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hirofumi
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A Hidden Gem of African Aviation - Air Namibia CPT-WBV/WDH-VFA

Thu May 16, 2019 2:48 pm

Hi everyone, it's been a while showing up here! Today I want to share with you my experience on Air Namibia, which isn't a well known airline across the world due to their limited number of aircraft and operating destinations.

At the moment, they have 2XA330-200, 4XA319, and 4XERJ135 - which make up quite a small number of fleet. Destination wise, their only long-haul is Frankfurt, and the rest is regional along with a few domestic routes.

I had an opportunity to fly their A319 and ERJ135, from Cape Town to Walvis Bay, then Windhoek to Victoria Falls respectively. Both flights had a positive surprise which is the reason why I wanted to share my experience here.

Segment 1 - Cape Town to Walvis Bay on A319

Flight Number: SW 714
Date: April 9, 2019
STD: 10:05
STA: 12:15
Block Time: 2hrs 10mins
Class: Economy
Registration: V5-ANL

Pleasant Check-In

The journey started with a very polite and professional check-in agent at Cape Town International Airport. I wasn't sure if it was the training by airport authority or Air Namibia itself, but it was a very pleasant experience being addressed by my name.

This was my first time departing from CPT, and I liked the coziness of the terminal and overall efficiency. In five to ten minutes I was able to clear security and immigration combined.

While waiting for the boarding, the aircraft arrived.

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Air Namibia's A319 parked at CPT

At first glance, the aircraft resembles an A320, since there are two emergency exits on the side. I never knew there was a version of A319 which has an additional door.

The boarding was soon to start. The agent said "have a good flight" to every passenger when the boarding pass was being scanned. Great staff.

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Boarding scene

Spacious Business Class Seats

There are 16 business class seats onboard Air Namibia's A319. Passing through their cabin, I was quite surprised by the amount of legroom. For a regional flight, these look really comfortable!

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Air Namibia's A319 business class seats

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Air Namibia's A319 business class seats

Comfortable Economy Seat

Economy seats weren't bad either. The legroom was perfect for a short-haul flight.

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Air Namibia's A319 economy seats

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Very decent legroom

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Seat pocket

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Airline magazine and safety card

The magazine "Flamingo" was quite fun to read, since it had a lot of articles on travels in Namibia, one of the most beautiful places on Earth (which I'll be sharing some details here as well).

After take-off, the plane made a big sharp turn which enabled window seat on both sides to enjoy the view of Table Mountain.

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Table Mountain in distance

The load factor in economy was about 50% or even less. I had the whole row of three seats to myself, and so was my neighbor across the aisle. I was only sitting in two-third of the cabin.

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Light load in cabin

There was no individual screen in every seat, and instead programs were played on overhead monitor. After take-off a video on Namibia's wildlife was shown (no sound since no earphones were provided).

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Springbok on screen

Amazing Meal for Such a Short Flight!!!

The highlight of this flight was the quality & quantity of meal and beverage. I was literally blown away by such high quality meal in economy, and on such a short regional sector!

First was the beverage service. I've asked for orange juice and a packet was handed out - this was average.

The next was the meal service, and there were three choices for main course. I repeat, three choices for a two hour flight! The choice was beef, chicken, or fish.

I went with beef.

This is what came out.

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Economy meal

It was a full meal!

The main dish was likely to be bobotie - a traditional South African Cape Malay signature dish, which is minced meat topped with omelette and turmeric rice.

Let's see the food up-close. Seriously, the Greek salad was so fresh, the main was absolutely delicious, and dried raisins in the meat even gave better flavor. The dessert was apple crumble pie which was moist and divine. The bread was larger than average economy rolls, and came with butter, crackers, and cheddar cheese. ALL DELICIOUS, and filling!

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Greek salad

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Bobotie

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Apple crumble pie

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Bread, butter, cracker, and cheese

This meal was one of the best economy class meals I've had on a plane, and definitely the best one for a regional flight.

While I was so impressed with the meal, the crew came around with another round of drinks! This time I chose what they called "Grapetiser", but technically it was something else but close enough. I received a full can, with a cup and ice. Wow! They have a second drink offering (again I'm going to stress again) on a two hour flight, AND providing a full can. Amazing service.

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Second beverage offer with full can provided

At this time, the overhead monitor was playing The Big Bang Theory, but no earphones. I wonder if passengers were expected to bring a set on their own or the crew just forgot to distribute, but it didn't matter since there was another awesome entertainment onboard - the views.

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The Big Bang Theory being played (without earphones provided)

Incredible Desert Views

After take-off, the views are mostly of desert all the way - the more the plane approached Walvis Bay, better the dunes looked. Just a couple of minutes before landing, the captain announced it was passing through Sossusvlei, a major tourist destination in the Namib desert surrounded by thick orange dunes.

