up, up and away
Visitors to Sabi Sabi now have the option of direct flights into the reserve thanks to a new, private airstrip that opened in March. A deal with Federal Air has seen a dedicated daily flight between Johannesburg International Airport and Sabi Sabi introduced, while private charter flights from within South Africa can also make use of the new airstrip.
Work on the airstrip has taken several months, to ensure compliance with the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism's strict environmental regulations, which included completing a scoping report. According to managing director, Patrick Shorten, self-imposed regulating standards have also been adopted in order to control noise levels in the reserve.
The multi-million Rand project will streamline guest transport to and from Sabi Sabi's three five star lodges and ensure seamless travel for visitors. By the middle of May, the airstrip will also have a welcome facility, built in Earth Lodge's distinctive, organic architecture style that minimises environmental impact. Passengers also have access to a departure lounge at Johannesburg International Airport, which includes a personalised 'meet and greet' service off every international and domestic flight into Johannesburg. A complimentary Avis transfer from any hotel in the Johannesburg, Rosebank or Sandton CBD to the Federal Air lounge completes the package.
Commenting on the initiative, Shorten said: "Over the past few years we have identified a growing need for smooth, efficient transport to and from our lodges - both for international and local travellers. While Federal Air will continue to offer a short air transfer to our lodges from the new KMIA airport, private charters and our new dedicated air service now land directly on our reserve. Sabi Sabi and Nationwide also offer packages from Cape Town and Johannesburg to KMIA.
"Guests are treated to a traditional Sabi Sabi welcome directly at the airstrip, with refreshments, lemon towels and orientation. Lodge check-in on arrival will be an added benefit once all facilities are complete. This special attention, from the minute guests arrive, is what we are renowned for, so we see this as a natural progression in the services we offer," he said.
Game rangers and other Sabi Sabi staff have been trained in safety aspects of the airstrip, such as ensuring that it is clear of animals and birds for aircraft landing. Identifying the least environmentally sensitive area for construction means that the airstrip is located on the perimeter of the Sabi Sabi Reserve, within a 15-minute transfer to any one of its lodges.
Daily flights depart JIA at 11h30, arriving at the airstrip at 12h30, and depart for the return run at 13h15, arriving JIA at 14h15.
Issued by: Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve