A Technical Stop: South African Airways, Washington – Johannesburg; Technical Stopover in Dakar, Senegal.
South African Airways has conducted “1 stop” service to and from South Africa and the United States for several years. While they do serve a non stop route with their Airbus 340-600 aircraft from Johannesburg to New York, they’ve also typically had a one stop service from Johannesburg to Washington Dulles. At the time of this trip, the stopover was in Dakar Senegal, but has also now surfaced on the Washington. United States – Accra, Ghana route.
This is our experience with the stopover heading eastward from Washington Dulles to Johannesburg, South Africa after our South African Airways Business Class flight from Washington Dulles to Dakar.
This post is one chapter on our trip to South Africa, a Safari in the Maasai Mara in Kenya and Mauritius. This trip was redeemed through Air Canada’s Aeroplan and through Starwood Preferred Guest (Marriott Bonvoy) and Hyatt Gold Passport. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.
Read More from This Trip
- Trip Introduction: South Africa, Kenya & Mauritius via South African Airways, Swiss and Air Canada Business Class
- Vancouver Airport Transborder Maple Leaf Lounge
- United Business Vancouver – Chicago O’Hare
- United Club Chicago O’Hare – Concourse B
- United Club Chicago O’Hare – Concourse C
- United Business First Chicago O’Hare – Sao Paolo International
- Intercontinental Chicago O’Hare
- United Business Chicago O’Hare – Washington Dulles International
- Lufthansa Senator Lounge – Washington Dulles
- South African Airways Business Class Washington Dulles – Léopold Sédar Senghor International Airport Dakar
- Dakar Technical Stopover
- South African Airways Business Class Léopold Sédar Senghor International Airport Dakar – O.R. Tambo Johannesburg International Airport
- South African Airways Baobab Lounge – O.R Tambo Johannesburg Terminal A Domestic
- South African Airways Economy Class O.R. Tambo Johannesburg – Cape Town international
- Westin Cape Town
- A Visit to Robben Island: South Africa’s Most Famous Jail
- Exploring Table Mountain by Cable Car, Cape Town
- Where the Two Oceans Meet: Visiting Cape Point at Cape of Good Hope
- The Test Kitchen
- Le Quartier Français – Franschhoek
- Touring Western Cape Winelands in Stellenbosch and Franschoek
- The Tasting Room
- South African Airways – Cape Town Cyobab Domestic Lounge
- South African Airways Economy Class – Cape Town – O.R. Tambo Johannesburg
- Hyatt Regency Rosebank Johannesburg
- Soweto & Informal Settlement Tour
- SAA Baobab Premium Lounge – OR Tambo Johannesburg
- South African Airways Business Class O.R. Tambo Johannesburg – Mauritius
- St Regis Mauritius – A Beachfront Suite
- St Regis Mauritius – Le Morne Penninsula, Iridium Spa and The House Reef
- Air Maurituis Amédée Maingard Lounge
- South African Airways Business Class Mauritius – O.R. Tambo Johannesburg
- South African Airways Business Class O.R. Tambo Johannesburg – Jomo Kennyata Nairobi, Kenya
- Fairmont Norfolk, Nairobi
- Travelling the Gritty Streets of Nairobi, Kenya
- Air Kenya – Wilson Airport – Ngrende Airstrip
- Fairmont Mara Safari Club
- Locating Elephants, Rhino’s and Giraffes in the Maasai Mara, Kenya
- Being Surrounded by Lions in the Maasai Mara, Kenya
- Dancing with the Elders at a Maasai Mara Village in the Rift Valley, Kenya
- Air Kenya Ngrende Airstrip – Nairobi Wilson
- Swiss Air Business Nairobi – Zurich
- Swiss Air Arrivals Lounge – Zurich
- Swiss Air Concourse D Lounge (non Shengen) Zurich
- Swiss Air Business Zurich – London Heathrow Terminal 1
- Singapore Airlines Silver Kris Lounge – London Heathrow Terminal 3
- Air Canada / SAS Lounge – Heathrow Terminal 3
- Air Canada London Heathrow – Vancouver International
A Technical Stop: South African Airways Washington Dulles – Johannesburg; Technical Stopover in Dakar, Senegal
“While technical stopovers aren’t always fun, they can be if they are in a remote destination. A stopover in Dakar, Senegal is something you don’t get to experience every day”
This particular service from Washington Dulles to Johannesburg stopped in Dakar, Senegal for fuel and to take on /drop off passengers. The service continued on to Johannesburg under the same SA 208 flight number. There has been lots of discussion about the technical stop and how it’s interruptive of the flight and any attempts to try to get some rest. I personally loved it, but only because Dakar was a place that I hadn’t been to before. I doubt that I’d be interested in doing it all over again if I was regularly traveling this route and I’d probably opt for the non stop sister South African Airways flight from John Fitzgerald Kennedy Airport in New York non stop to Johannesburg if I had the choice. You may feel the same way after you see the photographs here as well.
We landed in the pitch black of the Léopold Sédar Senghor International Airport of Dakar, parking at a non gate position. It was a scheduled arrival of 6:25 AM when we arrived. Stairs were brought up and we deplaned some passengers.
An army of ground crew came on to clean and groom plane – removing trash and servicing the plane. Lights were on in the cabin as we waited. We were up and able to move around on the aircraft but not off the plane. Given the timings, it was totally dark on arrival but got lighter as the time went on. I asked to step on to the jet bridge stairs to take a look around and they were even super reluctant to allow that. I snuck off a few photos. Of interest is that when they refueled the plane, the crew asked everyone to stay seated in their seats while the process was underway. Being seated in the front, we were also able to see new flight attendant crews being loaded, along with 3 new pilots. The old crew got off and retired for the evening.
There were some great over wing views of our Airbus 340-300.
As the hour technical stop passed away, the sun started to rise on a new day in West Africa.
After a quick hour, it was time to leave Dakar. The door was closed and we taxied toward the runway. It was sunrise by this point, and we were able to see around the airport a little bit.
We were able to see the African Renaissance Monument overlooking the airport, which was neat to see.
Léopold Sédar Senghor Airport has only one runway and no adjacent taxi ways. We held at the hold line to allow an Emirates and a Turkish airline flight to land. I loved this photograph below as it showed how roughly landscaped the terrain was and that you didn’t need manicured and trimmed lawns and sprinkler systems on the sides of runways in order to land planes.
Departing Dakar: a Gorgeous Coastline!
When it came time to leave, we taxied down the runway with a U-turn at the end. I was able to get some fabulous photographs on the way out as the sun broke through the sky. It was one of those times when the aerial photographs looked absolutely beautiful.
My thoughts on our Technical Stop in Dakar:
Wow – What a really memorable stopover, especially considering we never got off the plane.
The technical stopover was a pretty cool way to see a part of the world that will likely take me a lifetime to get to. Even though we never left the airport, I found seeing the African Renaissance Monument and the coastline of Senegal exceptionally cool. Of course, I was travelling for leisure purposes at the time. If you’re a regular commuter on the USA to South Africa Route, this is likely more of an inconvenience than an enjoyment for you. In my view, the interruption of the night’s sleep was worth it for the limited sights in a world very far far away from my every day life. For me, that’s what travel is all about.