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Breakdowns, car problems, flat tyres

Discuss and find information on the Kruger National Park
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Re: Breakdowns, car problems, flat tyres

Unread post by iLoveMeerkats! » Fri Apr 05, 2013 10:57 pm

Thanks Sheenaugh-Lee. Actually, we won't be going to Nelspruit. We head straight from the airport to Malelane and do all of our shopping there. I am wondering if there is a place in Malelane where I might find a can or two.

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Re: Breakdowns, car problems, flat tyres

Unread post by Goggo EJ » Sat Apr 06, 2013 7:22 am

Malelane has a Midas on the same side of the road as Pick and Pay, and quite a few tyre repair outlets in the same area, so you will definitely get something there.
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Breakdown with electronic problem

Unread post by Wildtuinfan » Tue Jun 25, 2013 11:01 am

We broke down between Letaba and Satara on a public holiday.
Towed to Satara camp where we were fortunately staying for 5 days.
Suspected an electronic problem causing no fuel to get through, but had a big struggle finding someone willing and who had the diagnostic machine required to come out to Satara.
Roadside assistance near Letaba as well as the autoelec in Skukuza has no machine to diagnose problems.
As so many cars today are filled to the brim with electronic components, that seemed very odd.
Hoedspruit autoelec was not willing to come out, mechanics on call wanted more than R4000 just to come to Satara!
Finally found Jaques Mouton from K & S autoelec in Phalaborwa that was willing to really go the extra mile (literally) to help.
We were so grateful that through his help we were able to continue our long awaited holiday!
Wanted to post this as there was very little info available here when we broke down and though the staff at Satara was Very kind and did their best to assist, it seems that if you have an electronic problem everyone just wants to tow you at great expense and then you are left with no vehicle to enjoy fabulous Kruger!

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Getting a flat wheel - what to do???

Unread post by Antong » Thu Jul 04, 2013 3:05 pm


I have been pondering on what the best steps are to follow when you get a flat wheel in the Kruger Park. I've not seen any rules mentioning this scenario except that you are not allowed to get out of your car.

So what do you do? The worst case is that you have less than an hour to get to the camp and you are driving on a road with no traffic and there is no cell phone signal. Then the unexpected happens. Bang - a flat. (A few years ago, young lions near Satara loved biting cars tyres) Eish.

Any suggestions?


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Re: Getting a flat wheel - what to do???

Unread post by Oryx » Thu Jul 04, 2013 3:28 pm

Antong, just get out and change the wheel. What else can one do?

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Re: Breakdowns, car problems, flat tyres

Unread post by zivvy&muffin » Thu Aug 01, 2013 11:39 pm

We had the misfortune of a flat on the Punda to Shingwedzi road, this trip just finished.

It was too far to limp to Babalala the closest get out point. So we scanned the area for a few minutes, read the manual and then proceeded to change the tyre (one of us keeping a constant watch and listen and making noise any animals would hear). It was around 15 minutes before the first vehicle arrived. He helped keep watch and sped up the task.

Anyway ... the key point I wanted to make was something I then learned. We only get one spare with our hire car, and that was used up! Happily, Shingwedzi have a vehicle workshop and were happy to fix the puncture in our (now) flat spare ... it took about 10 minutes the next day. We simply went to the petrol station and the attendant gave us directions to the workshop. It was such a relief to have a viable spare again!!

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Vehicle trouble

Unread post by E Orix » Sat Feb 15, 2014 12:29 pm

I am not sure where this should be placed
Today my wife asked a question of me and I didn't know how to answer it.
She asked what do you do if you get a flat tyre of car break down in the park.
You can't just stop get out and open the boot to start the repairs.
What is the procedure?

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Re: Breakdowns, car problems, flat tyres

Unread post by tusk » Tue Jun 03, 2014 4:53 am

Had a flat in Letaba camp luckily, so easy to take care. Had the tyre repaired in the staff village of Olifants. Great service there.

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Re: Breakdowns, car problems, flat tyres

Unread post by fuzzy » Tue Jun 03, 2014 2:44 pm

I would either wait for another car to keep watch for me or ask my wife (or whoever) to keep a very beady eye out for me while I changed the tyre !!!

I'm sure it would be done pretty fast as well !!!

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Re: Breakdowns, car problems, flat tyres

Unread post by Afriphile » Tue Jun 03, 2014 5:27 pm

We had a puncture in the KTP in a hire car.(Nissan 4x4).
I changed the wheel,while my wife kept lookout but found that the spare had no tread on it.When we got to Nossob I asked if the original could be repaired,but it was useless because it also had no tread left and had split!
As we were going up to Grootkolk we luckily borrowed a spare from a trailer in camp.
We then dropped it off at Nossob on the way back,but had to drive to Uppington with no spare,where I bought a new tyre.
I managed to get a refund from the hire company at Jo'berg airport,but they we unconcerned about the state off the tyres.Needless to say I have learnt several lessons.
1. Not to use that company again.!
2.No matter how tired you are after an overnight flight,check all tyres,including the spare,and all the tools are present.
The laws regarding tyres do not seem to be as stringent in SA as they are in the UK and it seems as though the tyres are used until they are virtually bald.
My friend also had a puncture just after he had driven past a "Highjacking Hotspot" sign on the motorway!
Needless to say the wheel was changed in super fast time but the spare was one of those temporary things,so he had a slow 60kph drive to the Kruger,then the next day he went to the depot in Nelspruit and got a proper spare.
To overseas visitors,check your tyres!!!

