Saturday, 7 April 2012

R.A.N.A. And Belvedere Airport

Extracted from the book 'Know your Rhodesia and Know Nyasaland - 300 selections from the Rhodesia Herald', published in 1956.

Warning: This article contains the phrase 'Kaffir Mail', which is not be accepted in todays politically correct world, but was a reflection of the time in which that particular air service operated.

Hangar, R.A.N.A. And Belvedere Airport

Nearly 25 years ago what was to become the pioneer of the Federal air services established its base of operations in Salisbury.

Rhodesia and Nyasaland Airways—or R.A.N.A. as it was more popularly known brought to the three provinces of Central Africa the first taste of long-distance air travel.

Nowadays there are only a few who can recall those early flights to the north.

But R.A.N.A. has left a reminder of its existence and of the days when Salisbury throbbed to the beat of the engines of a Hercules aircraft.

At Belvedere Airport, which has now reached a well-earned retirement, can be seen an airline epitaph in worn and faded letters. " R.A.N.A." still emblazons the roof of the building shown in this picture, used as a maintenance hangar.

Inside the huge shed—where once were Hercules and Puss Moths—Vikings and Dakotas have received the same meticulous care that was given to the pioneer craft.

Providing a link for the first South Africa-London flight, R.A.N.A. also operated regular services in Southern Rhodesia and Nyasaland.

Early residents can probably recall the famous " Kaffir Mail" and will bear testimony to the skill of pilots who flew these routes.

A similar service was the regular Puss Moth flight between Salisbury and Bulawayo.

R.A.N.A. changed its name on the outbreak of the Second World War and did service as a communications squadron under the title, Southern Rhodesia Air Services.

After the war R.A.N.A. gave way to Central African Airways — its present successor.


Material made available by Nick Baalbergen, recompiled by Eddy Norris for use on "Our Rhodesian Heritage" blog only. Thanks Nick.

Comments are welcome, please send them to Eddy Norris on

Labels: , ,


At 10 April 2013 at 08:53 , Blogger Allen smith said...

Salisbury throbbed to the beat of the engines of a Hercules aircraft.
Flights To Bangkok

At 16 April 2016 at 04:02 , Blogger Starfire said...

What was the length of the runway in 1940?


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home