NYCFlyer From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 1388 posts, RR: 9 Posted (8 years 6 months 1 week 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 4600 times:
Some friends and I are going to Senegal, Mali, and Cape Verde over New Year's. We just bought r/t tix on RAM, JFK-DKR and BKO-JFK. Anyone have a suggestion on flights from DKR to Praia, Cape Verde, and on to Mindelo? Senegal Airlines vs. Cabo Verde Airlines?
Also, what's best for DKR-BKO (we'll opt against the 40 hour train ride). Is Senegal Airlines the only safe/reliable option?
Finally, anyone know of safe/reliable options internally in Mali, such as BKO-Timbuktu, or even BKO-Mopti?
Velasco From Portugal, joined Jan 2005, 101 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (8 years 6 months 1 week 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 4554 times:
TACV (Cape Verde Airlines) connects Dakar to Cidade da Praia. I'm not sure about the timetables but you'll get them on their site. If you're travelling on New Year's Eve reservations are a must as flights to Cape Verde (as well as domestic flights) get extremelly crowded, because of the large migrant communities. There are daily flights from Praia to Mindelo (about 45minutes, beautiful views if the weather is clear) but they're also very busy routes. Beware of timetable changes and frequent delays. Have fun!
Lisboa-Rio on the A340... São Pedro e São Paulo down below...
YVRLTN From Canada, joined Oct 2006, 2655 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (8 years 6 months 1 week 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 4530 times:
I handled an aid distribution project in Mali about 18 months ago (i had to visit east Africa so my boss travelled instead of me eventually). He took STA who have since gone, but they were then pretty much replaced by Mali Air Express who fly a couple of L410's (possible the same ex STA ones) and they have (or had...) a regular(ish) service from Bamako to both Timbuktu & Mopti. i wouldnt recomend them as i dont know if they are safe or otherwise (or even still going) but he didnt mention any near death experiences, and when investigating making those flights myself i didnt come across any other options - i think there is a local King Air operator too - Sahel Aviation possibly, but i cant imagine that would be a better experience than the L410... overall, operations in that area are pretty much ad hoc - if you booked tickets now, there would be a very high chance the company wouldnt be around in december - i dont think they even take bookings much more than 2 weeks in advance from what i remember.
Ive also heard good reports about Air Senegal Int'l (code V7) - they have 3 73G's, one only a year old plus a 735 delivered within the past year i believe, and although i gather they are not exactly SQ or BA, i think they are ok - they are partially owned by RAM so maintence etc should be fine. Again, my boss took them on a regional flight somewhere round there - believe it was DKR-BKO. As to other options, im 95% sure KQ offer a flight DKR-BKO on the end of their flights from NBO - and as guesses, possibly ET & SA too.
Halophila From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 648 posts, RR: 4
Reply 4, posted (8 years 6 months 1 week 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 4505 times:
I flew VXE (Mindelo) to Praia in June this year on TACV, at the end of a research cruise. That flight was OK. Though aparently overbooked and 'impossible to get on' according to the travel agents in Mindelo, we arrived early for the flight, tipped the check in agent 50,000 escudos or something like that, and magically found ourselves on the flight with only 30 people (It was an ATR 42). The flight itself was very efficient, on time, and good. VXE airport is adequate, and SID is really outstanding.
HOWEVER, colleagues of mine who travelled through DKR on the way to VXE via SID. Their flight was delayed by 6 hours, so they had to spend the night in Santa Maria because they missed the last flight out. Add to that, their baggage was lost between the two places, and it wasn't a good experience, especially since that baggage contained some equipment important to subsequent work.
Advice: 1) reconfirm your flights at a travel agent/ the TACV office. The travel agent may collect a US$5 for the reconfirmation, but it's worth it for peace of mind; 2) arrive early at the airport. We got there 2 hours before the flight and got on; and 3) bring CVE. It helps grease the wheels sometimes.
Moreover, both Mindelo and Sal (Santa Maria) were probably the coolest places I have been to on earth - and with the friendliest people. Cape Verde is certainly an amazing country, with really nice people.
NYCFlyer From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 1388 posts, RR: 9
Reply 5, posted (8 years 6 months 1 week 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 4462 times:
Helophila - thanks for that.
Questions for you: 1) is TACV or Senegal Airlines better for DKR-SID flights?
2) Is it better to try to buy them in the U.S. beforehand, or will it be cheaper to buy them at a local travel agency once in-country?
3) If I could spend three days in VXE or SID, which is better? And how much more expensive is it to connect on to VXE rather than staying in SID?
Halophila From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 648 posts, RR: 4
Reply 6, posted (8 years 6 months 1 week 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 4437 times:
Unfortunately, I can't answer your first question since my colleagues only flew TACV. Their operation is quite good. I have heard Senegal Airlines is run by RAM (I think), in which case I would also expect it to be pretty good.
I purchased the tickets for TACV domestic flights in the US before I left for the cruise. I know Yahoo travel advertises them online, however I had a lot of difficulty in actually making the purchase, so I went through another travel agent (onetravel.net). Unfortunately they are paper tickets, and hence there is usually a Fedex Fee involved. Either way, domestic travel within Cape Verde is very expensive - for the hour's trip from VXE to SID it was ca. US$140. I don't think it is any cheaper to buy them at the local TACV office in country, and besides, you'll be waiting in line for hours!!
The islands of Cape Verde are amazingly different. Mindelo is a thriving small town, quite mountainous, and with old-style architecture. To be honest, there isn't much you can't do in 2 days. However, I would strongly recommend, if you go, taking the day ferry over to Santo Antao and catching an Aluguer up the ribeiras. They are really amazing! I don't want to endorse any particular hotels here, but I know Residencial Alto Fortim will arrange tickets for you for that trip (I think Mindel Hotel will do the same, but I didn't stay there).
On Sal, I only spent a short time in Santa Maria, which has really great beaches, but to be honest, not much else to recommend it. The town itself is fairly pleasant, but nothing you couldn't see and experience in an hour or so. The island itself is flat, and I have heard that the other towns are really nothing to write home about. I had three colleagues stay on Sal for 3 days and they all got really bored really quickly.
I hope this helps! If I can help by sending photos etc of the two locations, I'd be happy to.
SA006 From South Africa, joined Sep 2003, 1883 posts, RR: 54
Reply 8, posted (8 years 6 months 1 week 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 4393 times:
Air Senegal have a fairly good reputation , mainly because they're operated by RAM. Same with TACV. Efficient airline and their maintenance should be up to scratch. Whichever one you can find a cheaper fare on I'd take.