We, along with our flying partners in Botswana who look after you with your inter camp air transfers, would like to remind you on the importance of traveling with the correct luggage sizes and weights on their safari through Botswana. This is irrespective of the class of travel you may have enjoyed coming to Southern Africa or on schedule airlines you travel with on your safari.
Due to the remoteness of the lodges in Botswana, light aircraft are used to transfer passengers to, from and in between the various lodges. Most lodges have their own small un-paved landing strips that are only accessible to light aircraft.
Passenger luggage is stored in pods secured to the underside (belly) of these aircraft. Each passenger is allowed up to 20 kilograms of luggage on safari, and this includes hand luggage and camera bags. Generally their main luggage (a soft sided duffel bag) would be up to 15 kilograms which would fit in the aircraft pod, and we allow another 5 kilograms of carry on luggage that would be stored at the rear of the cabin in the aircraft making up a total of 20 kilograms.
Safety is our number one priority. Oversized or overweight luggage causes a decrease in aircraft performance – lodge airstrips are generally 1000 meters or less so take off performance is critical.
Not only is weight a problem, but the physical size of the luggage can make loading and offloading difficult, and due to the shape of the aircraft pods, can result in us only being able to fit only one or two bags per pod. Soft-sided duffel bags are preferred, but hard-cases or bags with wheels pose a real problem. We would also recommend that you bring along waterproof or water-resistant duffelbags, especially in summer, as the game vehicles in which the luggage is transferred from the airstrip to the camp and vice versa don’t always have any rain protection and the loading and unloading of bags can occur on wet or damp remote airtrips and runways.
Should you wish to travel with additional or oversized luggage we do allow this as long as an extra seat/s are booked well in advance in order for us to plan ahead on which aircraft type etc to use.
Should a you arrive at Maun – or Kasane – Airport with oversized luggage that they have not pre booked as excess luggage, or if you are traveling with oversized luggage that we were not made aware of, then we are able to offer the following solutions:
- You would be offered a chance to repack your luggage into smaller bags at the airport before departure or to consolidate your luggage into a smaller bag. You would be responsible for the supply of these bags.
- If, at the airport, you are adamant you do not want to re-pack or leave any luggage, you would be given the option of chartering your own aircraft for your sole use in order for the flying company to take all of their luggage. This could cause a delay to your flight whilst a a special, new aircraft and crew is sourced at short notice to carry out such a flight. Bear in mind that your itinerary may include numerous flying legs and a private charter would have to be booked then for all sectors of your safari.
You would then need to pay our flying partner directly for this extra service before the aircraft leaves Maun or Kasane. Charter flights would then be needed for each and every sector that they fly between the lodges with their excess luggage.
We have included images of the various aircraft belly pods we use to give you an idea of the size and shape, and to show just how difficult it is to try and squeeze several hard-cases into each pod.
We trust this will help in passing on the importance of you traveling with the correct luggage in order to avoid any embarrassing or frustrating arrivals into Maun or Kasane airports with you may or may not be aware of in terms of the relevant luggage restrictions we need to adhere to.