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CollegeAviator
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South Africa 3: 12 days in Scintillating South Africa (Kruger, Kulula and Rand Airport, Apr' 12, LONG!)

Sat May 06, 2017 6:52 am

I would like to bring you, the reader, to attention.
Scintillating has quite a few meanings, some of which are 'bright', 'sparkling', 'glittering', etc. All of which have a very positive sunny weather type feel. For those of you who are aware of Cape Town and the different types of weather thereabouts, that wasn't quite the case on some days.
Furthermore, this report does not feature just Kruger, kulula and Rand Airport, there is so much more, which I have listed here (April 2012):
7th: Cape Town city tour
8th: The Cape of Good Hope and Jackass penguins
9th: Table Mountain
10th: On the famous Garden Route to Knysna, and a Lagoon Cruise
11th: Ostriches, Caves and Lions!
12th: MN 910 GRJ-JNB, and then a drive to Kruger..
13th: Kruger
14th: Kruger
15th: Back into Johannesburg, Gold City Amusement Park
16th: More lions, 2 747s, snakes and crocodiles!
17th: EK 762 JNB-DXB

Before we dive in, a quick recap of what was a long 6th April 2012....
South Africa 1: My first flight on Emirates, my first flight on the 777 (CMB-DXB, Apr '12)
South Africa 2: Elegant Emirates Economy! (DXB-CPT, B77W, Apr '12)

Unsurprisingly this will largely feature a lot of photographs, and some text here and there...
And now, South Africa:

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Parliament.

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Cape Town and the Protea Tree..

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One of many unfinished bridges..

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One of many sports cars!

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At the Two Oceans aquarium

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Sea Lions!

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The Atlantic..

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The most South-Westerly point of Africa.

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Look how high I was! Obviously, altitude wise...

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All the stories and history itself is from here.

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Jackass penguins

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Rainbow in the Rainbow Nation

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Cape Town once again

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View from the Table Mountain, possibly older than the Himalayas..

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Industrial Building? No, our hotel!

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Garden Route..

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A small airport! Definitely not regional, most likely a flying school.

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George Airport

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And a Cessna 172!

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Knysna Lagoon

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Russell's Viper.

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In case you're wondering, that's just a deformed ostrich. A short one.

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Cango Caves..

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On to Kulula flight MN910 from George to Johannesburg!
DEPARTURE DAY, PRE BOARDING
After spending 6 amazing days in the Western Cape, it was time to go onto the next stint of our trip: Kruger and Johannesburg. It was time for a domestic flight. Looking at the domestic fleet of all airlines in South Africa, I was hoping for an interesting aircraft. Sadly, our plans in South Africa were such; we had to fly in a Boeing 737-800. This was a kulula.com flight, in which they promise a lot of humor onboard. So on the morning of 12th April, we headed out of Knysna to George, the airport which connects this city to Johannesburg, Durban, etc. We went around the runway to enter the small, but neat airport.

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As we were checking in, the agent told us about the new baggage policy, which was only one piece of checked in luggage per guest (mind you, kulula calls its passengers ‘fans’). So this meant a lot of cabin luggage for us. Right behind the check in counter, on the tarmac, a South African Airways CRJ 200 was preparing for its flight to JNB, and taxied a few moments later. We didn’t web check in, so the seats, which were already allocated, 7C/D/E/F.

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That looks so empty :(

After a quick security check, we had at Gate 5 for the aircraft to arrive. I was pretty sure that there would be an interesting colour scheme on the aircraft, like all other kulula planes, hopefully Flying 101!

We kept waiting, the departure drew closer. Every ground vehicle was in place for the aircraft to arrive. Just then, I heard a whoosh. The aircraft had arrived. Sadly, it wasn’t what I’d hoped for. It was a 738 with winglets, in a white colour scheme, with ‘kulula.com’ written over the tail in light green. Second disappointment after so much of promise (the first being the A380 downgrade..).


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Gate 5 and 6 for MN

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All ready for a quick turn around..

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According to Kulula.com: BLANK: We have two more planes, we like to think of them as our miminalistic planes. Their futures are so bright you need to wear shades when you board them.
They also took delivery of a K dot back then...

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Time to go!

BOARDING
20 minutes later, after a quick turnaround, boarding had started. ZS-ZWR was the aircraft. Looking at the aircraft condition, it looked like aircraft was under 5 years of age. The smiling crew welcomed us, and we took our seats.