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Flying above Sossusvlei

Landing in the Middle of Nowhere

What even became more interesting was the landing views. Until the plane touched ground, I saw no sight of any human settlement or sign of civilization. It was literally diving into desert and just a second before landing the runway tarmac was seen. I've flown a couple of airports in the Middle East where they are located in desert, but not as extreme as the one in Walvis Bay!

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Nothing but sand beneath

Even after landing, there was no sight of terminal building. The plane stopped before approaching the terminal building, where passengers would get off and walk to terminal on their own.

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Parked in middle of nowhere

The same plane would continue to Windhoek, the capital of Namibia. Only a handful got off at Walvis Bay, including myself.

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Walking to the terminal building

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Still walking

Looking back, there was a beautiful bird under thick blue sky. I never realized how giant A319 was!

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Air Namibia parked in Walvis Bay

After a few hundred meters walk, I saw a bright red passenger terminal. The terminal seemed quite new and modern, though extremely small for an international airport. It was definitely one of the smallest international airports ever been to! (The smallest one I experienced was Amman's Marka Airport which had flights to Tel Aviv with Fokker 50 about 20 years ago.)

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Terminal building

The arrival flight display showed only five flights a day - two to Cape Town, two to Johannesburg, and one to Windhoek. I can see a strong connection with South Africa but not surprised since Walvis Bay had long been an enclave of South African territory and stayed like that even after Namibian independence for a few years.

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FIDS

This marks the end of the first segment. I will update more with my Namibia trip photos and the second segment with their ERJ135 experience to Victoria Falls.

Thanks for reading.

Hirofumi
 
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eastafspot
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Re: A Hidden Gem of African Aviation - Air Namibia CPT-WBV/WDH-VFA

Thu May 16, 2019 6:06 pm

Glad to see you back Hirofumi. :smile:
Excellent TR as usual, with sharp pictures.
It's good you always focus on the positive aspects.
Is it Easyjet which operates A319 with 2 exits doors over the wing?
As your trip occured in April, you could have flown the A330 between JNB and WDH to get a feel of SW long haul flight.
Can't wait to read the rest with a bonus of Sossusvlei maybe?
:wave:
Fly with Air Burundi, Air Tanzania, Golden Wings Aviation, Kenya Airways, RwandAir and Uganda Airlines...Jumuiya ya Afrika mashariki !
 
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hirofumi
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Re: A Hidden Gem of African Aviation - Air Namibia CPT-WBV/WDH-VFA

Fri May 17, 2019 7:54 am

eastafspot wrote:
Glad to see you back Hirofumi. :smile:
Excellent TR as usual, with sharp pictures.
It's good you always focus on the positive aspects.
Is it Easyjet which operates A319 with 2 exits doors over the wing?
As your trip occured in April, you could have flown the A330 between JNB and WDH to get a feel of SW long haul flight.
Can't wait to read the rest with a bonus of Sossusvlei maybe?
:wave:


Hi Leonard, it's nice to hear from you. I wasn't aware SW was flying their A330 to JNB! It'd have been an interesting experience.

Yes Sossusvlei coming soon :)
 
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hirofumi
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Re: A Hidden Gem of African Aviation - Air Namibia CPT-WBV/WDH-VFA

Fri May 17, 2019 8:57 am

Namibian Landscape

Namibia, being the second least densely populated country after Mongolia, the nature scenery is just incredible. I rented a Toyota SUV and visited Swakopmund, Sossusvlei area, and Windhoek.

Swakopmund

After landing in Walvis Bay, I headed straight to Swakopmund - a funny little German influenced town. The reason why I say funny is because of the (im)balance between colonial German architecture and sand dunes that surround the city - not a typical combination you'll see except here.

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Swakopmund town

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Swakopmund town

I stayed at the Alternative Space Bed & Breakfast. The place is run by a very friendly Afrikaans & German family and truly hospitable. The room was large and stylish, as the owner is an architect who designed and built the entire property. The breakfast was sumptuous with plenty of freshly baked bread, cheese, cold cuts, and yogurt to choose from, as well as eggs and bacon for self-cooking. I highly recommend this guesthouse.

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My room at the Alternative Space Bed & Breakfast

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Cold breakfast spread

I think the best part of my stay in Swakopmund was exploring Township on my own, as you could get a "true" African experience. There was one restaurant that I was very curious about, called Hafeni Traditional Restaurant, serving authentic Namibian cuisine.

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Township houses

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The restaurant

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Graffiti

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Inside restaurant

There was a group of tourists who were part of the Township tour. Looks like it's not the sort of place where an outsider roams around on own, but I enjoyed interacting with locals in the area who were really friendly.

