“NOVEMBER FIVE ONE ZERO PAPA WISKEY, ARE YOU LISTENING TO ME?” the big thickly accented but good-natured African voice booms through our headsets. We all share a chuckle, as this transmission from Gaborone Control nicely sums up our ongoing challenges with radio communications in Africa.
A glance at the GPS indicates that we are at latitude south 24°, longitude east 26°, which places our three-plane air safari about 30 nautical miles northeast of Gaborone, Botswana. Radio communications continue to be a challenge for the Safari pilots, and based on the number of times the controllers ask us to repeat our transmissions, we are just as difficult for them to understand. When planning this adventure, we did not think that the radio would be one of our biggest challenges; funny how the need for effective communication becomes the dominant factor for so many human endeavors.