In general, the best and quickest way (and, in some cases, the only way) to reach remote safari camps and lodges is to fly there in a light aircraft – the distances required are often vast, and the terrain is rough, if not impassable to vehicles.
To some, this is not a pleasant prospect, and in some locations, these quick flights can be substituted for additional (often rather long) game drives.
However, if you want to spice up your trip even more, flying in is the only way to go! For most people, flying in a tiny plane is an entirely new and exhilarating experience – and, far from being “just transportation,” it can significantly enhance your safari experience. Below,
What are the different types of small planes in use on an African safari?
The type of small plane you will use is determined by the location of your safari, the companies that operate there, and the specific camps that you will visit. The options range from the fast and luxurious Pilatus PC-12, which is usually reserved for private use, to Cessna Caravans or Airvans that seat 8–12 people, all the way down to 6-seater Cessna 210 or 206s. Larger vans are generally used in South Africa, Zambia, Kenya, and Tanzania, and flights are scheduled to stop at a ‘circuit’ of larger airstrips, similar to a flying bus service. Many camps in Botswana are so remote that they have their own airstrips, which can be tiny and relatively rough – in some cases, only the smallest Cessnas can land safely on them.