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My African Safari (i) ; The Beginning (EZY/ QR)  
User currently offlinelukeyboy95 From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2008, 1135 posts, RR: 32
Posted (2 years 10 months 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 17072 times:

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“Please listen carefully to the following safety announcements; in case of emergency you will hear several or more short blasts, followed by one prolonged blast. Please gather at the life rafts which are situated….” The prissy Scottish accent drolls on familiarly. Acrid diesel smoke billows up from three staggered funnels into the summer air, and thruster nanopods propel the ferry sideways from the pier and off out into the serene Firth for the short 20 minute hop across the distended Clyde River. You’ll know this scene; it is where the majority of my reports begin. From the back of the roro-ferry I see mum giving a final wave and then driving off round the coast back home in her black Saab. This fairly standard event weighs on me heavily – I will not see my mum for at least another 14 months, nor shall I see this enigmatic area I call home. For I am Africa bound, and I have no intention of returning home in the very near future. The ferry is pushing me off towards uncertainty, adventure and exploration. Shall I explain?


If you’re connecting the dots of my haphazard life, you may well remember that back in 2010 I graduated. Turning a blind-eye to the lure of further education or internships with oil companies, I had long made a conscious decision to go off travelling for a few months, or such like. Other options seemed like a trap, and too with the grain. I had ruminated over either South America, or the African Continent. Adventure and losing the gap-year crew pushed me to Africa. It seemed vast, misunderstood, relatively unknown and full of adventure. Each time I travel, I like to do a journey or a route. I feel a bit dissatisfied using a base as it limits me geographically. So I had set aside in my mind that I would travel from the very Southern tip of Africa (that is to say Cape Agulhas, South Africa) to the most Northerly point possible at the time (which was roughly Alexandria, Egypt). Officially it is Ras ben Sakka in Tunisia, but getting there would have meant a massive detour or a potential guide through Libya. So it was in my mind.


Little did I know that this would truly turn into my very own self-styled African Safari. Cast aside the more typical uses of the word safari, that oh so exploited Swahili term; the original term was for a ‘long journey’ and this is what I would embark on. This is the report of 15 months of travel that took me from the most Southerly point of Africa, all the way back through three continents, thirty three countries, 24,668 miles and taking 329 hitches to get to that very place I saw my mum fade of into the distance. As you will discover, in the end I didn’t stop at Egypt, and I completed the whole journey back to Scotland by hitch hiking.





Ladies and Gentlemen, Welcome to my 9th Trip Report – My Dark and Bright Star Safari. The Beginning



Clearly the majority of users couldn’t give a dickybird about that preamble as it nods to no aviation. However, during the course of the trip, I took three series of flights. The first to get out to South Africa, the second as a holiday (and excessive treat) at the midway point of the trip and the third as a medical emergency. I give my usual precautions – if your obsessed with nothing but the raw aviation and technicalities, then this is not the report for you (go away), but if you like aviation within the context of the story that goes with it, please read on, as I guarantee this will be an intriguing insight into Africa. You should have a rough idea of QR's product to Africa by the end too...



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[Edited 2012-02-27 17:38:31]


Breaking down the stereotypes - one by one
59 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlinelukeyboy95 From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2008, 1135 posts, RR: 32
Reply 1, posted (2 years 10 months 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 17354 times:

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Three months prior to departure; I am writing a dissertation. It is about marinas. Well, more specifically marine spatial planning. Controlling the excitement of my planned trip is paramount to completing this thesis with a passable grade. So it is with less ceremony, and in the course of a night that I book my outbound flight. Ordinarily I would get joyous on whisky and let off fireworks to bring in the flight. Having monitored single fares out to Cape Town for a good month, I commit late into a studying session.


I was searching departures from Istanbul to Cape Town. Primary carriers; EY – they had offered a nice culmination of geeky incentives; option to codeshare with TK, long stop-over in Abu Dhabi (enough to explore) and a reasonable price. But my old faithful QR eventually lowered its fares too. In the end I booked with QR at £294.50 single.

Advantages in this included flying the illusive (in my case) 777, a poor connection that warranted a transit hotel and a stop-over in JNB en route. Hurrah. Booking all done in first person via QR website. You can’t knock it – all clear and informative, a soothing maroon theme flowing throughout, and seat selections etc. all possible. In rapid succession that night, I booked an Easyjet flight from LTNSAW for £37.99 (extraordinarily user-friendly – big fan of EZY website), an Easybus Finchley Rd – LTN transfer for £2.00 and most excessively a Virgin Trains First Class ticket from Glasgow to London. Joining up journeys; in one fell swoop I had connected my little home in Dunoon, Scotland to Cape Town in South Africa in an admittedly convoluted way. It was a serious surge of excitement and nervousness for me, which fortunately manifested itself in working hard on my dissertation and graduating with an Upper Second (fastest loser) in BSc MCRM.


Flight routing for the trip, c/o Great Circle Mappers


Summer a joy. If only Scotland could receive perpetual summers, I am sure we’d be a much happier bunch. Initially uncertain, a week prior to departure, I get an e-mail from Sanjid at QR Customer Services who confirms;

Dear Mr Addis,


You have flights from ISTANBUL to CAPE TOWN and you have more than 11hrs transit time in Doha. So we will provide you a hotel in Doha. But I need your passport number and nationailty to book a hotel in Doha for your journey. Please kindly send them to me asap.

Thanks and brgds


This is good news.


On the 19th of August I celebrate my 22nd Birthday with my family. We have a brilliant meal in Inverary. My train south is booked for the 20th August, so this also acts as out final goodbyes before my trips. Get lots of practical presents for the omnipresent trip. Firm hugs and much brave smiling brings the meal to an end, and our separate headlights (for we are three siblings) vanish into the dark of separate directions along the sealochs.


Next day, it is verging on the farcical how unprepared I am. I have to ensure all liquid are under 100ml for the Easyjet flight to SAW (given my comprehensive first-aid kit and overzealous amounts of sunscreen this is a struggle) and have a hundred errands and closures to perform pre departure. I miss two ferries, and make the third. That is where we pick it up photographically. . .



Saying goodbye to my brilliant pup Meg



Myself with bags outside house pre-departure.


Dad, Mum and home fade away. Who knows what lies ahead and when I will next see this sealoch again…



My mum waving me off- sounding like a bit of a mummies boy here!



The weather clears to provide a good send-off on the hop over the Clyde


A vast cruise ship glides into Gourock Ocean Terminal, and we voyage round it to cross the channel. From Gourock I catch my usual 901 Bus into Glasgow Centre. Purchase a compact digital camera, and head to station to board train south.



Cruiseship awaiting berth at Clyde



901 bus after hour hop into Glasgow centre.



Glasgow Central Station exterior.



Central Interior.





Our train to take us South; Virgin Hero Pendolino 18:40 Service to Euston.


You have had a pretty comprehensive Virgin Train review from me in days gone by, so I won’t milk this too much. Except to say it is utterly perfect; great service, sufficient food, brilliant scenery fleeting past expansive windows, drinks on free flow, pleasant ambiance and, for me, a feeling of great detachment. In my hands I leaf through a Lonely Planet Africa (in its entirety) guide book yet it still feels so utterly foreign. I am truly going into the little chartered regions. This guidebook may just as well be blank pages.



Idyllic British countryside whistles pass as the service begins.



Spare Ribs, potato Wedges is freshly cooked and quite yummy. White wine served with.



Followed by coffee



Cheese and biscuits



Generous G&T’s, a sandwich and some crisps to nibble on.



A virtually empty (bar that one lady) carriage is peaceful for this late run to Euston.


The ‘Safari’ theme of the title was abbreviated from ‘Dark and Bright Starred Safari’. This is a reference to Paul Therouxs’ ‘Dark Star Safari’ charting roughly the same route as me except in reverse from Cairo to Cape Town. The route through East Africa is by no means unchartered territory. Every loon and their goon have the option of leaching onto one of the Overland Trucks that plies this route and it is highly feasible. But I wanted to do it differently; I really wanted to get on the ground, understand the ways of the locals, and travel like the locals. As a result, with hindsight, I found Africa one of the most joyous and generous places I had ever visited. But if you indulge in Theroux, you will find he paints it as a place of destitution and despair – he had filled me with a dwelling dread through his narrative. Was I making a big mistake heading to the dark continent? I was to discover differently. . .


My train pulls into demure Euston fifteen minutes early. Hurrah. I totter along the platform, purchase my oyster card and within half an hour am sinking into my Queen-size bed in West Hampstead.

You’ll mutter ‘melodramatic’, but I need a few days rest in London. To prepare, relax and read prior to embarking on the trip. A friend offers their flat. During the day I cycle to Camden Lock market which is bohemian and cool. Sitting by the canal reading by day, sunset up Hampstead Heath by evening.





It is the 22nd of August, and this is where my trip truly gets moving. With an Easybus booked at 07:22 from Finchley Road, I savour my sleep and rise at a ten to the hour. The bus and I arrive at the stop at the same time and I load luggage and we head off. Nice large Greenline bus to Luton. An enjoyable drama unfolds when a lady realises at Brent Cross that it is NOT the bus to Stansted and yelps when the truth hits home. An expensive taxi to STN will have made that BA option seem much more justified. I went to LTN an age ago, beyond recollection. Bus only just makes its schedule. LTN a curiosity, elevated on a plinth of earthworks and quite modern looking. Disembark close to terminal; the morning is cold, yet clear.



Greenline/ Easybus services outside terminal.


Departures is pleasantly peaceful


I will put through my enormous backpack as hand-luggage. Easyjet at least have no weight limit, and I know with some grunting and wrestling I should be able to get it into those terrible tubular metal baggage-dimension things. This issue is that I am transporting over 3 litres in medicine and aid and such like. Got what I could in a clear bag that won’t seal closed. Regardless, I don a confident face and stroll to security. All is quiet, and the men are friendly and pay no heed to my liquid heavy bag. Fine, but they also missed my Swiss Card which contains a relatively blunt knife, fold-away scissors and totally obsolete toothpick - but non-the-less is prohibited...

