(Photos courtesy Great Plains Conservation)
Flying within Africa can sometimes be an arduous endeavor. Once you get to your Southern African country destination especially, getting to your remote safari camp or lodge will more often than not necessitate another flight using small, local charter planes. They are sometimes old and mostly cramped and uncomfortable.
Great Plains Conservation has seen this gap in the market and last month announced their own executive Great Plains' aircraft. It's the missing link between the high quality safari experiences and camps that Great Plains Conservation operates in Botswana and the international business class flights to the African gateway cities and onwards to Botswana's main safari hub of Maun.
Camp hopping in comfort
The 320,000 acre Selinda Reserve is home to Zarafa Camp & Zarafa Dhow Suites (Relais & Châteaux and National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World), Selinda Camp, Selinda Explorers Camp and the Selinda Adventure Trail. In the 77,000 acre Duba Concession of the northern Okavango Delta the new Duba Expedition Camp can be found and in early 2017 sees the exciting opening of the rebuilt Duba Plains Camp.
Flying from Maun to the Great Plains Conservation camps, and between camps, is Great Plains' new, reduced capacity, executive Cessna Grand Caravan. With just nine leather window seats, it will fly guests to and from these camps in supreme comfort.
The aircraft started operation from November 1, 2016 and is priced on a per person sector rate, which is the only similarity to other light aircraft flying in the Delta.
The Great Plains Conservation properties in Botswana are located in two of the most pristine private concessions with very high densities of wildlife:
"As far as I’m aware, Great Plains Conservation is the only company offering an executive flying service to its camps in Botswana, on a seat-rate vs private charter rate," says Alex Walters, Sales and Marketing Manager for Europe and the Middle East.
"We are launching this service to many of our clients who fly internationally in business class as far as Johannesburg or Cape Town and then up to Maun too, but there the travelling in comfort stops and the next 30-45 minutes light aircraft flight is somewhat cramped before they then arrive at our camps, which are again supremely comfortable. So this new service bridges that missing link of comfort," says Walters.
The Great Plains Conservation philosophy
The founding partners of Great Plains, Dereck & Beverly Joubert, Mark Read, and Paul Harris have come together with one main goal - to create iconic, role model, sustainable conservation projects. These passionate conservationists pooled their wide ranging skills and experience to create innovative, world-class conservation projects in a number of diverse and threatened habitats throughout Africa, the Indian Ocean and eventually in India. The world's citizens must make a choice - "where to from here?"
They believe there can only be one goal - saving some of the last great, iconic, and wild places of the world. This is the mission: to find the right formula between conservation, communities and commerce. Great Plains Conservation's model takes stressed and threatened environments and surrounds them with compassionate protection and intelligent management. National Geographic Society has recognized the common ethos between their own work throughout the world and that of Great Plains Conservation and has become an investor into Great Plains, with the Jouberts launching the National Geographic Big Cat Initiative.
There are currently no direct flights between China and Botswana but Air China outbound flights to Johannesburg in South Africa operate on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, with return services from Johannesburg offered on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. From there Airlink, a regional airline, will get you to Maun in Botswana.
Flights will departs from Beijing at 23:15 Beijing time, and arrive in Johannesburg at 7:35 local time on the following day. The inbound flight departs from Johannesburg at 11:50 local time and arrives in Beijing at 7:30 Beijing time.
Go to: http://www.airchina.com.cn/en/