Flight 38) TOLIARY – SAMBAVA (Via FARAFANGANA)

It would have been another 3 hour flight from the Toliary on the south west point of Madagascar to Sambava which is almost the north east point. Looking around at images I would love to take a tour of Madagascar first hand some time. I understand that the crime rate is a lot lower than mainland Africa too which makes it that much more appealing. I wanted to see more of the island than I would have done if I had taken a direct route so I planned in a slight detour.

I stuck with the Beech Baron 58 and took a couple of hours to fly over some other parts of Madagascar. I’m sure that there is lots of amazing stuff to see which simply isn’t justified on Microsoft Flight Simulator X. Maybe I need to get hold of some terrain add on packs for this part of the world.

Madagascar

Madagascar through clouds.

My plane headed east over mostly flat landscape across the width of the island until a thin line of mountains rose up ahead of me. It didn’t take much to hop over these and descend towards the eastern shore. As I climbed over the mountains I could hear soft rumbles of thunder somewhere off in the distance. I couldn’t spot any lightening though. Once over the water I turned north to follow the coast line and saw many of the island’s rivers flowing out into the ocean. It was difficult to keep track of which one was which, despite using Google earth and the various towns and villages as locators below. About a quarter of the way up the coast I checked my fuel gauge which was reading rather low so I checked the sat nav for a suitable place to land. Unfortunately there weren’t many options and I was limited to a small landing strip known as Farafangana. Looking into more detail about this landing strip I learnt that it was actually a small city. FSX obviously didn’t agree it was so large.

It was over a week before I loaded up FSX again and took off from Farafangana with full tanks of fuel. Once again I flew north along the coast line for about half an hour before giving in to the temptation of flying through the mountain range again. The mountains stretch for almost the whole length of Madagascar from north to south. As I headed towards them the clouds began to increase in number and I often found myself with no visibility at all as I passed through some of them. Once out of the clouds I had to keep a keen eye on the ground below as it was very quickly rising to meet me. I checked my altimeter and I hadn’t dropped at all. It was simply the topography rising as I flew closer to the mountains.

Flying over some of the peaks I felt like there was some spectacular scenery passing below although it would feel pretty lonely to live there. I didn’t see many towns or villages for a long while. This may be down to the simulator though. My aircraft soon left the mountains and flew very low along the top of a plateau. The sense of speed was an added bit of excitement as I watched trees and rivers pass a couple of hundred feet below. The clouds were still building and by now were getting to be darker although the clear blue sky above was able to peek through some gaps.

Once above the clouds the highest peak on the island passed smoothly below my wings and I began a gradual descent. The clouds lifted and dotted the sky above me on the last straight of the flight. The sun was setting over my left shoulder as I caught sight of the run way. Without knowing which way the wind was blowing I circled the airfield, out over the sea and back to land pointing in land. I think I came in a little fast but made for a good landing. With only a petrol pump to the side of the runway, I am looking forward to my next destination with an International airport.

Madagascar evening

Madagascar Sunset.

Sambava, Madagascar: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iybAC43Lsw0

Diving with Sharks: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FbYg2EpbLtQ

Driving around Sambava: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q4Phw-gK_E4

Flight 37) DURBAN – TOLIARY (MADAGASCAR)

With an early start, I left the tarmac just as the sun was beginning to rise over the ocean. I turned the aircraft over the city of Durban to fly north over the Dolphin Coast. Whilst looking at Google Earth for images from the ground, I was flying over some truly wonderful white sands and clear waters.

My flight plan was originally going to take me directly to the island of Madagascar which was over a 3 hour journey away. Having done many smaller flights and managing my fuel well I wasn’t 100% sure that I would be able to make the whole journey in one go. I thought about making a stop of for refuelling further up the African coast line at Maputo. However that wouldn’t have saved much in the way of distance to travel, so I climbed gradually to over 12,000 feet and cut back on the fuel mixture to prolong my air time.