Blow last pounds on Pret. Apron activity at LTN today makes my Sunday papers a more interesting prospect.


Quiet with a few charter flights to Canaries.


Don’t have to wait an age till my flight is boarding from some dingy gate at taxiway-level. One of last to board, very conscious of enormous back-pack on back. Fortunately nothing said by ground staff – in fact fairly polite.




LTN-SAW
22nd August 2010

Airline……………..Easyjet Airlines
Aircraft…………….Airbus A319-111?
Flight……………….EZY2383
Registration…….... G-EZBV
Seat………………..1F (Economy Class / Window)
Departure time......09.45 (09.44)
Arrival time……….15.30 (15.26)
LF: 95%............. Economy
Distance… ……. 1591 miles (3hr 45 min)

Price……………. £37.99



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BV Ready for what is quite a long-haul for this mini airbus…


Welcomed cheerily on-board. Eyes dart to seat 1F which despite healthy load remains empty. Eye up 1D gentleman. Looks to be grumpy, and with injury. Delicate little wife in 1E. Plonk myself down regardless. Yadda yadda push-back, powerful take-off (we are heavy with fuel, baggage and bodies for what is quite a long sector) and into a standard EZY flight.



Gaining altitude over London. Not sure which airport that is. .

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Won’t bore you – little scenery, good IFS (all buy-on-board) and lethargic from early start. Twice nuzzle into neighbour (the wife) from falling asleep... Mr 1D is Turkish-British, arrogant as hell, disparaging about the FA’s – although admittedly they are a bit ditsy. To my delight the FA’s twice ram into his fragile caste leg (he overdoes it). He does chat to me later, and asks me where I am heading and reels off a few out-of-reach IST bars he frequents. Our flight hugs the black-sea coast, crosses over the thin land mass that is the gateway of Istanbul, descends in loops over the Sea of Asmara and are committed to arrival into the Asian airport of SAW. Easy jet one of the only budget carriers to fly the shortest way to Asia.



Descending over a clear sea.



Leg-shoot. Groan…


SAW hints of off-season Spanish airports. Barren lands, spacious, marble-clad, reflective, cool and functional. Rude immigration men will not accept Scottish pounds, but a friendly London lass in the queue helps out and we swap.



TK bird at SAW



Not overly sure what this aircraft is, but the floor sure is shiney!


Signage and Tourist Info are very hazy on arrival into SAW. Through a haphazard debate with several bus drivers, I deduce that I can take a public bus to a metro, and reach Sisli without too much bother or cash. There I meet my couchsurfing host and settle in.



The short queue for visas, in what is a very quiet little airport.



Ugly exterior of SAW



Crossing back into Europe on the public bus from the airport which shortly drops me at a Metro.


An Istanbul Stopover


My outbound flight with QR, the main event if you like, is not for three days. But why am I randomly in Istanbul of all places? Threefold; primarily, it is always a place that I had wished to visit, secondly – trying to get a single ticket out of Europe equates to £1 cheaper than a return. The first place you can get any sort of realistic price is Istanbul. And finally, my great travelling hero Michael Palin had passed through here on Pole to Pole, and had been beaten and pummelled cleaned in one of the hammams; I aimed to do the same.



Mosques



Nationalistic flags fluttering



Historical Hammams (a little overpriced these days)


My few days in IST were great. I ate heartily, quaffed Efes, dozed the heat of the afternoon away in the back of mosques, met great friends, dashed across the Bosporus on the great ferries. My highlight is sunset from Çamlıca Hill and listening as the entire city exploded into a summer bloom of call to prayer.



Hops across the Bosporus



Sunset from Hydrapasa Station



Kumpir, kofta, Balık ekmek – the only thing I am reluctant to try is the muscles scraped from the river walls…



Fooling kids infront of Mosque…



Glorious final night sunset!

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Breaking down the stereotypes - one by one
User currently offlinelukeyboy95 From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2008, 1135 posts, RR: 32
Reply 2, posted (2 years 10 months 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 17307 times:

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The QR Journey Begins


Day of departure. Crikey, a sore head is only exacerbated by the wailing Morning Prayer. It literally feels like the Imam is in the room. With a couple of German travellers, we check ourselves into a Hammam for a full treatment. What pain! Excruciating, I can only think to compare it to child-birth, but I left feel thoroughly stretched and squeaky clean. A glance on my watch confirms in a little less than three hours I will be sipping a whisky on QR, Africa bound.

Without further adieu, I grab a chai, some snacks for the plane and a few cans of Efes before catching the local bus from Taksim Square. Just make it. Journey smooth and a nice little farewell tour of the city.



A final chai…



On the bus from Taksim…


IST. Looks vast and reminds me a little of LHR in as much as development on all sides. The bus pulls up outside… which terminal is it? A fleeting moment of swelling panic, I find I am at the wrong terminal and jog to the correct one. Pre-security clearance is painfully slow and inefficient.

Eventually I get to the QR check-in with not a soul in front of me in the queue. A man with a crew cut and trimmed bush of a moustache solemnly types my details into the system and I muse to myself he looks exactly like the fellow who had not long ago beaten me in the Hammam. Whispers exchanged, mini-Turkish debates drawn out with supervisor, animated pointing, verbal confirmation of my route to me and exaggerated blinking at the screen and finally my rucksack is propelled off into the dark side of the airport.

Here I would include a few informative photos of landside airport, the check-in desk, the uninspiring shopping of IST, the singular mint I spent my last lira on and probably a big Gate number sign. Sadly that was on my point and shoot digital camera, which was stolen by a repugnant racist Afrikaans called Louis in Kimberly, SA a month or so later. Our loss is his gain.

Still, I proceed steadily through IST. Nothing to note really. It is quite open and airy, but not particularly stylish or worthy of much description.



From the SLR – heading towards gate


At the gate area I have to go through another security check (the third so far) before I find a seat in the holding area. Weighing it up, it looks like it will be a healthy load. Mostly Asian businessmen and roguish looking Russians heading off to DOH today. In other news, I am extremely excited about this flight, as it will be one of my first flights from a ‘very foreign place’ to an ‘equally foreign place’. Both airports are strangers to me; also it will be one of the longest full-service narrow-body flights I will have taken.



Third security check into the holding area of Gate 220


Boarding is announced 30 minutes prior to scheduled departure and the scrum ensues. I watch action on the taxiway. The QR A321 looks staggeringly beautiful, long and sleek and glinting in the pleasant afternoon. Class. When the queue has dissipated, I glide over to the boarding gate, careful to not belie how charged with excitement I am.



QR A321 in the sun.



When the gate holding area is sufficiently empty, I head to board.


“’Av a very nice flight, seer” Mr Moustache rips my boarding pass and I proceed down the jet bridge.

Prepare for some serious QR gushing;





ISTDOH
25th August 2010

Airline……………..Qatar Airways
Aircraft…………….Airbus A321-231
Flight……………….QR483
Registration……....A7-ADT
Seat………………..23A (Economy Class / Window)
Departure time......16.00 (16.08)
Arrival time……….20.00 (19.52)
LF: 70 %............. Economy
Distance… ……. 1701 miles (1hr 15 min)

Price……………. £294.50 (with connecting)




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Heading down the airbridge.



Typical bottleneck. . .


Entering this narrow body is akin to entering a school hall that has been decorated for prom. After so many times associating the narrow-body airframe with the mundane routine of FR/EZY, reaching the slender, Asian cabin crew at the threshold to this narrow-body set the mood for the flight. With tones of maroon, but floods of hospitality, I was in fact greeted by name and with ‘Welcome on board again, Mr Addis’ – a small gesture easily confirmed by the presence of my lowly-status Freq’ Flyer number – a delicate palm gestures me up the aisle. I see some English papers, and ask for one – ‘erm, sir, these are for business class passengers, but if you don’t say anything’ and I am handed a selection. Encouraging service so far.


The best analogy I can offer is that of a bubble; of a Qatar Airways Bubble of bliss. I am directed to my seat by another proactive Asian FA. I note regrettably that I am positioned beside a bulky Russian. But the middle seat remains empty. A second FA assists me with reorganising the overhead bin to accommodate my modest backpack – as ever, the camera, book and Ipod get slipped into the seat pocket.


The departure ceremony proceeds with vigour; smiling FA’s pirouette down the aisle handing out boiled sweets and a heavily-scented lemon cold wipes from wicker basket, a sleek looking Thai reverse moonwalks down distributing headsets (The IFE system is immediately available - I earnestly begin producing my playlist for taxi and take-off – like a good movie, I like to do things to a theme-tune) but the oddity is the frowning Arab FA doing checks on seatbelts and positions who is, well, almost sneering. Gosh. She deals with a busy Turkish businessman on the opposite aisle still blabbering down his mobile with assassin-like precision – ‘Sir, Your phone; Off’ . . . Gosh. Thankfully, I am not infringing any rules (I slip my headphones off as she passes).



A boiled sweet, nothing quite sets the QR mood like it. . .


The flight-deck makes a barely audible announcement. Small delay in taxiing and the rest is gone in a crackle. We push back 10 minutes or so late. Pause a good few minutes at threshold for runway, before entering active, and with quite a throwback, accelerate towards a warm Turkish afternoon. Can only imagine this Airbus is pretty heavy. Steely Dan croons to a climax in ‘Time Out of Mind’ – my official track for this trip.



Pushing back and heading for active.



Business class English newspapers



Busy IST on this nice afternoon.



And then liftoff





Above the hazy suburbs of Istanbul, we conduct a series of correcting turns until we are pushing pretty much South-East towards Iraq, and further down the line, Doha. A second Thai crew member introduces herself as the cabin manager and announces a catastrophic glitch in the IFE. Right enough, Donald Fagan has been noticeably absent for about 10 minutes now, so she says it will be rebooted. To her credit, she keeps us informed the whole flight (it is a reoccurring problem) and comes round the cabin to explain individually. Impressive.




