Plane & Pilot
Tuesday, April 24, 2012

From Soccer To Cessna

A four-country flying adventure in Africa

Botswana law requires minimum height over wildlife, so we decided to fly low right over the river on the Namibian side and enjoy some of the most stunning views of wildlife along this magnificent country—elephants, rhinos, hippos and more. It couldn't get better than that. Until, that is, we saw a puff of dust in the distance. It was Victoria Falls! As we approached this amazing Natural Wonder of the World, we couldn't resist a flyover, and the kind controllers complied. After a few turns around this breathtaking scene, we landed in Livingstone (FLLI) for a visit with my old schoolmate who had recently bought a Cessna 210.

The next day, we flew down the eastern border of Botswana to Mashatu Game Reserve. We passed over spectacular sceneries in Zimbabwe, and landed in Limpopo Valley (FBLV) just before sunset. If there were any animals we hadn't yet seen, we saw them here.

Our final flight back to FAGC would take us through some of the prettiest mountains and through the valleys in a mix of IFR and VFR weather. We landed in Polokwane (FAPP) to clear customs, and as we approached FAGC, we could hear the ATC chatter about all the aircraft that were approaching Jobo for one of the best and most memorable semi-final games for that evening.

Our flying fever had to give way to soccer madness. As we parked the aircraft, after more than 20 hours of flying, we knew that we had made a historic mark in our lives—the like of which we could hardly imagine again. Until, that is, the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

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