As I descended very slowly at only 200 feet per minute the island of Madagascar came in to view. Everything I have seen of Madagascar has made it wonderfully beautiful. I am really looking forward to seeing what this island has to offer.

The landing came sooner than I thought with my arrival and the airport being on the west coast. I will have to explore this place from the air after I take off again.

Madagascar: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nj9mUkwgLeE

Diving: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dlu13neAMMo

Andringitra,_Madagascar_by_Effervescing_Elephant-10bandeau-pays-madagascarmadagascar_africa   madag beach

Andringitra, Madagascar.

3 Great Videos of a traveller to Madagascar:

The Madagascar Journals. Ep1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OWIX53sD5O8

The Madagascar Journals. Ep2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kUbqNvVsoSA

The Madagascar Journals. Ep3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RlP_gwJiPOg

Flight 36) EAST LONDON – DURBAN

Flying almost twice as far as the last journey whilst almost the same scenery passed below made this trip a little too familiar and I found myself already becoming a bit over accustomed to what was still very beautiful landscapes. I broke up the creeping boredom by darting between the clouds which lightly peppered the sky and by climbing high out to sea before slowly descending as I flew back towards the land. I’m sure this added extra flight time to the journey and I kept an eye on the fuel gauge as we got closer to the runway, although I needn’t had worried at all.

The landing at Durban was the final point of my own detour from the official route. I enjoyed seeing Cape Town and was glad to explore the south coast a little more too, however it was good to push on with the rest of the around the world tour as it feels like I have been in African territory for a very long time now.

Durban is South Africa’s third largest city after Johannesburg and Cape Town, so I’m pretty glad to check out this city before leaving Africa. The artwork produced from sand on some of its beaches is very impressive to see and I also fancy trying a local meal called a “Bunnie.” A Bunnie is basically a curry put inside half a loaf of bread. That’s certainly something I could try to make at home.

Durban-beach

Durban Beach

A Taxi Driver’s Tour of Durban: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wNjU3DXMgcY

Images of Durban 01: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yHhUSOEoSoY

Driving through Durban: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eXaOOhzThzU

The Wedge Beach. Durban: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KNq2GPaN2GQ

Back On Official Route

Flight 35) PORT ELIZABETH – EAST LONDON

This flight was a pretty quick run north east back up the coast line of South Africa. I thought it would be rather counterproductive to climb excessively so kept the aircraft low and fast. I was trying to use points of interest on the shore line to keep track of where I was against the map on my IPhone but the sheer number of rivers which flowed into the ocean made it impossible.

I got the impression that East London was rather similar to Port Elizabeth. I had not known anything about the south coast at all so it has been a good experience discovering more about this part of the world.

Whilst checking out East London, I found many properties for sale which look rather impressive. I wonder what the prices were though and what the job market is like. Not sure how I feel about wanting to live in South Africa. I’m sure it is more of a case where it would be great to visit, but wouldn’t want to live there.

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East London Airport

 

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East London , South Africa

View from a Hotel Room: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PgsetT6QILo

East London Lifestyle Film: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3YjVrQvUxk8

East London Holiday 2013: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bc_7A_tNW_I

1 Minute Guide to East London: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=frt7OJmEX4E

A wonderful house for sale: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dkQyfQUJs5E

Flight 34) GEORGE – PORT ELIZABETH

Another short flight along the coastline of South Africa, this flight was rather simple with pristine weather which really highlighted the tropical waters below.

Pretty Coral

Coral shores of South Africa.

