South Africa-The Journey Begins

Snip20180309_1.pngThe Penguin sends his apologies. He is asleep in my backpack and won’t be moving for awhile. IN fact we are still in transit.  We have been travelling since yesterday, 11:00 am Australia time. That is about 30 hours ago.

We arrived at the Hobart airport, boarded our Virgin airline flight to Melbourne only to be  told after half an hour of waiting the plane was leaking hydraulic fluid. Only a one in a million chance that would be a problem but would we mind disembarking until the the problem could be sorted.  Into the airport we went. To make a long story short, amidst chaos at this small airport with the bad food and no Virgin lounge for Business class, a new plane was sent from somewhere in Australia with a crew who came in on their day off to fly to Hobart. Our flight from Melbourne to Perth was lost and we feared we’d miss the connection to Johannesburg. Virgin, to their credit did get us booked on another flight out of Melbourne to Perth. We arrived in Melbourne at 8:30 pm instead of 2:30 pm and had less than an hour to catch the flight to Perth, which we made. It was a very pleasant flight with good entertainment and food and staff were lovely. I watched the film LBJ which I really enjoyed and Mr. Penguin caught up with Three Billboards which I had seen before and loved.

Arriving in Perth we had one hour to get the flight to Johannesburg. Virgin staff in both Hobart and somewhere else along the line, I forget, told us to pick up our baggage in Johannesburg because it is the first point of call into Africa.  We arrived. We went to baggage claim and after waiting for everyone else on the plane to get their bags ours were nowhere to be seen.  A ground crew woman told us go here, here, do a you turn, end of hallway, by carousel 13.  No such place. Finally found an office for baggage enquiries with no one there but rounded up some people who came to help us and a few others in the same predicament.

Turns out as we are only transiting through South Africa we do not claim our baggage. Our cases were checked to Windhoek, Namibia and that is where they probably are.

Now 30 hours into this journey we still have another hour before going to board our 2.5 hour flight to Windhoek.

On the bright side the airport here is easy to navigate and everyone is so friendly.  I went into an electronics shop to get an adapter and three people were dying to serve me.  We don’t see this in Hobart, so I was impressed. Staff everywhere and everyone wanting to help while smiling at the same time.

Hopefully our bags will be in Windhoek when we arrive. The tour only has 12 people on it and the guide will meet our plane.  We have managed to get some Rand and found the South African Lounge. I know, I know…we’re spoiled by flying business class, but hey, we never had children and we both worked 40 years.  You save a lot of money that way for things you want to do once retired. No school fees for cats and dogs.

I might add we also have a welcome dinner tonight to attend after a few hours rest in our hotel.  I’m going to use this blog as a bit of a travel journal for us.  If you’re interested, please feel free to follow along. If you’re not interested, that’s okay and I’ll be back to talking about books and other things in April.  Stay tuned…. or not….Snip20180309_2


14 thoughts on “South Africa-The Journey Begins

  1. I’m finally getting to your travel posts. (It was my birthday last weekend and I’ve been busy – is my excuse!). I’m so glad you managed to get where you had to within the right time-frames. When we flew to the USA last year, we flew Canberra to Sydney and, having arrived in Sydney, sat on the tarmac for an hour because the plane in our arrival gate had broken down and there was NO OTHER GATE for us. Really? Anyhow, more than an hour after we arrived we got off the plane. Fortunately, as the flight to the USA was a morning flight and as there is always a risk of fog delays in wintry Canberra, we’d flown to Sydney the night before so none of this did anything than make our relaxed evening in the hotel an hour or so shorter than we’d planned. (We are flying to Gove this July and are doing the same thing – up to Sydney the night before as the flight to Gove leaves promptly in the morning.)

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  2. Hello, Pam, I am another Pam, a friend of your sister, Lori. She directed me to your website. I’m just starting to put my travel writings on websites, and at this point I have several:,, and The wordpress site has more recent travel blogs (Chiapas and Oaxaca in Mexico) and the Medium sites have travel stories from a time I traveled in Africa and the Middle East almost 50 years ago.

    I’m really impressed with your website, and all the things you put on it. I’m new to this type of publishing and I appreciate seeing how you do it. I love your photographs (especially those you took after your mother died), and the travellin’ penguin theme.

    I have friends who love Tasmania, and my partner and I hope to travel to both New Zealand and Tasmania next winter, health and finances allowing. I hope you enjoy South Africa! It’s a country I’ve never visited, but always wanted to.
    –Pam Blair

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  3. I’m, glad your brief transit through South Africa wasn’t too bad, despite the luggage-hunt debacle. Wishing you safe travels and a wonderful holiday. I’ll wait for the next instalment.

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  4. i’m remembering Allan Quatermain and Umslopogass, trekking through the depths of darkest
    Africa, searching for the lost mines of King Solomon… great books by H. Rider Haggard… well, it sounds like you’ve got a dynamite start to your tour; i hope you have wonderful experiences… and meet lots of interesting people… good luck!

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  5. That’s a bit of a stressful way to start off such a long trip! Fearing for your connections is never a fun way to begin a holiday and I’m glad everything worked out – and that you could then relax properly into your long journey in Business class. If you can treat yourself, you should!

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  6. I will definitely come along on your trip! So enjoyed your vacation to California and Michigan. Take lots of pictures because I follow you on Instagram too!

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  7. Of course I’m coming along on your trip because I’ll never make that trip. Travel like that is my version of hell! You deserve a medal for endurance on airplanes and in terminals. Good luck with the rest of your trip.

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