On the wings of RwandAir from South Africa to Tanzania via Rwanda
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HOME ⇒ Flight reports ⇒ On the wings of RwandAir from South Africa to Tanzania via Rwanda


On the wings of RwandAir from South Africa to Tanzania via Rwanda

This flight took place from Johannesburg to Dar Es Salaam with an intermediate landing (transfer) in Kigali (or, in the Russian way of using the endings, in Kigali). Here is its specification: flight WB103 departure from the airport named after O.R. Tambo (Johannesburg) at 03-10, arrival in Kigali at 07-00. Declared board Boeing 737. Transfer to Kigali 5 hours 25 minutes. The next flight WD442 will depart at 12:30 and arrive in Dar Es Salaam at 15:50. Declared board DH 400. Thus, the first part of the flight is night, the second is daytime. For some reason, online check-in was unavailable, but when checking my booking on the official website of Rwanda Air, I saw that I was randomly allocated a window seat in both the first and second segments of the flight (in the second, the cabin layout is 2x2).

A friend drove me to the airport, on the tail of our car hung another, with security. Moving around Johannesburg at night is no ordinary matter. But that's from her point of view. For me, it seemed like overkill. When asked why such difficulties, the answer was banal - I live in this city. We started from a cult institution - Emperors Palace. We get in the car:

It took only about 10 minutes to get to the airport, but the area in those places really turned out to be very, very problematic. The roads there are not lit, and the headlights pierced through the darkness empty sidewalks and roadsides, beyond which there was nothing. There is a complex and intricate system of overpasses and interchanges in front of the airport, overcoming which I was driven directly to the entrance to Terminal B, which serves mainly domestic airlines. Basically - because there is no clear division between domestic and international flights. In Tambo, the terminals are not divided into international and domestic (although they are called so), but rather into serving relatively short and long-haul flights.
There are no barriers in the form of inspections at the entrance to the terminal. I go to the terminal, which at this time of the day was almost empty:

Traditionally, I look for the scoreboard to make sure that everything is in order with my flight:

Everything seems to be in order, there is no delay, the departure board is on schedule.
I approach the check-in counters of RwandAir:
Стойки регистрации в аэропорту Йоханнесбурга
Because I knew that the system had given me seats by the window, I didn't even ask for them. But when I received the boarding passes, I was surprised that there was seat F on the second segment. I didn’t manage to take a picture of the boarding passes, only the roots of them remained: Es Salama had a 2-2 seating configuration. So, most likely, the airline changed the board to a Boeing-737.
After registration, I went to go through security. Tambo Airport seemed to me at that moment somehow disorganized and small, but in fact, it is huge. How many have not been there, always like the first time, always found myself in new places and always experienced difficulties with logistics.
Looking for an exit to the gates:

The path to the gates ran through the central part of the terminal, which was, as it were, surrounded by paths at different levels, forming a giant hollow cylinder and giving the impression that you are not at the airport, but in the shopping center: gates A (there are also B, C and D), to which you had to go down 1 level:

When I got to the security checkpoint, I got in line. It seemed that there were few passengers, but the queue practically did not move. There was an explanation for this: three officers were involved in the search, two of whom were engaged in a loud conversation with each other (not otherwise, important, since the conversation was accompanied by gestures and a serious expression on their faces), and the third was furiously rummaging through the bags of two passengers and sometimes something then menacingly and sharply asked them. Passengers (in appearance, mother and daughter) were extremely confused by what was happening. Their bags were not only dug from the inside, but the contents were also brought to light. The one who was the daughter clutched her passport in her hands, saying that the owner had the citizenship of Burkina Faso. While rummaging through the things of these citizens from distant Burkina Faso, the rest, including myself, silently watched the process. I watched and thought, is it really that they search everyone here .. When, having torn them from head to toe, they finished with them, things went faster. My bag went through the scanner and arrived exactly under the gaze of a strict employee who had just been frantically rummaging through the bags of two ladies. I asked her - can I pick up my bag? She shook her head: it's okay, come on in.
Went out into a clean area, with numerous stores that were almost all closed:

Only worked one small cafe, but without a serious influx of visitors:

It was still early to go to the boarding gate, my main task was to find an outlet to recharge the phone, since I was not sure what the plane will have a usb connector. The sockets were, but not under my connector. In one of the stores, I asked the saleswoman to use the "standard" socket for my connector and left the phone for half an hour.
After half an hour, I went to the boarding gate. My gate was A2 and was in some kind of long appendix. The photo below shows the entrance to it in the distance:

Entering this appendix marked a dramatic change in temperature. It was noticeably colder than the main terminal building, and I could even see the vapor coming out of my mouth when I breathed. At this time (it was mid-August) it was still winter in South Africa, and the temperature at night dropped to 5-7 degrees Celsius.

