An unusual sight over Cape Town

Today I saw an unusual sight over Cape Town. As I had just taken delivery of my new Sigma 70-200 2.8 HSM DG lens, I decided to shoot myself a Zeppelin.

The German-built airship or Zeppelin arrived on Monday in South Africa where it has been chartered by diamond producer De Beers for use as a platform for diamond exploration in southern Africa.

Astonished onlookers noticed the vessel floating near Cape Town's landmark Table Mountain after it was unloaded at the city's dock and took off for the Ysterplaat military base about 30km away.

The airship, a prototype Zeppelin-NT of the Friederichshafen-based Luftschifftechnik GmbH and one of only three of its kind in the world, was flown from the factory near Lake Constance to Amsterdam and shipped to South Africa.

De Beers spokesperson Tom Tweedy confirmed on Monday that the company chartered the 75m long German airship that will be fitted with measuring equipment to enable the study of geological formations that indicated the presence of diamonds in South Africa, Namibia and Botswana.

The company plans to send the airship, named "Friedrichshafen" by its manufacturers, on its first mission in mid September.


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