Flying through Southern Africa

Africa is a great place to fly. All the interesting places have airstrips and, at least in the winter, the weather is VFR most of the time. On the downside you have to file a flight plan for virtually every flight and there are landing and enroute fees everywhere you look. Search and rescue seems to be well organized but if you fly into remote places you won't find a phone and can't count on the radio to close your flight plan.

Christina and Nick Hanks are running Hanks Aero Adventures and were a great help in organizing things.

We flew ZS-MUV, a C-172RG, for 25 hours through South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Swaziland (see map).

Airports range from very large asphalt runways to dirt strips. The winner was the airport at Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe with a 14,000 ft runway. On the other end of the spectrum is Tsodillo Hills, an 1800ft dirt strip in Bushmen country. Also dirt is FTBL, the Tuli International airport - yes, this is where you do customs and imigration. There is hardly any air traffic to speak of (compared with the San Francisco Bay Area).

Jeppesen has good information about flying in Africa. The charts you get locally (most WAC scale) tend to be very old. None of them show any comm or nav frequencies, you need a separate booklet for that.

Our route of flight was

The best place for wildlife viewing we visited is Londolozi, a bit pricy but well worth it. Some random sampling of the pictures we took there include Cheetahs, a lion kill, elephants, and Rhinos.
You can also see thumbnails of all pictures.
Any serious about a similar adventure can send me some email for further details.