Why book an African Safari (Especially Now)? Read More

Flying Safaris – Maximise your Time & Experience

“Seatbelts on? Ready for take-off?” If you’re aiming to get the most out of your African safari experience or if you want to visit the best, most wildlife-rich destinations – then you’ll need to buckle up and spend some time in the sky.

Flying Safaris

Typical transport when flying into Africa’s remote safari areas & their accommodation.

There are two ways to think about flying safaris: firstly, there are entire safari itineraries that use a light plane – usually a six-seater but often larger – to transfer travellers between different accommodations instead of doing the journey overland. You’ll also see them referred to as ‘fly-in’ safaris and in many cases, if you are planning to explore places like Botswana and Zambia, or Tanzania and Kenya, then you don’t have much of a choice: many of their prime destinations and the accommodation in them can only be reached by plane!

Charter planes in Africa

Limited space on board means limited luggage but flights are generally short & the views are great.

And then there are the flying safaris – single activities – that make up part of a lodge’s range of things to do: this could be a scenic flight in a fixed wing aeroplane or wildlife spotting adventure by helicopter. And several safari destinations across both East and Southern Africa also offer the chance to take in the view from the wicker basket of a hot-air balloon – a popular sunrise experience.

Flying Safaris over the Okavango Delta

Helicopter safaris deliver a unique view of Africa’s wildlife – this is the Okavango Delta.

You will, of course, have deduced that since time in the air is more expensive than time on the ground, these flying safaris cost than if you were to transfer between lodges in a vehicle or spend the morning on a 4X4 game drive. But let’s break it down and see why flying safaris are worth paying the premium.

Hot Air Balloon Safari

Hot-air balloons offer a more stately approach to wildlife watching & you’ll get champagne with your breakfast.

Fly-in safaris – the safaris when you fly from lodge to lodge – do cost more than those that drive between them. But, by flying, you are super-sizing your wildlife watching experience. Firstly, you are not spending hours bumping around on horrible roads between accommodations. This leaves you more time for activities at the lodge. And secondly, flights between lodges in – say – Botswana’s Okavango Delta or over Tanzania’s Serengeti are a kind of safari activity in their own right. You’ll not only see animals below you but also the scale of wildlife – especially when there is a migration on the move. With fly-in safaris you are essentially getting extra game viewing and exclusive views.

Wildlife sightings from the air

Flying gives you a unique perspective to wildlife – here, hundreds of buffalo are on the move.

There is a drawback to fly-in safaris: strict allowances on luggage weight. You’ll need to pack it all in a soft-sided bag and keep the total weight of it to usually around 15 kilogrammes, 33 pounds or so. It’s not a lot of clothes so pack carefully but you’ll be glad to hear that most lodges – especially on fly-in itineraries – offer a free laundry service.

Coffee break on the airstrip

Flying safaris also give you the chance to see another side to bush planes & their pilots.

Flying safari activities – scenic or game flights from helicopters and hot-air balloons – can be enjoyed whether you are on a fly-in safari or an overland one. These airborne activities are generally an extra option on the suite of activities offered at a lodge which means you’ll need to pay for them but there are plenty of itineraries with these activities already woven into the experience too.

Flying Safaris over Victoria Falls

Helicopter flights are the best way to appreciate the true scale of Victoria Falls – the Smoke that Thunders.

Interested in these extra activities? Helicopter flights are available in South Africa – especially recommended are the Cape Town Peninsula flights and whale watching flights along the Whale Coast and Garden Route. You can also take to the sky by helicopter in Botswana’s Okavango Delta, Namibia’s magnificent Namib Desert as well as Victoria Falls, whether you choose the Zimbabwean or Zambian side.

Namib Dune Photographic Flight

It’s from the air that you can see how the Namib Desert resembles a great, churning sand-ocean.

Hot-air ballooning is also widely available: you can find it in South Africa – in the Kruger Park area as well as the Cape Winelands near Cape Town – and in some of the continent’s most beautiful destinations: the giant dunes of Namibia’s Sossusvlei, the wildlife sanctuary of Zambia’s Busanga Plains, and the rolling grasslands of Kenya’s Masai Mara, home to the wildebeest migration.

