Airlines and Africa

Tips on African international & domestic airline travel

Jackson’s African Safaris does not book international airline tickets.  We work closely with you to ensure you choose the best routing possible for your safari.  Many travel agents don’t know Africa as this is a specialist destination, so please consult with us, to be sure you make the best possible decision.  When in doubt, consult an expert.

Jackson’s African Safaris does purchase on your behalf, domestic air travel as required, to fly you into camps and other destinations.

Below is a series of tips on traveling to and from the following destinations;

Botswana
Travel into and out of Botswana is unique.  Air Botswana currently has the control to be the only international carrier into and out of the country.  This has been under going change for years, but with no huge changes as of yet.  No flights from other continents fly directly to Botswana or from other destinations.  Johannesburg, in South Africa, is the only airport Air Botswana currently flies into and out of.  Sometimes flights are arranged to Cape Town, but it seems these are stopped again shortly afterwards.  So based on your itinerary and times of travel, we will have updated information.  Currently as of April 2011, we see South African Airways now has some flights into Gaberone from Johannesburg and return - this is perhaps a sign the doors are opening.

Most safari travelers will fly into Maun, as this is the 'hub' for flights into the Okavango Delta and the Kalahari Desert.  Maun is actually the busiest domestic terminal in the world. 

Very few people on holiday would travel to Gaberone, the capital of Botswana, unless going on business.  In eastern Botswana near Chobe National Park is Kasane Airport, the other airport often used by clients, coming from or traveling to Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe and as mentioned, Chobe National Park.

Anyone traveling from overseas to visit Botswana will need to fly into Johannesburg, South Africa.  Did you know, that by booking your flight on-line with Air Botswana, the cost is literally half the price?  We will assist all our clients with any on-line bookings the best we can.  If you call Air Botswana, the flights will be twice as much as on-line.  And further more, there are about 3 different prices to choose from, yet everyone gets the same service and same seating arrangement.  Jackson's African Safaris wants you to know what is going on and make smart choices.

Ethiopia
Ethiopian Airlines fly to all major continents and countries worldwide and within Africa.  Currently their website lists 62 international destinations and 17 domestic.

Clients looking for 'cheaper' air tickets from our experience from Europe, North America and other places of origin will often be routed via Addis Addaba on a flight with Ethiopian Airlines.  This is simply a general observation. 

Whatever your place of origin or ongoing destination, there will be plenty of choices for flying into and out of the Capital city of Addis Addaba.  Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa is the main hub for Ethiopian Airlines and also hosts Lufthansa, Sudan Airways, Kenya Airways, British Airways, KLM, Turkish Airways, Emirates, Gulf Air,Egypt Air and fly Dubai.

Kenya
Jackson's African safaris finds Nairobi international Airport to be one of the most 'colourful' airports, a wonderful diversity of cultures flying throughout Africa and the world are all seen here.

Nairobi international airport in Kenya is considered the 'hub' for international flights for east Africa. Anyone flying into East Africa, with perhaps the exception of those flying directly into Tanzania, Nairobi is most likely your first port of call. Most international carriers throughout the world will have Nairobi on their scheduled flights or at a minimum alliances with other airlines.

Kenya Airways (KQ) is the national airline. Kenya has three International airports:

Jomo Kenyatta International Airport - Nairobi
Moi International Airport - Mombasa (on the coast)
Eldoret International Airport - Eldoret

Most 'safari' clients use the domstic Wilson Airport for flights into the Mara, Amboseli and to the coast.  Wilson is just outside of Nairobi.

Madagascar
Getting to Madagascar, a country off the South East coast of Africa requires most travelers to fly into Johannesburg, South Africa, where flights depart frequently each week.  Other options can include;

From Europe with Air Madagascar, Air France or Corsair from Paris to Antananarivo.  AirMadagascar also flies from Milan to Antananarivo and Nosy Be (a small island off the North of Madagascar).

Air Austral (french) operates flights to Madagascar from Paris.

Travelers from the east typically fly using links from Air Mauritius, however, Air Madagascar has a twice weekly service from Bangkok to Antananarivo.

Air Madagascar also operates a weekly service between Nairobi and Antananarivo.

Flights from Johannesburg, South Africa, using Air Madagascar code shared with SA Airlink Flights run 6 days a week.

Malawi
Malawi's largest international airport is in Lilongwe, although there are also some flights from Blantyre to regional destinations and to/from Johannesburg in South Africa. Most travelers connect via Johannesburg (South Africa) or Nairobi (Kenya). Air Malawi claims to be "Africa's Friendliest Airline", but its limited network covers only nearby countries plus the Middle Eastern 'hub' Dubai.

KLM do have direct flights to Lilongwe, or with stops via Nairobi for example.  If your destination is Malawi, certainly check out closely what KLM are presently offering.  To fly all the way to Johannesburg and then back north again to Malawi, does not make much sense, especially if you can avoid it.

Mozambique
Most international flights arrive into Mozambique from South Africa, although direct international routes also exist between Mozambique and Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Kenya and Portugal.

There are several flights daily from Johannesburg to Maputo, operated by South African Airways (SAA) and the Mozambican Linhas Aereas de Moçambique.

Checkout budget airline www dot 1time dot co dot za that have flight deals to Maputo on a regular basis.  Check other airlines such as Kenya Airways, Swazi Express Airways, and see flights from Portugal, who also fly to/from Durban, Swaziland, Dar es Salaam, Harare, Nairobi and Lisbon sometimes with stops and then ending with the final destination as Maputo.

Air Corridor may be worth investigating.

