Lake Keepit Soaring Club is famous for holding epic gliding safaris.
Every year, a gaggle of gliders leaves Lake Keepit Soaring Club and heads out into Australia, looking for adventure. Mostly, these safaris are 3,000 to 4,000 kilometres long and take ten days to two weeks. Sometimes the route is an out and return and sometimes a loop, planned to visit some interesting destination, taking in remote landing strips and remote townships on the way.
The flying on safaris is always good and its often great but mostly what makes the safaris interesting is the camaraderie, the bond which builds up between safarians over the adventure. Once you have landed and tied down the gliders, the search is on for a good restaurant with a good wine list!
Normally there's a ground crew of one or more vehicles which follow the safari, carrying clothes, fuel and a few spanners just in case. It's a difficult and lonely job and it's sometimes hard to persuade the driver that it's going to be a really great safari this year.
The safari to Lake Eyre was a memorable one. Great weather, great places to visit and some outstanding flying.
So where do safaris go? Almost anywhere in Australia other than east. Almost anywhere were there's a pub or homestead with a strip and accommodation.
The weather is not always perfect but the experience is! The experience of taking off and landing at unknown airstrips builds a lot of confidence as does tying down the glider in 50 knot winds.
When the weather is not cooperating, there's always some exploring and photography to be done and you get to visit places which few city-bound Australians ever see.
Self launchers are ideal for safaris though when we have a tug, unpowered or sustainer gliders can come along.
Sheep stations and homesteads are a popular place to stay, both for safarians and for the hosts.
For some, the safari is a welcome change from triangles or out and returns. Sometimes it's a bit of a challenge, bashing into headwinds in blue conditions over inhospitable country and other days you get huge thermals marked by fluffy clouds, a tailwind and 12,000 of air below you.
Normally the safari aims somewhere, with a bit of a theme. The wineries of Clare Valley, flying the Morning Glory at Burketown, Lake Eyre or the Dig Tree.
And on easy days or short days, you can go and do some sight seeing and find out where your children's inheritance is going.
If you are interested in adventure flying, something out of the ordinary run of glider flying, then you should try a Keepit safari.
Just contact the manager at LKSC and you'll get put in touch with the organisers of the safari.
Safaris are held between October and Christmas every year.