Oh if you watch closely at the TV, it was showing a Bollywood movie. That's really interesting, it was all played in Hindi without subtitles. I wondered if the restaurant people just randomly switched on or was on purpose - globalism, hey!

I asked for a recommendation and this came out.

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Namibian local food

It was mashed beans, spinach stew, and porridge. I actually liked the beans and spinach since they tasted simple and healthy, but the porridge was a bit heavy even if it was quite small.

Walvis Bay and Sandwich Harbour

For this trip, I joined a 4X4 tour since it required a skilled driver to ride over dunes. Sandwich Harbour is located south of Walvis Bay in Namib-Naukluft National Park, and it's the place where sand dunes drop into ocean. When it's at full-tide you can't even drive through.

On the way, we stopped at Lesser Flamingo Pint and the pink salt lake.

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Walvis Bay flamingos

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Pink salt lake

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Sandwich Harbour starts

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Sandwich Harbour Lagoon

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The place is wildlife paradise

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Climbing up dunes

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Can you spot a little white car by the sea?

The highlight of this trip was proper lunch set up in desert - the package included sparkling wine and fresh oysters!

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Great lunch setup

Self-Drive in Namibia

I must say the best part of the whole Namibian experience was self-driving. Never in my life, have I been to a place where the entire scenery is all to myself, and not spotting a single human soul for hours! It really makes one feel like being on top of the world.

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Totally desolate

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"Moonland" landscape

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Namibian dirt road

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Welwitchia desert plant

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Near Solitaire

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Spreethoogte Pass

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Abandoned car in Solitaire

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Another abandoned car in Solitaire

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One more

I generally liked the food in Namibia, which has strong German influence. Their bread is typically tasty as well as ham and salami.

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Countryside delicatessen

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Solitaire's famous apple pie

In case you're wondering, Solitaire is an oasis drive-inn between Walvis Bay/Windhoek and Sossusvlei. This is also the place for first petrol station after driving for hours from nearest tar road. The rule in Namibia driving especially if driving in desert area - always fill up the tank whenever you see a petrol station.

Sossusvlei

Now, the highlight of Namibia trip - the visit to Sossusvlei. Let the photos speak for themselves.

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Waiting for the national park gate to open at Sesriem

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On the way to Sossuvlei

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Deadvlei

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The "Big Daddy" dune

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Dune 45

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Lone ostrich

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Evening in Sesriem outskirt

And finally, driving to Windhoek. The scenery got greener as the capital city was approached.

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Near Kalkrand

Windhoek

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Windhoek's landmark icon, Christuskirche
 
debonair
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Re: A Hidden Gem of African Aviation - Air Namibia CPT-WBV/WDH-VFA

Fri May 17, 2019 9:03 am

eastafspot wrote:
Is it Easyjet which operates A319 with 2 exits doors over the wing?


Many airlines are operating the 2 exit version - not only easyjet; as you can reconfigure the a/c with up to 156 seats. Nowadays, most single exit versions will be scrapped without value, only the 2 exit versions are still in the game.

Yeap, Air Namibia looks fantastic - however, very sadly, the airline is making losses and the future is not bright at all - see:
https://www.cargoforwarder.eu/2019/03/3 ... ructuring/

Or, if you have much more time to read:
https://thepatriot.com.na/index.php/201 ... -disaster/
 
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LTU932
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Re: A Hidden Gem of African Aviation - Air Namibia CPT-WBV/WDH-VFA

Fri May 17, 2019 9:06 am

Namibia was THE most important colony of the German Empire before losing it to the British as a result of World War I. Despite that, there are still a few thousand German native speakers living in the country and from what I gather, they have their own slang when compared to the German spoken in Europe. The influence on Namibia can still be seen today.

Though the language itself is one of the many national languages, German appears to be a dying language in Namibia.
Sometimes the only thing more dangerous than a question is an answer. - Ferengi Rule of Acquisition 208
 
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alecdplotkin
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Re: A Hidden Gem of African Aviation - Air Namibia CPT-WBV/WDH-VFA

Fri May 17, 2019 11:48 am

Wow! Fantastic trip report.
 
sw733
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Re: A Hidden Gem of African Aviation - Air Namibia CPT-WBV/WDH-VFA

Fri May 17, 2019 8:55 pm

LTU932 wrote:
Namibia was THE most important colony of the German Empire before losing it to the British as a result of World War I. Despite that, there are still a few thousand German native speakers living in the country and from what I gather, they have their own slang when compared to the German spoken in Europe. The influence on Namibia can still be seen today.

Though the language itself is one of the many national languages, German appears to be a dying language in Namibia.


Yes our German has many differences, but of course many similarities too. We've pulled words from other languages around us (both African and European). The number of speakers is going down and may someday be mostly gone, but it will still be quite some time.
 
