Hello to all.
I'm writing this out of sheer frustration from all the PM's I keep getting asking the same questions over and over again.
All of which the information has already been posted on here through various threads.
It makes you wonder on the commitment that a lot of people have to actually getting a job if they don't have the time to research something this simple.
Maybe Csanad could make one for Namibia?
Perhaps if this could be made a stickey, it would be appreciated.
And forgive the spelling, I speant 3 hours writting this post after being baked in a GA8 all day!
Best time to visit Maun.
The hiring season does vary a little from year to year, but it is safe to say that it generally goes from November to Feburary. It does sometimes start a little early with one or two people being hired, also sometimes goes into March with the odd person being hired.
If you plan to come during this time, then there is a chance you will be hired. The outlook for hiring is always good. There will always be a need each year for people to be hired to replace the guys leaving.
So get on a plane and find out by turning up and asking the companies themselves.
Outside of this time frame, then your chances of being hired drop sharply.
Getting to Maun.
There are various ways of getting here, depending on how adventurous you are.
The most simple way is with Air Botswana leaving via Jo'burg. Expect this to add quite a large sum to the cost of your ticket as it is the most expensive airline route in the world per KM travelled.
There are also buses, or you can try to hitch hike your way there. But that will take you over a day. And can be a little bit dodgy in places.
Where to stay once in Maun.
There are a lot of places to stay at in Maun. Depending on your budget you can get anything from camp sites, to single room apartments.
The typical places to stay at would be Maun Rest Camp, The Old Bridge Backpackers, and Audi Camp.
Most of the pilots that come to Maun stay at Audi Camp. It has a large camp area, so finding space isn't really too much of a problem. They also offer pilots a special rate at 20 pula a night. (about 2 euros)
There is a large (for Botswana standards) swimming pool, a excellent bar, nice food from the bar, and a small library.
Internet is available, I think you have to prepay per MB used.
From last years (Early 2010) batch of pilots, there was a hell of a lot of parties there, and ended up being a really good place to stay at.
The Old Bridge Backpackers is a little bit closer to the main road, so it is easier to catch the local transport into town.
Campground sites start at around 45 pula, and the danger of flooding from the rain is quite low as the only low ground is towards the edges of the campground.
There is a good atmosphere around the bar there, with a lot of the pilots in town coming to water themselves there. Bar staff are great, great food, and also have free wireless internet.
Getting around in Maun.
The lodges are a long way out of town unfortunately. Around 10-15kms, so too far to walk when you are in 35-45 degree heat of the summer!!!
Getting to and from town to the campsites is not a difficult task. You have a number of cheap options there.
The first being the local combi van. If you are going from any of the lodges, you catch a van with a number 1 on the front. Usually has a red circle around the number. These cost 2.70 Pula to get to wherever you are going. Very very cheap! Just be prepared to be jammed inside like sardines! Also can get a bit smelly in the afternoon when you are sqwashed inside against sweaty people...
You can catch taxi's with 2 options. A special taxi exclusive for you, or a taxi which can make stops along the way.
A special taxi to your lodge shouldn't cost you anymore than 30 pula. But he will take you all the way to your doorstop.
The taxi that stops along the way costs around 3.50 pula. And he will stop and make pick ups along the way, will also only drop you outside the lodge on the road.
The last option. Find a South African pilot that is looking for work and has bought his car to Maun. Offer him a bit of petrol money and ride with him!
What to bring to Maun.
Maun offers everything that you will need in terms of toiletries, cooking, and personal supplies.
All you need to bring from home is something to sleep in (blankets, sleeping bags) and a Tent.
For the sleeping bags, it is warm at night during the summer months, usually around 15-25C, so you will not need a heavy sleeping bag. If in doubt, remember it is easier to warm up by wearing more clothes, than what it is to cool off!
For your tent. Get a tent that has a large lip on it between where the ground and where you step into the tent. Campgrounds are prone to flooding, and if you have chosen a poor spot, the tent will fill with water. So the higher the zip is off the ground, the more water can pool up before entering your tent.
To test if it is water resistant enough for Maun. Get your garden hose and turn it onto full blast. Then aim it at your tent. If it stands up to that, then it should cope with Maun.
When you set up your tent, make sure you survey the slope of the land, and DO NOT put it at the bottom of a slope, or in a hollow in the ground. You will end up swimming.
Bring a nice soft sleeping mat as well. If you really want to deck your tent out, you can buy single bed mattresses at some stores for around 250 pula. If your spending 3 months sleeping on the ground. Its worth it.
Make sure you bring with you, every piece of documentation that you can think of for your qualifications. All your high school certificates, any courses you have completed, any awards you have achieved. ANYTHING. It all will get sent away for your work and residence permits and the more the better. Africa tends to lap that stuff up!
In previous threads, it has been mentioned that you need to have a police clearance. That used to be the case, but is now no longer needed. But if you are in doubt. Get one just incase. It can't hurt to bring the extra paperwork. Better to have it and not use it, than to not have it and need it.
