Exploring Africa’s Wilderness in Style: Jet Charter Services to Serengeti National Park

Jun 23, 2023

Private aviation plays a crucial role in Africa, connecting remote locations lacking commercial aviation infrastructure and enabling access to rugged airstrips with limited turboprop operations. Its impact extends across various sectors, from the commodities industry to the travel ecosystem. In Africa, private aviation has long served the tourism industry, allowing travelers to explore the continent’s unforgettable safari experiences but also providing regular connections between select destinations in the region.

One of those experiences is the Serengeti National Park, located in Tanzania, and one of the most renowned and iconic wildlife reserves in the world. Covering over 14,750 square kilometers, the park is known for its vast, open plains, diverse ecosystems, and remarkable wildlife. Within the park, travelers can encounter an extraordinary array of wildlife – lions, elephants, leopards, cheetahs, buffalo, giraffes, hyenas, and numerous species of antelope that roam freely in their natural habitat.

Why Choose Jet Charter Services to Serengeti National Park

When it comes to landing a private jet near the Serengeti National Park there are a few options available, and the most common connecting airports for private jet arrivals to the park are Kilimanjaro International Airport, located approximately 190 kilometers northeast of the Serengeti, and Arusha Airport, roughly 330 kilometers from the park. Both serve as a departing location for smaller private jets and turboprops wanting to access Serengeti National Park. 

#DidYouKnow that by chartering a private flight from Arusha Airport you can avoid an 8-hour drive to the Serengeti National Park? The flight takes roughly 1.30 hours by plane.

Turboprops and piston aircraft departing from Kilimanjaro International Airport to the national park usually land in Seronera Airstrip, located within the Serengeti National Park itself. The Seronera Airstrip is usually the designated landing area for small aircraft and private jets as it provides direct access to the heart of the park and is particularly convenient for travelers staying at one of the lodges or camps in central Serengeti.

While there are various airstrips in the Serengeti National Park – like Lobo, Fort Ikoma, Kogatende, Serengeti Kusini, and Kirawira B – the Seronera Airstrip is usually the designated landing area for small aircraft and private jets.

Turboprops and piston aircraft departing from Kilimanjaro International Airport to the national park usually land in Seronera Airstrip, located within the Serengeti National Park itself. The Seronera Airstrip is usually the designated landing area for small aircraft and private jets as it provides direct access to the heart of the park and is particularly convenient for travelers staying at one of the lodges or camps in central Serengeti.

It’s worth noting that while Seronera Airstrip offers the closest proximity to the park’s wildlife and scenery, landing there may be subject to availability and certain restrictions. Additionally, specific landing permissions and arrangements may be required in advance. When chartering a private flight with Icarus Jet, all the details and permissions will be arranged before departure to secure a seamless travel experience to Serengeti National Park.

When planning private jet travel to the Serengeti National Park, it’s advisable to consult with your jet charter provider, as they can provide you with the most up-to-date information, assist in securing landing permissions, and help to choose the most suitable option based on the travel group’s preferences and itinerary, especially concerning the aircraft and its capability to adapt to usually tighter runways and made from gravel.

Which aircraft can land at Serengeti National Park?

Due to unique operating conditions in the airstrips of the Serengeti National Park, not every private aircraft can safely land at this beautiful location. In fact, taking the Seronera Airstrip as an example, its runway is only suitable for smaller aircraft due to its size and conditions. Generally, the types of aircraft that can land at Seronera Airstrip are single-engine piston aircraft, such as the Cessna 172, Cessna 182, and Piper Cherokee, turboprops like the Cessna Caravan, Pilatus PC-12, Beechcraft King Air series, and Daher TBM series, and very light jets, like the HondaJet, Phenom 100, and Eclipse 500. 

Turboprop aircraft dominate the private aviation landscape in Africa and, especially in Tanzania, thanks to its economy that heavily relies on tourism-related flights that transport travelers from international airports to lodges and national parks, the Cessna Caravan is ideally suited for these routes, explaining why it is the most popular turboprop aircraft in Africa.

