Hot air balloon Safaris are One of Africa’s most remarkable safari experiences and these are offered in just a couple of wonderful safari areas. The balloon flights usually begin very early in the morning just before sun rise and they last between thirty minutes to one hour. The baskets attached to the balloon can take a limited number of people depending on its size varying from 24, or 16, or12 or 8 or 6 or 4 guests and the pilot. The flight includes flying to higher altitude which will reward you with wider sweeping views across the terrain, and flights on lower altitude offering closer views of wildlife. At the end of the adventure, a traditional champagne breakfast is normally served in the bush. I should mention that this is one of the pricey safari activities in Africa, however if you are willing to splash around some money, and then why not enjoy this unique adventure?
Below are the best destinations on the African continent where you can enjoy a hot air balloon Safari.
- Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
Special for its scenic game viewing experience, a balloon tour in Serengeti which is found in Northern Tanzania is perfect for your African wildlife Mecca trip. This top national park has rides in hot air balloons that depart from three places. The Seronera River Valley that is located in Central Serengetihas permanent water with animals gathering around it throughout the year. The month of May as well as June is when the Great Migration happens. The Western Serengeti is the stage where the Great Migration plays out with the dramatic crossings of multitudes of gnu to the other side of the Grumeti River together with the big courageous Nile crocodiles. Many of the animals meet their death along this dangerous river while others use a diversion to avoid it. In Serengeti while taking a wildlife tour individually, you should not miss out on seeing the wildebeests gathering in the Southern Serengeti plains from December and beyond where they give birth to eight thousand babies daily in a marathon of three weeks. You can clearly get an open and closer aerial look at the action from the suitable balloon flights compared to watching from the comfort of your safari vehicle on the convenient Serengeti plains. (Get more information on the best moments to tour Serengeti)
The conditions for this famous activity are appropriate in the wee morning hours although due to the restricted seating capacity, one is encouraged to book in advance before taking an East African safari vacation. The activity sadly only accommodates children who are above the age of seven as well as healthy and energetic grown-ups. Passengers who weigh 265 pounds (120 kilograms) may be required to book two places since weight is an important safety factor. For every one-hour trip, the huge balloons accommodate sixteen people with the baskets being divided for security as well as enjoyment.Similar to the expensive automobile, the balloons which are safely replaced every couple of hours have massive costs which are reflected in the prices. All individual passengers who want tourist allowances pay high feesto the national park. For every trip, twenty staff members as well as a licensed pilot who is an expert and is experienced are required for not only transport from and to the ceremonial champagne breakfast plus launch but also recovery as well as launching. A few of the flights are relatively low and one can view particular animals at close range while other flights are quite high and you can see the beautiful scenery for miles away making every flight special. A vacation to Northern Tanzania can give you an unforgettable experience for days to come even though it is quite costly. If you are a newlywed and you want to a romantic getaway in Africa’s Great Plains, there is a possibility of hiring unique balloon flights that are intimate in the Grumeti Reserve.
- Queen Elizabeth and Murchison Falls National Parks, Uganda
In Uganda, hot air balloon safari adventures can only be enjoyed in the renowned Murchison Falls National Park as well as Queen Elizabeth National Park i(which was named after the queen of England following her visit in Uganda). The activity is conducted by a fully certified and well registered company – the Dream Balloons. Get a chance to experience Uganda’s rich wildlife in a unique different from the ordinary game drives in Safari Vehicles. You will catch views of large herds of elephants, hippo, buffaloes, zebras, lions as well as various antelopes as you glide over the different wildlife habitats including swamps, forest lands, open grasslands and water streams.
The balloon is normally launched in the morning before sunrise and the flight takes about one hour. The morning wind will blow the balloon and you will get a remarkable opportunity to take very nice photographs of the wildlife from an aerial view and the beautiful African sunrise. you will see the numerous wild animals that congregate the banks of river Nile (the longest river in the world) which flows through the Murchison Falls national park. At the end of the adventure, participants will be treated to a delicious champagne breakfast.