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eastafspot
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Re: A Hidden Gem of African Aviation - Air Namibia CPT-WBV/WDH-VFA

Sun May 19, 2019 12:28 am

debonair wrote:
eastafspot wrote:
Is it Easyjet which operates A319 with 2 exits doors over the wing?


Many airlines are operating the 2 exit version - not only easyjet; as you can reconfigure the a/c with up to 156 seats. Nowadays, most single exit versions will be scrapped without value, only the 2 exit versions are still in the game.

Yeap, Air Namibia looks fantastic - however, very sadly, the airline is making losses and the future is not bright at all - see:
https://www.cargoforwarder.eu/2019/03/3 ... ructuring/

Or, if you have much more time to read:
https://thepatriot.com.na/index.php/201 ... -disaster/


Yeah, thanks a lot Chris, for the precision about this aircraft! Do you know any other operator in Europe or Africa using this A/C?
Alsoo, agree for the dire SW situation, and very interesting links shared - anyone should read them to get a clear picture!
Fly with Air Burundi, Air Tanzania, Golden Wings Aviation, Kenya Airways, RwandAir and Uganda Airlines...Jumuiya ya Afrika mashariki !
 
debonair
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Re: A Hidden Gem of African Aviation - Air Namibia CPT-WBV/WDH-VFA

Sun May 19, 2019 9:10 am

eastafspot wrote:
Yeah, thanks a lot Chris, for the precision about this aircraft! Do you know any other operator in Europe or Africa using this A/C?


Yes my dear friend - charter airlines like GERMANIA or even fastjet Tanzania (operating ex easyjet A319) do/did!
 
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hirofumi
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Re: A Hidden Gem of African Aviation - Air Namibia CPT-WBV/WDH-VFA

Sun May 19, 2019 11:27 am

Segment 2 - Windhoek to Victoria Falls on ERJ-135

Flight Number: SW 405
Date: April 14, 2019
STD: 14:15
STA: 15:50
Block Time: 1hr 35mins
Class: Economy
Registration: V5-WEB

Chaotic Windhoek Airport

Although not as small as Walvis Bay Airport, I was surprised how compact Windhoek's Hoseo Kotako International Airport was. The airport is reaching its maximum capacity, especially around afternoon when many flights depart around the same time.

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Windhoek Airport's terminal building

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Check-in area

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Check-in area

Surprisingly, there were only 2 operating counters for Air Namibia, handling all SW departing flights! There were five destinations departing in the next three hours frame (Oranjemund, Victoria Falls, Cape Town *2 , and Accra), and lines were moving slow. I didn't see a priority line for business class either. It took around 45 minutes to finally reaching the counter.

The security check was another long line that took around 30 minutes to get through. Immigration was fortunately quick but after that was a single super crowded waiting hall just like a busy bus station.

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Super crowded waiting area

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FIDS

Looking at the screen, it was definitely not enough to accommodate all passengers in this little area. Notably, the Ethiopian flight to Addis was operated by 777-200LR this day.

The boarding started 15 minutes before departure time. In Windhoek all passengers walk to aircraft directly. Not a bad idea!

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Boarding gate

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Windhoek Airport's apron

My aircraft did not have any painting on the aircraft except for its registration number. Apparently it's a leased aircraft from Westair, Namibia's private charter company.

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My aircraft to VFA

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TAAG 737-700

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Airport terminal

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Boarding

Awesome 1-2 Configuration

I always thought that all Embraer jets have 2-2 configuration (excuse my ignorance), until I entered the cabin. It was actually 1-2 configuration in all economy setting, and I got the solo seat. It's so great to have an aisle access window seat in economy! The legroom was decent, and just like on my flight from Cape Town to Walvis Bay, the flight was half empty. There was a group of Japanese tourists of about 10 people which made up almost half the passengers on flight.

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Inside Air Namibia's ERJ-135

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Solo seat

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Legroom

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Empty neighbor

The flight departed on-time. It taxied by British Airways' 737, Air Namibia's A319, Ethiopian's 777, and finally Air Namibia's A330.

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British Airways' 737

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More aircraft on sight

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Air Namibia's A330

After take-off, the landscape below was quite desert-like. When I was driving around Windhoek it was much more green and lush, but may be because the airport is located about 40kms towards Kalahari Desert side from the city it was dryer here.

Image
Desert landscape near Windhoek

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Desert landscape near Windhoek

Light Meal on Board

Because the previous flight served full meal with three choices in main course, I was sort of expecting something similar. Unfortunately it wasn't a full meal nor any choice available, "just" a snack box provided. No complain, since the galley space in ERJ aircraft must be very limited.

