it’s a Long Way to Johannesburg

I was up just after 4:00 am this morning to catch a flight to Sydney which connected with another one to Johannesburg in South Africa. My flight to Sydney was easy gave me two hours of stress free transit time before leaving on Qantas flight 63.

We left a little late because of some traffic in Sydney. It was a busy morning and I think that there were eight planes lined up to take off, not counting those that landed while we were in the take-off queue. This flight takes a little over thirteen hours; quite long! I was getting tired of it after three hours, let alone the other ten. I had expected that we would fly across Australia to Perth and then over the Indian Ocean to Africa. At least that’s how it looked on the map in the Qantas magazine. Instead, we flew south from Sydney, passing Melbourne, over Launceston and then further south until we were just north of Antarctica. We eventually turned north again and crossed the African coast near Durban. This route took us to a most southerly point of 62 degrees south – just along the northern limit of sea ice. Mid way through the flight, we had some fantastic views of the ice and icebergs. The outside air temperature was -81 degrees centigrade!


Overall, the flight was very comfortable with two meal services and the ability to move around the cabin. I had downloaded a series of photographic instructional videos onto my iPad which I was able to watch and learn some more technique. They were mostly about landscape photography although I am going on a wildlife photography tour. Never mind, some techniques are similar and they were all very interesting.

We arrived into Johannesburg on time at 4:30 pm local time and it didn’t take long at all for me to clear immigration and customs. It was a very long walk though, from the gate to the exit of the terminal – probably 15 minutes or so. I eventually found my way to the shuttle bus to my hotel, although I initially took a wrong turn and ended up at the wrong end of a multi-storey car park. Eventually, I found I was on the wrong level of the building and when I finally got to the right place, I found a shuttle leaving immediately.

Today is a public holiday in South Africa and the hotel is very quiet. There is a wifi hotspot in the lobby so I can connect and upload this. It was very nice to have a shower and to get cleaned up after being awake for nearly 21 hours. Now it’s time for a quick bite to eat as I attempt to stay awake for another couple of hours to get time adjusted (8 hours difference) and crash for the night.

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