 On way to Port Elizabeth

  Whilst keeping an eye on the land as well as the water I could see a range of pretty large hills or mountains. It was an entire ridge line which stretched the entire length of my flight, leading me directly to Port Elizabeth. It was fun to take the aircraft low and snake my way through the short valleys and hopping over the peaks. I was surprised to see a vast expanse of flat land on the north side of these mountains. When the lights of the city came into view I contacted the radio tower and was guided in to land from the opposite direction. It was a good opportunity to fly over the whole city before turning back on myself and touch down on to the tarmac. The south coast of Africa certainly was turning out to be rather beautiful. Port Elizabeth

Port Elizabeth – South Africa

City Tour of Port Elizabeth – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R7VWq7417VM

Helicopter Ride over Port Elizabeth – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tv0KmplKW90

Nelson Mandela Bay, Port Elizabeth – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KAHPLRqRBHo

Cape Town to Port Elizabeth – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=42FrbzXgM5o

Driving around Port Elizabeth – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g_bx2NkgEnw

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Flight 33) Cape Town – George

Leaving Cape Town was almost saddening. The amount that I have seen and heard about Cape Town makes it a new place on my list of locations that I would love to visit in real life. The views and atmosphere of the city do look spectacular. The Table Mountain and botanical gardens are places I would imagine are fantastic.

With the airport tarmac retreating away from my small plane, I soon found the south coast and took in some of the sights from the ocean. Chasing the coast line east I saw many smaller towns and rivers whilst ticking them off on the map each time I passed one. It wasn’t too long before I arrived at my next stop of George. This was a place I knew nothing about and hadn’t really heard of before. I had planned these next few flights to be a collection of relatively short hops which could be done of an evening and without having to refuel on every landing.

George South Africa

George – South Africa

George Garden Route: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bb3adov-50U

George – Travel Channel: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ODSPdbXBF1M

Outeniqua Farmers Market: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1s6H1c54YLo

Life community Services (Documentary): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gXLfEMUbM2Q

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Flight 32) Kimberley – Cape Town

The large city of Cape Town was the whole reason for my multi flight detour. This was the journey that I had been looking forward to.

After flying at high altitudes for days I was expecting there to be a pretty impressive drop on my way to the coast line. I was not disappointed. Flying above the splatter of clouds below the ground seemed further away than it had done for a while so I reduced the throttle and adjusted the trim of the aircraft to slowly descend across half an hour or more. It wasn’t until I was pretty close to Cape Town when the ground suddenly seemed to give way and fell away from the aircraft once again. Seeing such steep drops in such a huge scale did certainly make me wish I could see them first hand. Although I rarely suffer from vertigo I am pretty confident I would have trouble staying on my feet with those views before me.

Seeing the ocean again was a refreshing sight but more spectacular was the curving beaches and impressive mountains around the city of Cape Town. I took the plane lower to take a closer look but was soon surrounded by heavy fog. This made locating the airport rather difficult but once again the GPS pointed me in the right direction.

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Cape Town

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Cape Town and Table Mountain

The airport was fairly busy with larger jet liners and the occasional lighter aircraft. I discovered that the airport was busy most of the time when on another day I took a Cessna 172 up into the skies to take a better look around the city and the infamous “Table Mountain.” The fog wasn’t as dense but still hung over the city.

 Cape Town Cessna

Cape Town from a Cessna 172

I flew a complete lap of Cape Town and dived between some of the other peaks and out over the shore lines. I managed to jump the short stretch of water to an island off the coast. Seeing some buildings on the island I knew this must have been the prison in which held Nelson Mandela as number 46664. I later learnt that this island is called Robben Island.

Cape Town Robin Island

Robben Island & Prison From the air.

Robben Island Tour: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sSy-uNlVLyE

Although this wasn’t the route I took this is a lovely video of a flight over Cape Town in a light aircraft: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mvBxNvuW2YY

robben island prison

Robben Island Prison

Cape Town – Rhino Africa Safaris: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KDfPV8PNROU

Cape Town 2013 HD: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lw2dPccmyjs

My Cape Town, My South Africa: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SD4pm1MMBHg

10 Reasons Why Cape Town Is Best City In The World: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wyUsWVMukT0

10 Things you need to know about Cape Town: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XyLwupyQANo

Cape Town in 60 Seconds: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kAq–Hvgtb0

Cape Town and its Beauty: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTx-_ryJ5aU

Beautiful and relaxing video of scenes from Cape Town: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=etyEApu_4-E

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Flight 31) Johannesburg – Kimberley

After learning a fair bit about Johannesburg, I know that it is not going to be a place that I want to visit at all in my life. The reputation of violence and crime which occurs in Jo’burgh is enough to make me want to stay in this black leather chair in my much safer home town of Edinburgh.

