Unique and exclusive perspectives with an “embrace from the air”.
Guiding principle: Great experience combined with the choice of high standard accommodation or, in some cases, the best available.
For those who want it all or have done it all and now are seeking a special synopsis of their African experience, maybe from a different angle!
FLYING DETAILS DURING THE AIR-TOUR:
Min. nr of passengers: 1
Max nr of passengers: 9 (all window seats)
DAY 1: Windhoek – NAMIBIA
Arrival in Windhoek (Namibia) and transfer to the hotel. Meeting with our representative to review the itinerary and free time to visit the city.
Overnight Hotel ***** (all rooms ensuite)
DAYS 2 & 3: From Windhoek to the Namib Desert – NAMIBIA
After breakfast, transfer to the airport, meeting with our experienced pilots/guide and start of the air-tour: flight over central Namibia to reach the eastern outreaches of the Namib Desert, then continuation to the Namib Rand Nature Reserve - situated on the edge of the Namib desert, this is one of Southern Africa’s largest private conservation areas and is close to Sossusvlei and Sesriem Canyon. - Transfer by 4WD to our lodge atop a sand dune, our home-base for the next 2 nights.
Land activities: Nature drives to admire the fascinating diversity of the landscape and its rich flora and fauna (gemsboks, mountain and Burchell’s zebras, springboks, bat-eared foxes, spotted hyenas, aardwolf’s etc.)
Overnight: Lodge with commanding views of the desert and the nearby mountains (all tented chalets ensuite)
DAYS 4 & 5: From the Namib to the Okavango Delta – BOTSWANA
Take off at sunrise towards the sand sea of the Namib for an incredible low level flight over the desert with breathtaking views of its encounter with the Atlantic Ocean: Conception Bay, the Edward Bohlen shipwreck, numerous fur seal colonies, Sandwich Harbour, and up to the Kuiseb River - a natural barrier to the dunes of the Namib.
Back to Windhoek for immigration and customs formalities and onwards to Maun (Botswana) again for customs and immigration clearance. Then we fly over the purely magnificent Okavango Delta, one of the most spectacular natural phenomena of Southern Africa. Landing near our “home” for the next two days, our base for discovering this unique eco-system. Simply amazing to leave the red and ochre dunes of the desert behind and experience the green lush floodplains of the Okavango.
Land activities: Scenic safaris in mokoro (local pirogues) and game drives in 4WD through unique habitats to encounter its wildlife and varied flora.
Overnight: Deluxe permanent tented camp in the Delta (all rooms ensuite)
DAY 6: From the Delta to Victoria Falls- ZAMBIA
Morning activities in the Delta and after lunch flight eastwards across the Delta and the savannah to the Zambezi River and the mythical Victoria Falls, the “Smoke that thunders”. Scenic flight over the falls before landing in Livingstone and transfer to the hotel.
Land activities: Visit to the falls in the afternoon
Overnight: Royal Livingstone Hotel *****, on the Zambezi River, conveniently located within walking distance from the falls (all rooms ensuite)
DAY 7: From Victoria Falls to South Luangwa N.P. – ZAMBIA
In the morning transfer to the airport and departure by plane to the world renowned South Luangwa National Park. We land at Mfuwe and by vehicle we reach the park; along the route we pass through various villages, getting a glimpse of today’s rural life in Africa.
One of the highlights of this park is walking safaris. They were “launched” here a few decades ago to offer visitors the most intense close up experience of the bush. It is important to remember that whereas during a game drive the distance from animals can be very little, on a walking safari it generally is greater however the feeling experienced when we are on foot in the wild bush cannot be described, it can only be felt! Walking also allows us to notice all the small details that normally remain unnoticed. Another highlight of the Luangwa Valley is the Luangwa River itself: gently winding, large, muddy and home to an incredible number of hippo pods.
Land activities: Walking safaris and 4WD game drives in the national park to discover its wilderness, variety of landscapes (from thick bush to open grass areas fringed by big indigenous trees) and wildlife; particular focus on the river and its thousands of hippos.
Overnight: Camp(all rooms ensuite)
DAYS 8 & 9: From Luangwa to Ruaha N.P. – TANZANIA
Early morning game drive and back to Mfuwe airport to fly north. If it is a clear day we will observe the winding course of the river from high above before gaining altitude and cruising in comfort. As we cross the hills dividing Zambia from Tanzania, the passage from a remote untouched wilderness to a more domesticated rural landscape becomes quite obvious.
After immigration and customs formalities in Mbeya we continue for the last flying hop of the day to reach Ruaha National Park, one of Tanzania’s best kept wildlife secrets. Out of the classic tourist routes and at cross-roads between Eastern and Southern Africa, this park offers great variety of habitats and wildlife - it is possible to observe species of both East and Southern Africa living side by side.
Land activities: Game drives in 4WD in the park.
