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Eastgate Airport

Hoedspruit Eastgate Airport (SA) lies just outside Hoedspruit, a little town in South Africa. Its situated in the province Limpopo, at the foot of the Klein Drakensberg. Eastgate Airport is part of the Air Force Base Hoedspruit which is an airbase of the South African Air Force. The base was officially opened on 1th of July 1978. It was designed to be a highly protected wartime base, therefore it has underground hangars close to the runway.

The base gained international media attention in 2000, when it hosted the United States Air Force in order to provide rescue and humanitarian support to areas of Mozambique, devastated by the severe flooding caused by Cyclone Eline. It is also an emergency landing site for the Space Shuttle. In the late 1990s an unused portion of the base was converted into a civilian airport which we know as Eastgate Airport. The airport is located within a double fence, with a watch tower at the gate.

Eastgate airport is used for civilian domestic flights. Eastgate can accommodate any sized aircraft from an private aircraft to an Airbus. In 2003 the former premier of Limpopo, Ngoako Ramathlodi, announced his approval of an international license for Eastgate Airport, but nothing has come of it. The tourism and agricultural sectors have been identified economic growth points for the region and international status for Eastgate is crucial for servicing these sectors.

Eastgate Airport service daily scheduled flights from and towards Johannesburg as well Cape town by South African Airways. There are also other domestic carriers who have regular flights to this airport. Eastgate Airport is also ideally suited to the handling of private charter flights. Eastgate Airport services over 65 luxury accommodations, B&B and lodges nearby the airport as well close to the world famous Kruger National Park, the towns Hoedspruit, Tzaneen and Phalaborwa.

From Johannesburg it’s just an 1 hour and 15 minutes flight. Because it’s a short flight, the plane flies lower than usual creating beautiful sightseeing over tropical African landscapes. Tourists can sometimes spot cheetah’s while landing on Eastgate Airport. They have been plotted in the field nearby, to chase away the birds and other animals.

Once the plane has landed safely, passengers proceed walking towards the arrival halls while the luggage is brought by tractor and trailer. The arrival hall is the same area where security screening is taking place which doesn’t go like the usual. No X-Ray machinery to check your carry on luggage. Military will do examination of your bags while staff are casual and friendly checking your passport and paperwork. There’s a restaurant on the airport which serves light meals, as well a curio shop and foreign currency exchange office. Travelers have the ability to rent a car from Avis or choose from one of the many airport taxi’s which can bring you to your next destination.

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