We specialize in experiential traveling and creating meaningful, immersive holiday experiences. Our itineraries are about visiting new destinations, keeping off the beaten path, authentic local experiences, and doing something extraordinary.

To achieve this, we focus on quality over quantity, offering tailor-made itineraries and personal service to each client. The owners, Willem & Riaan, are directly involved in planning each safari, making us a genuinely boutique company. They have traveled extensively through and over Southern Africa with a shared passion for nature and wildlife, photography and flying. They’ve seen it, experienced it, explored it – and they treasure it.

We see first-hand the meaningful impact Africa’s remarkable wildernesses have on people from around the world and understand the importance of protecting this for future generations. Our focus is on responsible traveling that conserves the natural areas we visit and sustains the well-being of the local communities.


At African Aerial Safaris, we will plan your journey with the utmost care in order to minimize footprints, protect and preserve the natural world for future generations and make a positive contribution to surrounding communities. We only support companies that align with these values.

May we never lose our wonder of the natural world and take for granted the last true wildernesses on this extraordinary planet.

about african aerial safaris - MEET THE TEAM

As a little boy, whenever I heard an aeroplane passing overhead, I would point at the sky. The dream of becoming a pilot informed every step I took. My childhood hobby was building model aeroplanes, and the ceiling of my bedroom became the sky.

I was nineteen years of age when the dream became a reality. I finally stepped into my office in the sky at 43 Air School in Port Alfred (South Africa) and, in time, became a flight instructor.

My sky-office became significantly bigger when I joined South African Airways (SAA) at the age of twenty-three, and I’ve been living my dream for twenty-five years. I crewed international flights for seven years and regional flights – including Africa – for eighteen years. I furthermore pursued my passion for flight training by joining the training section of SAA in 1997. It was an honor to serve as the Head of Training of the SAA domestic and regional fleet for the last three years with SAA.

My journey at SAA came to an end in 2021, and I took up the permanent position of Director at African Aerial Safaris. Being a pilot goes hand-in-hand with my passion for traveling. For me, it culminated in organizing and leading several tour groups on vacation to Europe, and 4×4 trips in Southern Africa. These instilled a deep-rooted love for the wilderness, Africa and its people, as well as wildlife and landscape photography. African Aerial Safaris was a natural progression for me. It combines my passions – flying, people, photography, Africa and travel – into one magnificent journey. To share this life-altering journey with everyone who chooses to step onboard is a joy and a privilege.

Once the wings go on, they never come off – whether they can be seen or not. It fuses to the soul.

This is certainly true in my case, and at the age of 19, I qualified as a bush pilot in Botswana. Spending many nights in some of the most remote locations in Southern Africa exposed me to the incredible beauty of Africa and left a lasting impression on me.

Brian Jackman explains it well: “Africa changes you forever, like nowhere on earth. Once you have been there, you will never be the same. But how do you begin to describe its magic to someone who has never felt it? How can you explain the fascination of this vast, dusty continent, whose oldest roads are elephant paths? Could it be because Africa is the place of all our beginnings, the cradle of mankind, where our species first stood upright on the savannahs of long ago?”

Since then, I have traveled extensively through and over Africa on safaris and camping trips. I have also been a commercial pilot for the last 22 years and currently fly the Boeing 747-8 internationally.

African Aerial Safaris is the culmination of years spent traveling through and over Africa. The incredible experiences I’ve had on safaris and camping trips, combined with the spectacular sights I’ve seen as a pilot, made me realize that there is no better way to experience this majestic continent and her breathtaking scenery than by private airplane on your own flying adventure.

African Aerial Safaris is listed as a South African-based, African specialist with Safari Bookings: www.safaribookings.com.

african aerial safaris - OUR STORY

In 2016 the owners, Riaan and Willem flew around Southern Africa in a light two-seater aircraft. Each facet of the trip was planned to the finest detail. Scenic flight routings overflying iconic landmarks connected the best destinations in Southern Africa.

“Over the years, we have been on countless safaris and camping trips, but this two-week trip opened our eyes, and unfortunately no “normal safari” would ever be good enough again.

 We spent each day in awe at the scenery unfolding below us. Shipwrecks, abandoned mining towns, seal colonies, the hauntingly beautiful yet frightening Skeleton Coast, buffalo herds in the Okavango Delta, and deserted trucks in the middle of the desert, to name a few.  What fascinated us was that each of these sightings had their own unique story behind them. We stayed at luxury lodges, slept in rooftop tents on tin boats on the Chobe River, went on spectacular game drives, and visited remote villages interacting with the locals. The private aircraft allowed us to make unplanned stops at remote, isolated places for a quick lunch stop, a photographic opportunity, or to simply stand in silence and appreciate how small a place like the Namib Desert can make you feel!

 In a sense, this trip ruined us, for no “normal” safari would ever be good enough again. Yet, more importantly, when we look back now, we realize this trip inadvertently exposed us to the world of experiential traveling and the personal joy created by meaningful, immersive experiences.”

From this trip, African Aerial Safaris was born. A company whose goal is to have a positive, meaningful impact on every single person that joins us on one of our journeys. To achieve this, we focus on what made our 2016 trip a once in a lifetime holiday – immersive travel experiences and active, meaningful engagements with each destination’s culture, people, and natural environment.

This is achieved by providing a truly personal service to each individual client. We take the time to understand their expectations and preferences to guide us when creating each itinerary.

Using the lessons we’ve gained over the years on countless safaris, during our aviation careers, and the 2016 trip, we create safaris of a lifetime!

about african aerial safaris sling aircraft
about african aerial safaris owners with sling aircraft in namibia
aerial photo of etosha pans