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  1. #1
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    Default Trip report with a difference

    Ok, so this is a four country trip with a bit of a difference. The main difference being the vehicle we used which is this beautiful lady below in the pictures:


    This is a Cessna 210, a 1973 model. It used to be a Turbo, but some 10 years ago I replaced the old engine with a brand new IO550P (this is a normally aspirated engine which produces about the same power as the old turbo, but runs cooler, smoother and is much lighter on fuel).

    So here’s the story: My companions on this trip were a german couple, both medical specialists. I took them on a “flying safari” of their lifetime. I shall concentrate more on our routing and the flying. My companions were truly blessed with some awesome sightings on this trip. The sights, included a leopard on an impala kill, hippo’s mating, male lions who were being challenged by two younger males and we followed them chasing each other for miles in the Okavango. At Etosha we were chased by a Bull Elephant who was in Musk and was clearly very irritated with life in general. That night we also witnessed two Rhino bulls fighting at the floodlit waterhole below our dining area. To see all of these and many others on a single trip is highly unusual.

    The trip started on a Monday morning for the 2 week trip. First leg was from Lanseria (where we did Customs and immigration) and then headed for Limpopo valley in the Tuli block. This first flight was going to be one of the most boring legs of flying, but in the end turned out not to be. There was low cloud, so I had to stay below the cloud meaning that when we passed the Waterberge I sometimes had to weave around some of the higher peaks. We stayed 2 nights at Mashatu.

    A little aside here. I last visited the Tuli block 14 years ago and I was astounded at the devastation that was visible everywhere. There was a scientist at the lodge who was doing some work on ellies, and she got quite upset with me when I told her that they have a massive problem with over grazing AND that the problem included the fact that there were too many elephant. This last was obvious from the way in which every Mopane tree we saw had been broken down into a stunted bush by the ellies. Well if I could see that scientist again, I would simply say “I told you so”. The devastation is complete. It reminds me of those communal grazing areas in the old homelands which were so overgrazed that nothing remains. Just another beautiful piece of Africa being destroyed by people who have no concept of how to manage a highly sensitive desert habitat.

    This next pictures are of some cheetah and an unusual kudu we saw, but I show it not to show you the animals, but for you to look at the veldt. There IS no veldt, it is bare like this everywhere you look! And remember, this is the end of the rainy season, the time when the veldt is supposed to be at its best! Ok, rant off.

    I shall be posting further updates in subsequent posts. I keep getting an error that my post is to large to be uploaded.


    C
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    If you ain't livin on the edge, you're taking up too much space!

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Trip report with a difference

    OK, here is the next chapter.

    On Wednesday morning the real flying started. We left at about 9, flew North, skirting the Tuli circle to the West until we intercepted the Shashi river. Here we dropped down into the river bed for some exhilarating flying following the course of the river. The picture below is not a good picture, I took it with my cell through the windscreen while flying with one hand, but you can see how low we are.


    Just a note, we have scouted this route and know that there are no power lines across the river until you get close to Francis Town (position of power lines marked in my GPS). From here we headed West for the Mkgadi Kgadi pans, and once we intersected the pan, we did some more VERY low level flying over the enormous expanse of the pan. From here we Turned North, crossed Sua Pan and climbed a bit higher because of the Flamingo’s in the area. It is quite a sight to see the thousands of Flamingos take flight and fly low over the water below us.


    Once we crossed the Main road near Nata, I told my companions to now be on the lookout for Elephant. We actually saw the first one about 200m North of this road. A big bull standing in a shallow pool of water, this was about 10 Miles West of Nata and as mentioned right close to the road. From here on, all the way to Vic Falls in Zimbabwe we had regular sightings, all of them of elephant at the many pools of water. They have obviously had good rains in the area. We were following the Main road which runs North to Kasane, and many of the Elephant were at water pools which were very close to the main road, but I doubt these would be visible from the road itself. The people driving that road have no idea what beautiful sights they were missing.
    We had planned initially on staying at the Victoria Falls hotel. My companions in particular wanted to stay there because of the history and the magnificent old architecture. Unfortunately this hotel was undergoing a revamp and we were advised to rather give it a skip, so we stayed at one of the newer offerings, the Palms Hotel. I’ve seen the falls before, several times, so did not join them on their excursion to the falls the next day.



    On Friday morning we took off for the short flight to Kasane, checking out of Zim and into Botswana and for taking on fuel. Then we took off again this time headed for the Okavango. We followed the river low level. The river is quite high in flood and we followed it all the way to the Linyanti flood plains before heading a little Southerly for our destination which was the airfield at Jao. Our camp for the next two days was Pelo camp, which is a small camp with only 5 tented rooms on a heart shaped island in the swamps. For most of the year this camp can only be reached by boat, and with the water as high as it was, we had quite a long boat trip to get to the camp.



    We spent two nights at this exquisite camp alternating with Game drives and mokoro rides and then beautiful dinners in the boma or on the open deck.

    C
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    Last edited by C Africa; 2022/06/21 at 09:14 AM.
    If you ain't livin on the edge, you're taking up too much space!

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  5. #3
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    Default Re: Trip report with a difference

    On Sunday morning we had an early departure for a long day of flying. First we headed back to Maun to do customs (and top up on fuel), then we retraced that same route and I specifically routed to overfly our camp to give us an aerial view of the camp. Then we headed for Rundu in Namibia. Here we were delayed by more than 2 hours. Despite the fact that we had made prior arrangements, neither customs not immigration were there to do their thing.



    So we only got off the ground again just before 2pm and then headed for Ongava at Etosha for another 2 night stay. The Ongava camp is a stunning camp, but the game drive through Etosha itself was quite boring. An afternoon drive on the Ongava premises itself was much much more rewarding.



