elephant, he decides to put in a real fierce charge. With our wives screaming at the top off their lungs and me wanting to get out of the vehicle, my friend had to take drastic measures and drive into the veld.

After about 200m the elephant gave up his chase, but left us with 2 flat rear wheel tyres. Nice.

We got them fixed in Hoedspruit ( luckily we had 2 spare wheels). On our way back we just made it in time to still get the main gate open, as it was past 7 already. On our way to the camp we found a lion and lioness with 2 cubs playing in the middle of the road, giving us nice pictures.

That was some experience.

Hope to hear some more stories of close encounters.
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Unread post by Boulder » Wed Dec 13, 2006 6:38 pm

1976 there was a herd of over 1000 buffalo that poperated between Lower Sabie and Croc Bridge....I havent seen one that big in that area in many years. I was in my beetle and had just completed the dust road S28 and it looked like I was the last car as my little VW Beetle chugged towards LS. In fact I hadnt seen a car for about an hour. I was going to make the gate if I kept up a steady 40kmh. Came around the corner as this huge herd was spilling into the road for as far as the eye could see and many were already lying down on the still warm tar road. Now what do I turn around and go back to Croc Bridge and along the river road to Malelane and then up to Skukuza and then down the Lower Sabie Road to camp from the other side and I worked it out that I would get to camp all things being equal at about 11:30 that night. VERY TEMPTING. I knew I was on my own as in those days there were no Sunset or night drives so 18h00hrs gate close was just that and the big padlock went on and invariably the guard left after 20 mins and went to his house in the village. I decided to see how far I would get in my beetle by slowly inching my way through the herd. I slowly approached the herd and some Big Bulls came forward looking down their noses as if to say "You Owe me Money!!!" gradually they started to reluctantly get to their feet and take 1 step backwards to just let me get another 5 metres. After 30 mins I had got about 200 mtres into the herd and it was very late and I looked in the mirror and I was literally surrounded by 1000Plus fairly annoyed Buff. I carried on for another 10 minutes and I was already 45 mins late for the gate with no end in sight of this huge herd. Suddenly there was pandemonium and buffalo scattered in all directions in a huge cloud of dust and unfortunately one cow ran into my fender and took out my front right headlight and left a bit of a dent as well in her rush to get away. I was left all alone in the pitch dark with the headlight picking up the falling dust. I was now able to proceed at a normal speed and lo and behold not one Km away with LS in sight there in the road were 2 big male lions on the must have been lion whiff that set the herd off...just as well as I reckon I would have been there for at least another 40 mins. Got to the camp gate which was locked...the shop looked closed to. So I gingerly went to the Ranger Lynne Van Rooyens House next door. His Dogs met me at his large security gate and this alerted one of his field rangers who came and listened to my story and he laughed like a drain and said it happenned quite often and told me I was very brave as most times they woulld have to go and fetch late tourists from that stretch. He got a key and let me in. The best was when I got back to JHB and had to report this damage to the insurance co and on the claim form one of the questions requires you to state what happenned...."Well there was this Buffalo.....!!!!"
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Unread post by Gerber » Fri Dec 15, 2006 3:34 pm

Many moons ago we, as a family, were on our way to Skukuza.

With the (old) gate in sight an angry elephant bull came from close to the camp into the road, ears flapping and trunk in the air.

My dad was towing his first caravan - a Sprite Sport - and my aunt and her fiance was in the car with us.

In those days you could still buy Elephant biltong from the Kruger Park. We were munching on the biltong when the elephant started chasing us back, all the way towards the big intersection.

As it was minutes to closing time the gate guard saw this happening. My aunt was convinced that the elephant was angry because we were eating one of his brothers (the biltong). :shock:

The elephant only let up once we were all the way back in the big intersection. We returned to the camp after making sure the ellie was deep into the bush. the guard let us in with a smile.

