Summer storms brewing over the Highveld, the mists of Victoria Falls, Cape Town’s unmistakeable Table Mountain from 500 km away, and the world’s oldest meteor scar.
These are just a few of the African scenes named as favourites by British Airways pilots in the “Ask The Pilot” section of the airline’s inflight magazine, Highlife SA, which publishes its 50th edition next month. The magazine is complimentary to passengers on British Airways (operated by Comair) and combines local and international content. It’s an eclectic mix that’s proved popular with travellers and includes a monthly column by veteran foreign correspondent and BBC World Affairs Editor, John Simpson.
But a firm readers’ favourite remains the pilots’ picks of activities, opinions, experiences and what it’s like to have an office with a view of the world. We have shared some of our favourite pilots’ picks from the previous 49 editions:
- Pilot Mark Beevers on his favourite sights: “You can see the oldest meteor scar on the planet, the Vredefort Dome, around 15 minutes after take-off from Joburg, on the left-hand side. And if you time it perfectly, you will be able to see a beautiful sunset as you cross the mountain into the Cape. That’s my favourite time of the day to fly.”
- Pilot Willem Lombaard on his favourite routes: “I love the over-the-border flights, seeing the large expanse of Africa unfolding before us, inviting you to explore every valley, mountain top and open grassland. On the flight to Windhoek, the open plains of the Kalahari draw you in to come leave footsteps in the red sand.”
- First Officer Guy Greenfield on his favourite time to fly: “There aren’t many things that measure up to the summer afternoon thunderstorms on the Highveld. Finding clear paths between developed cells of weather creates the most amazing vistas.”
- First Officer Warren Riley on his favourite route: “Joburg to Livingstone – coming in to land, you fly over the Victoria Falls and the view is incredible.”
- Pilot Eiten Goldstein on his favourite route: “Mauritius. I requested this route and have flown it over 100 times now. It’s very scenic, and the passengers are amped. It’s nice to be able to kick-start their holidays with a positive experience on our flight.”
- Pilot Lara Murphy on her favourite time to fly: “Sunrise and sunset are always beautiful. South Africa is an exquisite country to fly in, and the Johannesburg thunderstorms in the late afternoon are a show-stopping spectacle.”
- Pilot Paul Smith on his favourite route: “Johannesburg to Windhoek. The views of the Kalahari from above are breath-taking. And Windhoek is one of the cleanest cities in Africa. You can smell the fresh, unpolluted air when you land. With the airport being 45 km from the city, you get to experience the natural beauty of the Kalahari Basin as soon as you step out of the aircraft.”
- Pilot Menzi Mvelase on his favourite route: “Durban to Cape Town via Port Elizabeth. It’s extremely scenic and the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast, the Wild Coast and the Garden Route are always in view.”
- Pilot Jonathan Cragg on his favourite activities in Cape Town: “Stay at the Vineyards Hotel (ww.vineyard.co.za) in Newlands, Cape Town. Go for a run or walk through Newlands Forest to Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens (sanbi.org) and stroll over its new Boomslang tree-top walkway. Visit Lady Anne Barnard’s bath. Then go for great burgers and beer at Hudsons (www.theburgerjoint.co.za) in Claremont.
British Airways (operated by Comair) operates over 400 flights per week within southern Africa which includes Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth, Harare, Livingstone, Mauritius, Victoria Falls and Windhoek.
- Highlife SA is published in South Africa by Cedar SA (www.cedarcom.co.za).