On Saturday 23 June sixteen Jabirus and three honorary Jabiru members; a Jabiru powered Sling2, Maule M7 and RV10 departed from Gaborone on an adventure that would eventually cover about 1600 nautical miles. The South African based aircraft had a total trip in excess of 2,000 nautical miles.
Even more remarkable is that the fleet of Jabiru's covered a collective approximate 32,000 nautical miles, one and a half times the distance around the earth (21,545 nautical miles), and more than 200 combined take-offs and landings with substantial fuel and baggage in relatively high density altitude conditions, without any problem (mechanical or other) nor incident. Not even a flat tyre.
Organised by Ben and "Mama Tau" Linda van Zyl the thirty three adventurers, two of whom are Botswana residents, the rest hailing from South Africa, took off from Gaborone. Two and a half hour later the sixteen that included one four and one six cylinder J170, one four cylinder SP, two J230s and eleven J430s as well as the honorary members landed at Francistown, their first refuelling stop.
The next leg took them to Nata the first overnight stop, a flight of 1.5 hours where they landed for refreshments before some general flying over the spectacular Sua and Makgadigadi Pans.
Setting out early the next morning the day's flight of 3 hours to Shakawe took them over the entire length of the majestic beauty of the Okavango Delta and "pan-handle."
Departing from Shakawe their 3hour flight to Kasane took them over the top part of the Okavango Delta, along the Caprivi Strip / Namibian border, continuing along the Linyanti River and Chobe River.
A two hour flight took them from Kasane to Nata and the start of the homeward leg where they again overnighted at Elephant Sands. The next morning the group split, some departing for Gabarone, the others for Pilansberg to clear customs.
All credit to Ben, Linda and Piet Dipholo and the guys of NTT Nissan Gaborone who generously made the vehicle available.
The warmth and hospitality of the Botswana citizens throughout the trip was truly amazing. We overflew the most spectacular views that Botswana had to offer, a trip that should be on any pilot's bucket list.