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Breakdowns, car problems, flat tyres

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Driving rules, breakdowns, etc.

Unread post by jhawktx » Tue Aug 10, 2010 1:39 am

For example, what if you have a flat tire or your car won't start?
I imagine the advice is to call the emergency number.
But many threads have complained that cell phone coverage is spotty at best.
What if you break down and your cell phone won't work?
Maybe the roads are patrolled frequently and you just wait until a ranger comes or you expire, whichever comes first?
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Re: Driving rules, breakdowns, etc.

Unread post by Sparks » Tue Aug 10, 2010 2:57 am

The wise answer would be to stay IN your vehicle.
This not only satisfies the rules of the parks but will definitely be to your advantage, predators are not used to human meals but unfortunately they are opportunistic feeders.
You might drive a whole day and not see any predators like lion or leopard but I guarantee you they saw you.

Cell phone coverage is reasonable in camps but as one moves out it becomes a gamble, fortunately there is a reasonable amount of traffic on the roads and one does not have to wait too long to flag down a passing visitor that can summons help.
There are rangers trained to assist, let them do their job.
You might get the impression that the animals are tame, do not be fooled, they are merely used to vehicles and as soon as you get out even just halfway you change the outline of what they are used to and this can trigger unpredictable behaviour.

It is wise to carry extra water just as a precaution and other than that a good pair of binoculars and bird guide, this will entertain you until help arrives.

Stick to the speed limits, driving too fast limits your chances of seeing some of the more elusive species and often game would sheepishly follow their kind regardless of a vehicle approaching, causing an accident.

Respect nature this is their domain and we are merely visitors.
Most important....Enjoy it :thumbs_up:
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Re: Driving rules, breakdowns, etc.

Unread post by adw » Tue Aug 10, 2010 4:51 pm

Unfortunately you do get punctures from time to time and then I have always changed the wheel myself. However I TRY to make sure it is safe to do so!
The last puncture I got was on the S100 late in the afternoon and being alone in the car I was extremely nervous in changing my tyre in Lion and Leopard territory. Fortunately I had a couple of cannisters of Puncture Repair Kits (these cannisters contain compressed air as well as a sticky substance which seals small punctures) which saw me back safely to Satara where I was able to plug the puncture myself. I strongly recommend that all motorists carry these cannisters as well as a puncture repair kit.
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Re: Driving rules, breakdowns, etc.

Unread post by jhawktx » Tue Aug 10, 2010 5:37 pm

After giving this more thought, it does appear from the long thread Elsa graciously shared that many visitors are curious about what course of action to take in the event of breakdown, mishap, etc.
Maybe on the Kruger Park website the black and white rules of the park could be supplemented with a Q and A or some sort of town hall meeting on the topic of vehicle difficulties.
Such a town hall meeting might go something like this:

Hi Ranger Bob, my name is Bill.
Let's say we are driving in Kruger and we have a flat tire and can't get a cell phone signal.
If we are in a good spot without trees and high grass, do you think it would be acceptable if we change the tire ourselves if one person keeps on the lookout while another person changes the tire?

Bill, that is a common question and I'm glad you asked it.
Let me refer back to the rules.
The rule is "Visitors must remain in their vehicles unless in a designated area".
In order to change the tire you would need to exit from the safety of your vehicle.
Therefore, no, you should not change your tire.
You need to wait until help arrives.
Next question please.
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Re: Driving rules, breakdowns, etc.

Unread post by UKbadger » Wed Sep 08, 2010 1:08 pm

Bob said,
“Come on everyone, only a little imagination and ingenuity is needed here!”

Along with the supply of water and food to nibble, a large ice-cream container or two could, and has in the past, saved many a day, not to mention a laundry bill!!” :wink: :whistle:

Bob also said,
“Turn off the lights before you turn off the engine especially in an unfamiliar hire car.”

UKB said,

“When we ran out of battery at a lion kill, [8 lions and a wounded buffalo], :( :redface: :redface:

we were heroically rescued after a long wait by 2 fellow brits who used their car, bumper to bumper, to gently push start us!"

8) 8) :clap: :clap:

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Re: Driving rules, breakdowns, etc.

Unread post by forestgump » Wed Sep 08, 2010 1:20 pm

Common sense should prevail, getting out at Tshanga lookout could be dangerous too, be aware of your suroundings. I have had a flat tyre in KNP and have changed it, after looking around....( for camera's :twisted: )...for potential problems.
On the self guided 4wd trails you may alight if necessary, but the same applies..use your common sense, and listen to the 6th one.
:hmz: However if you are an office jock who takes 2 hours to change a tyre maybe wait for someone to do it for you :lol:
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Re: Driving rules, breakdowns, etc.

Unread post by Bush Baptist » Thu Sep 09, 2010 12:24 pm

If you break down with no chance of getting going again, then stay within the car, but for minor repairs, like punctures etc, that you can fix yourself, just be very watchful at all times and do it.
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Re: Driving rules, breakdowns, etc.