Bring your birth certificate.
Bring your logbook, and please have it summarised so you can easily point out your total hours, PIC time, Dual time and all the rest of it.
Also bring your valid ICAO pilots licence and your headset.
Then anything else that you may need for your survival away from home. The town is boring as hell, so make sure you bring enough to entertain you.
In terms of clothing. Summer time the temperatures will reach as high as 50C, averaging around 35-40C. Night time will get as low as 15-20C. So light clothing is ideal. For night time, make sure you bring some light, but long sleeved shirts, and some light but long trousers as well. Mosquitios love fresh meat to Africa, and its probably the best way combined with mosquitio repellent to avoid Malaria.
Visa's, work permits,residence permits.
When you arrive into Maun, apply for the full 90 days, and make sure that you apply as a tourist. Not seeking work.
You are able to apply for more days for a small fee after your 90 days have expired. But it is a bit of a hassle to go about it. Immigration will ask you way you need these days, so make sure you have made up a credible story, or have got yourself involved in some charity or church group who can vouch for you.
You may be asked to present a return ticket out of the country. So it is up to you on whether you decide to buy one or not. But most people get here and then travel out of the country via road from Kasane to Victoria falls or Livingston, so its up to you if you wish to lie and say that. Risk is yours!
Most countries get visa's on arrival, but if you belong to the poor sods who have to get a visa before you arrive at most countries, chances are you will have to get one for Botswana as well. And by the sounds of it, it isnt easy and they ask a lot of questions. So make sure you have all those answers ready for them!
Work & Residence permits will be looked after by the companies once you are hired. You will be asked to present things such as high school certificates, birth certificates, pilots licences and the like.
If you think you might need it, bring it.
Police clearances are no longer needed, but people tend to change their minds as often as the weather, so perhaps it would be better to bring one anyway.
Companies in Maun.
There are 9 companies operating in Maun with the following types of Aircraft. C172, C206, C207, C210, C208, GA8, BN2B
(C206 x4, GA8 x2, C208 x3)
(C206 x5, C210 x1 (also uses 1 from Kasac), GA8 x5, C208 x3, C172 x1)
(C206 x1, C208 x1, C172 x1, GA8 x1)
(C172 x3, C206 x2, GA8 x1, C208 x2)
(C206 x2, C210 x2, GA8 x1, BN2B x1, C208 x1, PAC750XL x1)
(C206 x3, C210 x2, GA8 x2, BN2B x1)
(C150 x1, C172 x1, C206 x8, C208 x6 )
(C172 x2, C206 x3, GA8 x2, C208x2)
With Sefofane, you can also expect to be posted in either Zambia or Zimbabwe.
At least ICAO lvl 4
Minimum of 200hrs for most companies, Sefo wants 300hrs.
Age is pretty much open. Average age seems to be between 20-25, but older is taken.
You do not have to have a type rating, but it is advantageous to have experience on the 200 series aircraft.
Not essential but highly advantageous would be to get either a grade 2 instructor rating or attend a safety officers
Pay and Roster
For pay, as a first year, you can expect anywhere between 9000-9500 pula per month. Some companies will make you pay up to half of your medical aid. It is very advantageous to get that.
Second year it goes up to around 12000-13000 pula.
Roster is a 6 day on, 1 day off affair, with the odd standby day thrown in there as well.
Maximum amount of hours that you can fly each month is 100. I have only hit that so far once with my company.
Average is about 80hrs a month.
Expect to be able to take leave from around November, through to about Feburary, with preference given to the senior guys over Christmas and New Years. There is a bit of a rush over that time frame as people tend to go on that "Special African Safari holiday"
Depending on which company you work for, you can overnight at the lodges up to 2-3 times a week in the busy season, do not be suprised if you spend a whole week away if you work for Sefofane.
I also believe that Moremei Air bases a pilot in Kasane for 3 months.
Cost of Living
For European standards, the cost of living here is very cheap, but just remember that you wont be on European pay for much longer!
Housing is around 1500-2000pula a month if you share with someone. That usually includes power and water. A full time maid is around 1000 pula a month. And you can get internet via a company called orange (the mobile provider) for around 400 pula a month with a 5gb cap. Don't need a phone line either.
Cellphones are cheap. Can buy simcards here and is cheap to call within the country. Once you start making international calls it begins to get a bit pricey. Better off using something like Skype for international calls.
Good. As you would expect in any other ICAO nation.
You would be wise to get the follow vaccinations for here.
Hep A & B
Measels, Mumps, Rubella
If you are going to travel onto other countries futher north, You may be required to get your Yellow Fever shot, and a cholera vaccination would be wise as well.
In terms of Malaria, it is a threat, but not such a great on in Maun. I suggest getting your hands on Doxy and bringing some with you. It can be used as prevention, but you can only take it constantly for three months. Doxy is also given as treatment, so its better to have it with you and treat it, if in the unlikely event, that you actually get it.
