Day 7 - Johannesburg to Victoria Falls - Flight of Angels
We woke at 6 am to prepare for our hotel buffet breakfast. My sister and I went downstairs to enjoy the vast selection that Southern Sun O.R Tambo International Airport as to offer.
Breakfast was reasonably quick today as we needed to leave the hotel so ensure we had enough time to pass through security and passport control before our flight.
We all met in reception at 8 am to head the 4 minutes across to the airport where we found the security checkpoints.
My advice would be to get to the airport as early as possible, around 2.5 hours before your flight, to allow for the long wait lines to get through to the boarding areas. The day we were passing through Johannesburg airport, the line was very long and very slow. The most frustrating part was the fact large groups of people kept trying to push through the line claiming they were running late for their flight and had to push through. By the time the third group tried to push through a lot of people in line were no longer going to put up with it and started to block them. They were the reason this line wasn’t moving anywhere fast. The more people that cut in, the slower the line gets and the longer we have to wait to get through to the boarding lounge.
The border security staff was very unpleasant and didn’t make you feel welcome at all. Lucky we were getting out of here.
We were lucky to have left more than enough time before our flight to wander around the airport at the souvenir stores. Johannesburg airport has a large variety of speciality stores, and if you have the time to walk around and look, it would recommend doing so.
We boarded our flight at 10:05 am. It was only a short bus ride across the tarmac to the plane. From there we waited for sometime before leaving South Africa bound for Zimbabwe. 11:20 am we finally had wheels up.
We all had a laugh to ourselves as they announced to the Leisure Class about the flight. That’s right. Leisure Class. You don’t get the same feeling like as standard cattle class when they announce that you're in economy class because you can’t afford anything else.
The flight to Victoria Falls is only an hour and fifteen minutes. So there's enough time to get a snack, a drink and groove to my favourite music to annoy my sister.
We arrived into Victoria Falls airport, and for those who don’t know, it's not close to the falls depending on the day you may not be able to see the falls from the plane, but if you are looking out the window, look for the lush green selection in a landscape of dryness.
This small airport requires you to fill out imitation forms and get purchase a visa. If you intend to visit the Zambia side of Victoria Falls, for example, to experience The Devils Pool, I would recommend purchasing a UniVisa for $50USD. You do not need to repurchase this, it can all be done quick and easy on arrival into Zimbabwe.
After collecting our bags, we found our hotel transfer and headed 30 minutes down the road to our hotel.
We arrived at the hotel by 2 pm.
The Cresta Sprayview, was a nice place, it felt like a 1980’s motel. It took us a long time to check-in due to a lot of booking confusion. In simple terms, they cancelled our whole stay, but after a long time of waiting and talking, we were finally about to get access to enough rooms.
Since we only have a short time in Victoria Falls before our long time back to Australia, we had a tight schedule this afternoon as we all wanted to experience Victoria Falls for the sky.
We all met in reception at 3:45 pm and court a minibus out to the helicopters. On arrival, we were split into 3 groups, and then the brief started. The flight was a 10 - 13 minute flight over the falls in a long and wide figure of eight to allow everyone a perfect viewing angle of the falls. The flight would cross over the Zambia and Zimbabwe sides of the falls. After the briefing, everyone was then weighted, I have no idea why as it's not like they were going to change the weight of the helicopter. Then when a helicopter arrived each group be escorted out to the craft and asked to put on headphones to hear the pilot and listen to a pre-recorded track about the Falls.
The Flight of Angels helicopters are on high rotation
The moment of truth.. It's scary to watch.
I was lucky enough to be given the front seat, so I was about to shoot as many photos as I could out and front and side of the helicopter.
Due to the high vibrating of the helicopter, a lot of the photos weren’t usable. But the view from up there of Victoria Falls was amazing. An experience I would recommend to everyone going there, even though it is on the pricey side.
Stunning natural wonder
Victoria Falls is the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia
The best way to see this Natural Wonder of the World
It's a smash global warming has effected the falls. It's supposed to be the high season.
After all the group had done their flight, watched their trip video and seen all the photos taken by the team, we started to head back to the hotel. Oh.. for those interested, yes, Miriam was the only one who purchased a copy of the video and photos. I think secretly she loved the pictures of her stepping out of the helicopter with the windswept hair.
We look so natural. Miriam, so much grace getting out of the helicopter. Photo courtesy of Lachlan
We arrived back to the hotel/motel at 5pm, just in time to enjoy some a few drinks around the door before dinner. I went for a Long Island Iced Tea, and it was HUGE for $12AUS. I didn’t have to get another drink for the rest of the night. But that didn’t stop me from drinking free glasses of wine over dinner.
Before dinner drinks around the beautiful pool area.
Now that's a Long Island Ice Tea.
On our arrival, we made a booking at the hotel/motel restaurant as we were a large group. The motel is about a 15-minute walk with no street lights into town. So staying within the hotel/motel to have dinner was the best bet, plus we were all tired from a long drawn out day.
Dinner was nice. We also got to enjoy a singing and dancing performance by the staff. I started to worry that they were going to get everyone up out of their chairs to joy in. Lucky, that wasn't the case.
9 pm was bedtime as tomorrow is going to be an early wake up as we head to Zambia for a few hours.
Accommodation: Southern Sun O.R Tambo International Airport
Accommodation: Cresta Sprayview
Activity: Flight of Angels
Airline: South African Airways