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One final picture of the changing landscape..while on ground :)

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Leg room was just as any LCC, severely cramped. The pilot came over the PA a few minutes giving us details of the flight, (1 hour long, 37000 feet), and asked the passengers to move sideways to speed up boarding (that is smart!).

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MOONEY!

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All set to go!

In a hurry, the purser, quite aggressively went through the cabin to close all the over head bins (he missed one in the process) and armed the door. The four of us wondered if he armed the door safely, as he was in a real hurry! :P
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If he left this open, I hope he didn't leave Door L1 open! :P

DEPARTURE
7 minutes before STD, we were pushed back for departure. Here was the only humorous part of the flight, the safety briefing.

The announcements were witty: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Hg4O6C5Pds
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All set to go!

After a rather short taxi, but a long wait hold short of the runway, we took off into the bright sunny skies.

Taxiing, holding short, CFM56: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VxY0xQd3Xv8

INFLIGHT
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And a last glimpse of the Indian Ocean. Good bye :)

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The quiet outskirts of George.

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As the Ocean disappears, we fly over the hills...

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Plains again..

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Hard to take pictures of the wing when its behind :(

Quickly, we were in our cruising altitude, because of the light weight (about 80% loads, although). The meal service started. Was surprising to see alcohol on a domestic flight, since this is something outlawed in India. Anyhow, I took a hot drink combo, which included a chicken roll ‘munchie’ and a hot chocolate. Although the sandwich was cold (expected from a LCC), the hot chocolate was actually quite decent.

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BA!

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Aw, thanks Mom :)

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South Africa is simply scenic from everywhere!

Mid flight, I went to washroom, which had a few amenities, not bad for a LCC!
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One of three Capitals of South Africa. Bloemfontein is the judicial capital of South Africa.
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Ah, the airport!

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Cabin...maybe there were drop down screens....

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LOL my favourite!!

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DESCENT AND ARRIVAL
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Jo'burg!

A few minutes later, a quick descent into JNB started.

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We reached a decent 23 minutes before STA! During the long taxi, I saw quite a few tails in the international terminal, which included an EK 77W. (yup, EK761 and EK762, our return). There were a lot of domestic narrow bodies around, just like back home :)
There wasn’t a single parking spot remaining! We parked at a remote stand. And because of our before time arrival, the ground staff took some time to arrive at our aircraft.

Landing video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L2KuZxBtLT0

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SA A332 on its take off roll..

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SA, BA and AA!

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We were bussed into the terminal. Baggage took some time to arrive, but anyway, we were off to Kruger, with everything looking good and on schedule! It’s disappointing to say that kulula.com did not live up to my expectations. First, the baggage policy came as a bombshell, without any prior notice. Then, the aircraft, and the lack of humour as they promised. Service was pretty decent, for an LCC, but the highlight was flight being before time all throughout. Later, quiet brilliantly, the internet in my phone started working. I quickly the details of the frame which got me into JNB. I was surprised. A 13 year old airframe! I must say, kulula.com has done a great job in maintaining its aircraft!

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And now, continuing with South Africa: Kruger and Johannesburg..
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Single horned water buck

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African Elephant

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SAY CHEESE Buffalo!

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Impala

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Cliff Springer

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Zebra

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Giraffe while neck fighting

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Sleepy Queen

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He is super angry!

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Look who we found!

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Blind snake

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Marshal Eagle

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So close!

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Wild ostrich

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Another sleepy queen

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Kudu (Deer) meat!

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Water monitor

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Leopard? No, one of Kruger's 70 cheeta's...

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Something's flying..

Johannesburg:
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Gold Reef City

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Rail museum

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Awesome roller coaster! (I had to wait for Ferrari World Abu Dhabi!!)

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They showed how gold was mined..

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House mock ups..

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Slush!

On the final day, we had three parks to visit:
Rand Airport, Aircraft Park.
Lion Park..
Croc City, Reptile Park.

Although the Lion and Reptile Park were close to each other (and also, very close to Lanseria, the Domestic airport of Johannesburg), Rand Airport was close to O.R. Tambo International. So we left pretty early. Now here's the thing in Rand Airport: its open on weekends and open on weekdays, on request. So I sent them an email, but I got a reply only when I was in Knysna. It was a very, very faint confirmation. So we went there, and unsurprisingly, it was closed. I was unhappy.

