Private Air Safaris South Africa


The thought of being back in Africa certainly puts a huge grin on our faces. Yet it’s the hustle and bustle of African airports and shared safari vehicles that we dread right now in the thick of COVID-19.

We felt compelled to put together a series of blogs that focus on private air safaris – essentially you and your own plane exploring the parts of Africa you’ve been dreaming about.

We create private air safari itineraries in countries all over the continent. Our partners in Africa are the very best bush pilots and the aircraft range from luxury Pilatus PC12 and Grand Caravans to smaller light aircraft if you’re travelling within one country or region.

The flying component is crucial and second is your accommodation. We offer exclusive use safari lodges, bush homes and wilderness camps through to shared safari properties that offer each booking their own private vehicle. So as you can tell, the options are impressive and we can work with you to ensure we create an itinerary that suits your needs best.

Let’s start with private air safaris South Africa, because it’s an easy international flight from Australia into Johannesburg. Here, you then meet up with your private pilot and aircraft to take off on your private air safari.

There are so many amazing properties to choose from, so here are just a handful of our favourites.

Marataba Conservation Camps

Located in a beautiful malaria-free region on the north of the country, Marataba Conservation Camps offer a really special safari experience. As you can imagine, conservation takes centre stage. This 21,000 hectare privately managed section of the Marakele National Park is one of South Africa’s most innovative conservation models. The focus is firmly on protecting the diversity of flora and fauna through modern and hands-on conservation practices.

There are two camps here and one of them is called Founders Camp. It’s available on an exclusive use basis with just four luxury suites. You get 1 guide and vehicle all to yourself! There’s an airstrip nearby so it really is a worthy private air safari destination.

Activities are abundant and varied. There are day and night game drives, boating, wild walking (16 years and over), family friendly nature walks, tracking, monitoring and compiling ID kits of key species, camera trap set up, transect walks, game census logging, Park Control Centre technology, tree planting and land rehabilitation. There is rare species monitoring and identification and you can visit the Marataba Research and Rewilding Centre.

Nkarhi Homestead

Welcome to the latest addition to the Tanda Tula collection, Nkarhi Homestead. It’s an exclusive use, farm style family home that inspires connections and a slower pace.

Nkarhi Homestead sits in the 20,000 acre private Timbavati Reserve on the western border of South Africa’s renowned Kruger National Park.  Elevated above vast plains and winding rivers, Nkarhi Homestead’s position allows guests an uninterrupted view of the sweeping vistas across the Timbavati. Meaning ‘time’ in Tsonga, this 4-bedroom homestead is off-grid and allows you to connect with family and friends in a meaningful way.

Sleeping up to 9 guests, Nkarhi Homestead is available on both a fully inclusive basis OR self-catering basis. Your stay includes an experienced safari guide, tracker, 4×4 vehicle and the best news is – all ages are welcome. The facilities are split over a main cottage with fully equipped kitchen, 2 ensuite bedrooms and a family cottage with 2 bedrooms and a large interleading bathroom and separate cottage with lounge and dining room that overlook the swimming pool and ‘boma’ or campfire area.

There’s every chance you’ll see big game here and with access to nearby airstrips and exclusive use accommodation, it’s the winning formula!

Image courtesy of Tanda Tula

Tswalu Kalahari

This property is close to our hearts because it’s where the Wilson family celebrated 10 years of Encompass Africa.  Tswalu sits in the green Kalahari beneath the Korannaberg Mountains. It’s remote and nothing short of breathtaking. With its own private airstrip, it’s easily reached and accommodation is either an exclusive use property called Tarkuni or The Motse, a luxury lodge where you can share the main area and enjoy the privacy of your own cottage and vehicle and guide for the duration of your stay.

Tarkuni was formerly the Oppenheimer family’s private residence and sleeps ten in a five bedroom luxury homestead.

Tswalu lets you reconnect with the richness of the earth. It offers an escape to a place that’s governed by the ancient rhythms of the seasons, rather than the clock and the calendar. It offers a vision of hope that brings together conservation, research and unrivalled safari experience. Everything the Tswalu team does is centred around their creed: To leave our world better than how we found it.

Now that’s worth visiting isn’t it? Oh and you’ll see cheetah, Kalahari lion – the biggest in the world and wild dog packs hunting across open plains. There’s also aardvark, pangolin and other rare species that call Tswalu home.

Image courtesy of Tswalu Kalahari