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Fancy snack box

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Inside the box

It contained some salad and a KitKat bar, along with a bread roll and butter. The main plate consisted of macaroni and corn salad, spicy Cajun chicken-sort of taste dish, and potato salad. They were all quite delicious.

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Salad

I had a grape soda drink which was again given in a full can.

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100% grape soda drink

The Friendliest Crew Ever in Economy

The highlight of this flight was the friendliness of crew. May be because I was sitting in the far back, it was easier to strike up a conversation. She was genuinely interested in my background and East Asian culture.

Apparently while she was serving meal to the Japanese tourists, one of them bowed to her. She was wondering what that meant and I explained to her that it was a sign of expressing gratitude instead of saying "thanks".

The conversation moved onto where this aircraft belonged to and explaining to me the brief background of the charter company she works for (Westair). May be because she's used to look after private charter guests the service felt like it wasn't an ordinary economy class. I never had such long conversations with a crew member in economy before and it certainly made the flight more enjoyable :smile:

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Cabin view

It was a quick flight. Just before landing in Victoria Falls, the waterfall mist was visible through window.

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Waterfall mist from Victoria Falls

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Approaching Victoria Falls Airport

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Airport terminal

Victoria Falls airport was quite nice, much more modern than expected. It was empty at this time of day, but I heard in afternoon it can get very busy when Ethiopian, South African, and British Airways all make landing around the same time.

I've only stayed a night in Victoria Falls before heading to Botswana, but I must say the people of Zimbabwe are generally very polite and genuine despite the harsh economic condition of the country - wonderful people.

The marks the end of full report. Thanks for staying!

p.s. Air Namibia may be going through a financial trouble, but the experience was truly unique and boutique. I just had the two best experiences in air with them - "the best economy food on regional flight" and "the friendliest crew in economy".
 
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hirofumi
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Re: A Hidden Gem of African Aviation - Air Namibia CPT-WBV/WDH-VFA

Sun May 19, 2019 11:32 am

debonair wrote:
Yeap, Air Namibia looks fantastic - however, very sadly, the airline is making losses and the future is not bright at all - see:
https://www.cargoforwarder.eu/2019/03/3 ... ructuring/

Or, if you have much more time to read:
https://thepatriot.com.na/index.php/201 ... -disaster/

That's unfortunate, but it makes sense given how empty the flights were.

alecdplotkin wrote:
Wow! Fantastic trip report.

Thanks for the feedback.
 
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eastafspot
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Re: A Hidden Gem of African Aviation - Air Namibia CPT-WBV/WDH-VFA

Thu May 23, 2019 7:24 pm

hirofumi wrote:
Hi Leonard, it's nice to hear from you. I wasn't aware SW was flying their A330 to JNB! It'd have been an interesting experience.
Yes Sossusvlei coming soon :)

Yes, as flights in A330 were operated 3x weekly, next time maybe!
Very impressed by your Namibian experience thanks a lot, price wise how does it compare with South Africa? For instance Botswana is very tempting also but, omg not now - only when I will be retired + with a huge pension...
I really thought that ET was sending a 787 to WDH.
Hard to remember the last TR (or own trip) with a hot meal served in Y in an ERJ135, let alone in a less than 2h flight :eyepopping:
Have you crossed the bridge afterwards ?

debonair wrote:
Yes my dear friend - charter airlines like GERMANIA or even fastjet Tanzania (operating ex easyjet A319) do/did!

Was Germania operating some (regular) flights too to TLS with this type ?
Wow, how did I miss Fastjet TZ indeed??? In another way, they did not use it for long enough though :frown:
Fly with Air Burundi, Air Tanzania, Golden Wings Aviation, Kenya Airways, RwandAir and Uganda Airlines...Jumuiya ya Afrika mashariki !
 
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hirofumi
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Re: A Hidden Gem of African Aviation - Air Namibia CPT-WBV/WDH-VFA

Mon May 27, 2019 9:34 am

eastafspot wrote:
hirofumi wrote:
Hi Leonard, it's nice to hear from you. I wasn't aware SW was flying their A330 to JNB! It'd have been an interesting experience.
Yes Sossusvlei coming soon :)

Yes, as flights in A330 were operated 3x weekly, next time maybe!
Very impressed by your Namibian experience thanks a lot, price wise how does it compare with South Africa? For instance Botswana is very tempting also but, omg not now - only when I will be retired + with a huge pension...
I really thought that ET was sending a 787 to WDH.
Hard to remember the last TR (or own trip) with a hot meal served in Y in an ERJ135, let alone in a less than 2h flight :eyepopping:
Have you crossed the bridge afterwards ?

Thanks for the comment! I actually thought Namibia was a bit more expensive than SA overall, especially the accommodation around Sossusvlei area. Cities like Windhoek and Swakopmund were not that bad. However, organized tours are quite expensive, and so were taxis in town - so it's advisable to rent your own car and drive around. Although I didn't visit this time you can drive around in your own vehicle in Etosha, so that makes it more economical than visiting some other national parks in the continent which charge hefty entrance fee for visitors.