Flying Safaris over the wildebeest migration

Get your timing right for your Kenya safari & you’ll sail over the great wildebeest migration.

Browse our hand-picked selection of flying safaris – we’re featuring an excellent Botswana fly-in wildlife safari, a Cape Town holiday with scenic helicopter and hot-air balloon flights, and a Kenyan safari that enables you to soar over the Masai Mara at dawn on a balloon safari.

Hands-on Expertise

  • We’re based in Africa
  • Consultants Travel in Africa
  • Knowledgeable team
  • Expect great customer service

Accredited & Bonded

  • SATSA – Bonded Membership (2061)
  • Travel Save Compliant Certificate
  • Fully Independent & Owner Run
  • Travel Support from Start to Finish


Safari Online were extremely efficient and absolutely charming to work with.

Our 28-day itinerary took us to South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Botswana. A magnificent and unforgettable adventure. Everything ran smoothly and efficiently from the flights, transfers, rides, connections, etc. Absolutely wonderful! Can’t thank them enough!

Ann and Mario (Canada)
Walter has always been an excellent communicator and has supported us fully

We have been to Africa for 24 of the last 27 years so know a bit about what is involved. Walter has arranged the details for the last couple of years, and has done a superb job. He is always quick to respond and comes up with answers immediately……..no evasive tactics, always head-on!

Roger (UK)
Safari Online made our fantastic family holiday dream come true!!

Safari Online have been nothing but professional and incredible from the time we made our first enquiry to the last day of our stunning holiday. Nothing was too much trouble for Walter. We are now starting to plan our next family Safari for 2019. Guess who we will be booking with??? Safari Online we hope you are ready!!!!!

Penni (AU)
Professional, patient, efficient and responsive. Met all our travel needs and requirements spot on

Communication was excellent – I asked A LOT of questions and did a ton of research myself and Walter was extremely patient with me and very responsive. he was straight forward and extremely professional. Tour itself was excellent – an incredible experience and one never to be forgotten. Everything was spot on.

It was a safari of a lifetime and exceeded all of our expectations!

Our mom grew up in Central and South Africa so we had visited the continent many times. My sister and I wanted to take our teens and husbands to Africa to experience the magic. We had a limited budget but big and specific expectations and by some miracle Walter was able to manage both.

Heather (USA)
Professional, quick and top of the edge service!!!

From the very first contact we’re very happy about the respond time and quality of information from safari-online.com. Based on the received first tailor-made quote, which is a weblink with all the details about the flights, photos of the lodges etc. we knew that this is “our” partner for this trip. Our expectations were excelled!!!

Lukas (Germany)
Karina was absolutely instrumental to our safari success.

Our experience with Safari Online was excellent. After becoming very frustrated trying to search for a safari destination on our own, we turned to Karina for help and she was a lifesaver.  We had an amazing safari adventure at the lodge–the experience of a lifetime–and are so grateful for her help. We literally couldn’t have done it without her!

Chris (USA)
Best trip I have ever been on. Highly recommend.

Would highly recommend. Safari online asked questions when booking and were efficient and knew exactly what we were looking for in terms of accommodation and animals were wanted to see. Gave advice on a few little extras with no pressure, which we did and am very grateful which make trip even more exciting. Would definitely recommend booking with them.

Very helpful good suggestions for holiday ideas always available for questions good organising

Excellent service and they supplied good suggestions for our holiday they also organised all internal flights and arranged check in for us so we had no worries while on holiday. We have had a most memorable holiday staying at wonderful places thanks to Sabrina and Safari Online. Would recommend Safari Online to organise your holiday.

Lorraine (UK)
An incredibly well organised tour with no hassles whatsoever.

Safari Online understood our needs and was able to present us with sensible options to choose from. It was evident that this tour operator has knowledgable and experienced agents who can arrange a seemless tour. We were provided with a professional online itinary which was comprehensive and easy to use, knew exactely what to expect, and encountered no stumble blocks along the way.

Gwen (AU)