Air Force Base Hoedspruit

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Air Force Base Hoedspruit
Airport type Military and civil
Owner Department of Defence
Operator South African Air Force
Location Hoedspruit, Limpopo, South Africa
Elevation AMSL 531 m / 1,742 ft
Coordinates 24°21′17″S 31°03′01″E / 24.35472°S 31.05028°E / -24.35472; 31.05028Coordinates: 24°21′17″S 31°03′01″E / 24.35472°S 31.05028°E / -24.35472; 31.05028
FAHS is located in Limpopo
Location in Limpopo
Direction Length Surface
m ft
09/27 2,115 6,939 Asphalt
18/36 3,991 13,094 Asphalt
Statistics (2008-2009)
Passengers 57 000
Sources: WAD,[1] GCM,[2] STV[3]

Air Force Base Hoedspruit (IATA: HDSICAO: FAHS) is an airbase of the South African Air Force. It is located adjacent to the Kruger National Park. In the late 1990s an unused portion of the base was converted into a civilian airport known as Eastgate Airport. It was also an emergency landing site for the Space Shuttle.[4]

Units hosted[edit]

  • 19 Squadron - Helicopter squadron
  • 101 Squadron - Light transport (reserve)
  • 514 Squadron - Security services
  • 7 Aircraft Servicing Unit - Maintenance support
  • Lowveld Airspace Control Sector - Airspace control
  • Air Force Command and Control School - Training


The base was officially opened on 1 July 1978.[5] It was designed from the start to be a highly protected wartime base. As such, it has armoured and underground hangars, with revetments placed close to the runways for aircraft on immediate take-off standby duty.

The base is teeming with wildlife, being surrounded by the 25 km² AFB Hoedspruit Game Reserve. Keeping the runway clear of animals was a massive problem. This led the base to introduce three cheetahs on the airfield, with the end result that animal incursions onto the runway have decreased by 90%. Another SAAF base, AFB Makhado, has since also adopted this concept.

The base gained international media attention in 2000, when it hosted the United States Air Force's rescue contingent as part of Operation Atlas Response, the mission to provide rescue and humanitarian support to areas of Mozambique devastated by the severe flooding caused by Cyclone Eline.

The base motto is Pro Nostrorum Pace (Peace for our People).[6]

Eastgate Airport[edit]

A civil airport terminal, known as the Eastgage Airport, was established at the southern end of the airfield in the early 1990s. The terminal's main business is serving tourists visiting private game reserves in the area as well as access to the Kruger National Park via the nearby Orpen Gate.[7] Facilities at the terminal include car hire[8] and foreign exchange.[9]

South African Express operates daily flights to/from Johannesburg - O. R. Tambo International Airport and three flights a week to/from Cape Town.[10] Charter flights are offered by Federal Air, Genair, Cezzani, Execujet, SA Historical Flight and Bataleur.[11]

The airport is one of the busiest airports in Limpopo. It handles more passengers than the Polokwane International Airport which serves the city of Polokwane. The airport was promised to be issued an International License back in 2001, but unfortunately no license was issued. The airport handled 57 000 passengers between 2008 and 2009 and has the capacity to handle a further 10 000 to 11 000 passengers.

There were those who supported the issue of Eastgate Airport being called Hoedspruit International Airport.The airport could handle traffic for those wanting to visit the Kruger National Park via Orpen Gate.

Airlines and Destinations[edit]

Airlines Destinations
CemAir Cape Town,[12] Johannesburg–O. R. Tambo [13]
South African Express Johannesburg-OR Tambo, Cape Town[14]


External links[edit]