- Tarangire National Park, Tanzania
A hot air balloon flight in Tarangire is the perfect African safari adventure that every holidaymaker can ever imagine. You become a part of the natural world as you soar through the Tarangire wildlife sanctuary with the early morning wind gently blowing the huge balloon. you will catch sight of these plains coming to life as the rays of the rising sun spread across the terrain. You can view the golden grasslands splashed with the big baobab trees when you ascend high enough. You can also see Tarangire river’s silver ribbons as well as its branches that attract masses of wildlife in the wee hours of the morning. From a far, you can also see the blue layout of the African rift valley ridge as well as a crowd of elephants who from their shabby woodland acacia sanctuary look at you with white blade-like tasks that are offset by their grey skins that are suede. You may also glide over spotted small hills of big termite dunes and at the crack of dawn, you can see their black shadows stretching across, you can also check out the four-foot winged Verreaux’s Eagle Owl at a low angle above the baobab when it is distracted from its relaxation after its nightly hunt or you can see the knob-headed, long necked giraffe. Afore the balloon shadows, the radiant zebras herds run on the arid plains with the gazelles jumping away as they flicker striped bottoms. (You can discover more on the best moments to tour Tarangire)
Before heading to the launch site, you are given warm drinks before your Tarangire balloon tour which starts 4:00a.m. Burners come to life with the breathtaking flames ejecting into the mouth of gigantic colorful (A415 series) Cameroon balloon fights to go up as it tops up dominating the basket tied at ground level. Sixteen brave travelers climb into eight bamboo cells dressed in light sweaters plus longs to keep the cold early morning wind at bay. The adults are required to be in good physical shape and also weigh less than 120 kilograms plus the children should be above the age of seven. At 6:00 a.m. the personnel on the ground sets the basket that is suspended beneath the rolling canopy free. It is quickly raised up above the surface. The licensed and skilled pilot in charge of you will take full advantage of the dominant winds for the following one hour. For any assistance, a standby vehicle follows privately to assist in safely returning the African Mecca balloonists back on ground with a bush breakfast champagne feast awaiting them. You can enjoy your meal that is prepared on the balloon’s burners with a variety of options such as bacon, eggs, waffles, pancakes as well as potatoes. Flight certificates with marvels of what the adventurers saw are given to those who are ecstatic as they head back in the comfort of their vehicles leaving them with a new attitude. It is expensive to take a balloon trip above the Tarangire. Replacement as well as maintenance costs are quite costly. A licensed pilot with an experience of over 1000 hours together with a crew of twenty members are needed for every flight. It is a valuable and an unforgettable experience to treat yourself to an aerial vacation in Tanzania.
- Maasai Mara, Kenya
Flying in air and being able to see the Maasai Mara ecosystem with a keen eye is among the best experiences in Maasai Mara. In Maasai Mara, the three tour companies that deal with ballooning safaris include the Sky ship company, the Governor’s camp plus Maasai Mara’s oldest company with a perfect safety record which is the Hot air balloon.
Balloon safaris are an unforgettable experience and usually as the balloon gradually carries the basket in air, many visitors are encouraged to close their eyes and take their seats since its beginning shakes and sounds are scary and one may not be in control of their feelings when they experience the movements of the basket as it sets off the ground.
The safari begins with an early morning call for a small breakfast and then you set off to the beginning point where you will find the pilot who will brief you. You will then launch to the skys as the sun comes out with the buoyance taking about one or two hours basing on the day’s weather. You can also delight in an aerial view of the billowy Great Rift Valley splendid landscape as well as taking a close look at the big cats particularly those on a hunt who can be tracked and joined for the hunt.
Getting a perfect angle at an aerial point for amazing pictures as well as discovering the hidden corners with the Maasai Mara birds that is to say at the tree top peaks will shoot your happiness through the roof.
The team on board will be awarded success certificates after having a heavy breakfast in the wilderness plus making a toast with a glass of wine upon touchdown. Before going back to the lodges for lunch plus refreshments, you will be escorted by your driver guide and you will get to see many more animals from a different point of view in the comfort of a safari vehicle.
- Sossusvlei Desert, Namibia
Sossusvlei Desert offers a very impressive and unique opportunity to experience the dazzling vista as you soar away in a hot air balloon adventure. This very satisfactory and unforgettable experience will reward you with uninterrupted good photographic opportunities and moments that will forever remain alive in your mind.
You will get up very early in the morning before sun rise and transfer to the launch site of the balloon where you will see the crew assemble the balloon. You will observe as the massive nylon which is tied to a huge basket is inflated using huge hot flames. as the terrain come to life with the rays of the rising sun extending over the beautiful sand dunes and the early morning breeze sets in, the balloon will begin to rise.
As you soar above the plains of the Sossusvlei, you will see large herds of different animals such as the oryx get small right below you, and see the mysterious elf circles become prominent as concave circular patches without vegetation, – a very fascinating occurrence within the Namib Desert. The balloon will rise at different heights and the morning breeze will cause it to progressively rotate offering you a 360 degree sweeping view new at every turn. You won’t fail to notice the animals below staring up at the giant ‘ball’ gliding above them. After some time, the experience pilot will choice an ideal landing spot. On landing, you will be offered a nice breakfast in celebration of the accomplishment and while at it, you will get a chance to interact with other participants as you have a recap of the entire experience.
- Kafue National Park, Zambia
This is the largest national park in Zambia and the second largest across the entire African continent. It prides in a natural unspoiled wilderness comprised of a variety of animal species and a great place to enjoy a bird watching safari. The park is not ideal for a holidaymaker taking a wildlife safari and that is mainly because of its vast size which allows the wild animals to disperse over a wide area despite their large numbers a thing that results into more tiresome game drives.
Kafue National Park can best explored by a hot air balloon. The wide open plains of Busanga filled with large numbers of animals and birds, floodplains, charming lagoon and the beautiful tree islands are all breathtaking when observed from above. When compared to a helicopter flight over Kafue, taking a slower flight in the balloon makes the adventure even more exciting as the ride does not emit so much noise to scare off the animals. Some of the animals you are likely to encounter during this adventure include: prides of lions, herds of buffaloes, giant elephants and pods of hippos.
