A guide to planning your safari to the Okavango DeltaRead More
Due to the aquatic nature of the Okavango Delta and the remote locations of the lodges– access to the Delta is mainly by light aircraft.
The nearest international airport to the Okavango Delta is Maun Airport, in the north of Botswana. This is often described as the ‘gateway to the Okavango’. It is also possible to reach the Okavango from Kasane International Airport, in the Chobe area as well, though this takes longer and is more expensive.
Maun Airport is serviced with daily flights from Johannesburg and Cape Town. SA Airlink operates flights from both Johannesburg and Cape Town while Air Botswana operates a schedule flight between Johannesburg and Maun only. These flights are direct and take about 2 hours, generally arriving in Maun around 1.30pm. It is strongly recommended that international connections in Johannesburg or Cape Town allow for at least 2.5hours, ideally 3 hours between flights. We can assist with accommodation in Johannesburg if required.
On arrival in Maun Airport you will be met by a representative and assisted onto your shared charter flight to your camp in the Okavango- this flight usually takes around 15-30 minutes, depending on the camp you are going to. This is a scenic flight, a superb introduction to the Okavango Delta which is magnificent from above, larger animals such a elephants, hippos, buffalo and giraffe are frequently seen.
When combining a number of camps in the Okavango and surrounding area you will again transfer by light aircraft- these flights take between 15-30 minutes between the airstrips.
A number of different charter operators are used, often connected with the camps themselves.
Flights within the Okavango are not run on a set schedule. The departure and arrival times are only set by the charter operations team the day before and for this reason times cannot be advised ahead of this. Flights will always be scheduled to connect with international arrival and departures. When flying between camps, flights will be scheduled to operate between activities wherever possible to ensure as little disruption as possible. Your guide will always inform you the day before of your flight time.
To keep fares affordable, the flight transfers within the Okavango are booked on a seat only basis on shared charter flights rather than on a private charter basis. In order to run as efficiently as possible and to keep air fares down these flights will service a number of different airstrips and can stop up to three times before reaching your camp. Stops are short and efficient, often the engines are not even turned off (a ‘hot-turn around’ system) and last just 10 minutes.
The most common makes of aircraft used are the Cessna C182, C206, C210, C207, Cessna Grand Caravan, Britten Norman Islander and the Gippsland Airvan. These aircraft allow limited luggage and there is a strict luggage allowance of 20 kgs per person to include hand luggage. Bags must be soft sided to enable the pilot to pack the bags into the pod below. Hard cases cannot be carried.
These charter flights are not permitted to fly in the dark by civil aviation regulations. In addition it is not possible to land on the remote airstrips in the dark, without lights. For this reason, if travellers arrive too late for the pilot to make a return flight, you will have to overnight at the point of arrival (usually Maun) at your own expense and fly the next day.
In order to book a seat on a shared charter flight full names, nationality and body weight must be provided. This is for safety reasons. Some charter operators have a weight limit of 100 kgs, passengers over this weight may be required to pay an additional charge.
For those coming from the Chobe or Victoria Falls area, seats on a shared charter flight to your Okavango camp can be arranged. These flights take about 60-80 minutes depending on the camp and area visited. These flights cost around $400 per person.
A few camps offer road transfers but this is rare. Road transfers are usually only on mobile safaris.
Contact us for more information and to start planning your Okavango safariContact