I walk along a long corridor to my gate:

Boarding on the flight had already begun and was in full swing:

The sleeve to the plane seemed somehow endless with many turns. First, passengers entered a corridor with armor-piercing walls and elongated oval windows like in a submarine:

The next turn and the corridor is already windowless:

One more turn and now something similar to a teleport with windows through which the plane appeared:

Finally, the labyrinth is over, I go aboard:

First 4 rows - business class, two for two seats in a row. For an airline like RwandAir, it looked unexpectedly good:
Бизнес-класс в самолета Боинг-737-800 авиакомпании Rwandair

Economy class seats looked brutal but comfortable:

The seats themselves are not worn, the backs are dressed in leather antimacassar with an embossed airline logo:

Each seat has a pillow in a yellow pillowcase. A control system is built into the chair handles .. what? Probably just the radio. The back of the seat in front did not have a monitor.

In the pocket of the seat back I found a safety manual, a magazine of purchases on board and a bag for vomit:

Later, an airline magazine was found in the pocket of another seat. Wow! RwandAir even has it!

Having looked through the magazine, I found out that RwandAir even has wide-bodied sides in its fleet:

While the plane was still at the parking lot, various equipment was visible through the porthole:

They began to pull the aircraft back. At the same time, the engines began to start and flight safety instructions were displayed. The briefing was carried out through folding monitors mounted in the ceiling:

The aircraft returned to its original position and the flight began. They took off to the north, which means that the main part of Johannesburg remained on the other side of the board. I got to see the outskirts and suburbs:

However, nothing interesting was visible overboard, as it was the middle of the night.
The flight duration was supposed to be 3.5 hours. Taking into account the time of day, the duration of the flight and the brand of the airline, I did not have any special expectations from in-flight meals. The maximum I expected was some snack and a glass of water. But RwandAir shattered my assumptions and proved to be quite a decent airline in terms of food on board.
Food began less than an hour after takeoff. There were three options to choose from: vegetarian, chicken and beef. I chose beef. And although the beef appeared to the eye in the form of one sausage, but it was only a small part of the breakfast (according to the time of day and the composition of the diet, it was breakfast). The sausage was accompanied by an omelet with mushrooms. All this together was extremely tasty. In addition to the main course, the tray featured a small cut of tropical fruits (they are considered “common” there. A cut of apples and pears would have looked more exotic), a croissant, a pack of yogurt, a bun, and butter and jam in a single-dose package. From drinks I chose orange juice and tea.
Бортовое питание на рейсе авиакомпании Rwandair
Even sugar was packaged in branded bags with the airline logo.
After breakfast, I walked around the cabin:

The plane was about 80 percent full.
Looked into the lavatory:

Returning to the place and looking through the porthole, I saw that a bright streak of light of the upcoming dawn appeared:

In those latitudes where the plane was flying, dawn happened very quickly. In less than a few minutes, it became completely light. It had just been night and now it was day, as if someone had worked with a magic wand.
After dawn, thick cumulus clouds became visible below:

It was impossible to watch what was happening outside the porthole comfortable as the sun was shining brightly in front of him.
At the same time as the announcement of the descent, the clouds began to disappear and revealed a mountainous area, on which villages were scattered here and there:

But with the beginning of the descent, the plane flew over Burundi. And in the photo below is Rwanda:

The plane was descending lower and lower, the suburbs of the country's capital, Kigali, appeared:
Пригороды города Кигали в Руанде
Before landing, the private sector was clearly visible Kigali. People in Rwanda live quite well by African standards, and from a height it was clear that the houses were neat, the streets were clean: turboprop Bombardier Q400. There is no taxiway parallel to the runway at Kigali Airport.

From the runway, the aircraft immediately veered off the runway onto the parking apron. Through the porthole, it was noticeable that the air was either in fog or in a haze, through which one could see several aircraft, all of which wore the RwandaAir livery, scattered in parking lots:

The plane stopped near the terminal, but not at the air bridge, which are not available at the airport. Leaving board:

I go out into the fresh air, inhaling which, I realize: here it is, the real Africa! This is not South Africa, with an atmosphere soaked in the ocean and the West. South Africa does not fit into Africa. But Rwanda - in full measure! The air was warm and comfortable after a cold winter in South Africa, but most importantly, I did not breathe in the smell of kerosene, so characteristic of airfields, but smoke from fires, as if corn cobs were burning somewhere far away. I felt this rural air for the first time at the airport. It smelled like what Africa should smell like in our understanding.

