Flat tire in the Kruger Park. Oeps..

Flat tire in the Kruger Park

Flat tire in the Kruger Park

Flat tire in the Kruger Park. This is a translation of what I wrote back than in Dutch. Not really great I think. But I tried..

I think about 8 years ago had a safari through the Kruger Park scheduled at the last minute. No problem. And I shifted a few things in my schedule because if I can do a safari .. Then everything will be put aside.

I’m going on safari no matter what. 4 guests from the Netherlands. No problem, I like to do it. The next morning around 5 o’clock I was ready at their residence to take them on a full day Kruger Park.

Get up early

We coordinated the route we would take together and at a quarter past five we hit the road. Half an hour later we drove through the gate and into the Kruger Park. Nice in time to see a lot. The early morning is often the best time to go on safari because it is very busy in the animal world.

The nocturnal animals are almost going to sleep and the day animals have just woken up. In other words, it’s hunting time. And yes, like everyone else, you hope there to get some of that.

The route to be taken today was rough. Via Orpen Gate in, via the dirt road (gravel road) to Bobiaanskrans and from there via the main road to Satara for lunch, After lunch to Olifants and via the old Olifants road to the viewpoint on the border with Mozambique. I can’t think of the name right now. But roughly that was the plan.

It went alright so far

Actually, it went very well for a long time. In the morning we had already caught 4 of the Big 5 before 11 am and had many other good sightings. From a large herd of Elephants. I estimate about 120 large and small animals. And a very beautiful hyena, a leopard, three Rhinos and a somewhat smaller herd of buffalo. Around 60-70 pieces. Lots and lots of giraffes, wildebeest and zebras. But no lions .. At least not yet.

After 11 o’clock there was not much left and it seemed as if all animals had suddenly disappeared except for a few small birds. Now I must honestly say that I am not such a bird man. Yes, I think the big one is very cool.

Such as the Martial eagle and the Fish Eagle and so there are still a few more. They have to have a bit of wingspan otherwise I don’t get much out of it. I always know and tell my guests that there are more than 500 different bird species in the Kruger Park and I know a fair number of them and tell a nice story about them.

But treat me big game and preferably big cats. Lions, Cheetah, Leopards that’s what I’m going for. A big old male elephant and a group of wild dogs are also not to be sneezed at. But nothing beats the big cats. We were going for the Big 5.

It was getting boring.. (Still no flat tire in the Kruger Park)

After an hour of driving around in the middle of nowhere and not spotting anything worth mentioning, we decided to go to Sarara for a bit of an early lunch. No sooner said than done.

After lunch everyone was in good spirits to find a couple of lions. In the meantime that my guests were eating, I asked around a bit with the fellow rangers / guides who had also planned a stop in Satara with their guests. As it turned out … they had all seen lions .. None excepted .. Except me with my guests .. But the good tip was ..

We simply chose the wrong route and it was explained to me exactly where I had to go to group of Lions who had been in the same place for a while. Well, you should know that Lions don’t really do much during the day and usually spend hours at the same location. If they are seen at 10 o’clock in the morning in spot A, you can be pretty sure that around two or three o’clock in the afternoon they will still be there.

Change of plans

I consult with my guests .. Change of plans .. Chase the lions or stick to the route to Olifants. Well it was simple. Lions! We go for the lions. I’m happy because to be honest. Olifants is a hell of a drive and you also have to go back. And seeing lions is always an experience. That never gets boring. You only remember how big they are when you see them again. A male can grow to 250 pounds in the prime of his life. 250 kilos of lion!

The road was well mapped out and I am very well known in this region. I can say that the Kruger Park does not have so many unknown places for me anymore. We go out and drive. Over the gravel roads to the designated location.

Not many animals to see the first part but that didn’t matter anymore. We had already seen a lot and yes we finally went for the lions and then we still had to go a bit. You should know it is quite rough terrain and there in the Kruger Park and the roads are not really to write home about after the rains.

Nothing…

Just about arrived at the designated place .. Nothing to see .. No lions .. That meant they just left and were wandering around. And my gut said … Very close. We are very close. Nothing moved and there was not much noise to be heard from other animals and that said enough to me. We are around and we will not leave until we see these lions.

Well you should know that my car is a big 4×4 with a spare tire on the back and I can assure you very large and especially heavy wheels. Having said this, you can imagine if you have a flat tire .. Then you are busy changing it.

Guess what .. I want to go driving again .. Tire flat .. Right back .. I’ll never forget. And now .. Get out to change .. With a large group of lions very close by that I could not see .. What am I going to say to the guests .. A rear tire costs about 600 euros ..

Continuing means buying new tire .. I took a good look at my guests and tried to estimate what they would do if I got out of the car to change the tire .. Would they keep looking around and warn me in time .. Would they calm down stay..

NOW WHAT>> FLAT TIRE IN THE KRUGER PARK

Well no .. I didn’t like it and decided to break my expensive rear tire and went to the first ranger post or picnic place I could find. A ride of about half an hour .. The tire broke up until then, but I didn’t feel like losing the rim .. Slowly bumpy. I can assure you driving with a flat tire, very slowly, in a hot Kruger Park with lions very close by, which is quite exciting.

Also for my guests, who have something to say when they return to their lodge. After not much delay and still fairly quickly we reached the picnic spot. I quickly get out of the car and look at my rim. Fortunately that was still ok. I started unscrewing my spare tire from the back and then I saw it .. Empty .. My spare tire was empty .. There I was .. In the middle of the Kruger Park with two flat tires ..

What am I going to say to the guests .. Oops .. This is not funny..

Guards on the rescue for a flat tire in the Kruger Park

But rescue was close. The guard at the picnic spot was with the car .. I got him so crazy to drive all the way back to Satara and pump up my tire there at the gas station that is at Satara. Drive back to us so I could assemble it and know that this friendly gentleman .. (Not so ..) was going to make hours .. But he was going to do it.

No sooner said than done, we wait .. And wait .. some more waiting .. And .. Yes there he came with a fully pumped spare tire. Pff .. But yes it was empty, and how long will it last. We still had a long way to the exit. If the bugger mounted. Guests crammed into the car and drove as fast as I dared to get to the exit on time but without any problems.

Now you should know that there is a maximum speed in the Kruger Park of 40 and 50 kilometers per hour. Well I can assure you. I went well over that. And yes we made it without any problems. Everyone happy and had an exciting day .. And I .. 600 euros lighter ..

Pieter Blaak

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