After spending a comfortable and peaceful night in our small brick chalet, we enjoyed a hearty breakfast and set off for the park gates. There is a daily charge for being in the reserve, so we had bought our two days worth. We presented our paper receipt here:
The park attendant checked the date, handed the permit back to us with a thoughtful look. He didn't step away from the side of the car, but stared down at our left front wheel.
"Your tire is flat," he said.
Right. There was only one thing to be done. My husband did a U-turn, parked in the shade and began the process of changing the tire. There was no other traffic on this Sunday morning, so that observant park attendant came over to help. I got out of the car and stood under the tree, enjoying the beauty, the tranquillity and the simple fact of being out in the bush.
Fine. The spare was in place. Except... wait! I did some observing of my own.
"The spare's flat, too!!"
Fortunately it wasn't completely 'pap', as they say in S.A. We could see it would serve us okay if we drove slowly to the nearest gas station, which we'd passed on our way to the game lodge. So off we set. Only to discover, that garage had no air, let alone any facility for fixing tires.
However, the attendant informed us that, if we drove into the close-by town of Mogwase, passed the shopping centre and turned right, we'd find the BP garage. There they had air.
To add a general note about South Africa, it's a bit of a schizophrenic experience, because sometimes you're completely in a first world country, and at others, completely in a third world country. Mogwase was definitely part of the latter.
We get to the BP garage and join the line-up of old bangers waiting to have tires pumped. As per usual, there's a guy doing the inflating. So we ask him if we can get our tire fixed.
"No," he says, "but if you go back down the street, on the corner under the tree there's a place that can fix it for you."
To be continued... tomorrow!