After visiting my siblings and other family members, time came to hit the sky. I was very keen to try out Gulf Air but some troubles early this year force them to axe the 2 months old Ugandan route.
Last November when the Tanzanian emigration denied the country's exit, i was forced to buy a last minute one way ticket with KLM at a hefty USD 1565 ( YCL cabin), sure they were – and still are – the most expensive out here.
Thanks god with the arrival of the Oryx, now a one way ticket cost only USD480 to London and 550 to Paris. A no brainer!
Before starting a few pictures of the Land of the Thousand Hills
Kigali skyline at dawn
The same Kigali skyline, later on
Did you know that fact?
Distance to Alexandria : 6 718 km
Altitude: 2 428 m
Latitude S 02°16'55.962"
Longitude E 29°19'52.470"
The fairly sharp edges of the coast: Lake Kivu bordering The DR Congo
The Memorial of Bisesero: "The Hill of Resistance".
These hills refused to betray the horror of the genocide in 1994. Have a quick read here : http://www.genocidearchiverwanda.org.rw/index.php?title=Bisesero .
The Canopy Trail: an aerial walkway in Nyungwe Forest - not for those with a fear of heights!
Pylon and wires of the canopy walk, built by the Canadian specialist "GreenHeart Conservation Company Ltd".
The biggest in East Africa, with its highest point situated 90 meters above the ground.
A diademed (or blue) monkey eating fruits in allophylus abyssinicus tree.
Maintained daily, it can support maximum 4 tones.
A family lunch: rabbit, beans ...and a ( room temperature) Primus! Yummy .
Nina, one of my nieces, shyly greets you!
My friend dropped me off in advance because i've been confused with the arrival time of the QR536 and the departure time of the QR537. But it has been proved at least a great idea because the best local football team APR ( the Army Patriotic of Rwanda) was going to play an African Champion league game in Tunisia (that they lost 2-3 in the last minutes)
With no on line check-in available, i've made my way to one of the two counters opened, but it took ages due to some member of this team spread on both lane. After a 10 minute wait a QR agent got opened a third lane specifically for them. Thankfully it has partially relieved from the pain because afterwards an issue on printing out the BP happened. The check in agent, holding my credit card, mentioned a computer problem.
Modernisation? Yes! The Chinese company clearly says NO to the "new airport project at Bugesera" .
The A.P.R. Football relaxing land side
A good friend of mine posing with a local star
Check-in desks, with the intriguing "C-9" on ET screen noticed by Gabrielchew
A total mess!
Time to go seamlessly upstairs to the emigration and then the lounge.
I don't own any Frequent flyer "Elite" status with QR but a friend told me about a nice promotion at the Pearl lounge operated by National Aviation Services (NAS) a renowned provider of ground handling services company based in Kuwait. Apparently they own or operate some lounges in Egypt, UAE too along with having agreements at few European airports like LGW, LHR and AMS too.
Gabrielchew produced a wonderful synopsis of the Pearl Lounge, with his first unreleased images of this relatively new refurbished place, in this awesome TR:
Africa 3: ET KGL-EBB-ADD-DAR-ZNZ. To Zanzibar In C (by gabrielchew Feb 5 2012 in Trip Reports)
Usd 10 was the entry fee meaningful 50 % off, 12h45 represented the theoretical time of check in inside showed on the receipt, the strict steward did not know why i showed up here only at 13h35, instead of the aforementioned time. He finally waived me inside after a fierce negotiation.
A substantial saving: lounge fee reduced to USD10 instead of 20
The awful seating area: "the-must-be-seen-in-the-lounge-by-everybody" (no privacy)
The paying bar
Cold snacks offering
Beverages and fruits
The best seats approved by (again) Gabrielchew
My light bites
Comfortably settled in and watching Rwandair and Ethiopian birds
Think global, act local .
Boarding was called few minutes after the ET flight to the same destination – Entebbe – and while the first group of passengers got a ride in a Cobus 2000 or 3000, the second group (where i was) must walked towards the aircraft. No complain of course but again the lack of consistence.
Photo © Michael - Spotterteam Graz
Photo © Spencer Wilmot
Photo © Mehmet Mustafa Celik
From Great Circle Map Copyright © 1996-2012 Karl L. Swartz. All rights reserved.
Unlike two weeks ago, some details ought to miss. We were welcomed by an Asian crew and given the seat direction, I was sad to do not see any local hostess though. As you could realised during the inaugural flight, the load factor was light and one could choose any upfront seat, what two business men did.
B737 Ethiopian backtracking runway 10