Frequently Asked Questions

Since as far back as 1986 we have operated our safaris in Southern Africa. Management and Operations are hands-on, day to day by Dave Vanderspey (founder) and his wife Kitty. In this professional business our SELF-PILOT FLYING SAFARIS comprise a key part of our focus and daily activities

What is the focus of AFRICAN AERO SAFARI’S Self-Pilot flying safaris?
The focus is to enable you as the pilot and your companion/friends experience the rich wildlife, cultures, landscape & topography, history, geology and ambience of Southern Africa whilst flying freely but safely in vast uncontrolled airspaces, an experience pilots seldom have in today’s world of ever-increasing controls.

What’s the flying like?
All our flying legs are kept short for comfort – very few legs are more than 2.5 hours. This is not a flying marathon but an ever-unfolding voyage of discovery and interest. We fly along great rivers, hills and roads, rather than in a straight line. We are not in a hurry and fly mostly for a couple of hours in the morning, then land to spend two nights before venturing onward.

Should I fly with an AFRICAN AERO SAFARIS group or set off on my own?
A small group lends a different and interesting dynamic that flying along on your own cannot deliver and it proves to be lots of fun and camaraderie.

However you can be independent even within the group - some of our guests prefer this whilst others like to participate more actively in briefings and diversions to the straight-line legs drawn on a chart.
There are also options of flying totally on your own, with materials, support and backup, a flight following program and full backup to ensure you spend as little time doing the “paperwork” and maximising your holiday experiences

How many in a small group?
We run our safaris with as little as one other airplane to a maximum of 9 airplanes in a group. The group is very exclusive and comprises mostly one couple per rental airplane.

Why an escort crew & “chase plane” ?
The escorted nature of such safaris offers a smoother experience and much less time spent dealing with endless African bureaucratic paperwork (considerable and daunting), no concerns about routing, having route redundancy and adverse weather plans, prearranged and reliably available fuel, facilitated ATC procedures, flight following, pre- and post-leg briefings, aerial photographic sessions, loose formation flying and so on. Our escort crew duties include dealing with any and all eventualities, divergence from the itinerary should this be required, airplane snags, ensuring continuity and solving problems before you are aware they exist. They are expert in recognising terrain features and wildlife from the air and will suggest diversions to see interesting aerial features or look for large game prominently visible from the air (eg elephant, rhino, hippo, giraffe, large herds of buffalo etc); this can never be achieved if you are flying independently and means you spend more time doing the stuff you came to do – flying and ground activities.

What about the airplanes we rent – are they properly maintained?
The South African Civil Aviation Authorities have stricter airworthiness criteria than do the airplane manufacturers’ and the FAA. Airplanes are airworthy and mechanically sound. Lacking in some may be the new-age avionics – however we always carry spare communications and navigation equipment along.

Is the area safe to visit?
We visit politically stable countries including South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, Mozambique. Over our many years of operations we have never needed to reroute for reasons of personal safety or political upheaval.

We constantly monitor local regional politics and the general safety climate and can at short notice amend or curtail a tour itinerary and routing. The current situation and future prospects for the regions we fly in, appear politically calm and peaceful.

How do I get my license validated?
We are an approved organization by the South African Civil Aviation Authority, whereby we administer your process through to issue of a Validation to fly a locally registered airplane. With information from you, we commence the process many weeks prior to your arrival; upon your arrival in Cape Town or Johannesburg, we arrange your checkride, airlaw and other requirements enabling you to pilot VFR by daytime.

How do we get there?
Johannesburg or Cape Town, South Africa is the starting point. There are direct transatlantic flights daily from Atlanta and New York. Alternatively there are up to 50 flights per week from other European, Asian and Australasian centres.

What happens if I have to get back home urgently or have a medical emergency?
We are never more than a few hours (and usually closer) flight from airline hubs, where regular schedules are available for direct connections to the rest of the world. South Africa is known to offer some of the world’s foremost medical and hospital and clinic facilities and your travel insurance will accommodate admission into any of them.

What about telephone connections on safari?
Most remote camps have telephones or radio telephones. These are always available to our guests. You will have a full listing of contacts long prior to departure on safari.

What’s the next step in joining an AFRICAN AERO SAFARI?
Planning your trip ahead of time is crucial as we visit exclusive and tiny luxury bush lodges along the way. Applying late to join a group departure could disappoint you as accommodations may be booked up. We highly recommend you plan ahead by advising us of your requirements, approximate dates, wish list and intentions. Closer to the time you can confirm your participation – up till deposit payment, you are under no obligation.


Any other questions???

Please contact us


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