Due to their location, many African safari camps are accessed by light aircraft. As these planes are small, there are size and weight restrictions (both for customers and their luggage). Just as passengers need to know in advance about the restrictions; it is even more important that we inform the airlines about any unusual shapes they will be carrying.
Pulse Africa’s Travel Specialist, Sandi Elkington explains the weight restrictions:
“It has to do with weight averages; if the charter companies assume that the average person weighs X and is Y high and they have Z amount of baggage, the sum total of the aircraft is therefore XYZ. Keep in mind that most of these charter aircraft are tiny, just like the gorgeous Cessna 206’s. I myself am six foot tall and just about have to fold myself in half to get into the seats (all part of the fun)!
I have experienced some flexibility with these airlines when it comes to their levels of strictness but would still err on the side of caution. Last year in Kenya some bright spark presented a Samsonite suitcase at check-in for our flight to the Samburu and the airline staff didn’t even bat their eyelashes. But on a flight from Wilson Airport to Kilimanjaro, my bag was two kilograms overweight (thanks to a thousand brochures) and I had to rely on my guide to sweet-talk the excess baggage charges away.
Your weight is averaged out at eighty kilograms per person with clothes on. If you are over six foot, you will have your legs tightly packed in. Your bags, including your hand luggage, cannot exceed fifteen kilograms (and must be packed in soft-sided bags). If you are over this weight or height please let us have this info beforehand so we can inform the charter company.
But oh, once seated and the pilot is doing his thing at the controls, we start to move down the runway, there is nothing quite like the whirr of the engines, the thrill of take-off and the joy at the unfolding scenery to put a huge silly grin on my face. It’s worth all the weight restrictions and you’ll be glad for their precautions when you are mid-air.”