To this day, dads is convinced that that was how he learnt to reverse with a caravan behind the car. :lol:
Elephants kill emerging tuskers (Beeld: 14 June 2007)

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Unread post by annalie » Tue May 13, 2008 5:27 pm

During 2006, we stayed in Orpen for a few nights, but the last night was the best. We were out all day en route back to the camp when about 10km before reaching the gate, we came to a road block of approximately 8 lions. Some were laying on the road while others stood around, giving us a lot of picture opportunities. However, we had only about 30 minutes left before the gate close and tried to bypass the lions, but to no avail as they would just simply not move from the road. By this time, there were a lot of vehicles trying to make it to the gate on time, but there was nowhere to go. The night drive from Orpen arrived and after ten minutes started flashing it's lights to see if the lions will remove themselves from the road, but no go! It was becoming quite dark and everybody had to switch on their headlights when suddenly two of lions (laying in the road) decided they had enough, stood up and sauntered nonchalantly of the road. This opened the gap and the vehicles slowly, on the wrong side of the road, made their way past them. When we were next to the night drive vehicle we were requested to go directly, without stopping to the gate, but that we have to drive slowly due to the darkness and animals on the road. OK here we go, a long Que like at the drive-inns with the next stop at Orpen. Upon reaching Orpen, the gate was already closed and everybody was directed to a side gate that exits the KNP without going through Orpen. This was not plan of our itinerary - we wanted to get inside the camp to our bungalow, not outside the KNP. We had to wait for everybody to pass us before reversing back for about 300 m to the main gate where a very friendly staff member arrived after about 10 minutes asking if there was something that he can do for us, as only overnight visitors are allowed in the camp. Well, luckily we had our KNP travel documents with us to proof that we were staying in the camp. The question: were are the cats when you have time on hands straining your eyes looking for them ...
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Unread post by Senyetse » Tue May 13, 2008 5:45 pm

We were in the park two weeks ago. I kept thinking the gate closes at 6 pm meanwhile it closes at 5:30 pm. We would be out in the park within a few km of the camp gate at about 5:20 wondering why people were rushing for the gate. I remember saying to my SO "Ag we still have 40 mins, we can take it slow". We would get to the gate every evening at about 5:40 - 5:45 pm. On the last day we realised our mistake and then it made sense why the gate guard gave us such a dirty look and why everyone was rushing by us! Luckily we did not stay out until 6 pm. :redface:
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Unread post by G@mespotter » Tue May 13, 2008 7:05 pm

One late afternoon in July 2007 we were on the s100, and lions were crawling all over the place. Unfortunately, they decided to walk along the s100, +-70 m from us and kept doing that for 30 min.

Only then we realized gate time is approaching, but we stay till quite late. Didnt realize that we are at the far end of the s100 either..... :redface:

Suddenly (and this is sad about the s100) engens were starting, and we were part of 15 cars heading towards camp......and even though we didnt really speed (OK, maybe by 5kms), were were nr 12 of the 15 cars :roll: , a HUGE dust cloud formed....... :redface: and we were part of it. Speed was reduced to 30 kmh as we were unable to see 50m in front of us, despite our lights being switched on :roll:

Approaching camp, a very long queue emerged.........we waited for 20 minutes before the gate would open. Didnt seem like Satara camp management liked this. This is what happens when you underestimate time and dust roads........ :redface: :redface:

It looked like this....

By the way, makes a nice story Boulders :clap:
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Unread post by Bush Baptist » Tue May 13, 2008 7:29 pm

I was always proud of my punctuality ...until Biyamiti 2001. I always made it on time no matter what the great sightings there were, and usually got in by seconds, until that day when all the good stuff came out for the late late show and we turned into Biyamiti Drive, 4 km from camp at 18h00, closing time. The road is not conducive to 40kph, so the convoy of 3 would be quite late.
Luck was on our side however, a few days previously, a giraffe had died just off the road, 1km from camp and had provided a feast for the 13 strong local pride. It was there that a big herd of buffs was blocking the road, trying to get past the carcass. I quickly seized the moment and rang the camp to tell them that we had a roadblock problem and would be late :twisted: The response was one of excitement, and shortly we saw headlights on the far side in the gathering gloom.
An amazing scene played out for the next hour, with lions & buffs alternately occupying the road. When a buff was encircled and the lions were about to pounce, the heavies charged and the lions ran like scared kittens. When at last the buffs retreated and we were able to get through, we saw the night ride vehicle with others of our party, plus the whole camp staff & occupants watching across the way from us.
Later, while a dozen of us were recalling the action, the camp manager came up to us and announced that there was a fine for being late. My party agreed and egged him on, but he said under the circumstances he would waive it.
This story was the first to be used in the Traveller's Tales section under the title of 'The Biyamiti Standoff'.
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Unread post by Pjw » Mon Jun 02, 2008 4:44 pm

