FlyerTalk Forums - View Single Post - Travelling the world for 6 months... My sabbatical leave experience
Old Dec 14, 18, 7:47 am
Join Date: Jan 2012
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BA/Comair economy class CPT-JNB-LVI

5 days after our arrival in Cape Town and after some very nice days spent in the Southern Cape region, it was time to go towards our next destination, the Victoria Falls, located at the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The ones interested in the details of what we visited in the Southern cape region can read the post #10 of my blog :

Flights can be quite pricey to get there, even if flying from South Africa. However, flexibility is always the key when it comes to cheap travel and I was able to find good tickets, in Economy class on BA between Cape Town and Livingstone in Zambia, via Johannesburg. For about 140 Euros one-way, I consider this was a good deal.
To get back to Johannesburg a few days later, I was able to get two award tickets on BA from Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe as the one-way flights out of both LVI or VFA were very expensive (greater than 300 Euros one-way for our dates).
Thanks to the combined visa Zambia/Zimbabwe, available upon arrival at the airport, crossing the border was a formality, but I understand most of the tourists are arriving and leaving from the same side of the border (all the locals we spoke with were quite surprised about the fact we arrived in Zambia and departed from Zimbabwe…)

KAZA/Univisa... (They should change the ink toner of the LVI airport printer !)

As out flight to JNB was quite early in the morning, we stayed the previous night in a hotel near the airport. Checking in the next day using the priority counter was a formality, and despite the rush hour at the security, going through did not take a long time, no more than 5 minutes maybe…

Check-in area BA/Comair CPT

Departure board CPT

CPT waking up...

We then had breakfast at the very good SLOW lounge of CPT airport, and while I found the SLOW lounge in JNB (International terminal) to be very good, the domestic SLOW lounge in CPT is… even better ! The food selection for breakfast was very complete and the dishes tasty, and I love the lounge design, especially considering this one is configured as a mezzanine with outside views ! This is really an excellent lounge – it sets the standards for a domestic lounge !

Slow lounge CPT domestic terminal

Inside the SLOW lounge

A loo with a view !

Time went fast, and we were soon ready to board our aircraft to Johannesburg, using a bus gate – again.

British Airways (operated by Comair) flight BA6424, November 9th 2018
CPT Cape Town – 06:45
JNB Johannesburg O.R Tambo – 08:45
Boeing 737-800 – ZS-ZWG – Seat 12C, Economy class, aisle.

When I did the online check-in, I selected what I thought was a seat located at the emergency exit row. However, this was incorrect and row 12 was actually the row just before the exit, meaning there was no recline on the seat. Note that the seats on this aircraft were of the newer type with the business class cabin being configured with 6 seats across and the middle seats not in use.Anyway, this was not a big deal due to the very light loading of the plane today. I think we were barely 20 passengers on board, and most of them were located in front of us !I eventually moved of one row after take off for extra comfort…

Boarding completed !

Leg room in economy... (I am 1.88m tall)

They did not have any overselling issues on that one...

Somewhere north-east of Cape Town...

The flight itself was uneventful besides a full breakfast being served in economy, with the choice of an omelette or an English style breakfast option.

Breakfast CPT-JNB

Starting descent towards JNB...

We landed at 08:30 and quickly reached our parking position in the domestic terminal of JNB airport.

I thought that since we cleared security in the same country, the transfer to an international flight out of JNB would have been seamless, with just the need to clear exit immigration. I was wrong as we had to get outside the « sterile » area of the terminal to reach the international part of the terminal like all the passengers departing JNB. This could have been made in a more convenient way, but with 2 hours of connection, we had enough time, although the queue at security and immigration was fairly long…

We spent about 20 minutes at the SLOW lounge in JNB before heading to another bus gate, with the usual inconvenience of the diesel engines running non stop next to us. This time, the exhaust of the bus next to us was almost directly going inside our bus ! For the review of the SLOW lounge in JNB International terminal, please take a look at the previous post related to my flight between JNB to WDH.

British Airways (operated by Comair) flight BA6291, November 9th 2018
JNB Johannesburg O.R Tambo – 11:00
LVI Livingstone, Zambia – 12:45
Boeing 737-800 – ZS-ZWP – Seat 12F, Economy class, aisle. Emergency exit this time !

This particular aircraft was quite old and you could see signs of wear and tear in the cabin. The seats still had ashtrays (!), but I was happy to see that this time, the seatmap was correct and that I selected an emergency exit seat !

The plane was quite full that day but I was happy to see the seat between my friend and I empty. We took off about 15 minutes late due to air traffic congestion.

Push back... with the KQ dreamliner in the background

AF Airbus 380 landing from CDG

Legroom emergency exit

Pre-take off entertainment

The service was nothing to remember about. We were given choice between vegetarian pasta and chicken and the flight attendant noticed only when taking back the meal trays near the end of the flight that my friend had a special meal (she was fine with the vegetarian option, so we actually thought the special meal selection was not applied in economy).

Taking off from JNB

Pasta meal in economy class JNB-LVI. Pretty spicy...

I was hoping to see some nice views of the Victoria falls approaching Livingstone, but could not really see anything else than fields and the Zambeze river before the falls.We landed precisely on time and stationed right in front of the terminal

Approaching LVI airport, views on the Zambeze river...

Livingstone airport was shiny clean and airconditioned, which made the 20 minutes wait to get our visas, bearable, and the KAZA/Univisas issues on the spot against 50 USD each (cash only, although the entire airport has advertisements for Mastercard, claiming it was « the best way to pay in Zambia » :-D

And no, you cannot pay with Mastercard for your Visa... (no bad wordplay here...)

The luggage was on the belt once we crossed immigration and our shuttle driver to the Protea hotel Livingstone was already waiting for us at the exit of the airport… BTW, I would recommend this hotel if one needs an affordable and comfortable hotel near Victoria Falls. Unlike some of the Protea hotels were tried or saw in Namibia, the Protea Livingstone hotel was very nice, and the staff was great, especially Charity working at the restaurant ! The restaurant was good, and affordable and internet was working well. It is located a few kilometers away from the city center and about 10 km away from the border with Zimbabwe and the Zambian part of the Victoria Falls national park… but the wildlife is almost next door !

Protea hotel Livingstone, Zambia

The road between Livingstone, Zambia and the Zimbabwe border / Victoria Falls national park

You certainly don't want to have a too close encounter with that one !
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