The bridge was quite amazing crossing into the Zambian side. I did Botswana and Zambia as well, and it was interesting to compare how the three countries differed. Zambia was quite an organized place (my impression). I really missed visiting the rest of Africa!
 
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SRQKEF
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Re: A Hidden Gem of African Aviation - Air Namibia CPT-WBV/WDH-VFA

Mon May 27, 2019 12:14 pm

Nice report! Loved the photos of Namibia, it's probably the #1 place on my bucket list. Air Namibia looks great as well, I've always wanted to try their FRA service since I saw their 747 there back when I was little.

As an aside, that's an E145 not E135. ;)
You can clearly see it because of the longer cabin.
Nothing compares to taking off in an empty 757 with full thrust!
 
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hirofumi
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Re: A Hidden Gem of African Aviation - Air Namibia CPT-WBV/WDH-VFA

Tue May 28, 2019 9:37 pm

SRQKEF wrote:
Nice report! Loved the photos of Namibia, it's probably the #1 place on my bucket list. Air Namibia looks great as well, I've always wanted to try their FRA service since I saw their 747 there back when I was little.

As an aside, that's an E145 not E135. ;)
You can clearly see it because of the longer cabin.

Thanks for dropping by! You're so right about the aircraft. Apparently Air Namibia's site only says they own E135s for the Embraer series, but then this is a leased aircraft from Westair which does own E145. Thanks for the correction :smile:
 
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eastafspot
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Re: A Hidden Gem of African Aviation - Air Namibia CPT-WBV/WDH-VFA

Fri May 31, 2019 11:36 pm

hirofumi wrote:
I did Botswana and Zambia as well, and it was interesting to compare how the three countries differed. Zambia was quite an organized place (my impression).

Namibia is a must see, I would have shouted out in the middle of the desert indefinitely, just to make sure nobody was here hahaha!
What about Botswana?
Where did you go? Any recommendations?
The Kariba lake is a good stop over/cruise option or not?
There are more questions but maybe you think it's off topic?
Did u get the Univisa at the border?
Fly with Air Burundi, Air Tanzania, Golden Wings Aviation, Kenya Airways, RwandAir and Uganda Airlines...Jumuiya ya Afrika mashariki !
 
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hirofumi
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Re: A Hidden Gem of African Aviation - Air Namibia CPT-WBV/WDH-VFA

Thu Jun 06, 2019 1:53 pm

eastafspot wrote:
Namibia is a must see, I would have shouted out in the middle of the desert indefinitely, just to make sure nobody was here hahaha!
What about Botswana?
Where did you go? Any recommendations?
The Kariba lake is a good stop over/cruise option or not?
There are more questions but maybe you think it's off topic?
Did u get the Univisa at the border?

Haha, shouting in the desert will be easy. Except for Sossusvlei, there is hardly anyone in that area!

For Botswana I just visited Chobe, so that doesn't speak much for the whole country. What I liked about Botswana was the cruise in Chobe National Park - plenty of wildlife to watch from a boat which was quite an experience. I heard from a few travellers that Makgadikgadi Salt Pan is a great place to visit, so that's on my list for my next visit.

I didn't visit anywhere far from the waterfall in Zambia, in fact I was just around in Livingstone area. So my advice will be extremely limited :smile:

I got Univisa both at VF Airport and Botswana/Zambia border. I thought I could get away with just the 1st visa but apparently if you stay overnight outside of either Zim or Zam (in my case Botswana) and come back to re-enter you'd need a fresh visa. You can get the same visa on the VF Bridge as well.

I'll try my best to answer your questions :smile:
 
lychemsa
Posts: 1850
Joined: Sun Oct 11, 2009 8:39 pm

Re: A Hidden Gem of African Aviation - Air Namibia CPT-WBV/WDH-VFA

Sun Jun 09, 2019 6:56 pm

I love those sparkling grape soda drinks! Why can't Austrian and US airlines serve meals like this?
 
nomadkj
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Jun 02, 2019 8:39 pm

Re: A Hidden Gem of African Aviation - Air Namibia CPT-WBV/WDH-VFA

Mon Jun 10, 2019 8:06 pm

Wow, I really enjoyed reading your trip report!
What a beautiful country Namibia is.
 
jamesontheroad
Posts: 448
Joined: Sat Jul 16, 2005 1:52 am

Re: A Hidden Gem of African Aviation - Air Namibia CPT-WBV/WDH-VFA

Tue Jun 11, 2019 12:23 pm

Great report, thanks for taking time to share. We recently spent 11 days in Namibia, flying out NWI-AMS-(LAD)-WDH with KLM. I then flew onwards to JNB with Air Namibia. I was also surprised by the choice of food - three meat options were offered, and when I nervously asked for a vegetarian meal they called for one from the back of the plane. I can't help wondering if the excessive catering offer might have some small part in the airline's persistent lack of profitability.