We were at Biyamiti a few years ago in June. We were on the dirt road about 2km from the camp. shortly before closing time when we came across 2 lions mating. I think all 15 cars were late that night, but no one fined us, They probably knew what was going on and waited for us all to go in and then closed the gate :D

3 years ago we were at orpen and had gone out on a late afternoon drive along the S106. We had done our usual calculation of how long to closing time and then driving out for half that amount of time, theoretically you than turn round and have enough time to get back to camp. Well were driving slowly in an area of thick bush, when a couple of buffalo strolled into the road in front of us. We could not see any others and didn't panic, but suddenly about 50-60 appeared in the road behind us and when we looked foreward there were another 100 or more in front of us. We were surrounded and could go nowhere, What is amazing to us always is how so many animals appear as if from thin air. We were about 20min late at the gate that night, but the guard believed our story and let us off without a fine
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Re: Too Late at the Gate Stories

Unread post by oddesy » Thu Dec 04, 2008 9:06 am

The one time i remember being late for gate closing time was at berg-en-dal. We were on the S110 for our afternoon drive and just at the part a few km from B+Dal where there is a concrete river bed crossing two white rhino decided they would like to stand there :roll: We must have waited for 45 minutes and were about fifteen minutes late. Luckily we did not get a fine or anything, we were not even asked for a reason for being late :hmz:

Another incident that i remember was also only a few km from a camp, this time olifants where a large number of cars were held up by a breeding herd of elephant. The same thing happened at lower sabie, except a large bull decided to charge the cars , the only difference here was that there were LOTS! of cars so it was chaos . It was right at sunset dam and again only about five min late with no consequences. :)
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Re: Too Late at the Gate Stories

Unread post by Zorro » Fri Dec 05, 2008 9:20 pm

Hi Guys,

Me, I had the fortunate late coming at the entrance gate twice... entering at Malelane... At that stage working in Gauteng, and both times had to call when I was in Nelspruit to organize escourt from the gate... and no, you are not suppose to do this, but it is most probably one of the most humbling experiences of my life..... The guards await you at the gate... basic rule... travel in the middle of the road..... that night drive from BnD is wow... but driving behind the guards in your own little car is scary....

It is pitch black... you cannot see beyond your car lights... and not to the left or right.... Only the moon and the stars....

On both occasions I saw lion.... lioness with two cubs, and then the big Man in the middle of the road.... we had to pass the man, as the guys escourting me wants to go to bed, me, I am just enjoying every silent moment of the dark.... On the first occasion, we saw an Elephant bull, rhino and hyeana.... wonderful..... Second time, rhino and hyeana with her pups.....

So yeah, in my case I did plan and paid to be late, but it was every sent well spent... Absolutely amazing, and also scary.....

So if you want to be late, plan it for an entrance gate...awesome....

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Re: Too Late at the Gate Stories

Unread post by Maddie88 » Sun Mar 22, 2009 4:57 am

A few years ago, I went to Kruger with my Grandparents. We stayed at Shingwedzi and it was in the winter months, so elies EVERYWHERE!
We chose to take the river drive out the back gate for the afternoon, up to Kannidood dam and then head back. There were cars all over the road, everyone going in the same direction.
We turned around at the Dam and headed back, along with all the other Camp Visitors. All of a sudden, around the bend, 3 LARGE ellies in the road walking towards us. Everyone in reverse, and it carried on for 3KM! Gate closing time was.....NOW!!! Ok, calm down.... We'll be fine!
There was a bird hide coming up behind us and many people made a dive into it, hoping the ellie would carry on the road. I decided that it would be best to stay on the road just in case he makes a dash into the bird hide, then, you're stuck! And true as, he did!!!!
All the rest made a dash for the gate. It was amazing! So many cars in front, you couldn't see the start, so many behind, you couldn't see the end. We were 15mins late and as we reached the gate, the gaurd was just about to close it I think. He stood in awe staring at all the late arrivals! He couldn't believe it, just like we couldn't believe it!

