Kenya is the most popular safari destination in East Africa and in Africa, with the world-famous National Reserves and Parks and the beautiful beaches in the coastal region. All the National Parks and Reserves in Kenya are served by a network of all-weather gravel airstrips except for a few which are tarmacked, with several local airlines and charter companies available. Flying is the most comfortable and quickest option if you planning to visit several parts of the country during your safari or for shorter safaris such as an overnight or two night trip. In consequence, there are daily scheduled flights linking key tourist gateways to various destinations and popular locations in Kenya, including game parks/reserves and the coast. The main international airport to which safari travelers connect to after their safari flights is the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, a flying distance of one to maximum 2 hours from most local safari airstrips.
Travelers would need to know which airstrip they should use while booking for their flights. It is important to ensure that you fly to the nearest airstrip to your getaway destination so as to avoid unnecessarily long transfers which also happen to be rather expensive. Below is a list of the most common airstrips and airports with the different locations that they serve.
Amboseli airport is located in Amboseli National Park which lies south of Nairobi. It is the only airstrip in Amboseli National Park serving all the lodges and camps inside the park except for those that own private airstrips. The airport has a single asphalt runway that measures 1,180 metres (3,870 ft) in length. The geographical coordinates of this airstrip are: 2° 38' 42.00"S, 37° 15' 0.00"E (Latitude: -2.64500; Longitude:37.25000). Please read more about the airstrip here.
There are quite a number of airstrips that serves Samburu National Reserve including the sorrounding wildlife conservancies. Some of the most common airstrips includes Buffalo springs airstrip, Kalama airstrip, Sasaab Airstrip and Samburu Oryx airstrip. Read more on these airstrips here.
Masai Mara National Reserve is served by a good number of airstrips, which are all weather gravel airstrips except for Keekorok and Serena airstrips which are the only tarmacked airstrips in the reserve. There are daily scheduled flights to Masai Mara stopping at different airstrip per flight. Governor's Aviation, Airkenya and Safarilink are the main local airlines that serves this route. Some of these airstrips includes Keekorok airstrip, Serena airstrip, Angama Mara airtrip, Musiara airstrip, Kichwa Tembo airstrip, Ngerende airstrip, Mara North airstrip, Olare orok airstrip, Ol Seki airstrip and Siana conservancy airstrip. Please read more on these airstrip here.
Meru National Park is wild and beautiful, located to the east of Mount Kenya and 355km Northeast of Nairobi. The Park is famous for the Joy Adamson's autobiography "Born Free" a film has since been produced based on the same book about her research and life with lions and cheetahs. Meru National Park shares the border with Kora Nationala Park. The three main aistrips that serves the park and the sorrounding areas includes Mughwango Hill Airstrip, Mulika Lodge airstrip and Kina Airstrip. There are daily scheduled flights from Nairobi to Meru and the main airline serving this route is Airkenya.
Nanyuki airport is located on the western foot hills of Mount Kenya, it lies only 8 kilometres, south of the Equator. The airport has a single asphalt runway which measures 1,200 metres (3,900 ft) in length. The geographical coordinates of this airport are: Latitude -0.0623988993 (0°3'44"S) and longitude 37.0410079956 (37°2'27"E). Please read more about the airport here.
Lewa downs airstrip is a small civilian airport located in Lewa Wildlife Conservancy. The airport has an unpaved runway that measures 4,100 feet (1,200 m) in length. The geographical coordinates of this airstrip are: 0° 11' 34.00"N, 37° 28' 21.00"E (Latitude:0.192778; Longitude:37.472500). The airstrip serves most of the lodges and camps inside the conservancy and the sorrounding communities. Please read more about the airstrip here.
Loisaba Airstrip is located in Northern Laikipia inside Loisaba conservancy. The geographical coordinates of this airstrip are: N0°36’43.6” E36°48’03.2”. Please read more about the airstrip here.
Finch Hatton's Airstrip is a private airstrip near the northwestern border of Tsavo West National Park, less than an hour's drive from most of the park's volcanic attractions such as Mzima springs, Shetani lava flows and Chaimu crater. The all weather airstrip is run by Finch Hatton's camp that is located nearby. The geographical coordinates of this airstrip are: 2°56'45"S, 37°54'52"E. There are daily scheduled flights from Nairobi Wilson Airport, Mombasa Airport and Ukunda Airport to this airstrip; they are all early morning connections which take 1 hour.