Namibia is a fantastic country, easily one of my favourite destinations in the world.
 
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eastafspot
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Re: A Hidden Gem of African Aviation - Air Namibia CPT-WBV/WDH-VFA

Tue Jun 11, 2019 7:57 pm

Frozen funds wreak havoc on Air Namibia operations:

“Due to the ongoing court case by Challenge Air, Air Namibia’s funds have been frozen in Europe and this has caused a severe liquidity problem at the airline.
...
Currently, the V5-ANK aircraft (msn 3586), leased to Deucalion Aviation Funds, has been in Larnaca, Cyprus since last January, while the other two aircraft, V5-ANN (msn 5400) and V5 -ANM (msn5366) have been stranded in Johannesburg since March 24 and June 2 respectively.

Only the A319 (V5-ANL, msn 3346) operates on regional flights. As a result, the company was forced to reduce its flights over its entire network."


https://allafrica.com/stories/201906100582.html
Fly with Air Burundi, Air Tanzania, Golden Wings Aviation, Kenya Airways, RwandAir and Uganda Airlines...Jumuiya ya Afrika mashariki !
 
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readytotaxi
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Re: A Hidden Gem of African Aviation - Air Namibia CPT-WBV/WDH-VFA

Wed Jun 12, 2019 5:28 pm

Gosh, wow! great trip report. Namibia seems to be a great country to visit.
Every aspect of the report seems positive to me
you don't get a second chance to make a first impression!
Growing older, but not up.
 
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hirofumi
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Re: A Hidden Gem of African Aviation - Air Namibia CPT-WBV/WDH-VFA

Tue Jun 18, 2019 11:50 am

lychemsa wrote:
I love those sparkling grape soda drinks! Why can't Austrian and US airlines serve meals like this?

It's a great option for soda lovers since it's rare to find sparkling 100% natural juice.

nomadkj wrote:
Wow, I really enjoyed reading your trip report!
What a beautiful country Namibia is.

Thank you.

jamesontheroad wrote:
Great report, thanks for taking time to share. We recently spent 11 days in Namibia, flying out NWI-AMS-(LAD)-WDH with KLM. I then flew onwards to JNB with Air Namibia. I was also surprised by the choice of food - three meat options were offered, and when I nervously asked for a vegetarian meal they called for one from the back of the plane. I can't help wondering if the excessive catering offer might have some small part in the airline's persistent lack of profitability.

Namibia is a fantastic country, easily one of my favourite destinations in the world.

Man I would love to fly that KLM flight with a stop in Luanda. Did you get a chance to sneak into the terminal or had to stay on board? I'm surprised that all the meal options were meat - but glad they found a vegetarian option! It's one of those airlines that focus more on national pride it seems, hence good for us customers, but...

eastafspot wrote:
Frozen funds wreak havoc on Air Namibia operations:

“Due to the ongoing court case by Challenge Air, Air Namibia’s funds have been frozen in Europe and this has caused a severe liquidity problem at the airline.
...
Currently, the V5-ANK aircraft (msn 3586), leased to Deucalion Aviation Funds, has been in Larnaca, Cyprus since last January, while the other two aircraft, V5-ANN (msn 5400) and V5 -ANM (msn5366) have been stranded in Johannesburg since March 24 and June 2 respectively.

Only the A319 (V5-ANL, msn 3346) operates on regional flights. As a result, the company was forced to reduce its flights over its entire network."


https://allafrica.com/stories/201906100582.html

Ouch!

readytotaxi wrote:
Gosh, wow! great trip report. Namibia seems to be a great country to visit.
Every aspect of the report seems positive to me

Thanks for the feedback, indeed its scale of nature is mind-blowing.
 
jamesontheroad
Posts: 448
Joined: Sat Jul 16, 2005 1:52 am

Re: A Hidden Gem of African Aviation - Air Namibia CPT-WBV/WDH-VFA

Thu Jun 20, 2019 5:52 am

hirofumi wrote:
Man I would love to fly that KLM flight with a stop in Luanda. Did you get a chance to sneak into the terminal or had to stay on board? I'm surprised that all the meal options were meat - but glad they found a vegetarian option! It's one of those airlines that focus more on national pride it seems, hence good for us customers, but...


As of my trip in April 2019, there was no transit lounge in Luanda, and no local traffic carried on KLM between Luanda and Windhoek, so Windhoek passengers remain on board for about an hour on the southbound. A handful of airport employees come on board to clean, and you can look out the window at the fairly unusual mix of metal on the ramp.