    Tuesday morning had us off on the next two legs of our trip. First a short flight to Twyfelfontein. Here we did the tour of the rock engravings, visited the organ pipes and the burnt mountain and then had lunch at the main lodge before heading back to the airfield for the afternoon flight to Swakopmund. On this flight we first head due West to the coast, overflying some of the most astounding rock formations on the way (apparently this is the area where South America broke away from the African continent millions of years ago). There truly are some stunning sights on this leg. Once we reached the coast we then followed it South to Swakop. Unfortunately there was a fog line at the coast which meant we couldn’t really fly long the breaker line, but had to fly slightly inland. Still, it is exciting to drop down right onto the deck and then fly following the twists of the coastline. The tourists walked down to the pier to have dinner at the Tug restaurant that evening.



    Wednesday morning the area was completely fogged in, and we sat around at the airfield until about 11am before it cleared sufficiently for a departure. Once again we followed the coast South, but again because of the fog we couldn’t really do the low level beach flying. The original plan was to follow the coast to Meob before cutting inland for Sossus. Because our flight was boycotted by the fog, I turned inland a bit earlier. Flying over those seas of sand remain one of the great flying experiences of my life. It is awesome, and even though I have done it before, it always remains awe inspiring. Our destination was Kulala for the next two nights.



    The next day it was Sossus proper to go and climb the dunes and then Sesriem in the afternoon. We had a latish flight out planned since we were headed for Luderitz and didn’t want to spend a whole day in that town, so we did another very interesting drive in the morning before departure only after lunch. After departure, I did a low level beat-up of the lodge (I had asked permission to do this from management), then we followed the “vlei” low level, before climbing above dune height to once again head for the coast. Then we followed the coast to Luderitz where we spent the evening. The Tourists enjoyed Oysters and Crayfish for dinner and were in raptures.

    Also a picture of my room at Kulala.

    C
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    Last edited by C Africa; 2022/06/22 at 09:27 AM.
    If you ain't livin on the edge, you're taking up too much space!

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  7. #4
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    Default Re: Trip report with a difference

    Saturday morning we headed home (i.e. back to South Africa), with Upington as our destination. On this route you overfly the incredible rock formations all around the Fish River canyon. I aimed to intersect the Orange river West of Augrabies and then to follow the river to Upington (which is also my home base). Having cleared customs at Upington we then headed South to my farm where I wanted to entertain my companions for one more night before the end of their flying safari. I have the most incredible collection of rock engravings on my farm and I specifically wanted to hear their opinion of these in comparison to those they saw at Twyfelfontein. As I expected, they were more impressed with the one’s on my farm than even the famous Twyfelfontein.

    I also had a special treat for them that evening with sundowners at a spot on the farm which we call “On Top of The World”. Here I put some sheep tails on the grid for them to snack on and they loved it. Despite just having spent two weeks at some of the most exclusive lodges in the country, they loved the evening on the farm. Dinner was a simple chicken pie and to my surprise they both were astounded by this and claimed never to have had anything like this. Andreas had four helpings of this before he was satisfied. I also had a couple of bottles of our local sweet wine (Orange River Muscadel and Jerepigo) for them to go with dessert and they were suitably impressed. Later that evening I took them outside to show them the especially starry nights we have in this part of the world. I wanted to end the trip on a highlight and I think I achieved it.



    Sunday morning was time for farewells, but not before a three hour+ flight to Welgevonden where the tourists were to spend three more nights before heading for the Kruger park for some more.



    This is my third time doing a flying safari through Africa. I won’t say that I prefer it to the trips I’ve done with my 4x4, but it certainly is a different experience and I loved every minute of it!

    The pictures below were taken during our sundowner event on my farm.

    C
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    Last edited by C Africa; 2022/06/25 at 11:56 AM.
    If you ain't livin on the edge, you're taking up too much space!

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  9. #5
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    Default Re: Trip report with a difference

    I shall post some more aerial pics here later on.
    Last edited by C Africa; 2022/06/25 at 11:57 AM.
    If you ain't livin on the edge, you're taking up too much space!

  10. #6
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    Default Re: Trip report with a difference

    Hi C Africa, I can't see anything in your last 4 posts, it just says "Chapter two", "Chapter Three", "Chapter Four" and "Chapter Five" Nothing else whatsoever. Sounds like an epic trip.
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    Last edited by Tedx2; 2022/06/20 at 12:12 AM.
    John 2021 Prado GXL 2.8 (Australia) & 2017 Land Cruiser 79 D/Cab + Alucab Ossewa "Hagrid" (Africa)
    "I never knew of a morning in Africa when I woke up and was not happy" - Ernest Hemingway

    Kgalagadi 2019 Namibia 2019 Gonarezhou 2019 Mana/Tafika 2018 Kgalagadi 2017 Lion, Hippo, Eland Leguaan, Python

  11. #7
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    Default Re: Trip report with a difference

    Quote Originally Posted by Tedx2 View Post
    Hi C Africa, I can't see anything in your last 4 posts, it just says "Chapter two", "Chapter Three", "Chapter Four" and "Chapter Five" Nothing else whatsoever. Sounds like an epic trip.
    Same here
    Beat-up rat rod of a '96 Nissan Patrol that bears the evidence of many wonderful adventures (and a few stupid indiscretions).

  12. #8
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    Default Re: Trip report with a difference

    Correct guys, I created those to give me space in which to post the next chapters and so that they would be right at the top of the fred so people don't have to go and search for them in the fred.


    Next chapter will follow shortly.


    C
    If you ain't livin on the edge, you're taking up too much space!

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