MEET THE TEAM

As a little boy, whenever I heard an aeroplane passing overhead, I would point at the sky. Throughout my life, the dream of becoming a pilot inspired 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, and in time I also 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 now. I did international flights for seven years, and regional flights – including Africa – for eighteen years. I also pursued my passion for flight training by joining the training section of SAA in 1997. Currently, I am privileged to serve as the Head of Training of the SAA Domestic and Regional fleet. 

I believe that the passion for travelling goes hand-in-hand with being a pilot. 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, its people, and also 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 on board is a joy and a privilege!

They say 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 per week in the different camps exposed me to the incredible beauty of Africa, and it made 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?”

I have been a commercial pilot for 20 years and currently fly the Boeing 747-8 internationally. Having travelled through and over Africa extensively and after many safaris and camping trips, I have come to realise that there is no better way to experience this majestic continent and her breathtaking scenery, than by private aeroplane on your own flying adventure.

WHAT WE DO

African Aerial Safaris specializes in finding the road less travelled and taking you on an once in a lifetime journey.

We have travelled extensively through and over this magnificent continent and believe that a private aeroplane is an invaluable addition to any safari. It makes for a personal, intimate and unique experience that gives you the freedom to explore off the beaten path and see the immense beauty that lies between destinations. Flying at lower altitudes, we give you a unique new dimension of a bird’s-eye view. It enables you to see how river systems affect animal routes, how millions of years of erosion shapes the earth below, experience the vastness of the Namib Desert and spot jackals looking for seal pups on the Skeleton Coast. Combining the up close and personal experience of wildlife on a game drive with the fascinating bigger picture from above makes for an extraordinary safari and truly completes the journey!

OUR MISSION

It is the mission of African Aerial Safaris to 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.

OUR STORY

The idea of African Aerial Safaris originated in 2016 when Willem and Riaan had the opportunity to fly through South Africa, Botswana and Namibia in a light two-seater aircraft. 

“We got the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to fly over some of the most incredible scenery in Southern Africa. Looking at the maps we realised how important planning was going to be. There was so much to see, and the only way to make sure we didn’t miss anything was to methodically plot each place of interest on a map, and then connect the dots.”

The two friends – who share a deep passion for flying, southern Africa and nature – were blown away by what they discovered.  Below them, breathtakingly beautiful landscapes unfolded like an everchanging canvas of nature’s masterpieces, leaving them awe inspired. They have been on several safaris before, but this trip made them realise that combining a wildlife safari on the ground with a scenic journey by air makes for an unparalleled and life altering experience. In the months that followed, African Aerial Safaris came into existence.