Mouth of Bosporus


The seat. Well, wriggling back into it, I can confirm it is utterly comfortable, slender and sleek. We have headrests that adjust so that you can angle your head to lean in, a sufficient recline, a slim line design that neither obstructs you nor your immediate Russian neighbours. I am so impressed by these seats. The touchscreen is large and responsive (when it works), and you have a handset if you’re a ‘remote sort of bloke’. My Sennheisers fit well enough, so sound is great too. That pesky Russian has moved off too so I have three seats to stretch over.

Meanwhile, service is kicking in. Aromas are in the air. Just 35 minutes after gliding off into the sky, an FA brings round a hot hand-towel, given with a gracious smile. Secondly, a jazzy-coloured placemat floats down onto my small table.



Hot Towel



Dinner movie will be another Pixar, which I am drawn to on planes. Perhaps Wall-E?



Jazzy Place-mats


Today’s culinary choices (will try to dig official menu out) are beef stew, or a Cajun chicken with roast vegetables. I select the chicken. Got to say, right up there with the best inflight meals I have ever tasted. Shall I attempt culinary critique? Why not – chicken is very moist, and well-seasoned with a delicate hint of spice. Potatoes have been cooked in chicken stock so are tasty and fall apart in the mouth, except for the caramelised top. Roast Med Vegetables also tasty, and all in a shallow puddle of delicious flavoured olive-oil. Accompaniment is a more Arabic themed morsel of lentils in tomato, with a cooling cucumber and yoghurt dip. Also very tasty. Pudding is an apple crumble with a tangy raspberry coulis. Really; airlines, all you need is a pre-packed GU moose/ cheesecake/ baklava.



Chicken dish



Starter and pudding


Regard the greed, which I fob off as hunger and, to you, research. A polite request for another tray of chicken is granted with a big smile. Even better, a request if I can try the stewed beef is just as easily granted and is brought in a jiffy. I am a huge fan of airline food, so this is all brilliant. FA’s will happily back-track, meet call-buttons and respond to the vaguest eye-contact. That is, the Asian ones, but the black sheep of the flock (the Arab FA) continues to be sultry and a bit rude. Conversely, a particular beautiful one piques my curiosity – it appears she is from South London, is lively and chatty and performs her job brilliantly. Always proud to see good British FA’s.



The second tray.



The beef – also tasty



A desert has appeared over dessert. The light is fading.


A brandy is served during the clearing of the trays. Not all that tasty, but a good gesture. I bing to ask for a beer, and get the sultry Arab FA, shall we call Syrah for ease, who is huffy at my request for a beer. She appears and begins pouring my beer.
It is a staggering site – the beer is warm, and she pours it from a heady height, so a massive head forms in the lugubrious, yellow plastic cup. To my surprise, she produces a second cup to continue the head, then a third, and finally, it is on the forth that she successfully empties the contents of the Heineken Can. I could not help chortle at this site, made all the worse for her deadly seriousness. After all that, I ask for a coffee as well.



The beer saga… with the remaining heads having dissipated



Coffee is served, Not too bad for instant...


It only becomes clear later in the flight that it is Ramadan (curse my cultural insensitivities, for next year I will be fasting too not far above where we are flying) and as such, fellow passengers are saved the abomination of seeing open alcohol containers via this slightly farcical decanting policy. The surrounding Russians had also smirked at the beer spectacle.



A visit to the restroom. All good and proper.



A pleasant atmosphere onboard…



As the sun finally sets on what has been a great day…


Blankets and pillows are handed out, and I chill right out to some good movies, whilst a steady stream of Johnny Walkers makes their way to my seat, and makes the experience so much more excellent. The flight is not a flash in the pan, and I am enjoying the length. However, I am surprised, when I bing the call-bell some place over the Tigris River in Iraq, and get Syrah who refuses to serve a drink because the bar is packed up. She does this neither politely nor tactfully. Since I am not inebriated it suggests to me this might be sheer laziness.

As the Thai Senior FA is passing through I ask her if it is in fact true that the bar is closed at this early stage. She denies this, apologises and hastily gets my requested drink. It is these misnomers (like Syrah) that really do damage to the consistency of service on Arab carriers. Part of me wonders if it is a nationality (it often can be) and if so, why doesn’t the airline cut down on employment from this area. From my minimal flying hours I have found Arab, Eastern Europe and Western European FA’s can be loose cannons.




Blood-red Sunset. Full moon. It is a stunning lunar display during this flight. More evocative are the ferocious bursts of flames from behemoth oil refineries dotting Iraq as we pass peacefully. The flight deck comes on and announces impending descent and the doom of this glorious flight ending.


Tracking via the new in flight maps.



Iraq



An almost blinding full moon this evening



Checking the cabin before landing.



Imminent, Doha.


Landing is , to quote Thai, smooth as silk into a pretty quiet DOH. Quiet in consideration of peak times. We taxi to one of the gates to the immediate right of the main terminal building where the narrow-bodies normally stack up from their hops. On disembarking, I approach the Thai Senior, and express my dissatisfaction with Syrah in what was otherwise a faultless flight. She is utterly apologetic and sincere or not, promises she will follow it up according to company procedure. The night is hot as we disembark on buses. We spew out at the transfer area.



In the bus heading to arrivals – thanks DT

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Breaking down the stereotypes - one by one
User currently offlinelukeyboy95 From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2008, 1135 posts, RR: 32
Reply 3, posted (2 years 10 months 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 17270 times:

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Transfer





A scene many of you will be familiar with. . .


Transfer area is clearly marked, and I find easily my area for ‘Transfer Passengers’. After 10 minutes or so, I am dispassionately handed three hotel vouchers and pointed towards immigration.



With QR’s increasing efficient transfers, a scene many of you won’t be familiar with. Transfer desk.



Simple, three vouchers given for Immigration, Hotel and Passenger


Immigration is done by a fierce but pretty female Qatar national with embellished make-up and hook-nose. A couple of pre-cursory flicks of the passport (this is only the second stamp in my new passport) slams a stamp down with such force it would likely knock out a sole like me. I have 24 hours free entry into the State of Qatar. I don’t retrieve my luggage. Exiting at Doha is unusual in that it feels like exiting Norwich airport, even though the preceding hectic, traffic flow of transiting passengers is more in line with ATL.



Guest workers arriving for some months of hard graft.



Luggage.



The arrivals bank tonight


I am requested to wait inside by a myriad of QR ground personnel. Fine with me, outside feels sensationally hot. I observe with wonder, the grace and affection of rich, incoming Qataris meeting their extended families. Men graciously clad in immaculate, flowing white and woman shuffling along in hand, peeking through slits in oppressive black with often a gaggle of nondescript children.



The Meeting Point at DOH



Quite busy outside…


Someone beckons to me when my minibus is here. An Asian lady gets on, seemingly ill-at-ease with her surroundings. The luminescent green clock reads 8.67 confirming either my exhaustion, a malfunctioning clock or severe inebriation. The Sri-Lankan driver gets us the few miles to the Ali Lewan Suites Hotel in about just as many minutes.



Onboard the bus… time is playing me the fool


This will be my first transit hotel. They treat us courteously; I am checked-in and shown my room by a keen Filipino going by Simon. I am informed I can come down for dinner at any time, use the pool and gym at my whim and dial for service. Simon enthusiastically shows me my (for-me) lavish apartment. I chat to him about the Philippines, and as a memento of this outreach, he returns with a dressing-gown, two extra towels and some dinky slippers and ‘There we go Mr Luke, you can keep zees, but no tell hotel please sir!’



One bed too many


A full kitchen. Glad for the washing machine



Hardly Jo Malone, but not to be sniffed at.

That night passes in chuffed Facebook updates, lengths of a deserted pool to the roar of departing planes from the adjacent DOH, a full and rather tasty buffet and cool cans of soft-drink. Having tainted my singular change of clothes, I call room service, whereby eager Simon appears shortly with endearing smile, tub of detergent and the solemn promises that the washing machine will wash and dry my clothes by the time I wake.



Swimming pool all to myself.



At dinner buffet. Strange atmosphere and disobedience of time-zones, eating habits or sleeping patterns in this transit hotel.

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Breaking down the stereotypes - one by one
User currently offlinelukeyboy95 From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2008, 1135 posts, RR: 32
Reply 4, posted (2 years 10 months 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 17336 times:

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Today We go to Africa; QR DOH-JNB-CPT


Restless night of sleep in anticipation of ensuing flight. Wake-up call comes at 04.45. I nibble unenthusiastically on continental breakfast, throw back a few revolting coffees and raise an eye-brow at the extraordinary cross-section of Africans that trail into breakfast tardily that morning…



Breakfast fuel. 05.00am



Exterior Ali Lewan


Return to my room and punctually arrive at the bus. We wait quite a few minute, the same Sri-Lankan revving with gradually building impatience, and finally two of the most exquisite dressed African elders emerged. I am to learn they are that beautiful race of Sudanese. At airport 5 minutes later. Entirely busy and bustling, by sheer majority of nationality, it feels much more like a baking corner of the sub-continent.



Some of Doha on the way to airport…



Nerry an ethnic Qatari to be seen!


The hotel has given us little pack-lunches for this morning which is brilliant. Furthermore, with boarding passes etc., I can hop through the deathly quiet security check in to the chaos of transfers. A savour this, watching a care-free Indian youth polish a deserted floor, mind probably on what his family are doing back home in Kerala. A security personnel blithely waves me on when I point out my bottles of juice in the pack-lunch – it seems some countries are getting rather bored with those rules. Ahem, why hasn’t this liquid ban been lifted yet?


Staggeringly, no less than 11 QR African departures will leave within the space of 25 minutes, in what is the African bank this morning. From the calm of the DOH check-in area, I am thrown into the melee of connecting passengers once more; a great casserole of flavours, ethnicities, motives and cultures. There is nothing quite like an airport for this sight. I’ve little time till my flight will board, so surf a little on the internet, familiarise myself with how god-awful the toilets are (picture pools of piss, water and foot-marks on the toilet rim from those that can’t quite shake the squatting habit).



