The Botswana Fly-Away
At first Botswana was one of my Bucket list destinations, which just patiently waited to be ticked off.
On the 15th of May this dream came true; we went on an AMAZING fly away all over Botswana on our way to the Botswana airshow.
Seven students, one instructor and the director, all very excited for this trip, got into our 3 Cessna 172, we took off at 08:25 local time from Wonderboom airport, flew to Pietersburg to clear immigrations and customs, from there we flew over the Limpopo river on our way to Francistown to clear customs, immigrations and we refuelled the C172’s and on our way we were to Maun our first destination for the trip. We flew over the Makgadikgadi salt pans. We landed just before sunset, and what an amazing view, the sunset was unbelievable. We stayed the night at Makoro lodge. We as a team got together for some refreshments and dinner!!
Next morning 16th of May before sunrise we got together for the second day of adventure. Our transport arrive, we thought that two trips to the airport would take too long, so we squeezed in! As they would say in a taxi, there is always space for one more! We went to the aircrafts to pre-flight, and once again experienced an amazing sunrise. Botswana is just one of the places in Africa where you can experience this. From Maun we flew formation all over the Delta to Chief’s Island and all along the Chobe River to our next destination Kasane. Over the Delta we saw a lot of animals like Elephants, Buffalo, Giraffe and Hippo’s. The Chobe River is just something that is undescribeable. We landed in Kasane, waited for our transport to Chobe Safari Lodge, 10 Botswana minutes which end up to be African time, 1.5 hours later they ARRIVED. What an incredible place Chobe Safari lodge end up to be, worth the entire wait! We were welcomed with a drink, relaxed and went on a boat cruise on the Chobe River. What an experience, the view from the boat is great, came close in contact with elephants, hippo’s, buffalo, crocodiles and more. We had so much fun, laughed until our tummies hurt. The guide had to come and ask us to be a bit quiet! We watched the sunset from the boat which was just breath-taking!!
That evening we tried to arrange some transport for us at 06:00am to be able to go and fly over the Victoria Falls, but as we all know it’s Africa, and everyone need to take their beauty sleep until 08:30am, so finally we left the lodge at 08:30 and was on our way to Kasane airport.
On the 17th of May we flew back to Francistown for fuel and thereafter to Matsieng which is a private strip close to Gaborone where the airshow was held.
That evening they had a braai next to the airstrip and everyone camped next to their aircrafts. Saturday, 18th of May, we watched the airshow, afterwards that evening there was another braai, which give you a great opportunity to meet other great pilots.
Sunday the 19th of May, we were welcomed with an ice cold breeze and some low clouds. Flew low level to Gaborone, refuelled the aircrafts and we tried to get the weather for our route but Africa is Africa, lucky Air Express just landed and we were able to ask them how the weather was.
We took off to Pilansberg where we had to clear immigrations and customs. What can I say we were welcomed by real South African humour!
After all we took off from Pilansberg back to Wonderboom where you just feel at home! Best airport to do training at an incredible, GREAT school!!
What an unforgettable trip this was, can’t wait for the next!!
Thanks Blue Chip and the team for the opportunity to be able to fly international and by doing so getting that great experience!
Article by Maritza van der Bank