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Kenya Airways Will Give You a Free Safari (Seriously)

Condé Nast Traveler logo Condé Nast Traveler 7/13/2018 Erin Florio
a large brown elephant walking through a lush green field © Getty

It's the airline perk to make a three-day stopover in Reykjavik feel like a layover in La Guardia. Since April, passengers on Kenya Airways in transit through Nairobi's Jobo Kenyatta can skip on the airport bar and head straight to a game-viewing drive, instead.

Kenya Airways, a member of Skyteam, that also includes Delta, KLM and Air France, launched the Nairobi National Park Stopover Package as a way to give passengers with a long layover "an alternative to waiting out the hours in the airport, where there is not much to do," says Kenya Airways CEO Sebastian Mikosz. Partnering with the Kenya Tourism Board and Kenya Wildlife Services, the airline arranges for passengers to leave the airport with a driver and tour guide for the park—the only national park in the world within city limits, and eight miles from Kenyatta—and spend the next four hours behind binoculars to spy lions, rare endangered black rhino, cheetah, giraffe, hippos and any of the park's 400 types of bird species.

All passengers need is a long enough layover to make it worth while (that's your call; the airline says you need around six hours) and the transit visa fee of $21. Kenya Airways takes care of everything else, down to the guide, driver, park fees and airport assistance to usher travelers through security and immigration queues. Passengers can either sign up for the safari when booking their tickets, or talk with a member of the Karuba ground crew in the transit lounge, once they land in Nairobi, says Mikosz.

It's not unusual for airlines to offer layover programs in their transit hubs. A number of carriers including Singapore offer free day trips and tours into the airport city as a way to beat a long time period between flights. Stopover programs, where airlines let travelers tack on up to three days for free in their hub city while in transit, has become increasingly popular, offered by airlines like Finnair, TAP, and IcelandAir.

Kenya Airways connects 14 cities in Europe and Asia to Nairobi and the East Africa region, including Dar Es Salaam, Mauritius and Kigali. In October, it will launch the world's first ever non-stop flight between JFK and Nairobi. Safari khaki never looked so good on a long haul.


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