Published: November 15th 2011
November 11th 2011
"Do not fly funny airlines"...I should have know better. But as I was browsing to find a ticket from Joburg to Lubumbashi a little over a month ago, the only fare I could find on South African Express was 1,100usd return...and this is for a 2 hours flight! So I decided to give it a try on Zambezi Airlines through Lusaka. The airline is wellknown for serious delays, but the price was less than half the one of SAX.
Well, my flight was scheduled on 2nd of November...and three days before the Zambian government decided to ground the full fleet of Zambezi on "security reasons". Hey, they haven't crashed yet...so was this purely political?
So I found myslef with not much choices. SAX prices had climbed to 1,400usd...this is still in economy, small aircraft, not much service! My other option was to enjoy a ride over Africa...1000usd get you the following. Five hours ride between Joburg and Addis (Ethiopia), a night in Addis, 4 hours flight between Addis and Lubumbashi. Yes, a 24 hours trip, just to do over 1500km! The way back is even more interesting...Lubum-Lilongwe (Malawi)-night in Addis...and early morning flight to Joburg...another 24 hours.
why do I complain? My friends in Lubumbashi are currently charged 1600usd return Lubumbashi to Joburg....anybody for a week-end in the South?
Best...or worst...Lubumbashi is 2 hours flight from the capital Kinshasa. Try this by land, and it will take you around 3 weeks. Few of my friends do the trip, and to stay on the safe side, do it flying via Nairobi...and it takes up to 18 hours one way!
My point about "funny" airlines is that their planes do get late. But you can only crash a plane once...the stats are still pretty high in my favor. In DRC, airlines come and go, without much warning. Life would be so much more easy with a little more planes around.
And for Zambezi Airlines...on the 2nd November, their office was close, they stopped replying to emails or phone calls...was I going to see my money back? I did, few days ago, after the storm of not dealing with stranded passengers, they decided to re-open their office in Joburg airport. Got my money back, will I fly with them again....we'll see.
So I ended spending two nights in Addis. Well, not much to write about. The
ride to the hotel passed through areas of Embassies, few hotels and few churches, but nothing really to strike my mind...if it is for all the sheeps going around town.
I spent a wonderful week in DRC. Elections are coming, so you need to be more "aware". Saturday, some clashes happened in town. Seems few people died, we just had to avoid the area. Wednesday the president was in town, so much of the city was close. Same thing, make sure you don't get stuck, but safe I did feel.
By the time I had gone to DRC, and to Ethiopia, it was time to spend few R&R days in South Africa. The diving pictures are coming on the next entry. But here on my way driving back from Shelly Beach (South Coast, KZN), I stopped for a night in the Champagne Valley.
Yes, Champagne Valley....and they don't produce any wine here! The valley is at the feet of the Drakensberg Mountain Range. Just 5km from here is a the highland of Lesotho. I didn't get the time to visit Lesotho this time, but hope to venture to this little country sooner or later. Drakensberg is just
half way between Durban and Joburg.
Drakensberg is simply beautiful, and really tranquil. I play a great round of golf at the Champagne Sports Resort golf course, and it was already time to drive back to Joburg...for another flight...
Next entry is all about diving...
There are more photos below