Self-Flying the African Bush

Self-Flying the African Bush

Author: Barbara L. Feader


ISBN: 140102789X

Category: Travel

Page: 204

View: 961

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Always desiring to take the road least traveled, in 1998 I made plans through Smith Travel in Easton, Maryland to take one very special road and explore game preserves in South and East Africa. But the roads I travel are between 3,000 and 9,000 feet above mean sea level in the left seat of a single engine airplane. And that was how I wanted to do my exploring in South and East Africa. Mr. George Sellers, a travel agent with Smith Travel at the time, was given the task of working out my travel plans. He chose Mike Johnson and Andrew Kerrich who operate Ubuntu Safaris in Johannesburg, South Africa to customize my safari, and gave them the particulars of what they should do. They were to lease a single engine airplane for me to fly beginning in late July and lasting through August, 1998, and employ someone to validate my U. S. pilot license, qualifying me to fly a plane of African Registry. A myriad of other requests were made for them to accomplish, including a trip to visit a falconer on his farm in Jacobsdal, in the Orange Free State, for an overnight stay, a hot-air balloon flight over the Serengeti with a champagne breakfast in the middle of the desert, a two hour elephant ride in the wilds of Zimbabwe, and a flight over the Indian Ocean to the Spice Island of Zanzibar. They were to work out the details of what visa's I would need to visit game preserves in up to 10 countries in South and East Africa, and figure the cost of everything for me to pre-pay before leaving the U. S. to guard against any chance of unexpected surprises while there. The first obstacle confronting me was my age. My seventy-ninth birthday loomed less than four months away, and to qualify for insurance on the plane they leased for me, it would be necessary for me to have a co-pilot accompany me on my entire journey. I authorized them to find me a co-pilot and they engaged Ms. Kym Morton, a consultant with Ubuntu on safaris, a fifteen year veteran African bush pilot, and a grade II instructor. She agreed to validate my U.S. pilot license, and accompany me on my month long safari. To my delight, she was a member of International Women Pilots, (more prominently known as The Ninety-Nines), the same as I. Through the expertise of the people at Smith Travel, everything went along smoothly, and on the morning of July 27, I boarded my flight to New York to connect with the South African Airline for a seventeen hour flight to Johannesburg, South Africa, landing at 3:00 PM on July 28, 1998. After going through immigration, I wheeled a cart with my belongings out to the airport lobby, where I saw two handsome fellows with a large sign that read BARBARA FEADER. Assuming the obvious, I wheeled happily over to where they waited, and was soon seated in the back of their car being whisked to Lanseria Airport, just outside Johannesburg, while Mike briefed me on what plans had been made for the evening, and to meet my co-pilot, Kym, and look over the plane she had reserved for me. The plane was a high-wing Cessna Skylane 182RG similar to the one I had flown in Kalispel, Montana to take a mountain flying course in 1975, and one I had flown on safari in Australia in July and August 1978. The only difference was, it was a later model, and had retractable gear. Kym had leased the plane from the owner for our safari, but learned a day or two before I arrived that the owner had decided to sell it, leaving us without transportation. It was a squeeze play on the owner's part to force Kym to buy the plane, and it worked, because it was too late for her to make other arrangements. Had she not done so, my safari would have been snafued. I was most grateful for her "gift" and really hoped she had not put herself in an untenable situation because of me. It was then time for Mike and Andrew to drop me at my hotel, The Hertford, a few miles away, where I was really ready for a soothing soak in a hot bath, and dinner, before be
Self-Flying the African Bush
Language: en
Pages: 204
Authors: Barbara L. Feader
Categories: Travel
Type: BOOK - Published: 2002-03-01 - Publisher:

Always desiring to take the road least traveled, in 1998 I made plans through Smith Travel in Easton, Maryland to take one very special road and explore game preserves in South and East Africa. But the roads I travel are between 3,000 and 9,000 feet above mean sea level in
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