The plane stopped with its nose almost buried in the terminal, so there was no need for apron buses to deliver passengers to the terminal:
Авиалайнер Rwandair у пассажирского терминала аэропорта Кигали
Here he is, the handsome man who brought me from South Africa to Rwanda. It seems to be a simple livery for RwandAir aircraft, but it seems very attractive to me:
Боинг-737-800 авиакомпании Rwandair в аэропорту Кигали
Following on foot to the terminal:
Международный аэропорт Кигали
Looking back, taking a picture on the platform. Wow! A Boeing 737 standing in the distance turns out to be a cargo one, as RwandAirCargo is written on board:

I am following other passengers to the terminal, some of them have not yet taken off their winter clothes, although it was warm in Kigali, feels like 23-25 to a small waiting room for transfer passengers:

Walked around this hall, took pictures of what it contains: a modest Duty-free, closed and open shops, a prayer room:

Зал ожидания трансферных пассажиров и магазины Дюти-Фри в аэропорту Кигали

There was still 5 hours left until the next flight and it was necessary to kill him somewhere. The board showed my flight and the correct time of its departure (WD442 at 12-30), but for some reason the destination was indicated Entebbe (the old capital of Uganda). This suggested that my flight would make an intermediate stop there, but I did not remember that when buying a ticket or in my booking, there was somehow an intermediate stop in Uganda. Went to ask the helpdesk staff about it. Everything turned out to be just a mistake. After 5 minutes, the scoreboard already showed the correct route of arrival - Dar Es Salaam.
There was absolutely nothing to do. In addition, the local airport Wi-Fi did not work at all. I chose a cafe where there were sockets for recharging my phone, bought a croissant and coffee and sat down at a table intending to spend the remaining hours here before landing.
I asked the waitress if they have their own wifi? Why, - she answered, if the airport one is quite good. In the end, the phone still caught the Internet and time went faster. True, mosquitoes pestered, but where would it be without them, this is still Africa:

It's time to board my plane. There were no announcements, everything was much simpler: an employee walked along the perimeter of the hall and shouted several times: "Dar Es Salaam!" exit to the gates, my gate number 1:

One more queue, now to enter the space to the gate:

Sat on a chair inside waiting for the boarding gate. For some reason, the scoreboard again listed Entebbe as the destination:

Then some employee came in and shouted for the passengers on Dar es Sadam to go to the neighboring gate, No. 2. Yes, no problem, we moved on. Although what's the difference if it's all nearby .. And immediately the gate began:

I went out into the fresh air, the haze cleared:

This time the passengers were deprived of a pleasant walk and decided to take them to the plane by bus:

At the plane:
Boeing 737-700 авиакомпании RwandAir в аэропорту Кигали

Climbing on board:

I pass the business class, where uniforms were hanging on a hanger on the back wall:

I pass to my seat. The cabin is exactly the same as on the first flight:

Type of seats:

Something torn out with meat was torn out from the seat next to it:

This time I got a place above the wing:

Taking to the runway:

We stopped before the runway and waited for something. It turned out that a Boeing 737 Ethiopian landed in front of us:

Then we switched places: now we are on the runway, we roll to its beginning in order to turn around and start takeoff:

Taking off:

Climbing. The sky with rare clouds did not interfere with the view of the earth:

According to the schedule, the flight duration is only about two hours. As in the first segment, this time too, I underestimated the RwandAir catering service, believing that passengers would only be given the opportunity to quench their thirst. But they brought a small box and offered a choice of drinks:
Кейтеринговый сервис RwandAir
There was a meat pie and a cake in the box. I chose orange juice and tea to drink:

The descent began:

The plane did not enter the runway directly, and through a turn over the ocean:

The plane turned 180 degrees, went straight. The outskirts of the capital of Tanzania were visible through the window. The center of Dar Es Salaam was on the other side.

Sit down, we are approaching the terminal. Two sides came into view: Air Tanzania and Emirates:

The exit from the aircraft was carried out through the air bridge. From it got into the corridor:

Through the window in the corridor I took off the plane that took me to the capital of Tanzania:

I need a visa for Tanzania. Getting it was a tedious and slow process. Filled out a questionnaire, then drove from one window to another. But in general, there was no negative feeling, apparently the procedure itself is like that. I received a visa and went to the arrivals area:

Зона прилета аэропорта Дар-Эс-Салам
This is where my trip ended. Nobody met me in Dar Es Salaam and I had to solve the problem of getting to the city center on my own.
I apologize in advance for the poor overview of Dar Es Salaam airport, but this will be fixed in the near future. I will have a review related to the departure from this airport, which, by the way, was not without force majeure, and then I will analyze the airport in detail.

Thanks everyone for reading! All new directions and positive emotions from flights!
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Boeing 737-700

Boeing 737-800

Dar Es Salaam Julius Nyerere International Airport

Johannesburg OR Tambo International Airport

Kigali International Airport

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