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Insider Tips when traveling to Serengeti National Park

For starters, working with a reliable private jet charter provider with experience in coordinating private charters to Tanzania and Africa like Icarus Jet will maximize the travel experience. Reputable companies with established relationships with local authorities and vendors will handle flight arrangements, necessary permits, ground transportation, and any other logistical details to ensure a safe and hassle-free charter flight. 

Another important piece of advice is acknowledging the peak seasons at the Serengeti National Park. It experiences two main peak seasons, each offering unique wildlife viewing opportunities, which are the Wildebeest Migration Peak in late June to October, and the Calving Season, from January to February. The wildebeest migration is one of nature’s most extraordinary events, and witnessing it is a highlight for many visitors. 

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Millions of wildebeest, zebras, and other herbivores migrate across the Serengeti in search of fresh grazing lands. The calving season in the southern Serengeti showcases thousands of wildebeest giving birth to their young in a concentrated area, attracting predators like lions, hyenas, and cheetahs. It’s an excellent opportunity to witness the circle of life and predator-prey interactions.

Furthermore, packing essentials such as comfortable clothing, sturdy walking shoes, a hat, sunscreen, insect repellent, binoculars, and a camera with extra batteries or memory cards, are highly recommended. Yet not overpacking is also key, considering that the aircraft does have weight limitations for each passenger. 

Once there, ensuring you have the appropriate permits for entering the park and participating in activities such as game drives and guided walks is paramount – your selected charter provider can assist you with obtaining the necessary permits. Finally, seeking professional guidance, like hiring a knowledgeable guide or joining a reputable safari tour operator is highly recommended as they can provide valuable insights, help navigate the park, and enhance your wildlife viewing experience.

Conclusion

When planning a trip to Serengeti National Park in Tanzania it’s very important to discuss beforehand with your charter provider your itinerary and duration of stay in the country. Consider whether you want to explore other destinations in Tanzania before or after visiting the Serengeti National Park. Determine the number of days you wish to spend in the park to ensure you have enough time for wildlife viewing and other activities.

Aircraft selection is also an instrumental component. Choosing an aircraft that suits your travel needs, considering factors such as the number of passengers, luggage capacity, range, and comfort can make or break the private air experience. Working with your charter provider to determine the most suitable aircraft for your trip and how it pairs with the runway operational conditions for a safe flight will secure a memorable flight.

Tied to the previous is where to land. Selecting the appropriate departure and arrival airports based on your location and convenience is also important and will be coordinated by your private jet charter provider. Kilimanjaro International Airport, located approximately 190 kilometers northeast of the Serengeti, usually serves as the departing airport for smaller jets and turboprops that land in the park, with Seronera Airstrip, located within the Serengeti National Park itself, as the main destination runway for the mentioned aircraft.

You can charter a private jet to the Serengeti National Park with Icarus Jet and our team of charter advisors will pair your travel group with the best aircraft option and itinerary to land as closely as possible to the unique wildlife offered by one of the most unforgettable places in the world.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where should international travelers land their jet initially? 

Most of the international passengers arrive in Nairobi, Kenya (Wilson Airport or Jomo Kenyatta International Airport) and request a private jet to Kilimanjaro International Airport to perform customs and passport control. Arusha Airport on the other hand is used for domestic flights. Private flights can use both terminals to depart to one of the private airstrips in the Serengeti National Park.  

What type of documentation do travelers need for arriving in Tanzania?

International passengers just need passport copies for travel into Kenya and Tanzania.

Do international passengers need proof of vaccination?

No proof of vaccination is required.

What private airstrips are available at the Serengeti National Park?

Lobo, Fort Ikoma, Kogatende, Serengeti Kusini, Kirawira B, and Seronera airstrips. The latter is the most common.

What aircraft can Icarus Jet offer for charter into the private airstrips at the Serengeti National Park?

We can offer the King Air 350 and the Cessna Caravan, two world-renowned turboprops thanks to their comfort and safety.

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