Kenya Helicopter Tours
Gain a whole new perspective on Kenya’s incredible landscape by taking one of our thrilling scenic helicopter excursions. Fly between the jagged snow-capped peaks of Africa’s second highest mountain, land beside shimmering glacial lakes, glide through dramatic rocky gorges and soar alongside pink flamingos. A helicopter trip is the ultimate freedom and opportunity to discover some of Kenya’s most remote and inaccessible locations.
Epic Excursion by Air
WHAT TO EXPECT
Route:SASAAB – ORICA – RETETI – SASAAB
The Matthews is a chain of peaks which rise out of the desert-like lands of Kenya’s Northern Frontier District, stretching for over 150 kilometres
After taking off from Sasaab, follow the Ewaso Nyiro River and head north towards the Matthews Mountain Range, one of the wildest and most untouched areas left in Kenya. Covered in a lush tropical forest, they are a refuge for an incredible number of species who rely on the forest for water during the dry season. Elephants, buffalo, Grevy’s zebra, lion, leopard, colobus monkeys and wild dog are just some of the animals found here. Enjoy a coffee stop, where you might be able to spot and hear some of the 200 bird species and 150 butterfly species that live in the forest. As well as stunning views, you will be able to marvel at the giant cycads – enormous palm-like trees whose origins date back millions of years.
Leave the mountain forest and fly down to Reteti – the first ever community owned and run elephant sanctuary – in time for the the daily feeding of the orphans. It is a heartwarming experience to see the new wave of thinking that has taken place within surrounding Samburu communities who have united to protect their local wildlife.
Watching the baby elephants come in from their walk to enjoy milk and frolic in the mud hole is magical. You will have a keeper on hand to tell you about the important community and conservation work that Reteti does, answer any questions and give you a behind the scenes tour of the sanctuary before your return flight to Sasaab.
A Sasaab Excursion-
From hidden valleys to sparkling lakes and extreme deserts to volcanic craters, prepare to be amazed.
Awaken with an early breakfast before setting off at first light. As the sun creeps over the jagged peaks of Mount Kenya, you will fly northwest from Sasaab, dropping off the edge of the Laikipia Plateau and descending into the Great Rift Valley.
Marvel at the extraordinary landscape as you fly up the Suguta Valley, one of the hottest places on earth and sensationally nicknamed ‘The Valley of Death’. Geologists have long been fascinated by this remote landscape, full of ancient fossils and rock formations. Giant granite rocks perched atop eroded volcanic ash stacks known as ‘Hudus’ dot the valley, before giving way to the ‘Painted Valley’. Here, the deep rocky gorge is layered with contrasting strata of rock and volcanic ash, creating a rainbow-like effect. There is the option of landing for a coffee stop amidst the dramatic rock formations or by one of the natural springs found here.
After a while, the valley opens up into a flat expanse of grassland and palm trees, before giving way to miles and miles of sand dunes, created by the relentless winds that sweep through the Suguta Valley. Touch down to disembark and fully take in this desolate and extraordinary place with no signs of life for miles around.
At the northern end of the Suguta Valley spot an abundance of crocodiles in the oasis of crystal clear pools which arise here in the middle of the desert. From here, continue north over Lake Logipi, a six-kilometre gleaming expanse of greenish-blue, streaked with the pink plumage of flamingos. This seasonal saline lake is a vital breeding ground for the lesser flamingo. In the middle, a rocky island rises out of the water known as ‘Cathedral Rock’. This is a once in a lifetime trip is also a photographer’s dream: only a handful of photographers have captured these incredible landscapes.
Separating Logipi from its colossal neighbour, Lake Turkana, is an enormous barrier of jet-black molten lava. As you ascend up over its 152-metre sides, you will be met by spectacular views of Lake Turkana stretching as far as the eye can see. Known as ‘The Jade Sea’ for its rich turquoise colour and vast size (it is the largest permanent desert lake in the world), it’s a true hidden jewel of the north.
Fly over the perfectly conical Nabiyotum Crater on the edge of Lake Turkana. This geological marvel looks like a giant funnel and is fascinating to see. There is the option for a landing here if you wish. On your way back to the lodge, stop for a picnic lunch at a secret spot and enjoy more spectacular scenery.
For a once in a lifetime opportunity, to encounter one of the most mysterious tribes of East Africa, you can combine this adventure with a visit to the remote community of Pokot people, just west of Mount Silali. The Pokot are one of the nomadic pastoralist tribes who inhabit Kenya’s arid northern lands. Totally dependent on their livestock, their survival in such a harsh environment is quite remarkable. Spend a fascinating hour here, learning about their cultural traditions.
The jade sea is the largest permanent desert lake in the world.
A Solio Lodge Excursion-
The rugged and diverse terrain on the mountain is hugely biodiverse.
Enjoy a light breakfast at dawn before setting off from the lodge just after first light. From Solio, you will fly straight to Mount Kenya for a scenic tour of Africa’s second highest mountain whose lofty peaks are the result of a volcanic eruption around three million years ago. There are in fact three separate peaks, the highest of which is named Batian and rises to 5,199 metres. Fly between the eye of the needle – one of the jagged rock formations at the top – and marvel at the icy crags and geographical variety. Despite being on the equator, Mount Kenya still has a smattering of icy snow and contains eleven glaciers, although experts predict that they are likely to have disappeared by 2050. The rugged and diverse terrain on the mountain is hugely biodiverse. Keep your eye peeled for the extremely elusive and critically endangered mountain bongo. Less than 100 individuals are remaining in the wild, and a small pocket of these live in Mount Kenya National Park. You might also spot elephant and buffalo, as well as a variety of plains game adapted to high altitude living.
