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Tanzania Fly-in Safaris

Fly-in safaris are a popular choice in Tanzania. A well-established travel industry ensures that logistics run very smoothly. This includes a large network of flights to and between safari destinations, so that most parks and reserves are now accessible by air as well as by road. In the past, flying into Tanzanian parks and reserves tended to be extremely expensive as this was only possible with chartered flights. More recently, the concept of scheduled safari flights has opened up fly-in Tanzanian safaris to more people. Aside from the obvious time-saving logistical advantages of a fly-in safari over a road safari, you’ll have the bonus of an aerial view of the park before landing.

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1-20 of 97 fly-in safaris to Tanzania

5 Questions About Tanzania Fly-in Safaris

 
 

5 Questions About Tanzania Fly-in Safaris

Answered by Ariadne van Zandbergen

What are the pros and cons of a driver-guide vs fly-in safari in Tanzania?

“There are two ways to travel in the country. You can either book a safari where a driver-guide travels with you for the duration of your trip. He or she will drive you from park to park and will usually conduct the game drives as well. In this case the guide will be a constant throughout your holiday. You might have to cover big distances between parks, which can be tiresome, but you’ll get to see a lot of rural Tanzania, away from the tourist hot spots. Alternatively, you can opt for a Tanzanian fly-in safari where you travel from park to park by light aircraft. This will save you a lot of time as it cuts out many additional kilometers spent in the car, often on bumpy roads. When you fly between parks, you’ll be met at the airstrip by your local guide who will look after you for the duration of your stay at that particular destination. So, you’ll have a different guide in each place. These guides work on-site and tend to be more knowledgeable than the general guides based in the cities. On a fly-in safari, your game drives will be conducted in the lodge’s open-sided vehicles. These spacious, open cars are superior to the pop-up-roof 4x4s used for road safaris. It is also possible to combine both types of safari. You could, for instance, book a road safari to Serengeti National Park or Nyerere National Park (formerly Selous Game Reserve) with a fly-in extension to a more-remote part of the country, e.g. to see chimpanzee in Mahale Mountains National Park.”

1

Is a fly-in safari much more expensive than a road safari in Tanzania?

“Flying from destination to destination is usually more expensive than a road safari in Tanzania. And while there are many advantages to a fly-in safari, many people booking a safari are budget-conscious. However, several local carriers now offer scheduled flights between parks. Furthermore, competition between different carriers flying to the popular parks has grown in recent years, bringing down the prices. Most importantly, there is usually no need for chartered flights. Since flying from park to park is essentially more time-productive, you can probably do a safari in fewer days compared to a similar road safari. Taking that into account, you might find a fly-in package doesn’t actually work out to be a lot more expensive than a road safari. Having said that, fly-in packages usually focus on the most exclusive and upmarket all-inclusive lodges, and these come at a premium price.”

2

What are the luggage restrictions on a fly-in safari in Tanzania?

“Safari flights are mostly on small light aircraft, and strict luggage restrictions apply, usually 15kg/33lb per person. As the planes are quite small, they also ask you to use a soft bag, such as a duffel bag, which is easier to store in a confined space. As you will be allowed more on your international flight, you can either pack with these small aircraft restrictions in mind, or you can leave some luggage with your tour operator or hotel at your city of entry. To accommodate the luggage restrictions, most lodges will do same-day laundry and many luxury lodges even include it in their package. Luggage restrictions on safari flights can be problematic for keen photographers with large lenses and lots of other equipment. If in doubt, always check with your tour operator in advance. In extreme cases you might need to book an extra seat.”

3

How reliable and safe are the small aircraft used for a fly-in safari in Tanzania?

“A fly-in safari and the light aircraft used in Tanzania are very safe. Tanzania has a well-established safari industry, and most of the local carriers have been operating for many years. Aside from having very strict safety regulations, they are generally very reliable too. Although several carriers offer scheduled flights to the popular parks and reserves, they do so in a flexible manner depending on bookings. The route will be scheduled, but stops at different airstrips are planned according to the bookings. That means that exact timings are usually announced the day before any given flight. The lodges are in direct contact with the airlines, and they inform their guests in ample time. They also organize transfers to and from the airstrips.”