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Re: Breakdowns, car problems, flat tyres

Unread post by Bush Baptist » Tue Jun 03, 2014 5:41 pm

I have said many times that it is a disgrace that motor companies, and prestigious ones at that, compromise your safety for a few centimetres of space, by giving an inferior spare.

Bald spares on the other hand, are a disgrace to the hire company, who should be named so that forumites can make informed decisions.
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Re: Breakdowns, car problems, flat tyres

Unread post by pixelpower » Mon Jul 14, 2014 3:45 pm

This is a fun thread!
Thought I'd share my personal experience.

We had been driving a long long time and my wife's high water mark was almost reached. We got to the pick nick spot. The map said it had toilets. There were none. Forgot exactly where it was. Somewhere not far from Moz border.

We decided to drive on, see if we could make it to the next toilets (a rest camp). About 30 minutes later we hear a loud "CLING!" My wife said "that was a big rock". And I said "that didn't sound like a rock at all". Luckily I looked in my rear view mirror; my spare tyre had come off from the back of the car! (this was a rental 4x4 double cab bakkie)

So I drive back a bit, look around carefully, hop out, throw the tire into the booth (luckily the vehicle was unequipped - we had rented bungalows), and got back in the car. Then I noticed my wife was gone and her door was open. Huh?

She had just opened both doors on her side, for a bit of privacy, to have a quick whizz. She couldn't hold it any longer. As I said; this was a long road next to Moz border. Not very popular I think. We hadn't seen anyone in at least an hour. So it wasn't exactly the worst decision. But she did scare me for a second.

The number 2 done, I started the car, drove 50m further around a corner, and ran into three big male lions lying next to the road. I must have been almost on top of them when I looked into my rear view mirror and reversed the car. They must have been looking at us the whole time.

We can laugh with it now, and make plenty of jokes about it. Like "lions enter their way into a prey via the softest parts, you know that right?" . But at that moment we were quite spooked.

Here's one of the males;
(sorry pic is a bit too big to add to thread, so I decided to link to it)

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Re: Breakdowns, car problems, flat tyres

Unread post by isinkwe » Thu Jul 24, 2014 4:08 pm

Heard a strange sound coming from the front end of car :hmz: stuck my head out the window :big_eyes: flat tyre :roll:
And on closer inspection I discovered it was not that bad because the tyre was only flat on the bottomImage
What a relief
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Re: Breakdowns, car problems, flat tyres

Unread post by Thunderbird7 » Tue Mar 07, 2017 4:50 pm

Carry a can of tire weld - 10 seconds to fix the tire and then get it plugged at the next camp. And you can throw the empty can at the lion as it tries to stop you getting back in the car :)

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Re: Breakdowns, car problems, flat tyres

Unread post by Madalla » Mon Apr 03, 2017 6:08 pm

Had a hilarious experience some 2 years ago.

We entered the park via Phabeni gate at around 12:00 and stopped at Nyamundwa dam.
There were some 16 lions lying on the dam wall about 40 meters out and the place was jam packed with vehicles. I had to squeeze into a small gap on the left hand side, right op to the dam wall so as not to obstruct the view of the other visitors.
We sat watching the lions and eventually decided to leave, only to discover that the engine was dead. Not a single light came on when I turned the key.
I realised that the smaller problem was with the battery terminals. The bigger problem was 16 lions watching us back.
Eventually my wife agreed that I would get out and quickly wiggle the battery terminals. I did that under the watchful eye of the lions and the occupants of the cars next to us. The latter was full of very wise, good natured, suggestions and false alarms etc.
I wiggled the red terminal and jumped back in. Bad choice - nothing changed except that now I was grounded. No getting out again.
So I called the help line of my insurance company.
Have you ever tried to explain to a guy in a big city where you are?
No sir, there is no street address.
Yes sir, as I said - I am stranded on a dam wall in the bush in KNP with 16 lions staring at me.
No sir, I am not trying to be funny. I am being very serious and there really are 16 lions out there.
Tried to explain and eventually I suggested that he just ask their contractor in Hazyview to call me and that I will explain to him.
This person called after about 30 minutes and pointed out that he can not help me as he was not allowed to get out of his vehicle in the park, but he will arrange with the contractor in Skukuza to come and assist.
When the promised assistance arrived 2 hours later the lions were gone and so were all the other vehicles.
He quickly replaced the faulty terminal and we were on our way.
Had a lovely time from there on with no more problems.
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