Sep 262015
 

Hotel shuttle was right on time, and in no time at all we were at the booming Bangui M’Poko International Airport, where Jordan decided to do his best imitation of one of the big five since we were in Africa, but fortunately nobody mistook his flowing mane for a lion….

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Check-in was pretty easy, and there appeared to be several paramilitary types on our flight checking large gun and ammunition cases. Central African Republic is known to have lots of “private military” activity, supporting both the government and the rebels, so I guess they have t0 fly in and out somehow. Ian and I managed to secure the exit row, which was extra nice because it only had two seats while all of the other rows had three seats. Score! Immigration and security were pretty easy as well, and the agents were reasonably friendly, chatty, and efficient. One lady kept trying to sell us “VIP lounge access” for like $20, but we decided to resist. Spent our remaining Central African CFA francs on some waters in the departures lounge, and soon it was time to go.

ASKY flight 35
Bangui, Central African Republic (BGF) to Douala, Cameroon (DLA)
Depart 7:55, Arrive 9:45, Flight Time: 1:50
Boeing 737-700, Registration ET-ANG, Manufactured 2007, Seat 15J

Flight to Douala looked to be quite full with most seats taken, and a small snack was served. Since we’d left the hotel too early for breakfast, was at least nice to get some bread and cheese to hold over until lunch:

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Arrival into Douala right on time, where almost everyone on the flight got off. Since this is one of very few flights into CAR, and Douala is a much larger airport than Lomé it made sense people would be getting off. We said goodbye to Jordan who was headed straight home (just a long weekend for him) and waited for the other passengers to board for the continuation of the flight.

ASKY flight 35
Douala, Cameroon (DLA) to Lomé, Togo (LFW)
Depart 10:25, Arrive 11:10, Flight Time: 1:45
Boeing 737-700, Registration ET-ANG, Manufactured 2007, Seat 15J

Flight was maybe 75% full on this segment, mainly with connecting passengers. Lomé is a quasi hub for ASKY, so many of the passengers were headed from Douala to other points in Africa. Choice of sandwiches on this flight, cheese or tuna. The cheese was actually reasonable, and for a rare change I decided to risk the airplane sandwich…with a glass of semi-reasonable red wine to wash it down:

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This was the third trip I’ve flown ASKY, and overall they’re a pretty classy operation. Planes are leased from Ethiopian, which I believe has a large ownership stake in the airline as well. Flights have been completely on-time in my experience, staff reasonably friendly, and the planes inspire at least reasonable confidence in their maintenance. Definitely the jewel of west African aviation for now!

Arrived into Lomé on time, and immigration was a big of a challenge. You would think they almost never saw tourists, and even more rarely had ones that wanted visa on arrival despite all the prices and instructions being clearly posted. I asked the agent if the visas were single entry, as we would be making a daytrip to Benin the next day. “Oh no no no, they can be, but you need to go get them endorsed at this office somewhere downtown and then they are good unlimited.” She seemed pretty unclear, and after finally getting the visas she let us go.

The driver from our hotel was waiting in the parking lot, and we were soon on our way to La Résidence Océane – a small boutique which got great reviews on tripadvisor. The rooms inside faced a charming little courtyard:

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Stairs up to our rooms:

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Overall, the hotel was quite nice. Clean, quiet, very reasonably priced, good WiFi, ice  old air conditioning. They upgraded us to two-level “suites” as well, which was a nice bonus. We grabbed lunch at the hotel in their brasserie, which made a good variety of French staples and could have been anywhere in rural France. The staff were super nice and helpful, and although there were never more than 10 people eating, they always had everything on the menu and were quite quick

The hotel also had a small bar/lounge area which was pretty popular with locals and expats during the evening…staffed by the same people who worked in the restaurant, and occasionally at the check-in desk. Sometimes you win with smaller hotels, and sometimes you lose, but this was a definite win! The only area that could have been improved a little was the included breakfast, which was pretty much limited to croissants, crepes, some nutella, and laughing cow cheese…and plentiful coffee…so what more do you really need?

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We kept Jordan on the trip in spirits at least, finding a bottle of Château Jourdan at the local grocery store. Off relatively early to bed because it would be a super long day of driving to Benin the next day. We had negotiated with the driver who picked us up at the airport, and he said he had all the necessary permits to drive into Benin, so it would save a lot of time over hiring taxis on both sides of the border.


  One Response to “Bangui to Lome, Togo on ASKY, two nights at the Residence Oceane in Lomé”

  1. Nice. I liked Lome. Beautiful women there.

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