4

Are some parks or reserves in Tanzania more suitable to a fly-in safari?

“Most parks and reserves can be visited on a road or fly-in safari. Both tour options are popular in the Northern circuit (Ngorongoro Crater, Serengeti, Lake Manyara and Tarangire National Parks). As the Ngorongoro Conservation Area lies en route to the Serengeti, a great option is to drive one way and fly back. This saves time and avoids having to drive the same route twice. The Southern circuit (Mikumi, Nyerere and Ruaha National Parks) is a bit more remote. Many visitors opt to fly-in, although a road trip is the budget-friendly option, especially if only visiting one reserve. The Western circuit is almost exclusively visited on fly-in safaris. It includes Katavi, Mahale Mountains and Gombe National Parks. Katavi is a typical savannah reserve with lion, elephant and so on, while Mahale and Gombe both offer the more-specialized attraction of chimp trekking on the shores of Lake Tanganyika. Katavi and Mahale are usually visited together as they are connected by a convenient flight schedule. Katavi can theoretically be visited by road, but this is hardly ever done as it is so remote and difficult to reach. There are no access roads at all to Mahale and Gombe. Visitors usually come by flight, followed by a private boat transfer. The inaccessibility of the Western circuit makes it very exclusive. There is just a handful of small, mostly rustic lodges in these parks. Fly-in packages are expensive, but visitors get a special wild experience away from the crowds.”

5

Tanzania Reviews

4.8/5 1191 Reviews
Expert
Sue Watt  –  
United Kingdom UK

Sue is an award-winning writer who specializes in African travel and conservation. She writes for national newspapers, magazines, Rough Guides and Lonely Planet.

The perfect safari destination
5/5

With almost a quarter of this vast country dedicated to wildlife reserves and national parks, Tanzania is justifiably regarded as Africa’s premier safari destination. It’s one of my favourite countries, not just for the bush, beaches...

Full Review

Expert
Brian Jackman  –  
United Kingdom UK

Brian is an award winning travel writer, author of safari books and regular contributor to magazines such as BBC Wildlife and Travel Africa.

Wilderness unlimited
5/5

Tanzania may be one of the world’s poorest countries but its national parks and game reserves are the crown jewels of Africa. First among equals is the Serengeti, probably the most famous wildlife refuge on the planet, a wilderness the...

Full Review

Records Andréa  –  
France FR
Reviewed: Nov 28, 2022
The paradise on the earth
5/5

We went to Tanzania for our honeymoon. This country is magnificent, it is paradise on earth. Tanzanians are very welcoming and smiling. In October the air and water temperature is just perfect.

(automatic translation from French)

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Dee Francis  –  
United Kingdom UK
Reviewed: Nov 27, 2022
Amazing wildlife
5/5

Visited in October with Savannah Explorer and it was amazing to see the animals in their natural surroundings. About 2 to 2 hours drive to each national park and the public toilets were nice and clean. Be prepared for a bumpy ride as the...

Full Review

Cheryl Smart  –  
United States US
Reviewed: Nov 27, 2022
Wow
5/5

Spent time in the national parks on safari. Saw lots of animals up close including lions, leopards and cheetahs. Very fantastic experience. Plus our guide , Lemomo, was very knowledgable, and the other people at Safari Z went out of...

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Joanna Polczak  –  
Poland PL
Reviewed: Nov 26, 2022
Incredible landscapes and unique wildlife
5/5

We went with Roadside Tanzania tour operator on 3day safari to Ngorongoro, Tarangire and lake Manyara. Our tour guide Ezekhiel spoke very well English, his driving skills were exquisite, friendly and easygoing person. Our accommodation was...

Full Review