May 17th, 2003, 09:28 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2003
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scaredtodeath is offline  
May 18th, 2003, 06:25 AM
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Scaredtodeath - you don't have to be! Where are you flying in Zambia? If you're simply flying from JNB to Lusaka, no big deal. You'll board a fully checked-out SAA flight (propably a 737 or 757) and "up and away", then you land. One can't expect anymore - you take off, you land. Real simple. Food doesnt matter, movies don't matter!
Are you flying anywhere within Zambia from Lusaka or is everything by road?
Provide some more information, and I'm sure someone will be able to assist.
Take a deep breath, you'll be fine; even after all years of flying, doubt there is anyone who approaches flying with not a care, you have an issue which is understandable, but give us some more info and we'll get back to you
May 18th, 2003, 07:07 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5,553
ScaredToDeath is Mrs. Rocco...I apologize for my wife's irrational behaivor!

We will be flying on a Raytheon Beechcraft 1900D, an American made 19 seat plane that is used widely for executive travel domestically in the USA, as well as for shorter routes both foreign and domestic.

Here is a link to a Beechcraft 1900D:

We did have a very bad experience departing Singita aboard a chartered Fedair six seat Cessna that hit a lot of turbulence. The pilot was a piece of **** and did nothing to calm our fears and then just looked at my wife like she was crazy when she questioned him about the bumpy ride once our hell ride had ended.

So, just so it is known, scaredtodeath will be going to South Luangwa for 5 nights at Kafunta. While I hope I can get her to join me on a game-walk or two, I am not counting on it. One of the reasons I chose Kafunta over Robin Pope Safaris and The Bushcamp Company is because they really seem flexible whether one is able to choose a game drive or a game walk. Being that someone was scaredtodeath at Singita, for even the game drives, of all places, I don't suppose there is much luck that will change for Kafunta in South Luangwa.

Just so that it is known that I am not completely selfish, we will also be spending two nights in an premier suite at The Michelangelo in Joburg, four nights in an executive seafacing room at the Twelve Apostles in Camps Bay, Cape Town, and three nights at Djuma Vuyatela, complete with its own private plunge pool just like Singita's but at one third the price.

Plus, we are going to San Francisco next weekend to celebrate our 3rd wedding anniversary and will spend two nights at the Ritz Carlton, just so we can have a happy memory just in case we die in Zambia!
Roccco is offline  
May 18th, 2003, 08:12 AM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 596
Hi Rocco and Scared,
I'm impressed with how much research Rocco has done on the plane! My husband also has a fear of small planes so I identify somewhat with your situation. To give you an example, in Kauai, I went up alone in the helicopter. I'm not crazy about small planes either but I'm determined to tolerate them in Africa. If you haven't put in a complaint about that pilot do it now.
So one issue is the flying. I know people who have asked their doctor for prescription drugs to ease the edge off flying. My husband won't do that but he said to me, "Just don't ask me to look out the window" (and in his case he is *very* motivated to see game). The way I get over my fear is by telling myself that this is the luxurious way to go, that people who can't afford it have to go overland on bumpy roads. I'm hoping the sight-seeing aspect of the ride will occupy my mind.

But I'm hearing two problems here. From what Rocco said, it sounds like you don't like game drives, even at Singita? So the question is will you have more fun in Johannesburg or at the camp if you're not going on drives. If you choose to stay in Johannesburg you should arrange to get a guide part of the time so you're not going out alone. That is very easy to do. Frankly, I expect to feel much safer in a camp than in a large city. Whatever you choose, enjoy yourself. If you decide to go to the camp, bring some good books, a journal and thrive in the luxury and peace of being out in nature away from it all. Do yoga, learn to cook an African dish, sketch or photograph. If you decide to stay in the city, get a guide and go shopping! What you do is not as important as you making the choice for yourself so you don't feel like you're "forced to go." Have a wonderful trip!