(KLM cabin crew spend about a week down route, as the flight only runs three times a week. They stopover in Luanda after the overnight flight south, spend two or three nights there and then do a day trip to Windhoek with the next flight. The plane is on the ramp in WDH long enough that can have a leisurely lunch or safari trip, then another couple of nights back in Luanda before returning north.)

We were pretty limited on dates so paid quite a bit for our trip, but I know from experience that KLM can be very competitive at quieter times of the year: as little as £500/€500 return from Europe to Windhoek.
 
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hirofumi
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Re: A Hidden Gem of African Aviation - Air Namibia CPT-WBV/WDH-VFA

Thu Jun 20, 2019 2:27 pm

jamesontheroad wrote:
hirofumi wrote:
Man I would love to fly that KLM flight with a stop in Luanda. Did you get a chance to sneak into the terminal or had to stay on board? I'm surprised that all the meal options were meat - but glad they found a vegetarian option! It's one of those airlines that focus more on national pride it seems, hence good for us customers, but...


As of my trip in April 2019, there was no transit lounge in Luanda, and no local traffic carried on KLM between Luanda and Windhoek, so Windhoek passengers remain on board for about an hour on the southbound. A handful of airport employees come on board to clean, and you can look out the window at the fairly unusual mix of metal on the ramp.

(KLM cabin crew spend about a week down route, as the flight only runs three times a week. They stopover in Luanda after the overnight flight south, spend two or three nights there and then do a day trip to Windhoek with the next flight. The plane is on the ramp in WDH long enough that can have a leisurely lunch or safari trip, then another couple of nights back in Luanda before returning north.)

We were pretty limited on dates so paid quite a bit for our trip, but I know from experience that KLM can be very competitive at quieter times of the year: as little as £500/€500 return from Europe to Windhoek.

The crew rest in Luanda will be a unique experience. Angola is a country that I've been so curious to visit. I didn't know their price can be so low for the distance traveled!
 
dcaviation
Posts: 422
Joined: Thu Aug 25, 2011 12:26 am

Re: A Hidden Gem of African Aviation - Air Namibia CPT-WBV/WDH-VFA

Tue Jul 02, 2019 3:28 pm

Enjoyed your report. Thanks for sharing. I especially like pictures from the small, rarely visited airports. You never know what gem you will find there :)
 
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hirofumi
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Re: A Hidden Gem of African Aviation - Air Namibia CPT-WBV/WDH-VFA

Wed Jul 17, 2019 2:42 pm

dcaviation wrote:
Enjoyed your report. Thanks for sharing. I especially like pictures from the small, rarely visited airports. You never know what gem you will find there :)

Thanks for the feedback :-)
 
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eastafspot
Posts: 1461
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Re: A Hidden Gem of African Aviation - Air Namibia CPT-WBV/WDH-VFA

Wed Jul 17, 2019 9:27 pm

hirofumi wrote:
Haha, shouting in the desert will be easy. Except for Sossusvlei, there is hardly anyone in that area!

For Botswana I just visited Chobe, so that doesn't speak much for the whole country. What I liked about Botswana was the cruise in Chobe National Park - plenty of wildlife to watch from a boat which was quite an experience. I heard from a few travellers that Makgadikgadi Salt Pan is a great place to visit, so that's on my list for my next visit.

I didn't visit anywhere far from the waterfall in Zambia, in fact I was just around in Livingstone area. So my advice will be extremely limited :smile:

I got Univisa both at VF Airport and Botswana/Zambia border. I thought I could get away with just the 1st visa but apparently if you stay overnight outside of either Zim or Zam (in my case Botswana) and come back to re-enter you'd need a fresh visa. You can get the same visa on the VF Bridge as well.

I'll try my best to answer your questions :smile:


Good to know about the rest of Namibia and most important the Sossusvlei. Don't need to hold the breathe for long apparently ;)
Do you need to book far in advance to visit the Chobe NP? Gotcha for the Makgadikgadi Salt Pan, thanks for the hint!
It looks like, from what was read somewhere that Immigration Officers are kindly (=requested) enough to ask this question, in order to avoid confusion like you did experience, and to save you some :dollarsign: :dollarsign: :dollarsign: .
Just for other travellers who may read this, how much is the single visa entry in Zambia or Botswana? And then, what about the Kaza Univisa?

Thanks a lot hirofumi for all your precisions!
Next destination holidays is almost booked because of you :cheerful:
Family troubles, also, are on the way very soon :lol:
Fly with Air Burundi, Air Tanzania, Golden Wings Aviation, Kenya Airways, RwandAir and Uganda Airlines...Jumuiya ya Afrika mashariki !

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