Scenic Biplane Flight on Lewa Conservancy

Scenic Biplane Flight on Lewa Conservancy

For an unusual alternative to a game drive, why not try spotting wildlife from the air? Will Craig, one of the founders of the Lewa Conservancy and the owner of Lewa Wilderness, purchased a canary yellow WACO biplane in 2007 to give guests on the conservancy a once in a lifetime experience.

This plane is one of only two working replicas of the iconic Gipsy Moth aircraft flown in the classic film Out of Africa. Given that the film was set and shot in Kenya, what better way to channel your inner Robert Redford or Meryl Streep in the present day!

The experience starts at dawn, when you receive your classic leather flying jackets and helmets, and get a briefing on the flight over a cup of tea or coffee, and an introduction to the pilot – either Will Craig himself, or his nephew Harry Dyer, an experienced bush pilot in his own right. Then it’s an amusing clamber into the tiny passenger seats, before taking off as the early morning sunrise floods the Lewa plains.

If you’re flying for half an hour, you’ll be taken high over the Mokogodo Hills to the north, twisting and turning through the Ngare Ndare Gorge, then flying at low level over the Lewa Plains. It’s also possible to be an hour-long flight exploring further afield towards Samburu or the slopes of Mount Kenya, at altitudes of up to 4,300m (14,000ft).

While it’s quite likely you will have flown on a light aircraft by this point in your safari, it certainly won’t have been in a cockpit open to the elements, with a pilot flying – and guiding – from behind you. The pilot and passengers are able to communicate via their built-in helmet microphones and headsets and this adds really interesting insights into the local area and wildlife.

As a special treat and an unusual extra, the WACO experience has got to be one of the most unusual things you can add to your trip, and it’s well worth it if you’re a thrill-seeker, and aircraft enthusiast, celebrating a special occasion, or simply wanting a new perspective on your safari.

Start and end location: This activity starts and ends at Lewa Wilderness private airstrip.

Timing and duration: The flight generally takes off as the sun is rising and lasts either 30 minutes or an hour, depending on the package booked.

Maximum size of group: The WACO can take a maximum of two passengers. The maximum individual passenger weight is 110kg and maximum combined weight is 200kg.

Availability: This activity is available from any of the properties on Lewa Conservancy, although it is more expensive when not staying at Lewa Wilderness. Please note that the flights are operational depending on maintenance and weather conditions, and you will get a full refund if your flight has to be cancelled for these reasons.

Please note: Expert Africa only books excursions as a part of a full, Expert Africa itinerary.