Africa is a destination where airfare from California is highly variable. The lowest priced airports tend to be Lagos, Nigeria in west Africa, Nairobi, Kenya in east Africa and Johannesburg in South Africa. South Africa is the farthest destination in the world from California, so fares under $1,000 can be considered on the low side of average fares.
Johannesburg, Lagos and Nairobi occasionally drop to under $800 round trip and this is one of those days for sub-$800 fares to Nairobi NBO from Los Angeles LAX and San Francisco SFO with Star Alliance and near $800 for Skyteam carriers.
United Airlines San Francisco SFO (UA) – Newark EWR (UA) – Zurich ZRH – Nairobi NBO (Swiss) – Dar Es Salaam DAR (Swiss) – Zurich ZRH (Swiss) – San Francisco SFO.
$795.30 Monday Oct 26 – Monday Nov 9
SFO-NBO was as low as $669 on May 12 with Delta and KLM. This is the lowest fare I have seen since then. The itinerary schedule on this particular ticket has an all-day layover in Newark and probably not the best routing possible.
Air France – KLM – SkyTeam $807
Los Angeles LAX-NBO Nairobi, Kenya
Skyteam has a similar fare to Star Alliance carriers as low as $807 flying Delta and KLM.
Google flights shows an $859 itinerary flying Air France and KLM with afternoon arrivals and overnight layovers in Paris and Amsterdam and Nairobi flights by Kenya Airways (SkyTeam member). You have to call Air France for that fare. I came up with a two-stop Delta-KLM itinerary at $807, when I checked Air France for this Kenya Airways fare.
Getting to Mahe SEZ, Seychelles and Dar Es Salaam DAR, Tanzania
One of the potential deals I see with low fares to Nairobi is an opportunity to tack on trips to Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania and Mahe, Seychelles.
Dar Es Salaam DAR is a destination that has seen several new western chain brand hotels open in the past few years. Hyatt Regency, DoubleTree, Protea (Marriott), Ramada and Best Western are in Dar Es Salaam. Zanzibar island has Park Hyatt Zanzibar and two DoubleTree by Hilton hotels.
Ethiopian Airlines (Star Alliance member) has $293 round trip flights to Dar Es Salaam via Addis Ababa ADD, Ethiopia. Kenya Airways (Skyteam) flies nonstop at $397 round trip.
Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak, is a $177 round trip flight from Nairobi to Peak Kilimanjaro Airport JRO on Kenya Airways (Skyteam).
Mahe, Seychelles SEZ airport
Flights on Ethiopian Airlines (Star Alliance member) to Mahe SEZ, Seychelles are $533 round trip via Addis Ababa ADD.
$1,329 round trip for Nairobi, Kenya and Mahe, Seychelles
$796 + $533 for a total fare of $1,329 Los Angeles to Mahe, Seychelles on Star Alliance carriers. That is equivalent or less than flying a single ticket to Mahe SEZ. Air France charges $1,400 for a ticket LAX-SEZ.
$1,378 round trip for Nairobi, Kenya, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania and Mahe, Seychelles
$796 LAX-NBO (United) + $293 NBO-DAR (Ethiopian Air) + DAR-SEZ $291 Air Seychelles
Lower priced flights to Mahe SEZ are found from Dar Es Salaam flying nonstop on Air Seychelles for $291 round trip. Air France will charge $1,400 for a single ticket from Los Angeles to Mahe Seychelles. For that same price, you can buy three tickets and tour Nairobi, Dar Es Salaam and Mahe, Seychelles if you book separate tickets.
This is another example where buying a low fare ticket to a gateway airport destination that is not on your bucket list as a strategy for lower fares to your true bucket list destinations.