Archive for February 2013

Time to say Good Bye

Thursday, 28. February 2013

After short two weeks on the way to the airport heading to good old Germany

Pulling Mainz 05er (fans) out of the mud.

Tuesday, 26. February 2013

We saw them a good hour earlier already – two Fortuners storming in the opposite direction shortly after we had left the tar road broadly speaking towards Hamilton’s Camp.

In between we had an elephant encounter, but this is subject for another post.

Back on the tar road – the last turn-off towards Hamilton’s was blocked, so we had to travel all the way back – we turned South for a large detour via Sukuza. I was more than doubtful that we would get lunch once arriving at Hamilton’s since arrival time now was rather to be at high tea.

Just at couple of kilometers southward, at the turnoff towards to Southern most Baobab tree in Kruger, there was a Fortuner standing and somebody outside the car waving his arms. In the middle of KNP! His cap outed him as fan of Mainz 05. A true Maeenzer does not fear neither lion, nor hyena, nor … when it comes calling for rescue. He asked for help pulling out his friend, who he told was stuck in the middle of the river just a short distance away, and he showed great relief when he heard German words in our Defender. “Please help, if you have time”.

I answered: “Well, we don’t have time since being late for lunch at Hamilton’s. But what can I do, since born in Mainz, I must not leave Mainz 05 fans for crocodile food”.

We left the trailer on the main road and followed the Fortuner towards the river bed. There he was, the second Fortuner a third into the river bed. Luckily there was barely water – the floods have been a good month ago – but he was stuck in mud almost up to the wheel hub.

I was not keen to get my feet wet and test the consistency of the mud, so I decided to approach only as far as solid ground and use the winch. We checked the surroundings, no beast to see. So  I handed gloves and the end of the wire rope to the driver of the stuck vehicle, and asked him to pull it around his tow bar. I ordered everybody out of the range of the wire rope, and checked the challenge. Stress my winch, or reverse uphill? Try reverse but don’t want to ruin my clutch. So I change into low-gear, not even engage the diff-lock, and the Landy doesn’t hesitate a second and pulls the Toyota out.

The whole action did cost us a good half an hour – or did save three to four hours.
The guys we did pull out had been guests at Hamilton’s camp the two nights before. They told us the blocked road – where we turned back and brought us on our way to their rescue – was the only way to Hamilton’s. The barricades were to prevent people from using the road via Hamilton’s Camp to Skukuza, since it was washed away just South of Hamilton’s Camp.

We only had to drive back, where we already had been – merely 5 km from Hamilton’s -,  circumnavigate the roadblock (trees and mounds), which was a bit of a challenge with the trailer, and we made it to a late lunch!

Elephant Encounter

Tuesday, 26. February 2013

DSC01266-web-selectOn our way to Hamiltons – almost half way already from Satara, and we just had past a breeding herd of elephants – Monique suddenly said: “Stop, pull back, there was a carcass.”

Not the easiest task with a trailer on a dirt road, but since we just past, and the street was pretty good and straight it was not as mission.

DSCN3537-webWhile bending over to the left looking at the Buffalo remains and discussion how old it was – the stench hardly to bear – Kado was giving inarticulate sounds, and waving her arms.

I thought there might have been an insect flying through the open windows into the back of the car, and couldn’t understand the hassle. Until I realised a a shadow on my right. There was an Elephant coming out of the bush just next to the car.

Luckily it seemed all he wanted was getting onto the “highway”, and he was not interested in our Landy  – just a while ago we were told Elephants wouldn’t like the colour white.

DSC01271-webWe were waiting to give way. But just when he did reach the tree on the RHS, another vehicle came around the corner from the opposite direction.

The elephant obviously felt trapped and showed signs of irritation: pawing with his font legs, putting his trunk over the tusk, moving from to road and back onto the road, …
The other car pulled back and it took a while ’til he went off the road.

I said “Let’s give him a couple of minute”, but the driver of  car on the opposite side was not as patient, and guess what happened. When the car passed the spot where the Elephant left the road he was coming back onto the road and following the car. Now directly into our direction.
I pulled back a little bit, but since just before we stopped I did pull to the side to give way potential other vehicles, the trailer moved towards the bush and we were stuck.

Luckily the Elephant did see that I was pulling back a bit, and seemed to be happy with it. He stayed for a while on the road, clearly uncertain what to do next, until he turned around and started trotting away along the road. Ultimately he turned off the left. And when I saw he was clearly going down the bank slope to the river, we continued our journey.
Until then everybody in the car seemed to be frozen, not even a push on the shutter release. So no other pictures from this encounter.