There are several flights during the week from Johannesburg, Dar es Salaam, and Nairobi to Pemba in the North, operated by either South African Airlink (SAA) or LAM.

According to a note made on Wikepedia, if you make a telephone booking with LAM and will not be paying for your flight until check-in you must reconfirm the flight 72 hours before departure or they are liable to cancel it.  A good thing to know.

Namibia
Hosea Kutako International Airport, located 45 minutes east of Windhoek, is the main entry point for air traffic.

Air Namibia operates flights from Frankfurt, London, Cape Town, Johannesburg, Victoria Falls and sometimes Maun to the international airport.

Flights between the smaller Eros Airport and Cape Town are also available. South African Airways and no-frills Kulula dot com operate flights from South Africa.

Rwanda
There are direct international flights into Kigali, Rwanda from Brussels (twice per week).

There are also daily flights from Entebbe airport in Uganda, Johannesburg in South Africa and Addis Ababa in Ethiopia.

Additionally, there are connections twice a day from Nairobi, and several flights a week to Bujumbura in Burundi. Note that the Rwandan capital Kigali is also easily accessible (3hrs by road) from the Goma airstrip in the Democratic Rebublic of Congo.

South Africa
South Africa has 10 international airports, the two major ones are Cape Town International and OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg.  Durban International Airport is the third biggest airport. 

Regular Flights from and to: Blantyre, Cairo, Gaborone, Dar es Salaam, Harare, Lilongwe, Livingstone, Luanda, Lusaka, Kinshasa, Maputo, Manzini, Maun, Mauritius, Nairobi, Victoria Falls and Windhoek.

Direct flights also arrive from major European centres, including: Amsterdam, Athens, Madrid, London, Paris, Istanbul, Frankfurt, Munich, Zurich and Lisbon. There are also direct flights from Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Doha, New York, Atlanta, Washington, D.C., Buenos Aires, Mumbai, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Sao Paulo, Singapore, Sydney and Perth.

Tanzania
There are two major airports; one in Dar es Salaam, Julius Nyerere International Airport and one in Kilimanjaro, Kilimanjaro International Airport, JRO, which is halfway between Arusha and Moshi.

Tanzania is served Internationally from:

Europe by;

KLM Royal Dutch Airline
British Airways
Swiss International Air Lines

Middle East and Asia by;

Emirates
Qatar Airways
Air India

Africa by;

South African Airways
Ethiopian Airlines
Kenya Airways
Carriers originating from Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe also maintain regular flights to Dar es Salaam

And Domestically by;

Air Tanzania
Precision
Coastal Aviation
ZanAir
Regional Air provides almost daily service to all major cities, including Dar es Salaam, Arusha, Mwanza, Mbeya, Zanzibar, and most national parks.
*Domestic flights are often late but generally reliable.

JRO (Mt Kilimanjaro International Airport in Tanzania) has also grown, with flights coming direct from Europe and else where. A regular routing is with KLM into JRO and Dar es Salaam.

Uganda
Entebbe Airport is the 'hub' for Ugandan air travel.

Many flights to cities in Africa take place from here including:

South African Airways has daily flights direct to and from Johannesburg.
British Airways has flights every second day to London Heathrow.
Turkish Airlines has direct flights to and from its Istanbul hub.
Emirates offers flights from Entebbe to Dubai via Nairobi and Addis Ababa with onward connections to Europe, North America, and Asia from Dubai.
Ethiopian Airlines offers service to Addis Ababa.
Kenya Airways flies to Entebbe four times a day.
Kenya Airways/KLM fly daily from Entebbe to Amsterdam either via Nairobi or direct.
Brussels Airlines flies non-stop from Entebbe to Brussels.
Egypt Air flies three times a week to Cairo.

Zambia
Zambia's main international gateway is Lusaka, which has direct flights to London on British Airways and good regional connections. For access to the eastern parts of the country (eg. Chipata), it will be faster to fly into Lilongwe in neighboring Malawi, and cross the border (which is quite straight forward by African standards).

Livingstone, near spectacular Victoria Falls, and Mfuwe, near South Luangwa National Park, have small international airports serving regional destinations.

Livingstone International Airport has daily direct flights from Johannesburg with the carriers: South African Airways, British Airways, 1Time and Kulula. Direct flights from Cape Town to Livingstone are now available on Zambezi Airlines and direct flights from Nelspruit/Kruger are available on Airlink Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Zimbabwe
Harare International Airport has a number of international flights, mainly to other African countries. When coming from Europe you can fly directly with Air Zimbabwe from London. Air Zimbabwe also operates to Dubai, Beijing, Guangzhou and Kuala Lumpur in Asia. However, a good option is to fly with South African Airways or Airlink www dot saairlink  dot co dot za via Johannesburg. SAA operates to quite a few European airports and has many flights to South Africa and other African destinations. When coming from South Africa you can also use the no-frills airline Kulula dot com. KLM offer flights from Amsterdam via Nairobi which continue on to Lusaka from Harare.

British Airways have currently stopped their non-stop flights between Harare and Heathrow.

Victoria Falls airport has daily services by South African Airways, South African Airlink and British Airways from and to Johannesburg. Air Namibia has flights to Victoria Falls from Windhoek in Nambia.

For domestic flights inside Zimbabwe, linking international flights to domestic tourism and business destinations, Solenta Aviation has introduced domestic flights in Zimbabwe catering for the Charter and Scheduled market, linking all major tourist hubs and safari lodges along the Zambezi River, Lake Kariba, Victoria Falls and Hwange.