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Published: June 19th 2018
Our Virgin flight to Perth was chockers, all seats occupied! The lady on the other side of Tom was another Colleen, and she loved chatting! She was amazingly interesting though. Another person childless by choice and wow, what a life she has! She was on her way back home after a weekend catching up with her sister and nephews. The plane sure was cramped though. The piccolos of sparkling wine with our chicken chasseur dinner made it more bearable.
When we got out at Perth we had to go to South African Airways counter to get our boarding pass for the sector to Victoria Falls. The lovely lady was making sure our luggage was booked all the way through. Apparently when they upgraded our fare it isolated it from the other sectors of the trip, making everything a bit tricky. Then she says “they commence boarding in 10 minutes, but that’s okay, take your time - we had to go upstairs, through security and then through immigration. Of course, standing in the line at security we get randomly chosen for drug screening. They used that little wand/stick thing, not only on us but on three other people at the same
Shongololo Lounge at OR Tambo Airport
Nice hideaway for showers, coffee, wifi, food and drink.
time, so it it comes up positive, how do they know who it is? But I think this actually helped us get through the line quicker because we went straight to the X-ray machines. They had one of those full body scanner things so I didnt have to get the pat-down. And the auto passport scanner didn’t work for Tom and he had to join the manual check lineup. So then we rushed through duty free to find our departure gate where the signs said it was boarding, but it wasn’t. The Captain wasn’t even on board the plane. So we stood there waiting for 45 minutes. Another case of “hurry up, and wait”. But then we boarded and Wow! Our business class was wonderful - smoked salmon and barramundi for dinner! South African Sparkling wine freely offered. Brekkie was scrambled egg with tomato, sausages, hash brown and a croissant with jam. Glassware, ceramics, tablecloths and silverware all very nice. And then the lay-flat bed! With a pillow and a Doona. It’s 3 years since our last business class flight, and they are just so civilised, with sparkling wine to welcome you.
The line up of people transferring to
another international flight ((us) was huge. And there was only one person processing it. The shops at this airport are very exotic! They even sell those bright tribal dresses, and all the cliche African things, as well as the exclusive international labels you usually see at the airport. This is the airport we’ll be departing from in a couple of weeks time.... maybe some shopping? I did buy a lovely scarf though. We went to a lounge we’d read about that you can just walk up to, pay a fee and make use of their facilities, the Shongololo lounge. Tom had a shower, and we charged our devices and were able to help ourselves to coffee, hot food and cold food, chip packets etc We skipped the wine though, it was so early it was still dark outside (about 7am). Landing at Johannesburg with all the pretty city lights was lovely.
We caught the short flight to Victoria Falls at about lunchtime. It was only a quick flight but they still fed us lunch - a roll that had the consistency of a dense croissant with meat and lettuce on it, plus a small fruit salad, juice and coffee.
As we were appproaching the airport we could see the water mist rising in the distance - “the smoke that roars”. Outside the airport was a group of African dancers welcoming us to Zimbabwe. That was after we had been in a long line to fill out our immigration forms to enter the country, and then pay $US for the visa. We were met in the arrivals hall by a tall, thin tour guide with our names on a card - he organised for us to be taken to our hotel. Our hotel could not be called luxury, although that is what this tour claims to be. The hotel has great facilities, and would’ve been the ants pants back in the 1970s! It is winter and the temperature is a beautiful 24 degrees.
We went out for a wander around our hotel grounds, and to get our body clocks re-set, and this guy pulled up on one of those mobility carts. His name was Lennie and he was from the Hunter Valley ( Musswellbrook Landscaping according to his shirt). Lennie and his wife Wendy are doing the same trip as us, but with Victoria Falls added to the end
- same hotels and everything! It was good to chat with them. We sat around the pool chatting for a couple of hours - Tom with a Zambezi beer (“Zimbabwe’s own lager”), me with a Safari tonic (gin, grapefruit juice, tonic water and mint) and then returned to our room to prepare for dinner. We were surprised to find our bed had been turned down and the curtains loosened. We hadn’t expected anyone in, and our bags were open, iPads out, jewellery in the bathroom, but not a thing was touched!! We then got ready for dinner at our hotel - the dining area is the pool area (like at Iguassu Falls). We both chose the ”Game of the Day” - slow roasted warthog with chips and julienne carrots and zucchinI. Dessert was delicious creme caramel for me, Chocolate Delice for Tom. We had coffee in an effort to stave off jet lag, but by 8.30 we were closing our eyes for the night
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