The Safari Experts
air safety

Air safety in Africa


... in Africa may commonly hit the headlines, but rarely does it relate to the services that are used by international visitors to the major safari countries.

Safari in most areas of Africa includes short flights in light aircraft. These flights are statistically very safe, the aviation companies which operate them being monitored by government bodies to international standards. But because of the sheer number of flights, there are occasional accidents, sometimes serious. The fact that these incidents are usually reported in the international media is an indication of quite how rarely they occur.

We usually hear of around one fatal air crash every two years. We therefore estimate that the chances of being involved in such an incident are around 1 in 40,000.

The main way eliminate this risk from your trip is to avoid flying safaris, but this simply means that you will have to spend more hours travelling by road, which is likely to represent a greater risk.

Incidents ...

We try to keep a log of accidents as we hear about them ...

17 October 2011 : Botswana air crash kills European tourists : refer BBC News

18 June 2007 : Britons die in Malawi plane crash : refer BBC News

18 October 2005 : Britons killed in Tanzania crash : refer BBC News

This last crash actually involved our customers. It happened when a Cessna 206, in which we had personally flown on several occasions, took off from the airstrip at Mahale Mountains in western Tanzania and failed to climb up and over the mountain range as it banked around to head northeast. Rescue planes were sent out, the crash site identified and the chances of survival were assessed as extremely low. It took over a week for the crash investigation team to trek to the location. The pilot and all passengers were declared dead and their bodies repatriated by government agencies. The cause of the crash was never absolutely determined, but the aviation company involved was cleared of blame. Needless to say, this terrible accident left us deeply shocked and has caused us to be even more cautious in selecting which operators to use for transport in Africa.
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Lenny Franklin
Lenny Franklin, Senior Safari Consultant
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