What makes hot air ballooning in Kafue even more enjoyable as compared to some other renowned destination like the Serengeti is its sheer size, its isolation as well as the peaceful nature of the park all of which can best be enjoyed while soaring at a higher elevation. The balloon safaris offered in Kafue National Park in Zambia take between thirty and forty five minutes.
- South Africa
Get an opportunity to drift through the beautiful skies of South Africa with unmatched views of the beautiful landscape right below you as you watch over the rim of the hot-air balloon basket. South Africa prides in a diverse beautiful countryside with stunning landscapes, and there is no better way to see all this than gliding in a hot air balloon. for several years, this was used as a form of transport several years ago as early as the 1970s, however today it has become one of the most loved tourist activities in the country.
Hot air balloons usually begin very early in the morning just before the sunrise. You will reach the launching site and get a chance to observe the crew assemble the balloon as well as get a briefing from the pilot who will lead you on this amazing excursion. Not before long, you will board into the basket and starts gently rising off the ground to a height or 10 to 20 meters. the flight is slow and will take about one hour as you glide over the beautiful terrain, the breathtaking view of the sunrise bring life to the countryside is very impressive and worth experiencing. Fortunately hot air balloon adventure are open to all holiday makers of different age groups and the sense of serenity you will enjoy is well worth the cost of this amazing adventure. At the end of it all, the pilot will get a perfect landing site and then you enjoy a yummy champagne breakfast in celebration of completing this once in a lifetime adventure.
Across South Africa, there are a number of places where Hot Air Balloon Safaris are organized and these are highlighted below:
Drakensberg or the Kwazulu Natal Midlands: here there are a number of companies that offer adventure flights in the hot air balloon such as Airborne Adventures, and these have various launching sites. During the adventure you will enjoy views of the Kamberg Valley, the Midlands as well as the Giant Castle located close by. The balloon flights go for one hour and a champagne breakfast on landing crowns off the adventure.
The Cape Winelands: here the hot air balloon flights are launched in the Berg River valley, and holidaymakers will get a chance to explore the splendor of the Boland as they glide over rolling beautiful fields, vineyards as well as orchards. The flight is very smooth and peaceful with the gentle morning breezing moving the balloon. At the end of the flight a nice buffet breakfast will be awaiting you.
Hartebeespoort Dam – Gauteng: you will discover that some of the most conducive weather for flying a hot air balloon is in this amazing area. You will be rewarded with breathtaking views over the shinning lake and the beautiful valleys as you gently glide above the ground. There are a number of operators working within this area including Bill Harrops who has several years of experience. At the end of the adventure you will enjoy a delicious Champaign breakfast.
Pilanesberg Game Reserve: well an early morning launch of the hot air balloon flight over this amazing reserve will take you over the African bushland where you will see a number of African wildlife including the big Five animals. Some of the animals you are likely to see include; elephants, giraffes, hippos buffaloes, zebras wildebeests and rhinos. at the end of this unique wildlife adventure, you will enjoy an English breakfast.
Questions Concerning Hot Air Balloon Rides
- What maximum weight and minimum age is permitted?
Generally, children below the age of three years are prohibited from flying from ballooning. For any individual traveler who weighs above two hundred and fifty pounds, a few of the balloon companies request for such information beforehand although the weight limit doesn’t seem to exist for individual travelers.
- Is it rough when taking off or landing of the balloon ride?
Many of the take-offs are usually mild however if the conditions are breezy the take-off can be somewhat faster. For safety concerns, a pilot is prohibited from taking off if the wind is over fifteen knots.
Tip over is the term for most of the landings whereby a balloon basket stops and lies sideways after being dragged on the ground for over twenty meters.
3 What is required?
You can dress in many covers to be able to change from the early dark mornings above the African terrain to the morning sun. Closed shoes for the grassy routes that you will walk through after landing, cameras as well as binoculars are very vital on this adventure. Sunglasses as well as a hat with straps may come in handy.
- The length of the flight
The flight duration is an hour. Basing on the wind conditions, you will travel for roughly fifteen to twenty kilometers. The trip begins at 0500hours when you take off after being moved to the launch site and ends at around 1030 hours when breakfast at the bush has been completed and you are being shifted back to your camp or lodge.
- When should I book my hot air balloon safari?
We recommend that you book a couple of weeks before your desired date of taking the adventure to guarantee that you get a spot on your preferred date. Remember that there is a limit on the number of people that can be carried by each balloon at a time, so the early you make your reservation, the more guarantee you have.
- Why is a Hot air Balloon Safari conducted in the earl morning?
Well, there are various considerations you should always look at while organizing a hot air balloon safari in Africa. The movement of the balloon majorly depends on the weather so flying in strong winds or in fog is very hazardous. it is for that reason that the hota air balloon flights are launched close to the sun rising, just before the temperatures of the day begin to rise.