African Self Fly Safari

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mosky
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African Self Fly Safari

Post by mosky »

Anybody ever done one of these? http://aerosafari.com/
Seems like a great way to see some of the country and save on some of the long overland or commercial carrier trips between parks or towns. They seem to keep to the more stable parts of the area.
South African licence validation looks simple enough and then you are set to either take off on your own or fly with a group of other foreign pilots and perhaps a guide aircraft.
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mosky
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Re: African Self Fly Safari

Post by mosky »

ImageWell I just got back from African Self Fly Safari and I can't say enough good things about it! The flying, the scenery, the people, the wild game and did I mention the flying? Our tour took us from South Africa to Swaziland, Zimbabwe and Botswana.
Foreign license validation was a breeze with most of the work being done before I even set foot in Africa. On arrival I had to write the airlaw exam (basically like a Canadian P star exam) and do a short checkride with a South African instructor and I was done. My guide handed me my license (which he already had with him) and I was able to pick up my airplane and head out. We flew as a group of 4 airplanes with the 2 guides flying along in one of them. They handled all the customs, fuel arrangements and required paperwork, fees and clearances.
If you think beuacracy and mindless forms and paperwork are bad over here in Canada then you will be blown away by the form filling and documentation in Africa. Clear customs inbound and then clear outbound at airports of entry and exit. Forms for the sake of forms and even when completely filled in there is always something else to add in a margin that was not specifically requested on the form.
The flying was incredible with lots of different and interesting airstrips all over. I'd do it again in a second and probably will.
Thanks to Sjoerd Jan and Johan from www.africanflyingadventures.com and we WILL be back.Image
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Victory
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Re: African Self Fly Safari

Post by Victory »

Incredible report and photos. I plan to do this when able.
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digits_
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Re: African Self Fly Safari

Post by digits_ »

Looks like fun. Although I fail to see the value of paying someone 3000 EUR to just organize this trip, when no flying is included for that price. To each his own of course.
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mosky
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Re: African Self Fly Safari

Post by mosky »

Not sure where you got your number from but if you factor in 3 weeks accommodation, meals, beverages, game drives (some days twice per day), vehicle rentals and beer (we drank a LOT of beer) it works out to be fairly reasonable. The rates online for some of places we stayed at were published at over US$1,800 per night and I know that's not what they paid for the block of rooms but Safari camps in Africa are NOT cheap.
Personally we did the math before we booked last year and felt it was good value for the money. From what I found cheap and safari do not go together in Southern Africa.
To us the guide's experience, knowledge and professionalism were well worth worth whatever add on fee they charged. It was the owners of the company themselves who flew with us and given there were only 3 other pilots on the trip i would have expected that our fees would have had to cover their 'wages' and expenses for the duration of the trip as well.
You get what you pay for.
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tigerCT
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Re: African Self Fly Safari

Post by tigerCT »

This sounds like such a fun trip! Very nice pictures also, so do you buy your own gas at airports and such? Also do they have something in place for any mechanical issues?
Thanks for the great report
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mosky
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Re: African Self Fly Safari

Post by mosky »

The guides carry some spares, battery booster packs and some limited other rescue parts with them but thankfully on our trip no support was needed. Having the guides who were familiar with the area and the local facilities was reassuring and in the event of any problems. They did have other support aircraft available on call should something major was needed. For the most part we were no more than 3 or 4 hours from their base in South Africa so a C210 could have been dispatched for anything major. Surprisingly some of the major airports in Zimbabwe, Botswana and even Swaziland appeared to have some maintenance capabilities.
Airports were chosen based on the availability of Avgas and for the most part credit cards were accepted after some negotiating with the local FBO or airport authority. We were advised to bring US cash for the event when the credit card machines were not working or offline but in the end i ended up returning home with most of my cash in hand. Oh and surprisingly avgas was generally around US$1.60 per litre.
I've started posting some videos to Youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LNc8ihLgVXs and will be cleaning them up and putting some other ones together in the coming days.
It truly was a bucket list trip and I highly recommend it to any pilot looking to expand their horizons and try something totally different.
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PostmasterGeneral
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Re: African Self Fly Safari

Post by PostmasterGeneral »

Didn’t even know this was a thing. Thanks for sharing! Now I have something to do when I’m laid off!
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Beefitarian
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Re: African Self Fly Safari

Post by Beefitarian »

Did you bring a plus one?
What was the approximate total cost?
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mosky
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Re: African Self Fly Safari

Post by mosky »

My wife travelled with me as well. Prior to departure she was a little iffy on some parts of the itinerary especially the 4x4 safari in Botswana sleeping on top of the jeeps but once we got into it she was pleasantly surprised. She is already asking when we are going back to do a different or even the same itinerary.
Most surprising was the people we met along the way. All the people we met were friendly, helpful and genuinely interested in what we were doing flying around the countryside. At the major international airport in Swaziland (King Mswati III International airport) we set the record for the largest (3) number of GA aircraft to land at once. We were far enough off the beaten path and the touristy destinations that tipping was neither known of or expected and people were just so helpful and accommodating because they simply wanted to meet and talk with us.

All in cost including air to and from home was around CDN $30k which included the tour, all meals, landing and airspace fees, aircraft rental, VISAs, fuel, licence validation and all accommodation and beer for 3 weeks.

Not cheap but this is definitely not your typical All Inclusive Caribbean vacation.
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Beefitarian
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Re: African Self Fly Safari

Post by Beefitarian »

African Safari seems like one of those things where you are not going to do that exact thing anywhere else.

There is probably quite a bit of differences between the many countries there also.

Thanks for posting, quite interesting.
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Onesie
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Re: African Self Fly Safari

Post by Onesie »

That's cute.. reminds of that time i flew caravans in Tanzania for 4 years. Did you get to dodge impalas on takeoff as a part of that tour package? 😉

Jokin aside, people really need to get out there and experience africa... any way they can! Its an adventure like no other
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mosky
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Re: African Self Fly Safari

Post by mosky »

No Impalas but at Buffalo Range Airport in Zimbabwe we did have to wait for the airport operator to chase some Zebra and Wildebeest off the runway. I wondered why our guide's plane had an air horn on it and after this it made sense. Seems the critters don't necessarily respond to just a low level buzz job.
Differently a different world over there....
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Onesie
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Re: African Self Fly Safari

Post by Onesie »

That's awesome mate! I'm stoked for you. Not many get out there and really play with their pilot's license. 30K ain't cheap but if that's all-in... and one's making bank... totallyy worth it.

ps. LOL.. i always joked how i wished i had a horn.. that's brilliant! Found the beta on the caravan to be a game changer for herding elephants and such off runway for takeoff. They didn't like that weird Transformers robo beta sound.. As for landing... just don't hit chit.
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Jean-Pierre
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Re: African Self Fly Safari

Post by Jean-Pierre »

Onesie wrote:
Fri Mar 27, 2020 1:16 pm
That's cute.. reminds of that time i flew caravans in Tanzania for 4 years.
:roll:
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