DC-3 In Front Of Signal Hill Cape Town 2003

Springbok Classic Air Newsletter


Springbok Classic Air Newsletter - March 2006

Date: 09-04-2006
Subject: Springbok Classic Air Newsletter - March 2006
Springbok Classic Air
Monthly Newsletter
 Tel: +27 11 824 2142
Fax: +27 11 827 0502

 Volume: 05 Date: 09-04-2006

This month's newsletter

Greetings to everyone since our last newsletter, please enjoy our latest edition, which comprises an article on (half) the latest Hamilton Safari, and some news on two large (enormous in fact) projects to be undertaken by Springbok Classic Air.
Flippie's Forum

The Hamilton 2006 Safari

Since the Hamilton 2006 Safari was quite a long Safari, I will tell you about the first half of the Safari in this news letter only and then in the next newsletter I will tell you about the last half.As mentioned in our previous News letter, the Hamilton 2006 tour took place from the 20th of February to the 5th of March 2006 on more or less the same routing as the Lebombo Reunion Tour of October 2005, except that we continued further south along the South African Coast to Cape Town and then back to Johannesburg.



Day one saw us leaving from Lanseria Airport in Johannesburg, to one of the most interesting ecological systems in the world, the Okavango Delta. We landed in Maun in Botswana, after a three hour flight, just beating the fast-developing African thunderstorms which were particularly active this summer season throughout most of the Southern African region. From Maun, we transferred with Cessna Caravans on a short but very interesting flight to the Quay River Lodge in the heart of the Delta where we stayed for two nights.



On day three we flew to Livingstone for a one-night stay-over at surely one of the world’s most desirable destinations, the Victoria Falls where our guests again stayed at the now very well-known Royal Livingstone hotel. With all the rain, especially in the catchment area of the Zambezi river, the Victoria Falls was a truly magnificent sight - the spray cloud going up for at least a thousand feet into the air.



Day five took us from Livingstone, along the mighty Zambezi, following the shores of Lake Kariba for almost 200 kms until the Zambezi eventually turned away towards the Cabora-Basa dam in the Tett province in Mozambique, landing at Mfuwe Airport after a flight of almost three hours.  


South Luangwa National park is one of the few unspoiled parts of African wilderness left, and it again took us only a few hours to spot all four of the remaining Big Five in the Luangwa valley. Watching the huge variety of game from the deck of your room in the beautiful Mfuwe Lodge is an absolutely unforgettable experience.What an unbelievable experience to see the South Luangwa National Park completely transformed after all the rain, into an absolute bush paradise. A wonderful haven for the animals, and this in only three months since we passed through here with the Lebombo Reunion Tour. All the Ox-bows full of water creating a haven for the abundant bird life too.



After two wonderful days we departed from Mfuwe for a three-hour, direct flight to Pemba in Northern Mozambique. What an unforgettable sight to cross over lake Malawi, the deepest lake on the African Continent. From Pemba we transferred by light plane to the newly-opened resort of Matemo Island Lodge, where our guests enjoyed the tropical climate for the next two days. Matemo must rate as one of the most luxurious and secluded island resorts on the east coast of Africa. 


In the next newsletter I will tell you about the rest of the Safari. I will also have an interesting account of our flight into Fisantekraal (Cape Town, RSA) in a DC-6! Watch this space...Captain Flippie Vermeulen

Ian's Forum
Hi there, Ian here. What a privilege it was for me when Flippie requested me to include a short section in this newsletter - just as it has been a privilege for me to develop and maintain the Springbok Classic Air web site. In this section, I'm going to introduce two exciting projects that our company is taking on - the restoration of one of our DC-3's and the restoration of Rand Airport's Catalina for a special American customer, Steve Hamilton, who has purchased this beautiful flying boat.


Firstly, our DC-3: ZS-KEX.

This is a special DC-3, as it is an orginal passenger-carrying 1938 DC-3A-197B as opposed to the C-47 derivatives that were modified for the 2nd world war. With a manufacturing number of 2008, it was the 129th DC-3 off the production line, with Wright engines (later converted to Pratt & Whitney engines, in fact, just the 8th to be modified as such.)ZS-KEX was fortunate enough to never see war service, and served as one of United Airline's DC-3's. She came over to South Africa in 1976, and saw quite a lot of service in Africa. Flippie acquired her in 1998, and his team did quite a lot of restoration until ZS-GPL came along, after which priorities shifted towards ZS-GPL and Springbok Classic Air' operations. She now rests peacefully at the back of our hangar with ZS-NTE, her partner. ZS-GPL needs a rest, however, and it's time for 'KEX to be woken up and put to work. She will be the OLDEST flying DC-3 in the world!

We'll be keeping track of the restoration work on our web site, and of course through our newsletter.

The Catalina


The Catalina series PBY-5A has been resting at Rand Airport, Germiston, Johannesburg since late 1999, with the last registration being 3D-PBY. A quick history is available at this site: http://www.ruudleeuw.com/sa04.htm . Steve Hamilton from America, who apparently has a collection of flying boats, purchased this Catalina after his recent African Safari with us. The best news: our company has been commissioned to restore the aircraft to flying condition and ready to deliver to Mr Hamilton. Although it will be sad to lose this landmark at Rand airport, it will be good to know that another rare Catalina is air(sea?)worthy again, and we'll be proud to be the people getting her into the air again.As with ZS-KEX, I'll be keeping track of the restoration work on our website, and will update you through our newsletter.

That's all from my side, any questions, comments, criticism regarding our web site or this newletter - send them to me at ian@springbokflyingsafaris.com.

Regards, Ian

A complete photo album of the latest Hamilton Tour will soon be available on our web site's Picture Gallery page. Should you wish to view these photo's or learn more about our upcoming safaris, please visit our web site at http://www.springbokclassicair.co.za . How about reading some reviews of our recent African tour? Is it really as exciting as we market it? You decide yourself - follow the "Reviews" link on the main menu.

Until next month.

Captain Flippie Vermeulen (CEO)