Overnight: Tented Camp (all rooms ensuite)
DAYS 10 & 11: From Ruaha to the Serengeti - TANZANIA
After breakfast and a short technical stop in Dodoma, continuation by plane northwards to admire some outstanding beauties. The imposing silhouette of the Ol Doinyo Lengai – “the mountain of God” for the Maasai tribes –, a still active volcano with a very unusual carbonatite lava which makes the volcanic landscape different from any other in the world.
Then another incredible phenomenon of this geological scar, Lake Natron, so uniquely alive and amazing from the air: its alkaline red waters, the many white discs of Natron salt, the pink dots of the flamingos… Then we veer westbound and fly over and across the green vastness of the Serengeti with its endless plains, our “home” for the next 2 nights to fully enjoy the excellent safaris and varied landscapes of this national park.
Land activities: Game drives in 4WD in the park to admire its abundant and varied wildlife.
Overnight: Deluxe mobiletented camp(all tents ensuite)
DAYS 12 & 13: From the Serengeti to the Rift Valley – KENYA
After another early morning safari in the Serengeti and a short stop for immigration and customs formalities in Mwanza on Lake Victoria, then we fly up to Kisumo/Eldoret to clear customs and immigration into Kenya.
We are now ready to fully embrace from the air the incredible sceneries of the Great Rift Valley - craters, blue lakes often dotted by thousands of pink flamingos, escarpments, forests…. - and of the Suguta Valley - where extensive black lava rivers share the landscape with small sand dunes and numerous volcanic craters. We then leave the valley behind and reach a remote airstrip in the middle of a typical African landscape. On the side of the strip waiting for us we see a Samburu warrior and an old Landcruiser under the shade of an acacia.
A rugged and extremely scenic trail literally climbs the nearby mountain up to a small intimate lodge with commanding views over the African savannah where we will spend two nights. It is the perfect stop half way through the tour to recharge our batteries and to realize that in Africa we do not necessarily need animals to be in awe.
Land activities: Visits to local Turkana and Samburu Villages, easy hikes up the mountains.
Overnight: Lodge – very nice country lodge, with only 4 chalets, open on one side (all rooms ensuite)
DAY 14: From the Rift Valley to Lake Turkana and to Addis Ababa – ETHIOPIA
Departure after breakfast, ready to immediately plunge once again into the incredible Suguta Valley. We intercept it where we left it two days ago and, through some more scenic views, we reach the hidden shallow Logipi Lake where we are welcomed by thousands of pink flamingoes: we play with them and admire their perfect synchronized formation flights.
At times the lake almost turns pink. We then “climb” a ridge made of lava flows and craters, it is really like witnessing the genesis of the earth. Simply magnificent the unexpected panorama offered by the southern shores of Lake Turkana, where two volcanoes come straight out of the waters, a black blanket of lava on their sides.
Eventually, we regain altitude and leave the amazing Rift Valley behind, to reach Lokichoggio, the former largest center for UN Humanitarian operations in Africa and today a sleepy village. After custom and immigration clearing, continuation to the border with Ethiopia and, following the Rift Valley through the Ethiopian highlands and lakes district, we reach Addis Ababa. Transfer to the hotel and a small introductory city tour.
Land activities: Afternoon visit of the capital of Ethiopia.
Overnight: Hotel ***** in Addis Ababa, (all rooms ensuite)
DAY 15: From Addis to Lalibela – ETHIOPIA
Departure after breakfast to set our wings to one of the most spectacular panoramas in Africa: the Ethiopian high-plateau and the Blue Nile Canyon, all the way up to the magic city of Lalibela, center of the Copt Orthodox religion and UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Lalibela is not only a remarkable example of ancient architectural achievements, in fact what strikes most is the magic and spiritual atmosphere which pervades every corner of the churches complexes. Transfer by road from the small airport to the town itself and visit in the afternoon. We will start visiting the first two groups of rock hewn churches, getting a first glimpse of the spirituality they are surrounded.
Land activities: Afternoon visit of 2 of the 3 groups of the still active rock hewn churches.
Overnight: Village Hotel **, the best available in Lalibela
DAY 16: From Lalibela to Addis Ababa – ETHIOPIA
After breakfast we have time to visit the last group of churches in Lalibela, or, for the most adventuresome, to climb on foot or on donkeys the nearby mountain in order to reach a hidden monastery. After lunch return to the airport to fly back to Addis Ababa.
Once again enjoying the magnificent panoramas of the Ethiopian Highlands and its small isolated villages on the plateaux. From the air the multitude of rural fields creates a very interesting patchwork of brown and greens. We land in Addis late in the afternoon. Transfer back to the hotel.
Land activities: Morning visit of the last group of churches, or hike up to a hidden monastery.
Overnight: Hotel ***** in Addis Ababa
DAY 17: Addis Ababa – ETHIOPIA
After breakfast, transfer to the airport and end of services
We have embraced more than 4,000 miles, we have crossed the Tropic of Capricorn and the Equator, we have linked both hemispheres, we have admired and visited six or seven countries to experience the different facets of this incredible continent, we have connected the Namib Desert to the snows of Kilimanjaro via the Okavango Delta and the Great Rift Valley... We have flown over Africa!