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An expert's guide to the ultimate private jet safaris and holidays

Nicola Shepherd By Nicola Shepherd
04 Nov 2020
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Private jet safaris are the ultimate in private luxury travel! For a group or a multigenerational family travelling together they become quite affordable and greatly enhance your experience, allowing you to make the best possible use of your vacation time and explore a wide geographic range of your bucket-list destinations!

Since the onset of Covid-19, the demand for private jets has soared. Speak to any private jet company and they will tell you that the increase in travel by private jet has rocketed as travellers eschew commercial aviation in favour of private aviation for their travel requirements. I have curated a hand-picked selection of private jet holidays and safaris due to high demand:

 

What is the cost of a private jet charter?

Most of us think that private jet travel is simply out of our league. But in fact, it is not so. Recent studies have demonstrated that for a group of ten people, chartering a private jet together from Europe of the US to Nairobi is the same price as ten first-class return tickets for the same route on a commercial airline! Now, naturally, the economic parallels reduce when there are fewer of you. If that is the case, then there are ways of achieving private travel on a more moderate scale.

For example, for a party of four or five or six, you could fly commercially to the continent of your choice, either Africa or Asia, and then pick up a Lear Jet or a Citation or an Embraer and fly around between your continental destinations.

 


Why take a private jet safari?

There are three main reasons to take a private jet safari:

  1. Privacy, of course! You could be collected at your door by a private chauffeur, driven to your nearest suitable private airport, fly privately to your destination and be privately transferred to your accommodation without ever seeing a crowd or a queue!
  2. Convenience; no waiting in airports at check-in, customs or baggage claim greatly speeds up your travel time, as well as the ability to fly directly to the nearest airport to your desired destination rather than having to negotiate connecting flights with potential stopovers.
  3. Time. For those with short vacation time, this can greatly enhance your experience, allowing you much more time in destination instead of in airports!

 


In keeping with the private ethic, your private jet safari will be privately guided and have a professional photographer to accompany you. They assist you with your own photography and documents your own trip for you, creating a beautifully bound memento of your vacation for you. In each destination your accommodation is also completely private; you can have your own private villa or mobile camp, your own private vehicle and your own private guide.

Why choose a private jet safari with The Explorations Company?

The Explorations Company’s private jet safaris have been recognised as the finest jet safaris in the world. This is the only company who are actually offering totally private jet safaris once one arrives on the continent of either Africa or Asia. Forbes, Elite Traveler and The Telegraph newspaper have all featured them, as well as a special feature of their extraordinary fixed-wing 16-day adventure over Africa in Departures Magazine's 2020 Legend Awards.

 


Where can I take the best private jet safaris and holidays?

My favourite options for private jet safaris travel around Africa and Asia. I have assembled several itineraries based on a number of requirements and, in my opinion, and experience of travelling through Africa and Asia for over 30 years, these are the finest private jet itineraries that money could buy.

When compiling a safari or holiday, whether for myself or somebody else, I take into account the wildlife, scenery, location, accommodation, experience and guiding. The travellers themselves, their hobbies and interests, budget and accommodation preferences are also important factors. Here is a selection of private jet itineraries for Africa and Asia to inspire you. I believe these itineraries would suit most tastes, but any trip could be tailored to your own specific interests!

 


21-day ‘Big Five’ Epic Wildlife Safari to Africa by Private Executive Jet

This safari was borne after receiving a specification that the Big 5 must be seen, along with the finest wildlife possible in Africa, and that as much of Africa must be covered in as short a time as possible! What I love about this itinerary is that it is entirely different from the other private jet safaris (which usually take one to hard-to-access, off-the-beaten-path regions) and instead focusses on the iconic African safari experiences; I think this would be an ideal first timer’s safari.

Your private jet air charter takes you to:

Of course, philanthropic and conservation experiences will also form a part of this safari, elevating your overall experience!

 


Explorer’s Safari to Chad and Rwanda over 15 nights

The next is an explorer’s safari, which takes in remote Chad with the Zakouma National Park and the Sahara Desert as well as Rwanda, trekking to see chimpanzees and gorillas.

  • Explore the dramatic and beautiful Ennedi Massif in the Sahara Desert in Chad,
  • Take Camp Nomade exclusively to witness the phenomenal wildlife of Zakouma National Park,
  • Stay in two luxury lodges in Rwanda and take two gorilla treks per person and track chimpanzees for the best primate experience.

 


13 nights in four countries: Tanzania Migration, Republic of Congo, Namibia and Botswana

Another fabulous combination, this safari provides fantastic wildlife experiences across the greatest diversity of landscapes and habitats that Africa has to offer:

  • The plains of the Serengeti for the Great Migration in Tanzania,
  • The jungles and bais of Odzala National Park to trek western lowland gorilla in the Republic of Congo,
  • Arid (but wildlife-rich) ancient deserts of Namibia for the Namib Desert and desert-adapted wildlife,
  • The glorious Okavango Delta in Botswana.

 


Enchanting Thailand and Laos in 13 days by private jet

This combination of Thailand and Laos offers a gentle and enchanting introduction to the region. Bustling cities and quaint countryside home to ancient cultures entrenched in divinity, tropical forests teeming with wildlife, food packed with punchy flavours, and mighty rivers and sublime beaches; what could be better?

  • Experience Bangkok’s vibrant night life on a unique gastronomic adventure,
  • A thrilling hot-air balloon ride over Chiang Mai’s pristine countryside,
  • Bathe and feed elephants in sanctuary in Chiang Rai and learn about these endearing creatures,
  • Discover unspoilt villages and towering karst mountains in remote Northern Laos as you cruise down the Mekong in a luxurious private boat,
  • Explore Luang Prabang’s colonial heritage with a renowned historian and visit completely untouched mountain villages by helicopter to discover indigenous tribal communities.