QR’s African Bank…



Peaceful gate area



Packed-lunch.. it feels like a school trip!



Emerging into the bustle of transferring passengers


I proceed to the collecting area which is all smart metal, clear flight information screens and an elevator disappearing below to where the passengers will board a bus. I can’t work out whether they pluck the most pernickety bus drivers from the world, but there is always a faff with the buses at DOH. This morning it is an elderly Filipino man who cannot seem to get his COBUS bus to reverse. Eventually he drives off for a circuit and returns five minutes later. We board. The time is a little after 06.30.




DOH- JNB- CPT
26th August 2010

Airline……………..Qatar Airways
Aircraft…………….Boeing 777-2DZ/LR
Flight………….......QR582
Registration…….. A7-BBG
Seat……………….11K (Economy Class / Window)
Departure time......07.00 (16.08)
Arrival time……….17.40 (19.52)
LF: 90 % / 5%..... Economy
Distance… ………(8.5 +2) 10hrs 30 mins @4672miles

Price……………. £294.50 (with connecting)



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Photo © Royal S King
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Photo © Rainer Bexten





Our aircraft is parked on the other side of the airfield, so we get the circumventive tour of DOH this morning which is fine with me. The whole place is bathed in glorious light, and enormous QR birds skim in over our roof with the backdrop of Doha CBD behind. One thing I harrumph loudly at is that the supply road round the runway is pretty much wider than any highway we have in Scotland. We pull off it and circle a few planes: the suspense is mounting to see which one it will be. I’ve no fancy gizmos on any fancy phones to get the life history of whichever one it is, and its previous approach path, so it is a childish sort of tension.



Beautiful morning to spot QR birds



The massive ringroad… with Doha city in background. . .



Doha





We pull up beside, well, being honest, it is a beast. It feels like someone had fiddled with the scale here as our insignificant bus is stared down on by this gleaming, vast, sleek and prospective aircraft. Today we will fly on BBG, which can’t have been a month or so old.



Our aircraft



BBG Tail


Ascend stairs, secure curious looks from Asian FA’s at door as I click away in frenzy at the gargantuan engines. Government of Qatar’s conspiratory techniques kick in and my camera steams up with the rapidly building humidity of the day.


Enormous engines



Refuelling in progress



Fantastic engines



In awe at proportion to the wing


Friendly Chinese FA smiles and welcomes me on-board my first ever 777 and ushers me down the left hand aisle to 11K. The paraphernalia is laying out on the maroon seat – pillow, blanket and headset all wrapped in crinkly cellophane. And a few stickers for ‘Bugger Off, I’m Snoozing’ and such like.



Stickers… a lot of people seem to like these. I am indifferent.



Entering the beast.



Comfortable seating…


The plane fills quite nicely. The row in front with extra leg-room never seems to fill, but it’s a risky old business with QR, because you don’t known when a hoard will come off a connecting flight last minute. I leave it too late, and a South African man snatches it and belches triumphantly when quite comfortable.





In the meantime, water is brought round for those so requiring it, and when a trench of Italians have boarded, doors are shut, the niceties and routine of pre-departure is completed and we taxi the short way to the active. Perish the thought of a wimpy take-off; once straightened out, the engine explode into life and throw the airframe down the runway and into the already sultry-air. Africa-bound.


What you will have to understand, pictorially, this flight is a little vague. That mostly comes back to that Neanderthal racist Louis who stole my camera in Kimberly, South Africa. I had taken the majority of pictures on this sector with the more subtle Fujifilm, including a cracking, and brilliant photo of the crew (which required a staggering amount of effort (see below)). However, who knows what happened with those. However you will see the more vague SLR photos. More an asset to QR though, is that on this flight I was so relaxed and well-catered for, that I mostly enjoyed the experience.


At 08.25, just over an hour after departure, trolleys trundle down the aisles. Choice is typically dull and predictable; rubbery eggs, served with a smattering of questionable meat and some salty accompaniment, or…. Noodles, with Oyster sauce and chicken. I take the latter (brekkie on a plane isn’t appealing for me unless it is BA). This meal is probably nothing to write home to your granny for, but fills the tummy, and is tasty enough. It is accompanied by fruit yoghurt, fresh fruit, conserve, bread and a hot croissant. Knowing my wicked ways, I probably asked for another, but if so forgot to picture it.





Breakfast!


The Middle Eastern airlines have created a great connection with Africa. There is a little bit more distance involved admittedly, but it seems a popular option from Europe nowadays. Especially with EK, if just to fly from your regional airport, and I am sure QR will build that appeal too. The CPT tag-on was only operating thrice weekly, IIRC. I think the service might have matured now, but not sure.


A beautiful view of the large wing


We make a heading over Saudi, Yemen and cut pretty inland of Africa for our cruise south. Glancing out at the blurry nothingness of vast, dry African terrain, I feel I need to order another Johnny Walker at the mere thought I will be retracing much the same route over a year, at probably an average speed of a fast walker. But for now, I sit back and enjoy the superior IFE through Sennheisers, recline the seat and ping the call bell at intervals for a refill.



Shrek the third or forth



Happily reclined under blanket



Demonstrating economy recline.


Probably a good time to mention the crew. A diverse bunch. Can’t give the full inventory, but it includes a Kenyan girl, and extremely bubbly black SA female who oozes warmth, a couple of South Americans, a white male SA who is young and ruddy looking, a pouting and tall US gentleman from Massachusetts, a gaunt man called Vladimir from Russia, a few others that were unexceptional enough to not lodge themselves in my mind, all headed up in the economy class cabin by the most energetic, bounding, camp Capetonian Cape Malay I ever did see.

He was an absolute asset, and constantly maintained a presence in the cabin, supported his colleagues and was pretty hilarious to talk to (the accent). I spent a solid 3 hours in the back gallery talking to this crew, telling them about my trip, joking about, hearing all their stories of how they came to work at QR, getting a lot of the dirt on the way the company runs, explaining the trip reports etc. With permission, they were happy to let me rest in the crew-seat, and kept me well refilled during my time there. The three gents; the Slavic, the SA kid and the American dude were extremely nice and chatty. Both the young dudes and the Slavic bucked any ‘clichés’ in that they seemed grounded, fairly average-Joes. They SA crew furnished me with tips to go cheaply in South Africa – particularly to shop in ubiquitous Pick and Pay. Before I head off, I ask for a crew photo. Some are reluctant to be in it, and all are particularly wary of Big QR Brother. From their anecdotes, it sounds like foreboding terrifying company to work for at times. In the end a few of them consent to what turns into a great photo.

Meanwhile, we were about Kenya, and I returned to my seat. The tipples and chat having taken their toll on me, I snuggled into a blanket (improved materials from previously scratchy ones) and zonked.

Awoken an hour prior to arrival into JNB by the surf dude SA- ‘Shucks bru, you really cunked awt there!’ Nibble timidly on my ‘Monty’s Chicken Balti Pocket’ - not a huge fan of these, but am of the reviving gin and tonic that finds its way to me prior to final descent.




Lining up for JNB


We touch down easily into JNB; a red, arid airport this afternoon. I am a little delirious by this stage. The FA’s dispense clear instructions for those disembarking, and bid farewell to those left. They only leave when the last passenger has departed, and a sort of ‘hand-over’ acknowledgement occurs for the new crew that will take this 77L to its final destination. I take a little walk around the cabin. No passengers join, it just isn’t possible.



Touchdown



Curiously, a dog as a bird deterrent.



A good line-up of other long-haul operators into JNB



At stand


Disembarking at JNB – good to see the make-up of said flight.



Great testimony to genuine warmth of the crew on that flight. . .



The next crew getting settled in for the next sector.



With the last of the cargo (full hold) offloaded, we are shortly to depart. Odd to see a BA 737 so far from home!


According to times on my photos, we take off exactly an hour after arriving in JNB. The 777 zips up into the air and it is great to get another experience of this procedure. When we level out, a second service is commenced.



I have moved seats a little further back for take-off…





Quite definitely one of my top flights ever taken. The plane is pretty much empty, the scenery is breath-taking passing over the high-veld at that time of day that accentuates the beauty of the landscape. The flight attendants are from all the continents, but each is excellent and friendly. One that particularly enamoured herself to me was a friendly Italian FA. She went ‘beyond the call of duty’ later in the flight. Don’t read too much into that statement.


With not much more than 20 folk on this leg, the FA’s can really relax and are not sloppy as a result. I am brought; two glasses of water, a corker of a measure of whisky and a coffee. Going for ying and yang with that. Whilst meals are prepared I watch a short programme on Jeepneys, which I love dearly.



A wild Jeepney makes easy entertainment.



Patch of clouds…


Impressed by meal offerings this afternoon, given all passengers will have had the offering on the previous leg. Still, I guess two ‘snacks’ isn’t too good in a row. And it is getting to a feeding sort of time. The tray consists of a fresh olive tapenade pasta salad, stir-fry chicken with bok Choy, rice and vegetables, and fresh fruit. It is really rather tasty, and they bring me a second without any hesitation. What I particularly like is the ‘with compliments’ slip.



The rather tasty meal





Beautiful dinner landscapes.



A surreal and relaxed calm descends on the cabin.







Mostly Indian South-Africans on board for the hop down to CPT which I am surprised about. It is possible that a lot of the population choose to go directly to Europe.


That done, and cleared, it is time to wander round the cabin. It is a surreal site to see these vast aircraft with barely a sole on-board. It feels much more like an empty conference room like this. Some passengers lounge cheery and untroubled in the aisles, others stretch out over four seats. I make my way to the back, where I meet the Italian lady who I talk to a little. She tells me about the company, explains that this is very unusual load, and outbound it will be completely full. I know some of you hit your head against the wall when it comes to direct speech inclusions… but;

“Can you tell me which side is best to sit on to get a view of Table Mountain?”

