Cchan From New Zealand, joined May 2003, 1754 posts, RR: 2 Posted (5 years 5 months 1 week 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 5181 times:
Hi, I am going to South Africa in January and am thinking about making a cheap bus trip to Harare to fly on Air Zimbabwe's MA60. Does anyone know how much would a flight e.g. HRE-VFA cost roughly, and if it can be booked 24 or 48 hours prior to departure? Also, how reliable are their schedules, i.e. the chance of seeing a 732 at the gate instead, or "flights cancelled for the day, come back tomorrow"? Thanks.
TravellerPlus From New Zealand, joined Nov 2008, 347 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (5 years 5 months 1 week 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 5128 times:
Travelling and staying in Zimbabwe may require patience, good humour and tenacity. My suggestion would be that if you want to fly on a MA60, is look at flying from VFA. Up until Feb I was a travel agent in Wellington, and the sector fares in Africa are not too expensive if you can add them on to your ticket. It may be difficult to purchase a UM ticket before you leave NZ due to international ticketing regulations and credit card acceptance, so you will probably need to buy the ticket over there or in South Africa. Any travel agent should be able to look up their fares in the system to give you an idea of cost.
That said, if you like the idea of the bus, go for it. It is long, but a great way to meet the locals and experience Africa away from the tourist route.
From personal experience, I would say that UM is not a reliable carrier. I once tried to get on their 707's, but it was swapped for no reason, after a delay of many hours for a chartered Bae1-11. That was a nice surprise, but I am not sure if they will be able to delight plane-boffins like that again given the state of their finances.
I recommend flying out of VFA is a nicer place to hang around than HRE, should you be told to come back tomorrow. My personal experience is because I was born in Zim and I've been back quite a few times. I hope you enjoy your trip to Africa, it gets in the blood.
Respectfully yours, TravellerPlus
What goes around comes around....unless your luggage is not on the carousel...
GuoTai From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (5 years 5 months 1 week 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 5061 times:
The more pressing question is do you really want to ride a bus to Harare? They are traditionally quite OK but it will take you about 16 hours if not more, because the border post at Beit Bridge is more than likely going to be a long and drawn out affair with the crowds on the south bound trip especially. The AZTA website has a list of active ZW travel agents, perhaps email one of the HRE agents and ask for some info.
Idid that for a journey HRE /LAD and they helped me in 1 hour on the email with what I needed to know.
FlySSC From France, joined Aug 2003, 7379 posts, RR: 57
Reply 3, posted (5 years 5 months 1 week 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 5020 times:
Quoting TravellerPlus (Reply 1): From personal experience, I would say that UM is not a reliable carrier. I once tried to get on their 707's, but it was swapped
I had the same experience some 15 years ago :
I wanted to fly their B707 and booked a ticket on JNB-BUQ (Bulawayo) and then BUQ-VFA.
I almost started to cry when I saw their brand new B767 instead, landing in JNB to take us back to BUQ...
I was lucky on the way back to JNB : the B707 took us there !
AirNovaBAe146 From Canada, joined Jun 2008, 359 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (5 years 5 months 1 week 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 4718 times:
I know I've seen their MA60s in JNB; I think they do (or did) JNB - Bulawayo. Not sure if they still do. That would be one possibility.
Another would be flying JNB - HRE. The flight leaves Jo'burg around 9am. You could then do a domestic round trip (some of them are circle routes), and catch the late afternoon flight HRE - JNB. I believe all their domestic flights are MA60s. That would be a fun experience; be sure to do a trip report!
Cchan From New Zealand, joined May 2003, 1754 posts, RR: 2
Reply 5, posted (5 years 5 months 1 week 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 4602 times:
Thanks for the suggestions above. I can spend a few days in Zimbabwe if it is worthwhile. Anyone knows how much these flights will cost approximately? I've heard that UM domestic flights are rather expensive.