Having left the lounge at Cape Town airport promptly, we discovered that our flight was delayed. There had been a terrible road accident somewhere in central Cape Town and the Pilot, First Officer, and all the Crew had been held up because of it.
After waiting around for another half an hour or so, boarding finally began.
We settled into our seats, only to discover that the tiny, low quality entertainment units were taken directly from Noah’s Ark, and that the headphones we had been provided were not compatible with the set up, given that this device is an essential item on such a long flight, bringing much needed visual and audible inspiration you can imagine how we felt. The prospect of spending 12 hours doing little more than staring at the back of the seat in front was not a pleasant one.
Fortunately the headphones that I always carry around in my camera bag came in handy at this point, as they did actually fit into the little headphone jack. We were saved from a night of boredom!
It turns out that I shouldn’t have really worried about boredom as we spent a good deal of the first half of the flight either watching an enormous thunderstorm light up the clouds beside us, or violently shaking up and down in our seats due to turbulence. Both things can be unnerving, and certainly make an already lengthy flight feel even longer, but at least we knew were were in no immediate danger as aeroplanes (even old 747-400s such as this one) were able to cope with both lightning strikes and turbulence.
We didn’t get struck by lightning, by the way, just to keep the record straight.
Somewhere along the line we were served an evening meal (either chicken or beef, you decide!) and I managed to watch just one film for the whole journey, even then I had to squint in order to make out any details.
However, I am not going to end this South African adventure with a general moan about the ageing vehicles in the British Airways fleet, or slipping standards. No, I don’t wish to be negative about the whole experience, as in the end (despite the delayed start) they got us home to Heathrow T3 exactly on time (04:30), and the woman running our section of the aircraft did a sterling job given the circumstances.
Somehow, after closing my eyes for approximately 30 seconds, several hours had passed by. I don’t know how that happened and I am choosing not to investigate it further. These time jumps helped make the whole flight go a lot quicker, so that was good. But they did leave me with an increasingly stiff back. I’m putting that down to old age.
Upon landing and disembarking the aeroplane we made our way to the passport control section of the proceedings, where the intelligent face scanning technology failed to work out who I am and so I had to go and be looked up and down by a real human being. After that we waited around for about 40 minutes for our cases to arrive, and then – finally – we were on our way to the long stay car park.
By landing so early in the day we managed to avoid the majority of the rush hour traffic on the motorway, making the drive home smooth and enjoyable.
I found myself reminiscing as we drove, thinking about some of the amazing things we’ve seen – the rolling fields of wheat, the mountains, vineyards that stretch on as far as the eye can see, whale-watching, ostriches, baboons, and penguins… it has been a fantastic adventure, and sure there have been parts that were less than perfect (getting chased by a zombie woman through the streets of Wynberg being one particular low point… wait, I wasn’t supposed to mention that was I?) – but on the whole, South Africa offered us a lot of experiences and whilst I may not be returning any time soon, at least I can say I’ve been, I’ve experience it, and I’ve survived to tell the tale.
Thank you very much for following us along, we really do appreciate all of the views, likes, shares, and comments that we have been getting – and here’s to the next great travel adventure… wherever, and whenever that may be!