“Em, I am not so sure sir, but I know who will be able to tell me” – with that she picks up the internal phone… “'Allo Sir, is everything OK with you. Good. Yes, I have a customer here who would like to see the Table Mountain. Which side should he be seated?” A lot of nodding ensues.

“Was that the captain?!” incredulously…

“ Yes, it is heem, he says both sides. We will approach and it will be on your right. But we overshoot over the ocean, and backtrack for landing. Then it will be on your left. So, I suggest that I will allow you to move when we have completed the turn”.


Obviously I am immensely grateful for this. Really intuitive thing to do. Back in the comfort of 11K I watch as the more arid Highveld, tapers down into the gradually greener Karoo and then the rolling of the Winelands that enshrine Cape Town.



Breaking the clouds into the lush Southern Cape landscape.


The evening is breath-taking, with shards of sun stabbing through thick clouds and reflecting in the watercourses. As always, I stow a whisky so as to enjoy the descent with a tipple, and the crew comes around to check all is in order.


Some runway and lots of recent rain…



A little Fleet for descent.


Table Mountain has its usual ‘tablecloth’ of wispy white cloud. We are shortly over the ocean, not much further than about 100km north of the most Southerly tip of Africa. We perform the nifty turn so that we are heading inland now.



I think Table Mountain is under here! A stunning evening…



Crossing over the sea…



Conducting the turn





Inbound. I take this as my cue to shuffle over the other side of the plane. Apparently one of the Asiatic FA’s didn’t get the memo that I would be doing that, as she immediately began squawking in alarm. I proceeded, buckled up in 11A and enjoyed one of the most symbolic descents of my life. Glorious.



Inbound, speedbrakes deployed


We sway a little on touch down and slow-down using the majority of the runway. CPT is situated out on the plains, gliding down over the extraordinary poverty of townships like Khayelitsha, and quite a crosswind can whip up.



Over the townships



It is a glorious landing…


Park between an EK 777 and a BA 747 which will have come direct. But I feel so relieved to have come my convoluted QR way. I am the last to leave the plane, gathering all my stuff which had become a little scattered given the space on this sector. I am not even off before I hear the turnaround cleaning team leader “Right, 40 minutes to get this girl turned around. Let’s set to it”.


Slowing down…


Pleasant and modern terminal façade.



Beside the competition



Our beautiful aircraft after disembarking…



77L!



With the older, more stately lady to the side…



Once more, during her fast turn-around.


All this aviation fun and I had totally forgotten that I still needed to get into the country! The fact that I had come in on a one-way ticket could provide a potential issue, as a return is required for the visa. If the shit really hit the fan, I could buy a cheap budget airline ticket outwards to a neighbouring country. Standing behind the line of predominantly Indian arriving passengers, I began to become quite anxious. “Next” – I was called forward.

My immigration man was a portly, beaming black South African, with thick spectacles and curly hair. “Good evening – where have you come from? Is this your first time to South Africa? Well, Yikes! You are going to have a lakka time here sir, it is a beautiful land. Have a fantastic stay.” SLAM. That easy, and with such a warm welcome, I made my first footsteps onto African soil.


Briefly, CPT airport clean and modern. Customs asks if I am carrying any prohibited items, and take my word for it. Again, really friendly. Which is more than I can say for my bastard friend not there to dramatically meet me at International arrivals. Slightly older part of arrivals where I went to catch my bus, the recklessly punctuated ‘MyCiTi.’ Service is excellent, though slightly overpriced given how affordable ordinary bus services are. Still, another friendly gent carries my bag to the bus, and it leaves with me as the only passenger. Private. On-board, I change into warmer clothes, having overlooked it is winter and we’re not a million miles from Antarctica.


Sterile Arrivals area


Older part of arrivals exterior



Private bus into town. Not a huge fan of Afrikaans language… but here it is!


One aspect, call me ignorant, I had not factored in, was that the bus drops you at the Civic Centre. Civility and the city centre of CT. This is about 10 minutes’ walk from Long Street (where the majority of hotels are). However, it is not a place to be at night. I amble hastily along the darkening streets. The first person that corners me is a girl asking for money for food – I look out the remainder of my pack lunch from Ali Lewan Suites which the skulks off disappointedly with.

The next encounter isn’t so pleasant. It is a shaking, visibly criminal man who grabs my arm and informs me that he has a knife, he doesn’t want to have to use it, and I should give him some money to allay that requirement. I keep moving, talking to him, until I am close enough to a security guard which loses the pitiful criminal. All this happened within an hour of arriving in Africa, in the city centre of purportedly the most developed country in Africa. I shook it off, shortly met my friend, and drank red wine till I conked out. I had arrived at Beginning of my African Safari.


Fin.


Prologue

Firstly aviation; the entire journey getting out to Cape Town could not have been more perfect. From the pleasant precedent set by Virgin Trains down to London, to my purifying time of preparation in Istanbul and my overnighter in DOH.

Virgin Trains impressed with service and value. No less so, Easyjet were great on this sector. I would happily fly them as it was totally hassle free and I felt a nuance of being valued as a customer with them after far too long fraternising with the enemy.

Finally, QR was on total form for this trip. Every single aspect of the journey, from booking through to departure, ground handling, my entirely relaxing transfer and of course the sublime flights on brilliant equipment, was a delight.
I found the crews engaging and proactive and it was a brilliant start to the trip. Two firsts; a 777 and Africa.

This report will continue with my midway point holiday when I get round to jotting it out... Please find below photos of my travel photos if you are interested.


Most grateful for any comments, corrections, questions or jobs in the energy sector,


Regards,

Luke



Please find below my previous Trip Reports;
BA And Cityjet - Scotland To London (DND/GLA/LCY) (by lukeyboy95 Mar 31 2010 in Trip Reports)
Pivo In Bratislava ; A Day With FR (by lukeyboy95 May 6 2010 in Trip Reports)
An Indian Summer; The North – BA And IT (Part 1) (by lukeyboy95 Jun 11 2010 in Trip Reports)
An Indian Summer; The South – S2 And IT (Part 2) (by lukeyboy95 Jul 15 2010 in Trip Reports)
BA’s Nod To The Northeast – NCL-LHR 747 (by lukeyboy95 Jul 30 2010 in Trip Reports)
~A Promise Kept; To France For Chicken AF A380~ (by lukeyboy95 Oct 23 2011 in Trip Reports)
Part 1; The Rushes Run – BA Vs. Virgin Train 1st (by lukeyboy95 Dec 23 2011 in Trip Reports)
Part 2; To Venice For Filming With BA (by lukeyboy95 Jan 12 2012 in Trip Reports)

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Breaking down the stereotypes - one by one
User currently offlinejrfspa320 From Australia, joined Sep 2005, 253 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (2 years 10 months 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 16903 times:

Thanks for your report, Great reading
Well done on your degree!

The BA 737 is a comair a/c, a franchise for BA

sounds like your in for an adventure!

Enjoy and take care!


User currently offlinelukeyboy95 From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2008, 1135 posts, RR: 32
Reply 6, posted (2 years 10 months 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 16934 times:

Quoting jrfspa320 (Reply 5):
The BA 737 is a comair a/c, a franchise for BA

sounds like your in for an adventure!

Enjoy and take care!

Oh yes, it looks unclear the way I structured that sentence, but I realise it is the Comair thing going on. Just those colours on a small aircraft so far from home.

Sadly writing about this adventure post-trip. All done now, but thanks for the reply!



Breaking down the stereotypes - one by one
User currently offlinelukeyboy95 From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2008, 1135 posts, RR: 32
Reply 7, posted (2 years 10 months 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 16994 times:

.

Photos from the Travelling; From Cape Agulhas to the Equator, Uganda.

However, for those who would like to get an insight into some of the enthralling continent of Africa, I invite you to read on as this report transforms into a bit of a travelogue covering between Cape Agulhas, South Africa to the Equator, Uganda.

This takes place over 6 months and includes South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Swaziland, Mozambique, Malawi, Tanzania, Rwanda and Uganda. For the majority, sleeping arrangements are with acquaintances and camping wild and I settle into living a frugal existence.


A rough view of the route… from perspective of SA.


I begin, obviously, in Cape Town.


The beautiful Winelands are a pleasant taste for the first couple of days



Amazing landscapes around Stellenbosch


For the first month, I travel with my best friend northwards through the Karoo, to Namibia. It is in fact in Namibia that I try my first ever attempt at hitchhiking. The result could not have been more wonderful, as a couple of young students picked us up and we went on a 5-day trek to Fish River Canyon with them. Quite stunning.



Heading north through the Karoo to Uppington.



Weaver nests on the straight roads of the north



Despite a poor reputation, most police are wonderful ambassadors. These officers gave us a lift, accommodation and all sorts. True gentlemen.



Staggering Fish River Canyon, Namibia… We would trek for 5 days to the end of it.



A hot spring in the dried-out river-bed of the canyon


Photos from the Travelling; From Cape Agulhas to the Equator, Uganda.
However, for those who would like to get an insight into some of the enthralling continent of Africa, I invite you to read on as this report transforms into a bit of a travelogue covering between Cape Agulhas, South Africa to the Equator, Uganda.
This takes place over 6 months and includes South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Swaziland, Mozambique, Malawi, Tanzania, Rwanda and Uganda. For the majority, sleeping arrangements are with acquaintances and camping wild and I settle into living a frugal existence.

A rough view of the route… from perspective of SA.

I begin, obviously, in Cape Town.

The beautiful Winelands are a pleasant taste for the first couple of days


Amazing landscapes around Stellenbosch


For the first month, I travel with my best friend northwards through the Karoo, to Namibia. It is in fact in Namibia that I try my first ever attempt at hitchhiking. The result could not have been more wonderful, as a couple of young students picked us up and we went on a 5-day trek to Fish River Canyon with them. Quite stunning.



Heading north through the Karoo to Uppington.

Weaver nests on the straight roads of the north


Despite a poor reputation, most police are wonderful ambassadors. These officers gave us a lift, accommodation and all sorts. True gentlemen.