Kilaguni Airstrip is a small airstrip located in Kilaguni, Taita-Taveta County inside Tsavo East National Park, in southeastern Kenya. Its location is approximately 217 kilometres, by air, southeast of Nairobi International Airport. The airport has two unpaved runways, each measuring 1,600m long. The geographical coordinates of this airstrip are: 2° 54' 0.00"N, 38° 4' 26.00"E (Latitude:-2.900000; Longitude:38.073889). The airstrip serves the location of Kilaguni and the adjacent areas of Tsavo National Park.
Ukunda Airport is a small airfield near Diani Beach in Kwale County. The airstrip is 1.7km from the centre of Diani Beach. The airport serves the local areas of Diani, Tiwi and Msambweni. The geographical coordinates of this airstrip are: Latitude: -4° 17' 29.40" S and Longitude: 39° 34' 10.19" E. There are daily scheduled flights from Nairobi to Ukunda Diani. Some of the local airlines that serves this route includes Airkenya, Safarilink, Jambojet, Fly540, Skyward Express and Mombasa Air Safari.
Manda airstrip is situated on Manda Island in the Lamu Archipelago. It is a small regional airport which handles domestic flights and private travel. It is located 450km, by air, southeast of Nairobi International Airport, the country's largest civilian airport. The airport has two runaways. The first runway (15/33) is paved with asphalt and measures 1,930m in length and 30m in width. The second runway (08/26) is unpaved and is 931m long and 14m wide. The geographic coordinates of this airport are: 2° 14' 46.00"S, 40° 54' 36.00"E (Latitude:-2.246110; Longitude:40.910000). There are daily scheduled flights from Nairobi to Lamu. In addition, the main airlines serving this route includes Airkenya, Safarilink, Mombasa Air Safari, Skyward Express, Fly540 and FlySAX.
Malindi Airport is 2.5 Km west of Malindi Town. It is approximately 105 km, by air, northeast of Moi International Airport and about 411km, by air, southeast of Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, the largest airport in Kenya. The airport has two bitumen runaways; Runway 17/35 measures 1,400m long and 30m wide, and Runway 8/26 measures 1,082m and is 23m wide. The coordinates of Malindi Airport are: 03°12'54.0"S, 40°06'00.0"E (Latitude:-3.2150; Longitude:40.1000).
Moi International Airport also known as Mombasa Airport, is the second biggest airport in Kenya and is located in the city of Mombasa. The airport has two runways: Runway 1 (03/21) measures 3,350 metres in length and Runway 2 (15/33) measures 1,260 metres in length. The airport handles huge traffic with more than eighteen airlines flying directly from and to Europe, and offering connections to over twenty cities in the region. Moi International Airport has four terminals, including two passenger terminals. Terminal 1 has international and domestic departures and arrival stations, whereas Terminal 2 only handles international departures.
Wilson airport is the domestic airport of Nairobi. The airport is small but fairly busy and efficient. Transfer time from city center is 20 minutes traffic free but more like an 45 minutes in normal traffic, and most local flights require that you be at the airport at least an hour before the flight.
Typically all the main airlines have morning and afternoon flights, with the same aircraft turning back to Wilson after every flights. The flight time is approx. 1 hour though actual time depends on how many stops the flight will make, ( known as ''hops'') as they land to drop or pick up passengers from various airstrips. Most flights limit stops to the fewest possible so the timing of an hour to the Mara is practially fairly accurate. See the schedule below.
|Daily Flights to Masai Mara ( Approximate Timings)|
|Morning Flight||Wilson||Masai Mara||10:00||11:00|
|Afternoon Flight||Wilson||Masai Mara||14:45||15:45|
High Season: 16 December - 31 March & 1 July - 31 Octomber
Low Season: 1 April - 30 June & 1 November - 15 December
Due to the sheer volume of passengers flying to Masai Mara during the peask season months from July to October, both airlines add an extra midday flight to handle the passenger numbers. During these months we recommend booking early enough to secure seats.
As mentioned above these include Air Kenya, Safarilink, Governors Aviation and Mombasa Air Safaris. These airlines generally have an excellent safety record and operate to high standards with professional staff.Enquire for Flights
Flying Safari package to Masai Mara are convenient due to the short one hour flight versus the 5 to 6 hour road journey from Nairobi. Flights to Masai Mara being readily available, a flying package safari is possible to book for most Camps and Lodges. Flying to the Mara is also recommended for those who want to enjoy game drives in Open sided safari vehicles.See Fly-in Packages