Regional And National Routes

The airscape within Southern Africa and its neighbours is changing fast as airlines respond to growing demand and the developing of new trends.While air travel domestically and regionally is a massive subject our aim here is to identify key routes, calling on our experience over the past year.Domestically, capacity that was lost when BA/Comair, Kulula and Mango stopped flying has been taken up by operators like Fastjet, Lift, SA Airlink, Cemair and Safair.  These operators have ensured that domestic links between cities remain in operation.

Safari Network Within South Africa

Airlink connection at Phinda

While many tourists to South Africa enjoy the good road networks that link Cape Town to the Garden Route for example, most will opt to fly into game reserve areas.  This is undoubtably the most time efficient way of getting around.‘Imagine touching down at Johannesburg International Airport in the morning and then hopping on a plane and arriving at your game lodge in time for lunch!’ says our Leisure Manager,  FrancesAirlink operates between the hubs of Cape Town and Johannesburg and Skukuza, Nelspruit and Hoedspruit and Cemair offer daily flights from Cape Town and Johannesburg to Hoedspruit.  These routes save an enormous amount of time given the alternative of routing via Johannesburg.Those looking for an immersive safari experience in South Africa may want to combine different lodges in different game reserve areas.  This is where Federal Air’s services conveniently connect Johannesburg with Nelspruit, Waterberg, Lowveld Lodges and even Nelspruit and the Phinda area in Kwa Zulu Natal.

Beach And Safari Combinations

Scuba Diving in Richards Bay

Another growing trend is to combine safari and beach.  There are good links from Johannesburg into Maputo, Pemba and Vilankulos in Mozambique and four weekly flights between Cape Town and Maputo. Johannesburg offers two flights per day to Port Louis in Mauritius while at the moment there are two weekly flights from Cape Town.Zanzibar is an enormously popular destination, great for honeymooners seeking the exotic spice island experience, fantastic for adventure-seekers who will enjoy the fantastic snorkelling and scuba diving on offer.  Its year-round great climate means that the new Safair’s three scheduled flights between Johannesburg and Zanzibar will be appealing to locals as well as international travellers.Travellers wanting to extend their South African Safari with an Indian Island experience should take note that due to flight times it may be necessary to overnight in Johannesburg.  Another option is to use the Nelspruit Phinda routing to access the beaches on the northern Kwa Zulu Natal coast, which is very popular for scuba diving.

Southern Africa Circuit

Upgrade to Maun International Airport

Although flight access within South Africa makes it an affordable and convenient safari option with lots of good quality lodges to choose from, the allure of premium destinations like Botswana and Victoria Falls is undeniable.We’re particularly excited about Cemair’s announcement they will start operating daily flights between Johannesburg and Maun, making use of the newly upgraded Maun International Airport.  This will give better access to Maun, which is the gateway for charter flights into Botswana’s famed Okavango Delta and other attractions, and it is also a key launchpad into neighbouring countries.Cemair’s move strengthens the connections within the region, there are well established scheduled flights between Johannesburg, Kasane, Maun, Livingston, Victoria Falls and Windhoek.We are seeing a growing demand for Namibia as a destination, offering a unique desert experience with magnificent sand dunes and fascinating wildlife.  The daily flights to Windhoek from Cape Town support this growth.  There are also daily flights between Cape Town and Victoria Falls flights, although only a couple per week to Livingston and Maun.Fastjet’s operations within the region have opened things up further, giving access to Victoria Falls from Johannesburg and Nelspruit.  They make getting around Southern Africa a breeze with access to Lake Kariba, Hwange National Park, Maun and the beautiful channels of Okavango Delta, which is teeming with life.

Regional Links

Kenya Tourism

Another growth area for us is East Africa and we have seen a lot of interest in Kenya this year as it offers a classic safari on vast plains filled with huge herds of animals.  Kenya Airways’ Nairobi, Livingston/Victoria Falls and Cape Town service is an indication of how the airscape is changing and developing to meet new demand.Our MICE Manager, Alex, thinks this routing provides a unique opportunity for those looking for an exciting combination for their next incentive. Kenyan safari, combined with the adventure of The Falls and finishing off with a cosmopolitan city experience. This incentive will be one for the books.
In Closing
Frances Wilson and Alex Wrottesley

As the tourism industry re-establishes itself and grows to meet new demands and trends we expect to see many positive developments in the airscapes.  We are very excited about the opportunities and experiences new routes bring to our industry.

‘To see the bushveld from the air is simply breathtaking and an exciting way to start any safari’ Frances.