Staggering Fish River Canyon, Namibia… We would trek for 5 days to the end of it.

A hot spring in the dried-out river-bed of the canyon


In Namibia, we took a train to Swakopmund, bit of a train enthusiast. Trains have mostly gone to the doldrums in Africa. Decided to splurge for first class. Notice unusual numbering on the seats… and what should I find down the side but!....

An Air Namib In flight magazine from 1989! These were the old first class seats. Staggering to still find the magazine though after all those years…

The Air Namib seats on the one carriage 14 hour, 218km haul to Swakopmund!

We continued northward along the Caprivi Strip and cross over at Katima Mulilo into Zambia. Zambia is a wonderful, vibrant country full of shockingly friendly people and for the first time, it felt like we had the pulse of true Africa. . . We spent 10 days between Livingstone (for the extraordinary falls) and spent five days with the Tonga tribe on Lake Kariba; this was an undiluted and fulfilling experience.



At the border to Zambia…

On Lake Kariba, early morning…

Nonchalant barmaid, Zambia



Undoubtedly the most brightest part of Africa, are it’s youth.


Cross the Zambezi River into Botswana where two truckers kindly took us the 46 hour haul down to Gaborone. Elephants and Earth-moving juggernauts spotted in Kalahari.



Erm, this is me, very much taking my life in my hands at the lip of Victoria Falls in the ‘Jacuzzi’… Probably the stupidest thing I have ever done, but a huge thrill. Right at the lip. An advantage of visiting the falls is you can get right along the lip and find great spots…



Quite high up…


Angel Pools, again on the lip, only able to get to in dry season. . .

Falls at sunset. Staggering…


The only crossing between Botswana and Zambia. A bridge was suggested, but the Zambians boycotted it as they were making so much money from these barges. Such is the way of Africa. It is approximately a 5 day queue for trucks to cross here.


Through the Kalahari in a refrigerated lorry…. Ours is the small one to the side, hitching through Botswana…


My friend flew home on the AF A380 from JNB, whilst I continued my way down to Cape Town. This was my first time travelling solo, and two days into it at Kimberly I got robbed by the aforementioned bastard Louis. But in Cape Town I stayed with great friends I had met on the trek in Namibia. What a brilliant place CT is to grow up and live.

With my bastard sell-out of a friend going off to work for BP, I found myself back in glorious Cape Town with my own little car…


On the 12th of September I backed up an old school Golf GT and went on a road trip to Cape Agulhas. This exposed outcrop lays at the most southerly point of Africa, and marks the joining of the Indian and Pacific Oceans. But most importantly, it marked the start of my vast journey back home. It was a wild and intrepid moment in my life.



My road trip to the most Southerly point!

Home is that way….

The meeting of Oceans… thankfully I would be following the warmer one North…

A picnic for my night at Cape Agulhas…

The Cape is littered with the wrecks of old ships… quite beautiful

I watch sunset here at the tip, and it is one of the most rewarding moment of the whole thing. Tomorrow it begins…

Out in the townships of Cape Town, watching the flightpath.

Up Tablemountain. Hectic views… Thankfully, it was a bit warmer this visit. . .

On the way out to Darling, I spot this inbound EK 777 to CPT.


On the way north I spent 2 months volunteering with a feminist-based organisation working in the townships with South Africa’s poorest slice of society. It was a shocking wake-up to a country that claims to be the most developed in Africa – rape, crime, abuse and discrimination all rampant. Quite a departure for me.



The shosholoza meyl train from Cape Town to East London. 27 hours and another exemplification of how disastrous the railways are in Africa. Sad when you consider Cecil’s vision. . . scenery is good compensation.

Onboard turns into a boozey riot…

Un up-hill battle. Teaching womans rights in East London. I have punch-ups often in my class. Violence is most prevalent in South Africa.

The beach at East London, where one day I dramatically rescue a drunk, drowning black man. On a later trek, a local police officer gives me the following sound advice “if you get into any bother whatsoever, just jump into the sea, none of the blikx can swim, I know it is bad to say”



And by God, I met so many along my way. They are the true champions of Africa. . .

The charity wouldn’t fork out for accommodation, so I spent 2 months sleeping in a tent. Was quite homely by the end!
After seeing numerous catastrophic accidents with public transport on the roadside in the hilly homelands of Mandela in the Transkei and frustrated by how bad and unstructured the whole system was, I decided to go back to hitchhiking. I had given it up on safety reasons around some parts of SA.

The hilly topography of the stunning Transkei… Mandela’s homeland…


However, hitching and trekking on the wild coast turned out to be one of the highlights so far – rural bliss, only the ocean and occasional livestock for company, camping out at night, watching distant cruise ships lurch around off the coast and feeling a million miles away from everywhere.


Such vivacity… Port St Johns

Grahams Town

One of my first independent hitches… from Grahams Town to East London. After this one ride, a barely once set foot in public transport for the rest of the trip.

The staggering Wild Coast, one of my favourite places on the trip…


4 days of blissful hiking on the Wild Coast from Coffee Bay. Here there is a boatman, but on a lot of the river crossings I have to swim which is pretty wild!



Morning cows, outside my campsite.

This reminds me of the rampant lion emblem of Scotland…

Although staggeringly beautiful, the coastline here is heavy going with all its steep ups and downs…

Glorious place to camp out in perfect solitude. . .

Curious goats whilst drying out from a river crossing

Christmas comes early with this crashed truck, Mthatha


I track via Durban, The Battlefields, and up into Swaziland. One day I hitch with 11 separate vehicles. People are humblingly generous, giving anything they can, stopping just to give me a beer, asking me in for tea. It is wild.



The beautiful beach onto the Indian Ocean, at Durban.

Cultish ceremony going on in the bushes in the middle of Durban.

Durban airport (dropping a friend off… rather swanky)

Still a long way.

Spot this and muse that I know who would like it…

Bunny chow – curry in a loaf of bread, representative of the Indian community of Durban. Greta bunch…

Pietermaritzburg Station where Ghandi had his incident that began his stance on human rights.

Religion is hot potato in Africa.

A hitch.

South Africans generally picked you for fear of your safety. A lot of paranoia goes on here.

Happily hitching in the back of a bakkie with my beer, passing through the vastness of the Blood River Battlefields… bliss…


And into Mozambique. My hitch on that border-crossing is a little shifty, and later in the journey he reveals he has 8kg of cocaine under the bonnet, and asks “Luke, do you really think we are going to Maputo” when I ask him why we have pulled off the main road. But later he says he is only playing… not so sure.



The seafood and Portuguese influence of Maputo. Staggering seafood . . .


Mozambique is vast – spreading like a rash up the Indian Ocean coast. The waters are much more tropical here. Communication is a little more strained as they speak Portuguese, but they are friendly enough people. The further north I go, it dramatically gets less developed. I resort to hitching with big ex-American juggernauts. Great fun, highlight is crossing the Tropic of Capricorn in the cab/ bed of an Evergreen Container lorry carrying mattresses for the army. I get almost to the top of Mozambique, to some friends that live in Pemba. On one overcrowded truck, I refracture my scaphoid. I backtrack and take the ‘Mango Train’ from Nampula to Cuamba. Quite beautiful. From here I ride a Toyota overnight and early next morning from Entra Lago border into Malawi.



About to cross Tropic of Capricorn in cab of lorry. Great moment.

My truck I was hitching with.

Extraordinarily friendly driver, though did regret introducing him to my Ipod . . .

The beach at Beira

The resilience of the kids is shown here, as they begin to ‘bail’ their football pitch out after another flood. . .

Or walking barefoot amongst festering dumps containing hospital waste and glass, all in search for some lumps of charcoal


Most trucker have side-businesses to supplement. E.g. here, charcoal is sold on in the city.


Isla de Mozambique is an extraordinary old Swahili settlement on an island. Staggeringly beautiful and historic, it eclipses Zanzibar easily. But hellishly overpopulated, and with locals that have a penchant for shitting on the beach.

Memorial of Slaves, Isla de Mozambique.

Doorways

Delicious lunch in the heat of the day at an ex-pat Aid workers house.

The Muslim men relaxing after prayer.

Quite rock and roll.

Me in the most disgustingly overcrowded truck. Kids squashed, I broke my wrist. Totally hellish. To get north to Pemba.

Perfect Pemba

Sunrise swims

Midday folly

A mythical lorry full of Somali immigrants heading to South Africa, lubricated by bribes, and getting a big thumbs down from the locals.


Train to Cuamba

Overnight to Malawi border. . .



Railway bridge, Malawi.


Malawi. Where to start. Firstly, it has a lot of links to Scotland, and if you liked could be the closest thing to a colony. Except, the relationship never soured too much, with David Livingstone being a religious saviour. It is a cripplingly poor country, with AID companies all grasping to stake claims. But by God, the people are extraordinary – engaging, gentle, warm people. I had such a thrill hitchhiking up the country. It is the land of lakes and mountains, and is vibrant.
I spent Christmas and New Year here. Quite a brilliant experience, though give me frost of Scotland any festive season. A notable highlight is sailing with the Ilala ferry on her weekly voyage up the lake. M.V. Ilala was built in Glasgow, my hometown, broken up into segments, and then reconstructed on the lake. She is a lifeline, and a beautiful vessel. I slept on the deck each night, and made friends with the young Captain Daniel on the three days up to Iganga Island.


Ilala Ferry!

Much like me, so far from home!

Motoring through the night. Slow exposure. Sleeping out on bow.

Disembarking

‘Hello, I’m a silly shite man, Merry Christmas Malawi’


Captain gave us permission to fool around on one of the stops.

Out drinking with brilliant captain Daniel during loading at one port.


One of the best nights of the trip, sleeping out on the deck of a deserted Ilala ferry chugging down Lake Malawi. Staggering.



Can you guess what it is?!

On walk to Livingstonia.


