Balloon Safari over the Serengeti

Balloon Safari over the Serengeti

The balloon experience starts before dawn. Depending on your camp’s location, you will be collected as early as 04:00 and taken to the balloon launch site. As the balloon’s huge envelope is filled by fans powered by a mobile generator, you will be briefed on safety precautions, and what you are likely to see. Finally, with the balloon still safely tethered, you climb aboard at about 06:30, just as the sun is about to break above the horizon. The basket is quite deep, with compartments and rails to grasp for safety and to brace yourself. When the full complement of passengers is loaded, the pilot starts the burner, the balloon is released, and you lift off.

For the next hour (flight times vary from 50–70 minutes) you drift above the plains with the winds, tracked by the ground crew in their vehicles. Depending on conditions, you may fly high over the forest, peering into vultures’ nests and watching baboons waking in their tree-top roosts, or swoop just a few metres above the dew-covered grass as zebra and antelope scatter. Skilled pilots can follow streams, to glide just yards above snorting hippos or prides of lions taking water, and skim the savannah low enough to capture aerial wildlife photos. However for much of the flight, you’ll soar like a tawny eagle through the dawning landscape as the sun transforms from a burnished orb on the shadowy horizon to a brilliant disc above the plains. You may have other balloons – often strikingly patterned – accompanying your flight.

Landings vary: as you descend, the balloon may drag the basket onto its side, leaving the passengers grasping the rails in a giggling cluster of arms and legs; or if the breeze is kind your pilot may execute the perfect finish, setting the basket upright onto suitable ground as the balloon collapses neatly to one side.

A full bush breakfast will be waiting for you after you land, with photos and certificates part of the fun, and you’ll toast your success with sparkling wine.

You continue your day with game drives and other activities, depending on what you’ve planned with your guide.

Start location and time: Various launch sites, pre-dawn

Duration of excursion: 3 hours in total

End location: Various locations, depending on the flight

Maximum size of group: Usually 16

Meals included: A full bush breakfast, with sparkling wine, is included after landing

Availability: Balloon flights are available every morning, subject to suitable weather conditions. If the flight is cancelled because of poor weather, you will be re-booked on a later flight or your money refunded.

Height and age restrictions
The basket height is 1.2m (4ft). Children need to be at least 1.2m in height and can then fly at the pilot’s discretion, depending on their age and maturity.