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UPDATED: New Flight Routes Improving Access to Top Destinations

Author: Selene Brophy - 29 February 2024

Last Update: 10 April 2024

Part of the Visit Southern Africa & African Safari Collection

Travellers wanting to explore Africa’s top safari destinations can access several new flight route connections. 

Botswana’s Okavango DeltaSouth Africa’s Kruger National Park and Cape Town, Zambia’s Lusaka, and Mozambique’s Vilanculos will soon see improved flight connectivity to plan around. 

Easier access between Africa’s cities adds to the appeal of planning safari itineraries across multiple countries instead of a single-country trip, as travellers can now pair different experiences with traditional safari itineraries. It also means reduced travel time, with more quality holiday time in destination.

New Routes and Codeshare Partnerships in 2024

Proflight Zambia connects Lusaka and Cape Town – February 2024

Proflight Zambia launched a new direct route between South Africa’s Cape Town International and Kenneth Kaunda International Airport in Lusaka in February. The thrice-weekly flights will operate on Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays.   

This connection suits travellers looking to maximise their safari bucket list experience with a visit to Cape Town’s world-class beaches and historically rich Cape Winelands. This year, Zambia is celebrating 60 years of independence, with visitors set for a rich showcase of its history and culture.

Camps Bay Beach in Cape Town.
Camps Bay Beach in Cape Town, one of Tripadvisor’s Top 10 Sustainable Beaches for 2024. Source: Niklas Eichler, Unsplash.

Virgin Atlantic and Kenya Airways improve connectivity to Kenya – March 2024

Connectivity between the UK and East Africa has been improved with the latest partnership between SkyTeam alliance partners Virgin Atlantic and Kenya Airways.

Kenya is one of East Africa’s prime safari destinations. It is popular with North American and UK travellers who travel to the continent to experience the Great Wildebeest Migration between Tanzania and Kenya.

The codeshare allows Virgin Atlantic customers to book flights directly on Kenya Airways’ route between London Heathrow and Nairobi.

It simplifies travel to Kenya for international visitors, including those from the UK, who can now enter with online authorization instead of a traditional visa.

Virgin Atlantic Kenya Airways codeshare
Virgin Atlantic and Kenya Airways codeshare improves flight access between UK and East Africa.

Federal Airlines to Connect Marakele and Madikwe Game Reserve – March 2024

South African charter flight provider Federal Airlines will introduce a new shuttle route connecting Marakele National Park to Madikwe Game Reserve.  The route started operating on 23 March, with departure and landing times at Thabazimbi Airport for Marataba Luxury Lodges, part of MORE collections.

Federal Air offers daily shuttles connecting South Africa’s most popular Big Five game reserves and luxury safari lodges, along with private charters direct to flight strips of luxury safari locations across Africa.  

The Marataba Rhino Conservation team in the Marakele National Park.
The Marataba Rhino Conservation team in the Marakele National Park. Source: MORE Collection.

FlySafair connects Cape Town to Kruger – April 2024

South African low-cost carrier FlySafair will launch a new route between Cape Town International Airport and Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport from 2 April. The flight will operate twice a week, on Tuesdays and Saturdays.  

This connection also puts the popular appeal of Cape Town within reach of travellers to South Africa’s flagship national park, Kruger.

A herd of buffalo seen on a game drive in Kruger National Park.
A herd of buffalo seen on a game drive in Kruger National Park. Source: SA Tourism.

FlyNamibia Adds New Route Between Windhoek and Vic Falls  – April 2024

FlyNamibia will operate new flights between Windhoek’s Hosea Kutako International Airport and Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe from 4 April. As an Airlink affiliate partner, this new scheduled flight will allow travelers to fly directly between Cape Town, central Namibia, Victoria Falls, and Kruger Park, all booked on a single ticket.

Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, Ian Mackey, Unsplash.
A view of Victoria Falls, which sits between the Southern African countries of Zambia and Zimbabwe. Source: Ian Mackey, Unsplash.

Ethiopia Airlines adds Botswana Connection – June 2024

Ethiopian Airlines will connect its capital city of Addis Ababa to Zambia’s Ndola and Botswana’s Maun starting 10 June. The flight will add three weekly connections on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays. 

Maun serves as a gateway to northern Botswana. Situated on the banks of the Thamalakane River in the Southeastern part of the Delta, it offers seamless connectivity for fly-in safaris from the airport to central parts of the Okavango Delta.  

An aerial view of the Okavango Delta, Botswana. Source: Wynand Uys, Unsplash
An aerial view of the Okavango Delta, Botswana. Source: Wynand Uys, Unsplash

Lufthansa Ups Direct Flights to South Africa – June 2024

Lufthansa is set to launch a direct flight between Munich and Johannesburg, improving access for travellers wanting to visit South Africa. The increased direct flights to South Africa bodes well for European travellers looking to visit South Africa. Some 245,259 German travellers visited South Africa in 2023, showing 42% growth compared to 2022.   

Airlink reconnects Mozambique’s Vilanculos with SA’s Kruger  – July 2024

In July, Airlink will return to its seasonal beach-and-bush route between South Africa’s Kruger National Park and Mozambique. The flight will link Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport with Vilanculos on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays. Ticket booking is live, with the seasonal route set to run until January 2025.  

The Panorama Route in Mpumalanga is a popular add-on to a Kruger safari. Highlights include God’s Window in the Blyde River Canyon, Bourke’s Luck Potholes in Graskop, and the Three Rondavels rock formation. Mozambique’s Vilanculos is the launchpad to the Bazaruto Archipelago, renowned for its spectacular beaches, marine life, and vibrant island lifestyle.  

Air Traffic Recovery Across Africa 

Passenger demand is a key driver for new route connections, adding to the availability of affordable flights, with air travel for African airlines inching towards 2019 pre-pandemic demand. International Air Transport Association (IATA) data shows that air travel for Africa rose 9.5% in December last year compared to December 2022.  

African destinations are seeing increased interest from international travellers, with independent travellers driving leisure flight route recovery in Central and West Africa, according to travel analytics firm ForwardKeys

Its air ticketing data painted a healthy picture for international arrivals in popular safari destinations towards the end of 2023, with double-digit growth for Tanzania (+15%), Rwanda (+15%), and Namibia (+10%).   

Connectivity to the continent is receiving a positive outlook, said Julia Simpson, President and CEO of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), who emphasized the growing desire for African destinations, noting that search trends reveal “an undeniable appetite for travel to destinations across Africa.”

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