From Malawi, I cross into Tanzania. The mood changes immediately, money is much more prevalent in the peoples mind. The nature of the people is not as engaging, or interested. White people are dollar bills. I also decide to stop hitching as much, and hop on the Tazara Railway (highly subsidised by Chinese for disproportionate ownership of copper mines). I fall worryingly ill and delirious on this trip, but I have it on good authority that it was beautiful.



What is in my backpack.

Tazara Train to Dar Es.


Spend a few days out on beautiful Zanzibar. I loved the hard-product of the island, but after the solitude of the other countries, I felt it was too busy with tourists and people conning you out of this and that. Not knocking it, but I found many other preferable places. I took a bus to Mwanza on Lake Victoria. Sadly no marine traffic heading to Uganda, so I decide to overland via Rwanda.


A good coffee in Zanzibar.

Dhow at sunset in Zanzibar.

Going to school, Zanzibar.

Coffee, Zanzibar, Jaws Corner.

Delicious soup in Tanzania. Forget name. Oh, and chapattis prevalent from now on. . .

Or if Your Mr Chew you can have your breakfast here!

Squid frying… spectacular sight !


Rwanda is a revelation. Appropriately termed the Switzerland of Africa, it is an efficient little place, with a military government that treats corruption amongst the most serious of crimes. This has attracted investors with assured safety, and is doing remarkably well given the chaos and atrocities that went on in 1994. The people are optimistic and it’s a great, manageable place to visit for your first time to Africa.



Crossing Rusumo Falls (quite dramatic) into wonderfully efficient Rwanda.

Hotel de Mille Colline. Good for a happy hour beer. Kigali.


Behind every infrastructure project is a subtle ‘Chinaman’. I have mixed feelings about their presence here in Africa. Neo colonialism?

I bubble away in Lake Kivu, but sadly can’t afford the Serena hotel like amiable Gabriel!


About a week before the East African teaching term is to begin, I cross Uganda at one of the most staggering border crossings I have seen. It is dark before paperwork is completed, a local offers me a lift on his bodaboda (motorbike essential transport in Africa), and drops me off in the dark. I knock on a local hut and they take me to the local priest where I am put up for the night. It is only in the morning, I realise he is a commanding albino of a man. Also a brilliant experience.



Hot Spring, Gisenyi, Lake Kivu

Heading across DRC border to Goma.

Volcano of DRC, and Goma in the bush.

Stuck at a border one night, I only realise the next morning my priest host is a striking albino of a man. Extraordinary man, and lovely family. They insisted on a bed and full meal.


Travel via glorious Lake Bunyonyi, and hitch over the equator into the Northern Hemisphere. Hurrah. For the next 3 months I work as a primary school teacher at the Johnson Nkosi Primary School, in Mukono, just outside Kampala. Uganda captures the heart, with the people making the best of life with the littlest about. Ugandans know how to dance, laugh and love… always. And nothing pleases them more than a muzungu discussing politics. Teargas flies and Museveni declares himself life president whilst I am there. It is the sad hallmark of African politics, and what’s left standing between development and the current poverty.



Great hitch over the hills to Lake Bunyonyi. Really though I was going to live out an Italian Job moment with this driver!

A simple, satisfying life. Lake Bunyonyi!


After almost 6 months, it is a great weight to get the rucksack off my back, buy some eccentric clothes at Owino Second-hand Market and truly live in a country, and feel that belonging and regularity once more. The children are superb, with typically 60 packed into my classes. The innocence and vitality of Uganda’s youthful future fills one with a delicate optimism.


Towards the end of the term, I decide to treat myself and book some QR flights LXR-DOH-KUL-DOH-LXR. Departing in about 4 months. I have a horrible feeling on inequity when I go to teach my kids later that day in their ramshackle, threadbare surroundings.


Anyway… here I am crossing the Equator into Uganda.



Next time I will cover my segment up to the stark North to try and get the flight from Luxor.


[Edited 2012-02-27 19:24:24]


Breaking down the stereotypes - one by one
User currently offlineflightsimboy From Canada, joined Sep 2005, 1344 posts, RR: 5
Reply 8, posted (2 years 10 months 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 16804 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Your photographs deserve to be in some prestigious magazine. Not here!! But thanks for sharing such breathtaking images on your treks. Oh and I now need to go back and really read the report lol

User currently offlineSeaMeFly From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 317 posts, RR: 3
Reply 9, posted (2 years 10 months 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 16775 times:

great TR, I love the way you write, the mention about the obsolete toothpick, IS JUST TMI !! Ewww.. !! ;p all in all...do continue ! and safe journeys!

User currently offlinesultanils From Belgium, joined Mar 2010, 1789 posts, RR: 30
Reply 10, posted (2 years 10 months 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 16437 times:

Hi Luke!

From the moment I saw your 1st photo I got intrigued by your story. Thanks heaps for taking the great effort in writing and documenting this wonderful tale. It is an honouration to traveling and what it does to a human being and by than means, it’s not only a ‘very good TR’ but rather a travel tale. Your writing style is exemplary and witty. If you had an editor, you would do him proud   I bet this ‘voyage extraordinaire’ is to be in your memory for the rest of your life.

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Thread starter):
Except to say it is utterly perfect; great service, sufficient food, brilliant scenery fleeting past expansive windows, drinks on free flow, pleasant ambiance

I can only shudder by the name ‘Virgin Trains’ and even more by ‘Virgin Galatic’, but if it does the job like you said, I can only be amazed.

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Thread starter):
my great travelling hero Michael Palin had passed through here on Pole to Pole

Ha, good old Michael Palin. I used to follow his adventures too. I’m glad to see you got into his footsteps.

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Thread starter):
To her credit, she keeps us informed the whole flight (it is a reoccurring problem) and comes round the cabin to explain individually. Impressive.

That’s quite impressive indeed and a good example of QR’s service level.

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Thread starter):
Got to say, right up there with the best inflight meals I have ever tasted.

Catering ex-IST: you cannot fault that.

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Thread starter):
It is a staggering site – the beer is warm, and she pours it from a heady height, so a massive head forms in the lugubrious, yellow plastic cup. To my surprise, she produces a second cup to continue the head, then a third, and finally, it is on the forth that she successfully empties the contents of the Heineken Can.

That’s great. Must be a funny consequence of the dry culture in the Arabian Peninsula.

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Thread starter):
Since I am not inebriated it suggests to me this might be sheer laziness.

Maybe so...

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Thread starter):
She is utterly apologetic and sincere or not, promises she will follow it up according to company procedure.

I hope she doesn’t get the sack

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Thread starter):
I sit back and enjoy the superior IFE through Sennheisers

Wow, Sennheiser’s? Courtesy of QR or your own?

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Thread starter):
Great testimony to genuine warmth of the crew on that flight. . .

That’s a descriptive pic for that yes.

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Thread starter):
Obviously I am immensely grateful for this. Really intuitive thing to do.

A very nice and proactive gesture from that FA. If only the cpt told her for you to come over and experience it at the flightdeck  

Sultanils



In thrust we trust.
User currently offlinejetsetter629 From United States of America, joined Nov 2007, 461 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (2 years 10 months 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 15695 times:

Amazing report - simply amazing! Quite a feat to travel independently throughout Africa for the duration of time that you have! Safe travels!

User currently offlineplateman From United States of America, joined May 2007, 923 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (2 years 10 months 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 15692 times:

Wow this TR is truly awesome .. you had me at every word, made us feel like you were traveling with you. Awesome shots too, cannot wait for part two.

Thanks for putting it together!



"Explore. Dream. Discover." -Mark Twain
User currently offlinedreamlinerAL From Canada, joined Feb 2012, 15 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (2 years 10 months 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 15623 times:

Simply beautiful!

Remember my 46 hours of Tazara Railways from Kampiri Moshi to Dar con only beers and sausages. Amazing trip

Thanks for posting such a great adventure


User currently offlinethegivenone From Austria, joined Jan 2008, 193 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (2 years 10 months 2 days ago) and read 15524 times:

lukeyboy95,

This is one of the best reports I have read in a long time. I fall into the category of "aviation enthusiast that is also enthusiastic/interested in the rest of your adventure and story"! I am half African and felt your portrayal and description of Africa was refreshingly positive and open-minded. It is a beautiful continent with beautiful people and a diversity that many don't expect or appreciate. You should be proud of your journey and your safe arrival home.

This was a great story, and getting an in-depth account of Qatar Airways (an airline that I unfortunately do not get to fly often) was the perfect bonus.

All the best!


User currently offlineDelboy From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2001, 725 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (2 years 10 months 2 days ago) and read 15472 times:

Brilliant, brilliant trip report, loved everything about it.

User currently offlinewin1290 From Thailand, joined Jan 2012, 280 posts, RR: 2
Reply 16, posted (2 years 10 months 2 days ago) and read 15457 times:

Hi Luke,

Thanks for your amazing trip report and your spectacular photos in Africa. Thoroughly enjoyed it. Qatar Airways seems truly 5-star. I really look forward to reading the next coming parts. Thanks again for sharing your experience.

Win


User currently offlineOA260 From Ireland, joined Nov 2006, 27337 posts, RR: 60
Reply 17, posted (2 years 10 months 2 days ago) and read 15433 times:

One word AMAZING !

Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 8):
Your photographs deserve to be in some prestigious magazine. Not here!!

I think this sums it up prefectly .

These photos are some of the best I have ever seen . In recent weeks we have seen African TRs like we have never seen before in the history of Anet TRs . Its really fantastic to see.

I actually enjoyed your non aviation pics more which is a credit to you .

All I can say is a big thank you for sharing these top quality images and look forward to more from you . You have a huge talent.

Regards

Philip  


User currently offlinelychemsa From United States of America, joined Oct 2009, 1278 posts, RR: 3
Reply 18, posted (2 years 10 months 2 days ago) and read 15426 times:

Is there an easier way to see the pictures? I have to click on each one.

Thanks. Your reports are fantastic. I still remember your India one.


User currently offlinelukeyboy95 From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2008, 1135 posts, RR: 32
Reply 19, posted (2 years 10 months 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 15428 times:

Quoting lychemsa (Reply 18):
Is there an easier way to see the pictures? I have to click on each one.

