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6 May 2020
My b'day flower plucked by Charl from the garden May 3, now feeling as drained as I did yesterday afternoon. But last night, egg salad news. We've booked a flight home! CemAir have received the required landing and rest stop permissions to make a repatriation charter logistically possible. They will collect the Saffers stuck in Morocco on May 12 and fly to Jnb via another three or four countries in the bulge of Africa. A friend is talking to Naledi Pandor to resolve two remaining issues. Cash shortfall and quarantine beds. You may have heard of the repatriated group taking gvt to court to demand being removed from the disgraceful dump in which they were dumped. Or those stranded on the ORT runway for five hours because a quarantine venue cancelled. Or those being repatriated by Qatar from Tokyo via Doha. When they arrived in Doha, SA withdrew Jnb landing rights because they could not guarantee quarantine beds. Qatar have cancelled the several other rescue missions they had planned... But we're coming home!

7 May 2020
So... Our CemAir flight has been pushed out two days to May 14. The route home has been confirmed. Casablanca / Morocco - Nouakchott / Mauritania - Ouagadougou / Burkina Faso - Abidjan / Ivory Coast - Point Noire / Congo (Brazzaville) - Johannesburg / South Africa. Will be a long slow ride, but glad it all seems to be happening. The car rental agency wanted a R27,000 deposit from us. We negotiated R18,000, but still nervous. The car is also pricey at over R3,000. Stressed but excited. ET phone home!

12 May 2020
"All my bags are packed, I'm ready to go... But I'm leavin' on a jet plane..." Maybe... CemAir have gotten landing permission from five African countries, but have not managed to get final approval from... yep, from South Africa. We have arranged a private charter for May 14, paid in full by Saffers desperate to get home, and all SA has to do is give us permission to land. Oh, and provide us with quarantine beds. But still we wait... By the way. A BIG thank you to those who pledged money to the charter. We have managed between us to fund everyone in our group of 34, some generous souls paying double the already inflated ticket price. So, we do not need to take you up on your offer of support, but THANK YOU again... Hoping to see you soon.
We got permission to take the bikes despite being allowed 12kg baggage each only. It's a small plane - about 100 seats. We hope the other passengers, most of whom arrived with 24kg baggage, are OK about the bikes. They have had to throw or give away stuff, or try to post it home (not sure if they found open DHLs). We have hired a car which we will pick up the day before (was to be tomorrow, but looks now like there might be another delay). Then drive to Casablanca the day of the flight as finding accommodation might be challenging. it's a 5 to 6 hour drive. We will leave 6am-ish to arrive in plenty of time for the flight. A little nerve-wracking, but the best option for us.

14 May 2020
So... We heard yesterday midday that today's flight had been pushed out to Friday. Also that the crew was overnighting in Burkina Faso en route Morocco, which could mean an early morning flight rather than late afternoon. Which meant we had to retain our plan to drive to Casa today, but also find accommodation in a locked down city. Several phone calls later, we found an expensive apartment and grabbed it. Many others in our group face the same problems. Also yesterday we had to confront an aggressive military type when applying for our travel permit. He said the office was closed (it was 2pm) and told us to go away. We made nice and got him chatting about Bafana Bafana and got the letter. He commented twice on the fact that my name preceded Charl's on our embassy documentation! We're on our way now to Casa with a driver. BUT just got another group whatsapp saying flight might be delayed again to Saturday…

17 May 2020
We're home. Very long flight. Crisps for breakfast lunch and dinner, but our Padkos filled the gap. Have just checked into The Capital in Melrose. Nice room which we are allowed to share. Had to travel here in convoy with a police escort. Happy.
Our room is considerably more luxurious than we are accustomed to, with a good bathroom, enormous TV and good wifi. We have a small balcony, so we can sit outside, but otherwise may not leave our room. Our meals are delivered to our door in plastic containers with plastic cutlery. We have to dispose of anything we touch in a bio-waste bag closed with a zip tie. We feel a little like lepers... We can either spend 14 days here at taxpayer expense, or pay R850 each for a private test (earliest this is allowed is Saturday) and if negative go home a day or two later. We'll probably opt for the latter.  

For Mauritania (previous country), click HERE
For Africa overview, click HERE




Agadir to Casablanca
Agadir to Casablanca
Agadir to Casablanca
Agadir to Casablanca
Casablanca airport
Casablanca airport
Casablanca airport
Casablanca airport
Casablanca airport
Casablanca airport
Casablanca airport
Casablanca airport
Casablanca airport
Casablanca airport
Repatriation group, Casablanca airport
Repatriation group, Casablanca airport
CemAir repatriation route
CemAir repatriation route
Flying home...
Flying home...
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HOME - Johannesburg skyline
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