Fly-in safaris are an exciting way to travel, they save you time bumping around on rough roads and provide a superb bird’s-eye view of the area you are visiting.
For many remote safari locations in Africa, access by small plane is sometimes the only way to go.
12 seat Cessna Caravan turbo-prop aircraft are well suited to landing on bush airstrips. Your baggage should be a soft-style holdall with no wheels so it can be stored in the baggage compartment under the body of the aircraft – check out some of the little beauties offered by Safari Store.
There is usually a baggage allowance of 12-15kg. Hand baggage is placed in the baggage nets at the rear of the aircraft as you board – this is because space is fairly restricted in the cabin itself. It’s a good idea to keep your camera or phone with you in case you want to take some photos during the flight.
During the pandemic passengers are asked to wear a blue surgical face mask for the duration of time on the aircraft, or within the terminal building itself. At the time of writing, guests were not required to wear masks after arriving at their destination camp/lodge or while travelling in the camp/lodge open safari vehicle. You will of course be advised on protocol in place at the time you are due to travel.
The plane will usually stops off at several camps/lodges dropping off and collecting passengers before returning to base.
When you arrive at the bush airstrip, your safari camp/lodge guide will be there to meet you.
The guides arrive before the aircraft is due to land – they make sure the airstrip is clear of wildlife – sometimes if elephants have been around for example, they also need to clear dung from the airstrip!
Please note, depending where you are going on safari, there are not usually any or only very rudimentary facilities at bush airstrips. Once you have got your baggage it is customary to enjoy a game drive to your camp where you will be able to freshen up in comfort.
These photos and the short video clip show a journey from Kenya’s Nairobi Wilson Airport to Mara North airstrip in the Masai Mara. The trip took about an hour with stops at several camps along the way. We enjoyed superb views coming in low over the Mara River and within moments of leaving the airstrip we were amongst a large herd of giraffe and also saw lion on the way to camp. Mara North airstrip serves a handful of member camps including some of our favourites which include Kicheche, Offbeat, Serian and Saruni. There are several airstrips in the Greater Mara and your consultant will advise on the best one for your chosen camp.
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