Thanks. Your reports are fantastic. I still remember your India one.

Hi Lychemsa. . .

A technical issue eh? interesting. . .

It is likely that due to the bulky amount of photos, Picassa is playing funny buggers. My recommendation is to give it a few days and then try it again.

I think it happened to someone elses photos on a Trip Report too and they said it just sorted itself out.

Don't open each photo. Far too much work. They will come online eventually (I hope)



Breaking down the stereotypes - one by one
User currently offlinegabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 3372 posts, RR: 12
Reply 20, posted (2 years 10 months 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 15284 times:

Very nice post Luke, thank you so much. Photos are amazing. What camera do you use? So nice to see parts of Africa I didn't make it to (yet)

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Thread starter):
This is the report of 15 months of travel that took me from the most Southerly point of Africa, all the way back through three continents, thirty three countries, 24,668 miles and taking 329 hitches to get to that very place I saw my mum fade of into the distance. As you will discover, in the end I didn’t stop at Egypt, and I completed the whole journey back to Scotland by hitch hiking.

Very nice trip!

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 1):
graduating with an Upper Second (fastest loser) in BSc MCRM.

Congrat!

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Thread starter):
I will put through my enormous backpack as hand-luggage. Easyjet at least have no weight limit, and I know with some grunting and wrestling I should be able to get it into those terrible tubular metal baggage-dimension things. This issue is that I am transporting over 3 litres in medicine and aid and such like. Got what I could in a clear bag that won’t seal closed. Regardless, I don a confident face and stroll to security. All is quiet, and the men are friendly and pay no heed to my liquid heavy bag. Fine, but they also missed my Swiss Card which contains a relatively blunt knife, fold-away scissors and totally obsolete toothpick - but non-the-less is prohibited...

You're a braver man than I! No way I'd chance taking that as hand luggage

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Thread starter):
SAW hints of off-season Spanish airports. Barren lands, spacious, marble-clad, reflective, cool and functional. Rude immigration men will not accept Scottish pounds, but a friendly London lass in the queue helps out and we swap.

You should know that south of the border Scottish money is useless.

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Thread starter):
The beer saga… with the remaining heads having dissipated

Ha, quite ridiculous! Seems that lady had some issues.

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Thread starter):

The hotel has given us little pack-lunches for this morning which is brilliant.

Sounds like a nice place to be put up

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Thread starter):
Erm, this is me, very much taking my life in my hands at the lip of Victoria Falls in the ‘Jacuzzi’… Probably the stupidest thing I have ever done, but a huge thrill. Right at the lip.

That does look quite foolhardy - was it as dangerous as it looks?

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Thread starter):
Or if Your Mr Chew you can have your breakfast here!

Looks nice

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Thread starter):
I bubble away in Lake Kivu, but sadly can’t afford the Serena hotel like amiable Gabriel!

That was by far and away the most expensive hotel of my trip. Nice place to splurge though



http://my.flightmemory.com/shefgab Upcoming flights:LCY-ARN-AMS-LGW,STN-OTP-AMS-YUL,YQB-JFK-LAX-DUS-STN,LGW-DXB-BKK-HKG-
User currently offlinegabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 3372 posts, RR: 12
Reply 21, posted (2 years 10 months 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 15277 times:

Oh yeah, for the next report, can you split it into smaller sections? Makes it a bit easier to take it all in!


http://my.flightmemory.com/shefgab Upcoming flights:LCY-ARN-AMS-LGW,STN-OTP-AMS-YUL,YQB-JFK-LAX-DUS-STN,LGW-DXB-BKK-HKG-
User currently offlineJL418 From Italy, joined Jun 2009, 493 posts, RR: 6
Reply 22, posted (2 years 10 months 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 15051 times:

Luke,

I was waiting for some lines from you ever since your Indian reports. I'm a bit of a fan of travel literature and I daresay that you have everything it takes to write a book of your own and to have it published in no time - if you do, give me a shout, I'll buy it in a heartbeat even it it's the chronicle of your travel from Glasgow to Peterborough on Megabus, provided that such a route exists.

It felt strange to see that you were in August around Finchley road as I was there as well... Funny you mentioned Hampstead heath as well, it was one of my favourite morning jogging routes.


User currently offlineflightsimboy From Canada, joined Sep 2005, 1344 posts, RR: 5
Reply 23, posted (2 years 10 months 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 14954 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 7):
Can you guess what it is?!

Fried chicken feet!


User currently offlinebuck3y3nut From United States of America, joined Jul 2006, 881 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (2 years 10 months 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 14926 times:

Hi Luke,
this report is going straight to my favorites... Not only that, it's also getting forwarded to friends & family. This is something truly amazing and a report everyone should be reading... What a wonderful report & epic pictures...
Thank you so much for writing this report & sharing it... I'm truly greatful to have read it...
Cheers  


25 Post contains links and images lukeyboy95 : Hi there. Thank-you for so many constructive comments so far. . . it really does make the effort worth while. . . Ha, I keep meaning to submit somethi
26 Post contains images globalflyer : Hi Luke ... what a fantastic report. QR is indeed a 5 star airline. I have always enjoyed their inflight service! I just love the pictures of your tri
27 dreamlinerAL : Ah ha - you went the whole hog. I wish I could have seen the whole journey. Was it delayed with you? Approx 17 hour delay on our journey. Oh yeah! It
28 lychemsa : Fantastic. Thank you for posting. I heard that Mozambique have fantastic beaches.
29 Post contains images planejamie : What a fantastic trip report! This is simply awesome! Forget the flights, QR are great, U2, well blah blah blah... it was £35 for London to Istanbul,
30 Post contains images alexeu : Hey, The best report this year! I felt like reading The Last King of Scotland! Reminds me of my trips in Southern and East Africa, as I used to live i
31 flightsimboy : A plethora of images capturing life from the countries you crossed!! Cannot wait to see all of them. It was a great opening, setting the scene and mo
32 CXfirst : One of the best trip reports I've read here on a.net. The air travel part of your trip only become a small side story, the rest of the trip seems to b
33 Knightsofmalta : Hi Lukeyboy I just wanted to express my appreciation for the time and effort you put into writing this up so beautifully and for the lovely pictures y
34 PlaneHunter : Hi Luke, what an excellent report full of fantastic pictures from Africa! QR looks great, too. Congratulations on your first 777 flight - you chose th
35 roberts87 : What a fantastic read and what a great trip! Loved the destination pics too!
36 Post contains links and images signol : Hi Luke, awesome! I've been waiting for this one Fantasically written, great pictures, especially of the land-part of the trip. By the way, I recommen
37 MH017 : Luke, What a great TR: love your routing by train/air and by land... They say, once you're hooked to Africa, you'll always come back and back there...
38 Post contains images LH4116 : Hi Luke, about time I catch up on your reports. First of all, what a magnificent report! I've read your previous ones, and each of them is an adventur
39 MSS658 : Hi Luke Great work, you sure managed to enjoy this trip! QR service looks fantastic. I also like the high quality pics you took in South Africa Greeti
40 lukeyboy95 : Evening, Thought I would reply to a few comments whilst I have some spare minutes. Thanks for continued positive feedback on this report. . . Haha, gr
41 flightsimboy : Just some very quick respones. There are some devout followers of the faith that carry out their day without as much as a groan, having fasted all day
42 Post contains images auntie : What an absolutely fantastic Trip Report. I was hooked right from the start! You have a superb writing style, I was in awe at a lot of your descriptio
43 deltamartin : Hi Luke! Great report! I really did enjoy reading about your flights to Africa, as well as your hitch hiking and experiences down there. I have never
44 airbuseric : Luke, I just want to say that I am totally intrigued by your story and the lifestyle you've taken during the trip. Wonderful writing like you're a rea
45 lukeyboy95 : Thanks for the continued comments... what a kind bunch you are; HI CXfirst... Gosh, thanks very much. No it was truly the time of my life. Well, I oug
46 Pe@rson : Absolutely brilliant! Well done and thanks.
47 Post contains links and images lukeyboy95 : Erm, well I thought everyone was so nice about the photos of Mother Africa itself, that I would attach a few extra ones to the end of this report tha
48 sjacob : Wow.....Welcome to Africa, welcome to Uganda and East Africa...This was awesome, i am sure you had fun to the fullest
49 Post contains images LH4116 : Hehe, sadly no hammams in Sweden. But whenever I'm visiting my relatives down in Morocco, I always make one last visit before heading home That's tru
50 flightsimboy : Thanks for the next installment of photos, though some are posted with just the captions!! No photo of your is to spared, so please do post the missin
51 chrisair : I rarely read the TR forum, let alone post here, but great photos and story. You really should put them in a book....
52 9V-SPJ : Great stuff Luke! Looks like a trip of a lifetime! The photos of SA bring back memories! 9V-SPJ
53 addictedMAN : Hi Luke, What an adventure, and such amazing photos! Thats a trip you will remember forever! Were you not tempted to cross into Zimbabwe to view the
54 Post contains images eastafspot : Dear Luke, There was a feeling that a respectable story would pop up anytime soon from Africa. Not only you fulfilled your promise, but you wrote an e
55 lukeyboy95 : Hi there, Just to reply to some comments... appreciated; Hi Pe@rson - thanks for the kind comment, made all the more welcome in that your not often sp
56 Post contains images FlyingFinn76 : Hi Luke, Absolutely stunning work! That's pretty much the only thing I can say about this mega report (and to think it is only the first part of your
57 lukeyboy95 : Hi FF, aka P. Great. and thanks for the comment! Don't... Not sure how I am going to split the next part up as it is alot of information. = Nice... th
58 Post contains images ba319-131 : Hi Luke, This is quite an amazing piece of work, well done, it's superb - fantastic pictures BTW! Shame to hear about the camera but if that is all yo
59 lukeyboy95 : Hi Mark. Many thanks for the reply! And here was me thinking the report had disappeared into 'the ether' of Anet. Cool. It was an adventure writing it
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