Now obviously, with two Boeing 747's right there, we kept calm and waited for half an hour, maximum. Now the very helpful driver, asked the security in the museum if it was open. He told us to contact one of the numbers. I did so, and the person told he received the email, etc, etc, and told his wife would be coming there to open the gates. After a wait of about 25 minutes, a very friendly lady arrived. She told us that all museums were closed on Monday (what did I do?! Did I just call staff out of their day off just to open a whole museum just for me?! WHY?!?! :oops: :roll: ) But she said that she understand our tight schedule, etc, so she didn't mind coming, because she had her own work to do. Alright then, the once in a lifetime experience, getting up close and personal with a Boeing 747!!!! :D

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All this for just 20 rand. Not bad!!! Brilliant once in a life time opportunity! Some of my father's images:
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So we went to the museum gallery inside. After looking at all the items in the cabinets, I decided to make a donation of my own: DXB-CPT boarding pass and the amenity kit. The lady told us with a big smile: 'It may be surprising, but these are only our first donations with the Emirates brand.' I was happy to make this donations, and was in good spirits.

Now, the Lion park:
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Very faint, the Lanseria Airport Runway..

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Why are they always sleeping?!

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Leopard here

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Yes, we cuddled with these cubs :)

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Croc city now:
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Yes, I put that around my neck :) :D :twisted:
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My hands!! :D

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A mall in Johannesburg..

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While everyone were packing I quickly took a few pictures of the amenity kits..
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And that's it! 12 days in South Africa.

I will share two more parts of the South Africa trip report, so do stay tuned! :)

Regards
CollegeAviator

My other trip reports:
2016
Summer '16 trek back home - Part 7: Efficient IndiGo! (Mumbai to Kolkata, A320, May '16) (video trip report)
Summer '16 trek back home - Part 6: Big delays, cracked windshield, angry passengers (SG CCU-BOM B73J) (video trip report)
Summer '16 trek back home - Part 5: Air India's domestic Dream)liner (DEL-CCU May '16) (video trip report)
Summer '16 trek back home - Part 4: Nearly First Class - stories of the empty A380! (LH FRA-DEL May '16) (video trip report)
Summer '16 trek back home - Part 3: World's longest jet, Lufthansa's B748i! (ORD-FRA May '16) (video trip report)
Summer '16 trek back home - Part 2: ChicaGO on United's A319! (MSP-ORD, May '16) (video trip report)
Summer '16 trek back home - Part 1: Sun rise onboard the long range CRJ (DL GFK-MSP CRJ-900, May '16) (video trip report)
The pencil jet(s) for spring break! (+ Iron Maiden bonus): Delta MSP-FLL-MSP, March '16 (DL1608 video trip report, DL2027 video trip report)
De-iced & Delayed, cold onboard a CRJ! (ORD-MSP-GFK on Delta, Jan '16) (ORD-MSP video report) (MSP-GFK video report)
Delta's aged B767-300ER across the Atlantic! (CDG-ORD in Y, Jan '16) (video report)
Air France's NEW Economy (B777-200ER, Bengaluru to Paris, Jan '16) (video report)
Delays and despair: stressed out in the middle seat! (Jet Airways B737 Mumbai - Bengaluru, Jan '16)
Air India's hybrid babybus from Kolkata to Mumbai (Jan '16, Y) (video report)

2012
South Africa 2: Elegant Emirates Economy! (DXB-CPT, B77W, Apr '12)
South Africa 1: My first flight on Emirates, my first flight on the 777 (CMB-DXB, Apr '12)

2011
International transit with Jet Airways (BOM-MAA-CMB, Oct. '11)
Konnecting to Bhubaneswar (9W BOM-BBI-BOM, Jul '11)
Three trips between India and Sri Lanka (9W BOM-CMB-BOM: Jun '11, Jul '11, Oct. 11)
To India's Orange City: Mumbai - Nagpur - Mumbai on Jetlite & Tadoba National Park (May 2011)
My last flight on Kingfisher Airlines (and 2 other Jet flights, May '11)
 
P1aneMad
Posts: 467
Joined: Thu Jan 26, 2017 2:05 pm

Re: South Africa 3: 12 days in Scintillating South Africa (Kruger, Kulula and Rand Airport, Apr' 12, LONG!)

Sat May 06, 2017 1:32 pm

That was AWESOME report mate. Many thanks.
 
jeffrey1970
Posts: 1512
Joined: Sat Apr 07, 2001 1:41 am

Re: South Africa 3: 12 days in Scintillating South Africa (Kruger, Kulula and Rand Airport, Apr' 12, LONG!)

Mon May 08, 2017 10:14 pm

I really enjoyed your trip report. I love the pictures of the animals. I was hoping you would fly on one of Kaluah's lime green 737's.
God bless through Jesus, Jeff

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