We told the rnagers at the office that some people might be stuck with an angry ellie in a bird hide. He gathered his team and sped of to help. When he got to the birdhide, the ellie was standing in the entrance of the birdhide road eating away with his two buddies, all the people sitting in the birdhide!!!

So funny....
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Re: Too Late at the Gate Stories

Unread post by Hugh » Mon Mar 23, 2009 9:43 am

Maddy I had a good giggle over that one.
We were late once many years ago.
Our old Triumph had been giving trouble and when the engine was warm it woudn't start. So we were in LS and decided to fill up with petrol for our trip back to Skukuza. This gave us plenty of time to get back But first a quick stop at the shop for an icecream.Then the car went on strike and wouldn't even kick over So all the staff put their noses in the engine and fiddled with this and that to no avail. So we went to the office to book ourselves in to LS BUT no accommodation available. So after and hour or so the engine was cool enough and the car started but there was no way we could do the trip in time But the Staff said go but drive slowly. And using that crackly old wireless notified Skukuza that we were on our way.. So off we went and of course we saw everything you could imagine on the way back even a leopard on the road resting and if we stopped we would never get going again.It was very dark when we arrived back The Skuks staff were waiting for us .( this was about 35 years ago)
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Re: Too Late at the Gate Stories

Unread post by Canis Lupis » Tue Mar 24, 2009 10:13 am

In 2002 we went to Punda Maria. After pitching the tent we decided to go on an afternoon drive. About 10 Kms outside PM we came accross 2 cheetah feeding on a young zebra carcass. After spending a while with the two spotted speedsters we decided it prudent to return to camp. In the excitement however, we took the wrong turn-off and arrived at Babalala picknic spot with about 30 minutes to gate closing time. Realising our mistake we frantically hurried back. Whilst obeying the 50kms/h limit we calculated that we would only be 15 minutes late. Soon a huge herd of buffaloes blocked the road and floored that calculation by another 15 minutes. As if that was not enough we had to deal with the theatrics of a huge elephant bull who enthusiastically tried to impress our little Golf with his Chuck Norris impersonations. Another 15 minutes to the clock.
5 Kms outside of PM (Where those huge Mopani trees grow) my SO saw a huge baboon in the road up ahead. As we came closer mister baboon miraculously morphed into a angry young male lion who was not impressed with these law breaking tourists. Another 10 minutes.
Finally we arrived at the gate a good hour late and the gate attentant wanted to check our boot. Just then I realised oh sh*t, my son picked up the skull and some other bones of a bushbuck male on a farm outside KNP and this was still in the boot!
I promptly explained to the gate attendant that there was a bushbuck skeleton in the trunk but that we aquired it on a farm outside the park. (As if the KNP animals come with barcodes).
I dont know how I got out of that one but the gate adendant was very friendly and let us hapless tourists go of with a stern warning. Things like this probably happen every day....

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Re: Too Late at the Gate Stories

Unread post by Dakka » Tue Mar 24, 2009 11:42 am

During 1996 my wife and I toured Zimbabwe for the first time. During our tour we arrived at Hwange National park and drove to Sinamatella where we had booked for the evening. One walk around the camp made us decide it was not for us and we left driving to Robins camp hoping for the best.

We has no problems getting accommodation and after unpacking we had just over a hour left and decided to go for a short drive before pitching the tent an getting settled.

We drove to the salt pans drinking spot and as we approached the rise just before the pans we encountered three Cheetahs strolling down the road. Watching and taking photos took up time and we eventually drove over the rise to the pan giving us an unbelievable sight of the whole area.

We saw Elephants and more and more. We both started counting and both stopped when we got to a thousand. They just kept pouring in and leaving after having a drink. We were eventually completely surrounded and could not move. I have seen large herds in Botswana but never anything like this. This was our first trip outside of South Africa and as time passed we got more and more worried about the gate closing. We need not have worried, at 9.30 when we were at last able to leave, we encountered a Ranger and no explanations were necessary as he had also been surrounded by the herd and could not move.

He took us back to camp and did all the explaining. The guard was still at the gate waiting as he heard about the Elephants; two other tourists arrived shortly after us having encountered the same problem. Needless to say not much time was spend sleeping. We were to busy swapping nervous stories about the afternoons events.

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