Landing On A Dirt Road In Namibia
Sometimes when flying in Africa or any far flung place you have to make what’s available work. What’s even more incredible is that the people are always willing to help you do what you need to do. Last year we visited a camp in Namibia that is only 7 miles from the international airport, unfortunately the drive is over an hour and it’s on a washboard road that is dusty and just not fun. When we arrived at the camp we asked if there were any airports nearby that we could use so that our guests didn’t have to go all the way back to the international airport. To our surprise they told us that one of the roads on the property was once used as an improvised landing strip for a small airplane and asked us if we’d like to check it out. We jumped on the opportunity and went out to inspect the road. Upon our inspection we found it to be of sufficient length before the road bends, the trees and brush on the sides of the road were cut back a bit and we pitched the big rocks off of the road. From there we went by car back to the international airport and asked if there was any chance we could land on a dirt road just 7 miles from their main runway. Again to our surprise they said “sure”, just file a flight plan to “zzzz” and tell the tower your intentions. We did and it worked out perfectly. Now for the second year of our epic air safari we filed direct to “zzzz” and let air traffic control know what we wanted to do. They seemed a bit skeptical and just advised other airliners in the area that we were out there and we landed directly at our camp. What an incredible place to fly. The camp blocked off the road for us so that we didn’t encounter any stray vehicles and we landed on a road just 3 minutes from the main lodge. We pushed the airplanes off the road into the weeds and two days later took off to continue our adventure. This is one of the many reasons I love flying in Africa.