With the aircraft refueled and off runway 03 right, it was a right hand turn out for the African coast and to Bamako, Mali. The route 1061 nm to Bamako was becoming quite eventful. From just north of the Ivory Coast boarder there were a number thunder storms. Without any radar guidance from ATC it was a matter using our Stormscopes to find a route through them. We came close the Ivory Coast border in our efforts. The last 200 nm we descended below cloud base to 3500’ and flew VFR to Bamako. We originally planned to make the Bamako a technical stop for fuel and then continue to Accra on the same day. We decided against this and stayed overnight. The handling went much smoother then our first stop in Bamako. We were refueled and the documentation completed in record time and it was off to the hotel.
Take off was routing and 655nm to Accra. It was dodging thunderstorms once again and we saw very little of the country side. It was a precision approach into Accra and once landed it was a long wait for the handler and refueling personnel to arrive. The refueling takes an age as the fuel has to pumped from drums. The first time through the pump was broken but they had repaired it!! There was no attempted bribery this time and it was straight through all the formalities. It was off to our favorite hotel the Lambadi Beach.
Out over the sea to Libreville. The first 150nm or so was routine and then the weather got steadily worse. We climbed higher to 9000’ to try and get over some of the weather, but a further climb to 11000’. Again it wasn’t enough and we were in and out rain. Some of the rain was quite heavy and the stormscope guided us through once again. It was the heaviest rain we had encountered to date and a little turbulent at times. We flew in IMC for about 350nm. We popped out into the sunshine just before Sao Tome and a routine approach into Libreville through the haze.
Home is getting closer, however this leg to Ondangwa, 1231nm was one of the longest. Climbing through the low level cloud we leveled off at 9000’ and didn’t see much of the sea or coastline. It was only about 200nm south of Luanda that the cloud cover stopped and there was not a cloud to be seen, but hazy. We landed 9 hours and 43 minutes later at Ondangwa. One of the best hotels we stayed at was the Cresta Lodge. Dinner was a nice big fillet.
The last leg home, only 823nm to Lanseria. We refueled and paid our landing fees and blasted off runway 08. Turning right we headed for home. There was not a cloud in the sky, a typical winters day. Chalkie took off last but he and Peter were soon passed us. It was taking for ever. Although our ground speed was 130kts we seemed to be crawling along. We rendezvoused over Hartbeesport Dam and then flew in formation to Lanseria. We were cleared onto runway 24 right. We were home. We taxied up to the International Arrivals and shut down. Family, friends and sponsors were there to meet us. It was good to be home.
We had flown 19.574nm in 163 hours which gave us an average ground speed of 120kts.