Medical facilities here are average. I suggest travel insurance that covers transfers to South Africa for treatment.
Water is ok to drink some days, and not others. So it is best to avoid taking the risk and to drink bottled water right from the start.
is a HUGE
problem in Botswana with 1 in 5 of the local population having it. Some reports say that it is even higher than the figure quoted.
Remember boys, flies spread disease, so keep yours closed!
Don't be fooled by the tourist bus girls either. Remember they have travelled a long way through Africa by the time they reach Maun, and they have travelled through a lot of guys too.
Its better to just introduce yourself to Mrs Palmer and her 5 daughters and bring a nice selection of "Mature" videos on your laptop.
What companies look for
Each company has a idea of what they want from their pilots. And therefore look at each pilot that walk through to door to see if they will fit into their company. Hours do not really mean anything here as long as you have over 200.
Get to know the pilots in Maun, as they do have a big say in each company on who gets hired.
Go out and have a drink with them, go to Braai's with them, invite them to braai's of your own. But whatever you do, do not get shitfaced drunk every night and act like a right knob. Don't go starting fights with people. News goes back to the cheif pilots and operations manager of what happened and you can kiss any hope of a job with the companies good-bye.
Do not be over zealous in your search for a job. There is a fine line between looking committed and just being annoying.
Keep popping in every few days and ask what the story is. And keep trying to get onto flights into the Delta every day. Try to go with the senior pilots and do your best to take in the surroundings rather than just treating it as a joy flight.
The general attire is casual. Coming in with pressed black pants, white shirt and black shoes is just going to be met with a odd look. Come in with nice, tidy, comfortable, non gangster or skater, clothes and all will be well.
Try to shave every once in a while as well.
And yes, if you have a ICAO CPL licence with 200hrs or more, you will stand a chance of being hired. If you have under 200, you will struggle. But its not impossible.
All the other ratings are unneeded as you will be flying single engine aircraft, VFR, in the day time.
Anything else will be looked after once you are hired.
Conditions of Maun
Maun is not the best place on earth to live. It does provide the basics to live a normalish western lifestyle. But things can be very backwards here to say the very least.
Expect to be frustrated by the constant power and water outages.
Expect to be grilled by 40+C heat.
Expect sand to fill every gap and creavas in your body.
Expect to be frustrated by red tape and the need for everyone to assert their authority.
Expect to be frustrated by the total lack of logic and foresight of this country.
Expect anything to go missing while your not looking.
Expect a certain low level of animosity or lack of respect towards the "white man".
Expect the houses to be of a different standard to the ones back home.
This place has its charms, but it also has its ugly side. It can only be what you make it. Don't expect the world or you will be disappointed and unhappy.
Whilst looking for a job, you will have the time of your life, but that lifestlye does chance once you get a job, and the view of this place begins to change once you are here for long enough.
Its only fair that you get warned.
Conditions at work
You will be flying very old but very well maintained aircraft. One or two compaines have new aircraft so its not all doom and gloom.
Most of the Aircraft have GPS built in, the ones that don't, the company provides handheld Garmin's. You are expected to be able to read a map and to know how to navigate by one should your GPS fail. Alternator failures are not uncommon here due to the belts snapping from the heat.
The flying is very challenging and needs to be treated with respect, as well as having the time of your life.
Very often you will be flying overweight. Very often you will be flying with your C of G well out of limits. And you will learn how to deal with it.
You will learn a lot about thunderstorms.
You will learn how to land with a tailwind as with tight turn arounds sometimes you just have to land convient to the parking bay.
Some strips are just purely one way strips and the only way in or out is with a tailwind!
It is hot, very hot, and you have to be aware of animals at all times.
The strips are short, and sometimes in poor condition. Often contaminated with water.
You will be flying with density altitudes of around 7000-9000ft and you will develop a very healthy respect to how the aircraft will preform each day.
So far my longest flight day was 6.3hrs with 18 take offs and landings. At each stop you have 10 minutes to unload, then load the aircraft again, get in, start up and go.
9-10hr days are common place, Don't be suprised if you work 12hr days 3 or 4 days in a row.
Forget what you were taught about flying at flight school. Playing with flap settings on take off and landing is essential.
There is a huge amount of turbulence here, and sick passengers with exploding sick bags are common place.
Again, its only fair that you know what you are getting yourself into!
If you have anymore questions, please go back and read through this again as there is a good chance I have already said it.
If you feel that it is a really pressing and needed question then ask it and I will try to help you out. But before asking, please just think over it and go... What would the logical answer be?
If you think you might need it, bring it.
If you hold a CPL then yes, you will have a chance of a job.
I managed to get a job here without knowing a single thing about this place. I'm sure you can too! Otherwise if just getting here is too much of a struggle for you, then perhaps Africa isn't for you.