Kruger 2018

Volksiebus CV joints in the bush

It was a bit like that.

On our way to Kruger 2018, somewhere around Sabie, one of the CV joints started making a noise. Hey, I know you can go a long way with a buggered CV but the noise was driving me nuts.

So the first chance we got, we headed on down through the park, aiming to get out the gate and go to Mbombela (aka Nelspruit) after 10 when there’s not much moving anyway. Which is what we did, spotting hyena and lions and the normal fauna along the way.

Got to the U Joint and CV Joint Centre¬†somewhere after 11. “Can you quickly replace the CV joint on that there red Microbus?” asks I. “That’s a four hour job” sez they.

After taking into account that I would have to drive back to Kruger and up through Kruger to get to the Lower Sabie rest camp by 18:30 when the gates close, this was pushing it just a little too fine. So I asked where to find the Goldwagen (down Loco Street which becomes Waterfall Avenue which becomes Weir Street and there you are), bought a new CV joint and the correct 12-point triple square spanner, did some shopping at the Spar just down the road, and headed back, refilling our gas bottle along the way (at the gas place on the corner of Peter Graham and Tom Lawrence, White River — recommended).

After some more sight-seeing we were back in Lower Sable at 14:00 (which means that if the job had taken four hours we could maybe have been back in time, but that’s the kind of margins I don’t like gambling with — there would have been much more traffic in the afternoon for example).

I sat around a bit waiting for the exhaust pipe to cool down (I had changed the right-hand side CVs back before I had the back op, so I knew what needed to be done, but the left-hand side ones are somewhat more tricky because the exhaust pipe is in the way) so I guess I started 14:30 at the earliest.

Jack up the wheel, get under the car, rotate the wheel until you have a bolt at 6 o’clock, get out from under the car, jack down the wheel, get under the car, undo the bolt at 6 o’clock and at least one bolt on the inside, get out from under the car, jack up the wheel, rotate 1/6 of a turn, jack down the wheel, undo two bolts, repeat, repeat, repeat.

Inside CV joint. Looks like it ran a bit dry.

Of course getting the CV joint off the half shaft without a circlip spanner involved language reminiscent of Russian Mat.

And putting it back again required the same jack turn in out repeat as before.

And how long did it take me? Without a car lift, air tools, big spanners, lead lights and (presumably) a whole lot of expertise? Less than three hours. Two people and a circlip spanner and I could probably do it in an hour.

I suspect sometimes a job takes four hours because hours are billable.

Kruger 2018

2019-08-01, backdated. Yes, I just realised I’d never blogged our 2018 Kruger trip, except for a bit about fixing CV joints.

Anywayz, this time we took the red Kombi. This worked out well except for the lack of speed and the abundant presence of fuel consumption. Compared to the Golf’s say 6 liters / 100km, the 11 liters / 100km of the Kombi hurt the wallet.

As we often do, we went via Dullstroom to sample the beer at Anvil Ale. Excellent as always.

Waiting for the Phabeni gate to open. Sumdood set up a coffee stall there — the coffee isn’t great but I will always buy a cup to reward the entrepreneurial spirit.

We saw a hyena, and then two cheetah.

Nice, because there are fewer cheetah than leopard in the park, and everyone (including us) are on about the leopard.

Note that this was before half past six the morning — this is when things happen, this is when you need to be out there.

Stopped at Skukuza (you always stop at Skukuza), saw a few lions but too far for nice photographs, proceeded on towards Lower Sabie.

Spent some time at Sunset Dam with an elephant, three lions and the normal bunch of hippos, crocodiles and impala.

Next day we saw more lions, two rhino, all the usual stuff.

This mother and youngster were watching the buffalo, but they knew they had no chance.

Early the next morning (before 05:00) we found ourselves some more lions. This is where the Kombi works, you can see over other cars.

We did well with rhino.

The next day we headed up to Balule (the camp site for Olifants).

Definite sign of… something.

In this case, a lion.

And another lion.

Playing it cool.

Something to eat, maybe?

Om nom


Somewhere after Tshokwane there were cars.

Yea, it’s a leopard, but it hardly counts.

There was also a hyena and a jackal, obviously looking for left-overs.

Checked in, parked the teardrop at Balule, and went looking for the leopard that we’d heard was on the S147. The S wait, what? Yea, it’s a new road, not on our map. It runs from the main Olifants-Satara road to the S89 along the Ngotso river. It’s also a one-way, south to north.

And that’s where we found them. Moya and her cub.

We could stay out quite late too, with Balule just up the road.

The next morning we were first out the gate, and since I knew. for. a. fact. that we were the only people on the road (Satara being miles away) I took the one-way the wrong way, was on-site by five.

And then we spent the  next two hours watching them play and it was glorious.

Drove up to Letaba for lunch.

Back in camp there was this elephant cow with a new-new-born calf, giving herself a dust bath just on the other side of the wire.

The next morning Moya and cub were still there, but further away from the road. They abandoned what was left of the kill after we’d been there about half an hour and that was the end of that.

We went back to Balule, hooked the teardrop and headed off to Mopani (the camp site for Orpen).

Saw three cheetah having supper.

And these two little guys playing.

The next morning we headed out early (there’s a methodology here) and …

… this fellow crossed our path.

And a bit later, this fellow.

And then, these fellows…

It was way dry up Mopani side so we changed our booking, went back to Lower Sabie one day earlier.

There was a a whole pride of lions going downriver parallel to the S30. We followed them for a while, until the road bent away from the river.

They eventually made it down to Lower Sabie and we could sit on the deck and watch them.

The crocodiles were having a field day with a really smelly dead buffalo in the water just under the Lower Sabke restaurant deck.

It looks like Satara’s Scops Owls have moved on, but these fellows are still here.

Next morning, a nice big rhino bull.

Verreaux’s Eagle-Owl.

And closer to Lower Sabie, still the same lions, being watched closely by the local meat providers.

For the last night, we changed our booking from Lower Sabie to Pretoriuskop, and got an air conditioned bungalo for… well, actually I didn’t have to pay anything in. Something about a credit on the system. Idunno.

Saw these guys on our way out. They’re cute when they’re small.