Unread post by Rooies » Thu Sep 09, 2010 12:35 pm

If you are a first time visitor to Kruger and are using a rented car, stick to the main roads where there are more cars on the roads to assist you in case of an emergency. (And leave the quiet back roads for me :tongue: )
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So disappointing... a breakdown in Kruger once again

Unread post by JaniceE » Sun Mar 20, 2011 11:12 am

Last November in the Kgalagadi we lost all our reservations and R11000 to be towed a new gearbox of R24k.
So we think ok lets play it safe and booked 3 weeks in the Kruger Park south and travelling north.
Well first 5 days I had a dreadful tummy bug and got dehydrated that is not funny at all and in fact quite scary.
We then drove to Satara and all our engine troubles started again :x
This time starter motor and another tow tuck to Hoedspruit... R2500 later .... spent the whole day waiting for the auto electrician..
finally got sorted and on out way or so we thought!!
Got back to camp and once again relay fuses shorting...
back to Hoedspruit? this time they came to us and car definitely sorted ..
we can drive anywhere :roll:
Olifants bridge stopped ...again car wont start ..managed to hot wire and get out of the park...
Take a turn to Tzaneen and go to Jeep...another R3000 and get home.
we are now home and it still wont start... so back to jeep on Tuesday :evil:

Called reservations and asked for the following week we were losing to be transferred to can do they tell me... against the rules unless 7 days notice.
To say I am disappointed is an understatement..
and sorry to say the parks were of no help at all...
it appears they just don't have people skills or any ideas these days.
A rule is a rule is a rule and "no" seems to be the only word uttered.
Now get someone who has been trained correctly as the second time when we needed the tow truck at Satara and there is usually an alternative... lucky this ranger was experienced.

Fed up is not even close to describing how we feel :wall:
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Re: So disappointing... a breakdown in Kruger once again

Unread post by cheetah2111 » Sun Mar 20, 2011 1:11 pm

Sorry about your experience Janice :(

I have had only one experience of car problems in the Kruger and my experience was a positive one.
this happened at Letaba.
Our tyre got punctured and our spare tyre was already on one of the other wheels.
Well in less than half an hour they sorted the puncture of the tyre and charged us R29 :big_eyes:

So we tipped big.
Brilliant service and help :thumbs_up:
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Re: So disappointing... a breakdown in Kruger once again

Unread post by Flutterby » Fri Apr 01, 2011 3:16 pm

Hi JaniceE,

What a nightmare!!! :?
So sorry both holidays were ruined by car trouble!
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Re: So disappointing... a breakdown in Kruger once again

Unread post by littlejohn » Sat Apr 02, 2011 6:39 am

We broke down in Kruger.
Our side shaft broke.
We managed to source a part in Phalaborwa and also managed to get a lift to fetch.
On return, I spent a few hours grovelling in the sand under my car, in 39 degree heat, and was able to fix the problem.
Whilst I realize it isn't San Parks responsibility, they were very unhelpful and uninterested in our problem.
It is really not a nice experience to break down in Kruger and I sympathize with anyone who has experienced this.
All cars eventually give problems.
I have made it my business to take a comprehensive set of tools with me when I go to Kruger and I will always try to help someone who is stuck.
I have managed to help a number of people.
I don't do this to be a hero.......I know how horrible it can be if your car breaks down in Kruger

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Re: So disappointing... a breakdown in Kruger once again

Unread post by Perks. » Sun Apr 03, 2011 2:29 pm

Just how are SANParks supposed to train/keep a staff around their facilities with sufficient proficiency to attend to maladies from so many marques and models? :?
More so if you consider that most modern cars have ECUs that control spark timing and fueling.
It's not like the old days where you checked for spark, checked for fuel, and viola.

Unfortunately your best bet is to have the vehicle towed to a dealer outside the park, or have their 'assist' technicians come to you.
This is perhaps where SANParks could firm up policy by setting guidelines for the treatment of assistance vehicles.
In 99% of cases (IMO), the assist guy is doing a job, not the tourist thing, and charging conservation fees or penalties should be seen as gratuitously greedy.

If you make a conscious choice that KNP will be a permanent fixture in your lifestyle, acquire the right car for it.
We acquired our Sportage on this very basis four years back and it's been as reliable as a pebble ever since.
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Re: So disappointing... a breakdown in Kruger once again

Unread post by TonyP » Sun Apr 03, 2011 8:53 pm

Because I live in the area and would hate to see a mite have their enjoyment of Kruger spoiled by a breakdown, feel free to give me a call in the event of car problems.
Let me say here and now, I am very far away from being in the car business, but can at least assist with people who can help.
This offer is only open to mites and comes without any charge.
So a mite can SMS me with their forum name and I'll get back to you to make arrangements for someone to assist.
If you're coming down to Kruger, put this number in your phone
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Re: So disappointing... a breakdown in Kruger once again

Unread post by billyf » Sun Apr 03, 2011 9:41 pm

Is there no AA service in KNP anymore? There used to be a AA support vehicle based at Satara, and there was also support in Letaba and Skukuza as well - or is my memory failing me??
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