I know you're going to have a wonderful trip. Rocco has worked so hard putting it together.
Clematis is offline  
May 18th, 2003, 08:39 AM
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Posts: 48
I am sorry that in my hastiness, I did not make myself clear--my issue is flying from LUSAKA to MFWUE (Sp?). Although I truly appreciate everyone's support, I am particularily interested in THIS leg of the trip.

scaredtodeath is offline  
May 18th, 2003, 11:28 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 612
Dear Scared to death: I have some friends who live in SA who could advise you as well as lots on this board who HAVE BEEN there. If you e-mail me, I can put you in touch with friends that live there & can even guide you in Joburg etc. E-mail me at [email protected] and I will put you in the safe hands of people who live there. Your husband has done wonderful research and I must commend him and I look forward to seeing you when I go to california. Please put Africa on subject line so I won't delete. Also I have good friends at SAAirways who can answer your questions on most everything so please feel free to e-mail me.
Have a great day & don't worry
pattysuericia is offline  
May 19th, 2003, 09:42 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 118

You may want to carry along Lavendar essential oil and sniff it during the flight to relax!
owl is offline  
May 19th, 2003, 10:54 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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Have any other Fodorites around here heard of any bad incidents with flying into South Luangwa? Also, any reports on any incidents between the animals and visitors while on game drives either in the Sabi Sand, South Luangwa, Botswana, Kenya or elsewhere?
FYI, we will not even be leaving the airport at Lusaka, but rather just connecting with a flight to Mfuwe aboard a 19 seat plane manufactured in 1999 in Kansas City, Kansas, USA, that is used mostly for American executive travel.
Roccco is offline  
May 19th, 2003, 02:09 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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While I have never flown from Lusaka to Mfuwe, I did fly from Lilongwe (capital of Malawi) to Mfuwe and had no problems whatsoever. The flight was quick, relatively free of turbulence and short (only an hour or so).

I also stayed at Kafunta, but didn't do the walking safari (I had just come from Savuti Camp in Botswana where I had done a walking safari), and had no incidents while on game drives, other than sheer excitement about the breadth and diversity of animals, including seeing a large pride of lions feed on a buffalo, which apparently fatally kicked or gored a lion because we saw a group of vultures feeding on a dead lion the next day. Kafunta is a great camp and the hosts are warm and welcoming.
thit_cho is offline  
May 19th, 2003, 02:51 PM
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Haven't heard of any small charter aircraft falling out of the sky whether in Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia or Zambia.

As far as animal/people contact while on game walks - no problems in that area either. The rangers know what they're doing, they test the wind, and know when not to go someplace or too up-close-and-personal. You simply have to follow all of the Ranger's rules and listen and watch carefully your surroundings.

For walks especially, wear the proper clothing, neutral colors, good walking shoes that have been broken in, no perfumes and unscented deodorants - you'll be just fine, and very excited.

I have a friend who yearly rents a Land Rover and does the drive from JNB, thru Zimbabwe via Harare to Lusaka and travels around Zambia on his own.
You'll both enjoy yourselves tremendously.
May 19th, 2003, 03:11 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 48
God bless all of you who have responded to my greatest of greatest fears. If there is anyone else out there, please post your commentary.

scaredtodeath is offline  
May 20th, 2003, 05:27 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,220
First of all I want to assure you that whilst it may be true that your fears are probably mostly unfounded in terms of actual risk, that you are absolutely entitled to feel them and that you shouldn't feel belittled or embarassed about being scared.
Fear is normal - phobia is too - and it's something that can be acknowledged and overcome.

That said, I hope we can collectively reassure you.

I haven't flown the route you mention.
But during my last trip to Africa, in 2001, I took 7 flights in teeny Cessnas (4-5 passenger seaters) and 1 flight in a comparitively large 12-14 seater.
The turbulence feels scarey and I find it helped me to understand physically what turbulence is and how planes of this size work/ stay up in the air/ cope with engine difficulties etc.
Accidents are very rare within the main airlines/ charter flight companies - the majority of the few incidents that do happen are, I understand, in private planes or planes owned by yahoo cowboys.
I think you can rest assured that Rocco has not allowed any such companies to get into his itinerary.
I hope you have a wonderful trip, and that you get to choose the destination for the next main trip!
Best wishes
Kavey is offline  
May 21st, 2003, 03:10 PM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 20

I am just curious: are you both American citizens and if so, how are you getting your visas done for Zambia [in advance or upon arrival at the airport]? I keep getting different responses from the Zambian embassy and i was just also wondering what the actual visa fee is at the moment. Thanks!
soniya is offline  

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