Wing safaris in Africa

Aug 25th, 2004, 09:47 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 569
Wing safaris in Africa

I have never been to Africa. I would like to go on a wing safari. Which country/countries are best for this? What should I look for in a tour operator? How much do wing safaris cost? What are the pros/cons to wing safaris? Any tips/info would bew greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
retiredinflorida is offline  
Aug 25th, 2004, 10:57 AM
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 3,501
Hello Retiredinflorida,

I didn't know what a wing safari was. From an intuitive point of view, it sounded like game viewing from the air, which I guessed would be done from a light aircraft. The idea did not appeal to me. I've seen wildlife from the air, I've seen it from a ground vehicle, and I've seen it on foot. The closer the better, in my opinion, although it's nice to view it from all three perspectives if one has the opportunity.

Anyway, I did a Google search for WING SAFARI to check if I was on the right track. It turns out I had misunderstood what a wing safari was. The first link that Google brought up was to a website called "Best of Central Africa Wing Safari" at:

The safaris offered there took the form of the safaris that MOST Fodorites take, except that I've never seen a Fodorite referring to it as a wing safari. They just call it a safari.

Because of the vast distances in Africa and the inordinate amount of time it would take to travel from one game reserve to another by land (compounded by the fact that a few of the most remote game reserves are not even accessible by road), it is very common for travellers to fly from one safari destination to another, if those destinations happen to be far apart.

Flying is not always necessary, because some game reserves are adjacent to each other or at least close to each other, and transfers easily can be done by road.

Anyway, it seems that this common practice of flying from one game reserve to another now has come to be called a wing safari.

Judging from the website referenced above, a wing safari may or may not include game viewing from the air. Even when game viewing from the air is included, it is supplemented with game viewing from the ground. I'm relieved to see that that is the case.

The countries of East Africa (Kenya, Tanzania) and Southern Africa (South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia) are the most common safari destinations, especially for first timers.

The time of year that you want to go will influence where experienced Africa travellers will advise you to go. A given country may be way better in one season than it is in another season.

Your budget makes a big difference too. The very fact that you want to go on a wing safari (involving air transfers) will raise the price to some extent, but the nature of your accommodation (budget or luxury) will influence the price as well. So for that reason it would help folks here to know your price range.

As it happens, that website that came up when I did a Google search is the website of Go2Africa, a company that is respected amongst Fodorites. It's not the only reputable safari reservation service by any means, but it happens to have a website with excellent information for the first time visitor (an introduction to each country, weather considerations, anti malaria precautions, what to pack, and all that good stuff).

Another website that provides all of that introductory information is

If you read those websites, it'll give you some sense of what going on safari entails, and then I'm sure you'll be able to return here with additional, specific questions.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Aug 25th, 2004, 11:24 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,220
I usually still see this kind of trip called a fly-in safari but "wing safari" works for me.

Advantages of wing safari
- more time spent in destintion and less on travel
- quicker and more comfortable mode of travel
- offers great views of the terrain

Avantages of road transfers
- get more of a feeling for the change in environments between destinations
- cheaper
- less restrictive luggage allowance

Personally I prefer wing safari as I LOVE flying in the small planes, I like being able to spend most of my time at the actual camps (given how much we're paying for them) and I like to visit a range of different habitats that can be quite far apart.

Where do you want to go?
What do you want to see (most)?
What kind of duration are you talking about?
Where are you coming from/ are you combining the safari with anything else?
What kind of budget are you talking about?
Kavey is offline  
Aug 25th, 2004, 12:47 PM
Posts: n/a
Many of the brochures (A&K especially, though others use these phrases) are safaris where you simply fly from one camp to another as "wings over" or "wing safari"

As the other posters mentioned, Africa is a big continent, and there are quite a number of countries that offer safaris. East Africa countries of Kenya & Tanzania & Uganda; Southern Africa countries of South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia & Namibia.

Time of year and budget can determine which country is best for you and also whether flying is what you wish to do.

In some countries, the distances are great and flying is an excellent option, but flights can be costly. And though one feels that they have more time at their destination by flying, flight schedules don't always meet your need for extra time. Your day on safari is basically booked from Lunch one day thru Breakfast the next day. So even if you arrive before lunch, it's not often that you can get a game drive at 11am, when game drives aren't conducted.

On the other hand if you're driving, you'll have a driver/guide who once you reach a game area you are having a game-drive until you reach your lodge or camp. Driving also gives you a feel for your surroundings and when in a country like Kenya have the opportunity for more contact with locals along the roadways.

An addition to flying/winged safaris is the option to go up in a hot-air balloon and float over the Serengeti (in Tanzania) or the Masai Mara (in Kenya)

While there is a wealth of information and Africa tour operators listed online, I would suggest you buy a guidebook (or check your library) that covers East Africa, and one that covers Southern Africa. These will provide lots of information about what one can expect from a safari holiday, when to go, type of accommodations, food, flying or driving, budget considerations, International flight information, health and medical concerns, etc.

Once you settle on a destination, time of year and budget, there will be lots of input from this board that will be helpful.
Aug 25th, 2004, 02:59 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 569
Thanks for the feedback. I am thinking of visiting Namibia and Botswana or Kenya and Tanazania. I plan on travelling in November. I would like to do something new in my travels, which iswhy I am considering a wing safari.
retiredinflorida is offline  
Aug 26th, 2004, 04:14 AM
Posts: n/a
As I mentioned in another thread, November is when new prices go in to effect for the coming year - running between 11/1/04 - 10/31/05 so be certain when getting prices you get the new prices, especially if youre planning on traveling in November. On average prices can go up 10%, sometimes there is no change.

In Namibia the weather (going into Summer) is very hot and dry; Botswana is very hot and humid. East africa has their "short" rain season, though if rain does come it's short (1/2-hr) in afternoons or overnight, certainly not daily or there may be no rain at all.

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 12:11 PM.