Transafrica 2018 STOP 3

May 2, 2018

Tel Aviv – Cairo – Djibouti

Flight distance: 1917 nm
Hours in the air: 8.00

Relaxing in Djibouti after Eritrean refusal

We were in good spirits and within perfect timing as a result of professional handling in Tel Aviv. Then the trouble started. We had already pushed back when three minutes before taxing we were informed that permission to fly over Sudanese airspace had been revoked! That meant waiting and finding a new plan for our operations crew.

After an hour we had a new flight plan taking us over Cairo to Asmara. And so we did take off and hop over to Cairo. Once on the ground Tom made sure we were immediately refuelled so that we would be ready to fly on within 15 minutes. Then we were informed that Eritrean air control count not locate our permission to fly there which had been granted previously, next the responsible officer was on lunch break!

After yet another two hours we finally took off again, now flying over the Red Sea, avoiding Sudanese airspace heading towards Asmara. We were already in approach mode when the tower told us that permission to land was denied. Luckily our captain Tom did think ahead as always and added an alternative airport outside of Eritrea, which was Djibouti. So given our fuel situation we quickly returned to flight level and flew another  two hours on to Djibouti where we landed late after dark.

We decided to stay put for one day and get re-established, taking a short tour around this town who’s street scene is dominated by the clear presence of soldiers from a number of nations stationed here to protect the “Horn of Africa” shipping straight. Besides the burstling market life the two train stations were of special interest, the old one exposing remnants from colonial life and the brand new a sign of the empowering big neighbour Ethiopia.

As a last remark for this update it needs to be said that we have definitely “arrived” in Africa as it becomes more and more challenging for the content provider to load media due to slow and sketchy internet. So bear with us please hang tight once in a while!

Facts & figures

Republic of Djibouti, a small country on the northeastern coast of Africa to the Red Sea and the Bab-el-Mandeb strait. Djibouti is bordered by Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Somalia, and it shares maritime borders with Yemen. The country occupies an area of 23,200 km², compared it is slightly larger than Slovenia and has a population of 850,000 (in 2016 est.), capital and largest city is Djibouti City, spoken languages are French and Arabic (both official), Somali, and Afar. Main religion is Islam, about 94% of the population are Muslims.

In antiquity, the territory was part of the Land of Punt and then the Kingdom of Aksum. In the late 19th century, the colony of French Somaliland was established following treaties signed by the ruling Somali and Afar sultans with the French and its railroad to Dire Dawa (and later Addis Ababa) was built. It was subsequently renamed to the French Territory of the Afars and the Issas in 1967.

A decade later, the Djiboutian people voted for independence. Djibouti joined the United Nations the same year, on 20 September 1977. In the early 1990s, tensions over government representation led to armed conflict, which ended in a power-sharing agreement in 2000 between the ruling party and the opposition.

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