By definition, ‘fly-in safaris’ refer to the fact that your transfers to and from your final safari destination will be by plane rather than road. Fly-in safaris are a much more convenient and time-saving option, maximising your time on the ground and allowing you access to remote, off the beaten track parts of Africa Although typically more expensive than a drive-in trip, it can well worth spending the extra cash for such a sensational trip.
Typically, a fly-in safari package will include flights via a small Cessna or Caravan aircraft from the international airport where you first land – and the journey across beautiful landscapes on a tiny plane is a unique experience in itself. You’ll head out into the bush by air, sometimes landing on just a dirt airstrip in the middle of the wild, which adds another edge to the spirit of adventure. This is a really fantastic way to see the wilderness and you’ll get some awesome views from the air on the way.
Here, you’ll be met by a representative from your camp or lodge for a short to the accommodation to get settled in before getting stuck into game drives and the fun activities. At the end of the trip, you’ll transfer back to your departing airport by light aircraft, or choose to travel onwards to another camp on your itinerary, anywhere in Africa!
A fly-in safari is perfect for travellers who only have a few days to see the wild. Swap hours of tedious travel in a car for a short transfer flight and you’ll be saving all that time up to spend on game drives and at your camp where the real safari adventure lies. With a fly-in option, safari holidays don’t need to be epic 12 or 14-day vacations – you can see and do everything in a short break of three or four days.
If you do have plenty of time for a safari, a fly-in trip can also allow you to travel vast distances between different camps for more than one adventure on your holiday. Don’t limit yourself to one national park or even one country! Many fly-in safari packages allow you to cross borders and hundreds of miles for a really complete experience.
Another advantage of flying in is the destination – you can experience remote areas that would otherwise be inaccessible by jeep. Get away from the crowds and back to nature, right out in the bush. You can’t beat a sundowner looking out from your camp or lodge with nothing but the wilds of Africa in sight, stretching for miles over the horizon.
Top Fly-in Safari Destinations
Experience the diversity and beauty of Botswana with a safari in the Okavanga Delta and Linyanti. You’ll also get an amazing view from the skies over this unique area – the largest inland river delta in the world. If you have more time, you can also fly into South Africa for an extended trip.
Combine exploring national parks in Botswana with a transfer to Victoria Falls from Kasane for breath-taking views of the waterfall from your light aircraft. Spend the night here, with a trip on a boat the next day to get closer to the falls.
One of the advantages of a fly-in safari is that you can cover lots of ground in a short space of time. In just seven or 10 days, you could explore Zambia and Malawi on safari, combining a relaxing stay on Lake Malawi with game drives, boating and walking expeditions for a diverse experience.
The contrasts of landscape across Namibia make this one of the best choices for a fly-in trip. Take in the beauty of the scenery from the air, passing over Sossusvlei and the Namib Desert, as well as the coast and Swakopmund.
Tips for Fly-in Safaris
- Even short trips of two or three days can be arranged with fly-in transfers.
- Beware that the price will be a lot higher for this kind of safari – typically $200 to $500 more per person than a drive-in trip.
- Work out the balance of cost against time saved on the ground for the best value for money – an eight or 10-hour drive can be covered in less than two hours by plane.
- For maximum flexibility, look into a private tour for your family, or even as a couple.
- As with all package deals, check what’s included before you book – excursions, meals and drinks can incur high costs at the lodge itself.
- Remember that light aircraft are used for the transfer, which are very different from a jet – and not recommended for travellers with a fear of flying!
- There will be limited cargo and cabin space on small planes – check the possible restrictions on weight and dimensions to ensure you don’t overpack.
- If you need to save on a long trip, try a fly-drive hybrid safari where you travel by land vehicle between destinations but fly in and out from the major airport.
More Fly-In Safari Resources
- Fly-in safaris options throughout East and Southern Africa.
- Skeleton Coast, Namibia: Experience shipwrecks in the desert, it’s a little eerie but fascinating at the same time. Not a lot of wildlife viewing on this tour.
- Over the Waters of Africa is a unique flying safari hosted by bush pilot Tim Lapage.
- Botswana Fly-in safaris: A good way to get around quickly and some of the best camps are only accessible by air.