This flight took me over much of Africa’s North Cape which is filled with wild animals and national parks. The biggest thing which I could see from the windows of my Beech Baron was another large body of water. This time it wasn’t as natural as I had expected. The North West edge of the lake is held in by a massive dam on the outskirts of Bloemhof. It’s a shame to think of how much natural habitat must have been destroyed by this expanse of water, but I guess it can also be argued that there is much wildlife thriving from these waters too.

Before landing I took a lap of the airport and had a good look over the city. I found a huge hole in the ground. I had no idea what it was until I was able to do a little research and discovered that it was the largest man made hole in the world and was created to extract diamonds. Watch the videos to learn more about it.

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The Big Hole Diamond Mine

Learn about Kimberley: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fOpuImj5zxg

The Big Hole Diamond Mine. Kimberley: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VLgy-PT4qDM

The Big Hole. Kimberley: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1g6cFo7Hq10

Amateur Cribs: Kimberley: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hCmACnKbGWU

Barney Barnato Guest House, Kimberley: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XcyBE3si8wk

Push bike sound system! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dU9heix2Hlw

Steam Train in Kimberley: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bqq2fzk0ag8

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Flight 30) Louis Trichardt – Johannesburg

Leaving Louis Trichardt in early morning dawn, the sun only rose higher throughout the flight. I’m not so sure that crossing the wilderness in the midday sun is something I would want to do first had though as a lot of the terrain looked very sun scorched.

I do feel that by flying over this land that I would be missing out on seeing many of the wild animals below. I will have to watch some of “Planet Earth”, the TV show, or visit Edinburgh zoo to see some of these animals.

Whilst coming in to land I took the opportunity to take a lap over the city. It’s not as large as I had expected after seeing the scale of previous towns along the way. I expected Jo’burg to be much, much, larger. I was however surprised at how modern the city appears in many of the images I saw online. I still have a rather narrow mental view of Africa being very third world and not having these pockets of modern society. I really need to change that view.

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Jo’Burgh

Johannesburg: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=41w76_6MqiA

Johannesburg Tour: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VrUVmWJKxss

Staying Alive in Johannesburg: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oQaR2Haumxs

Louis Theroux, Law and disorder in Jo’Burgh: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KZJ1w9-Umcw

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Flight 29) Harare – Louis Trichardt

Flying almost exactly south for almost 2 hours I found myself getting swamped by heavy clouds yet again. This part of the world certainly held more water in the air than that of the Mediterranean. The occasional flash of lightning lit up the sky ahead of me.

Getting closer to the lightning I could see that it was a range of mountains that was pushing the air upwards which would have been creating the spectacular show. I tried to dip below the clouds for better visibility but wanted to be cautious of the mountain peaks below. I navigated through the rain and poor visibility whilst hopping and weaving through the peaks for a short distance before coming out on the south side of the range. Turning east I then flew parallel to the small mountain range and was guided in to the airfield. The sun getting low in the sky at the point my wheels touched the very small airfield and the length of mountain range which shields the city made this stop feel rather safe and secure. I decided to refuel upon landing which gave me opportunity to watch the sun set over the mountains to the north. After crossing the equator of course the sun was setting to the northwest which was a strange thing to someone who has lived their whole life in the northern hemisphere.St Trichard sun set

Watching the sun set from my Beech Baron 58

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Louis Trichardt Road

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Louis Trichardt Postcard

Shiluvari Lakeside Lodge , Louis Trichardt: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQxnzaxTJSw

On the road in Louis Trichardt: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KOvGsoGMkbM

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