Review of Safarilink flight Lamu Nairobi in Economy

Airline Safarilink
Flight F2052
Class Economy
Seat 4A
Flight time 01:55
Take-off 20 Dec 22, 15:35
Arrival at 20 Dec 22, 17:30
F2 1 reviews
bldavid
By GOLD 947
Published on 5th January 2023

I went on a 30-day trip in December 2022 and January 2023 to leave the Icelandic winter behind me for some time. The trip had four main parts: visiting Sudan and Kenya; visiting friends, colleagues and relatives in Hungary and the Czech Republic; a family holiday in Tenerife and a business trip to Senegal, The Gambia and Sierra Leone.

I had a total of 18 flights, booked mostly as one-ways and one double open-jaw. Here’s my final list of flights after many cancellations, changes of departure time and aircraft type:

Keflavík to Paris CDG, Icelandair, economy class, B757 (no flight report)
Paris to Istanbul, Turkish, business class, A321
Istanbul to Khartoum, Turkish, business class, B737
Khartoum to Addis, Ethiopian, economy class upgraded to business class, B737
Addis to Nairobi NBO, Ethiopian, economy class upgraded to business class, B777
Nairobi WIL to Mombasa to Lamu, Skyward Express, economy class, Q300
Lamu to Malindi to Nairobi WIL, Safarilink, economy class, Q200
Nairobi NBO to Istanbul, Turkish, business class, A330
Istanbul to Budapest, Turkish, business class, B737
Vienna to Tenerife South, Wizzair, economy class, A321
Tenerife North to Gran Canaria, Binter Canarias, economy class, ATR42
Grand Canaria to Dakar, Binter Canarias, economy class, E195
Dakar to Banjul, Air Sénégal, economy class, A320
Banjul to Freetown, Air Sénégal, economy class
Freetown to Banjul, Air Sénégal, economy class
Banjul to Casablanca, Royal Air Maroc, business class
Casablanca to Paris ORY, Royal Air Maroc, business class
Paris CDG to Keflavík, Play, economy class

This was a flight from Lamu to Nairobi Wilson Airport with a stop in Malindi.

I booked this flight because it was supposed to be on a C208B, a 12-seater small aircraft. I hoped for a flight at low altitude with beautiful views. Unfortunately for me the flight was operated by a Dash 8-Q200 with 37 passengers seats, registration number 5Y-SLO, built in 1998.

Safarilink is a Kenyan airline based at Nairobi Wilson Airport. It has a fleet of one Cessna Grand Caravan C208B and four different Dash 8s. Destinations include 15 airports such as Tsavo West, Nanyuki, Masai Mara, Loisaba, Lamu, Kitale, Kiliminjaro, Amboseli, Zanzibar, Samburu, Naivasha, Malindi, Lewa Downs, Kisumu and Diani Beach.

Lamu Airport is on Manda Island: you need to take a short crossing on one of the many small boats. It takes 10 to 15 minutes.

The terminal is a few hundred meters from the pier. It’s a cute small building.  


photo 01

Check-in is on the left side. It’s not a big airport and everything works in a relaxed way.


photo 02

The waiting lounge is semi-open.


photo 03

This is the view from the terminal.


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Boarding started at 15.20. We had to walk a few hundred meters to the plane which was waiting on a gravel apron while the new apron (with asphalt surface) was being built.  


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This plane has eight rows in a 2+2 configuration and a last row with 5 seats so a total of 37 seats. The flight was almost completely full. Legroom was OK.


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I was supposed to sit in seat 2D but I was moved to 4A at the emergency exit row as two older passengers preferred not to sit there. No problem for me, of course.

An expected flight time of 25 minutes at an altitude of 8,500 feet was announced to Malindi.

The engine on the right side was kept running while the plane was on the ground. The other engine was started at 15.33. Our plane started to taxi 15.34 for a scheduled departure of 15.35. We took off at 15.37 from runway 15. The runway is 6,330 feet /1,930 meters long and is paved with asphalt.

A view of Manda Island.  


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The Kenyan coast near Malindi.


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The view a short time before landing at Malindi Airport.


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We landed at 16.05 in Malindi for a scheduled arrival time of 16.00. 


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There were a lot of small aircraft on the apron. 


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All passengers had to disembark while the plane was refuelled. We spent around 10 minutes in the airy waiting area.


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Some passengers’ final destination was Malindi and some others embarked here bound for Nairobi.

We boarded the plane again. An expected flight time of one hour and ten minutes at a cruising altitude of 18,000 feet was announced.

We started to taxi at 16.32 for a scheduled departure time of 16.25. We took off at 16.35.

Views of Malindi right after take-off. 


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The Galana River (I think).


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A small bottle of complimentary water was offered.


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Views of Nairobi before landing.


photo 17

We landed at Nairobi Wilson Airport at 17.40 for a scheduled arrival time of 17.30.



We walked to the terminal airport among many small aircraft. A very different and much more interesting experience than arriving to a big airport.



Luggage delivery was in front of the terminal building. Quite unusual.


photo 28

I took a taxi and went to The Boma Hotel Nairobi. 

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Verdict

Safarilink

7.0/10
Cabin7.0
Cabin crew9.0
Entertainment/wifi5.0
Meal/catering7.0

Lamu - LAU

8.5/10
Efficiency9.0
Access8.0
Services8.0
Cleanliness9.0

Nairobi - WIL

8.3/10
Efficiency9.0
Access9.0
Services7.0
Cleanliness8.0

Conclusion

Although the aircraft was not the small Cessna I had hoped for, it was an interesting flight. The departure, the intermediary and the final airport are all very different from the big airports we usually use.

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