Sparkling mountain lakes make a rather idyllic viewing on this excursion. Fly over Lake Michaelson, a glacial erosion lake set in a deep valley and surrounded by towering cliffs. Touch down at Lake Rutundu or Lake Alice, another two trout-filled tarns, invitingly azure yet too icy for a dip! Enjoy coffee and a light bite before heading back to Solio.
All the pilots we work with are experienced fishermen that would be happy to teach you how to get a trout or two.
A Solio Lodge Excursion-
Awaken for an early breakfast before departing just after first light for the Aberdare Mountain Range just southwest of the lodge.
This narrow volcanic massif stretches 70 kilometres through central Kenya, its highest peaks rising to almost 4,000 metres. Designated a National Park in 1951, the 766 square kilometres of protected land holds an astonishing diversity of habitats, from rolling moorland, deep river valleys and lichen-hung forests, to bamboo thickets and giant heather woodland. Not surprisingly, it also hosts prolific wildlife. Here you can find the second largest herd of endangered black rhino as well as African wild dog, giant forest hog and black and white colobus monkeys, to name but a few. It is also one of the only places on earth (along with Mount Kenya National Park) where elephants live at over 3,000 metres in altitude. Your scenic Aberdares flight will begin by flying over the Salient – the lowest altitude area of the park where most of the larger species tend to be concentrated. Look out for black rhino in this area, as well as plains game such as buffalo, eland, zebra, waterbuck and various other antelope species.
As you ascend the slopes of the mountain, you will notice changes in the vegetation, with several distinct zones and incredible botanical richness. Leaving the dense montane forests of the lower slopes, you will fly over bamboo forest, before entering woodland of East African rosewood (hagenia) trees and giant figs. Look out for movement of elephant herds below as they crash through the trees. Continuing your ascent, you will notice the terrain changing again to scrubland and zones of giant heather, before giving way to rolling tussock moorland higher up. As you soar above this diverse and pristine wilderness, look out for crystal-clear trout-filled streams and thundering waterfalls, the highest of which, Karuru Falls, crashes 300 metres into the spray-filled gorge below. In the misty, damp realms at the top of the Aberdares, touch down to explore a unique rock formation known as ‘Dragon’s Teeth’. Sporadically jutting out of the earth, these volcanic towers of rock are said to resemble a dragon’s jaws, hence their nickname. Enjoy a coffee stop here while you explore the rocks. Return to Solio in the late morning.
A Solio Lodge Excursion-
Route:-Solio-Mukutan Gorge0-Lake Bogoria-Solio
The lake is a haven for flamingos and is one of their major feeding and breeding sites.
Enjoy an early breakfast before departing from the lodge.
Fly northwest to explore the remote Mukutan Gorge, a deep fault line that drops off into the Great Rift Valley. The landscape here is a labyrinth of rolling green hills and deep valleys filled with lush, unspoilt vegetation and wildlife. Fly low over palms, orchids, hot springs and towering waterfalls cascading into turquoise pools.
From here you will fly to Lake Bogoria – a stunning blue ribbon of mirror-like water fringed pink with the plumage of thousands of flamingos. After a brief touch down at the Bogoria National Reserve gate to pay park fees, glide over the glassy water, marvelling at the incredible diversity of birdlife, for which the lake is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a photographer’s dream.
The strongly alkaline and algae-rich waters can attract an itinerant population of up to two million lesser flamingos at a time. Seeing the sky streaked crimson with flamingo flight formations beside you is an incredible site. Also enjoy the perspective of seeing an array of birdlife from the ground, stopping for a beautifully scenic lakeside coffee and bite to eat.
As you take to the skies again, fly over bubbling pools and billowing clouds of steam on Bogoria’s western shores which are dotted with hot volcanic springs and geysers. Head back to the lodge in time to relax and reflect on your morning’s adventures before lunch.
- The flight time may increase or decrease depending on the weather en route.
- The cost of diversion due to war or weather is billed directly to the client. The quotation is subject to change. Actual hours flown will determine the invoice.
- Should there be a situation where the weather/other unforeseen circumstance (e.g. force majeure/technical issue with helicopter/illness of pilot) mean that the excursion is not able to take place, a full refund will be provided to the guest.
- Luggage will be strictly limited to 15kgs per person including hand luggage. If there are 2 people or more on the flight who weigh over 100kgs, the baggage allowance reduces to 10kgs per person including hand luggage. All bags must be soft sided. It is not possible to put hard sided cases into the helicopter baggage hold.
- Minimum age of passenger flying is 2 years old.
- A safety harness will be provided and must be worn by all children if deemed necessary by the pilot.
- The helicopter that The Safari Collection is operating is a Eurocopter AS350 B3+ powered by an Arriel Turbomeca 2D engine, with five passenger seats and one pilot.
- Costs are based on the helicopter being at the property that is mentioned as the starting point for the excursion. Additional costs will be incurred if the helicopter is required to re-locate to the starting point for the excursion.
- Rates exclude all extras such as park entrances, community fees, conservation fees and landing fees where applicable.