 


Cambodia and Vietnam

From the mystical karst mountain scenery of Halong Bay to the bustling markets of Hanoi’s Old Quarter; from the sandy beaches and ancient architecture of Hoi An to the trendy art galleries of Saigon; Vietnam is one of Southeast Asia’s most vibrant countries. Neighbouring Cambodia is home to one of the most iconic archaeological sites in the world – the temples of Angkor. You will explore Cambodia and Vietnam with local experts:

  • Explore Hanoi, historic Hoi An and Saigon with its contemporary art scene,
  • Take a scenic private seaplane flight to enjoy breath-taking views of Halong Bay’s surreal landscape filled with nearly 2,000 towering limestone karsts.
  • Visit the grand temples of Angkor with a well-known photographer.

 


A variety of explorations of India

There are a multitude of possibilities for India too, depending on your interests, as India provides such diversity of experiences.

  • 12 days in the high mountains of Ladakh, India, discovering Buddhist culture, rafting, mountain biking, trekking and exploring the Nubra Valley,
  • 13 days in the best tiger reserves of India staying in exclusive luxury mobile camp and spotting wildlife in Pilibhit, Kanha and Satpura, and learning about community conservation initiatives from conservation experts,
  • 10 days walking in Kumaon in India’s Western Himalayas, walking between mountain villages staying in authentic, sustainable community-led homestays,

 


 

  • 13 days exploring Northern India and royal Rajasthan, taking in Delhi, the Taj Mahal at Agra, romantic royal cities of Udaipur, Jaipur and Jodhpur as well as a wildlife experience at Jawai Leopard Camp in rural Rajasthan,
  • The hidden treasures of Madhya Pradesh over 12 days. Stay in a private tented camp and search for tigers in Panna Tiger Reserve, support conservation and learn from a renowned tiger conservationist, visit the historic 10th and 12thC temples of Khajuraho and finally the Taj Mahal,
  • Historic India followed by the beautiful Maldives, visiting Delhi, the Taj Mahal, the archeological treasures of Hampi with a historian, followed by the Maldives where you can snorkel with sharks and whales or try sailing, windsurfing or fishing.

 


Everything you need to know about private jet safaris:

Who is a private jet holiday or safari for?

Those who want to explore Africa or Asia in absolute privacy. It is the perfect social distancing holiday or vacation with all transfers being private. All charter flights to and from each destination, all game viewing and transfers to and from airports or landing strips are private.

All the accommodation is private, too, with luxury, private mobile tented camps or private houses and villas. Stringent guidelines have been adopted by each place in line with WHO recommendations, for both staff and their clientele.

 


What other highlight features are there for the African private jet safaris?

Spending time with the top wildlife researchers, understanding the challenges they face and the successes they achieve on a daily basis. On certain safaris, one could be involved in a lion collaring and an elephant collaring if possible.

You also visit local communities and witness first-hand how the support from the tourism industry is sustainably improving their lives. Your trip will be contributing enormously to these various charitable projects. This transforms this safari to a once-in-a-lifetime conservation inspired safari where there is a direct contribution.

 


What aircraft will I be flying in inter-country?

Depending upon group size, it can be anything from a Lear to a Citation or something of similar ilk. Internal flights where the airstrips cannot accommodate these aircraft will be in a Cessna Grand Caravan or a PC12.

Who will be my guide?

In Africa I would highly recommend travelling with a truly fabulous guide, Albie, who is a professional wildlife photographer and consummate guide. I personally have travelled with him on several occasions and not only does he help you to improve your photographic skills, but he also documents your holiday for you with his own images of your family and your sightings.

 


As a guide, he is incredible and he is also excellent with children, having his own! For Asia, one would travel with an expert private guide that is expert in the area and is knowledgeable in your own interest areas.

What is the price?

It is difficult to give an exact price as it depends upon number of people, aircraft type given the numbers, etc. However, as a guide, one is looking at approximately $150,000 per person for 24 days.

This covers private jets for all inter-country travel, and private charters elsewhere in country, all private transfers, all private accommodation (with the option to stay at a five star resort overlooking the Victoria Falls in a suite, should one prefer), a private professional wildlife photographer and guide. All meals and drinks are included, as well as all activities. This is based on a party of six travelling together.

 


When is the best time to travel?

Depending on where you are travelling, anything is possible!

For Africa, the Migration occurs in the Maasai Mara in Kenya between July and September. Having said that, wildlife is good in the Maasai Mara year-round. November can be an excellent time too, but it does get very hot, so it depends upon how one responds to heat

You can essentially travel at any time with the exception of April and May in East Africa, and January and February in Southern Africa which are the wettest months.

Asia is subject to complex seasonal monsoon cycles depending on the geography and location so this is best discussed in detail when planning your journey.

 


How flexible are private jet charter holidays?

The suggestions above are simply a guide to the sort of fabulous trip one could take and a demonstration of how one can travel whilst social distancing all along the way. However everything is bespoke so your proclivities, tastes, interests and hobbies, as well as time spent away, are tailored to you.

We also offer private fixed-wing flying safaris in Africa utilising PC 12’s, King Airs and Cessna Grand Caravans, or private helicopter safaris. Please do feel free to contact me directly or at The Explorations Company for more information.

 

 Images used by kind courtesy of:

Albie Venter, Tropic Air, Odzala Discovery Camps, Scott Ramsay, Singinawa Jungle Lodge, Kaafila Camps, Taj Hotels, COMO Hotels, Dennis Stogsdill, Royal Malewale, Nomad Safaris, Kichaka Safaris, Robin Pope Safaris.

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