Taking A Hot Air Balloon Over East Africa

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Ever wanted to sail across the African skies as you chase the sunset or follow the great migrations? Then look no further than East African hot air balloon trips. Hot air ballooning is a popular tourist activity the world over as it gives visitors the chance to explore the landscape at their leisure.

A hot air balloon safari is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that will take your breath away. Watching the land beneath you while enjoying the calmness and serenity of a hot air balloon ride is beyond relaxing.

Typically, a hot air balloon ride starts at sunrise so that you can see the picturesque view of the sun rising above into the horizon. You’ll be transferred to your hot air balloon before sunrise, so you’ll have to wake up early.

In most cases, you’ll spend an hour or so in the air and then you’ll descend and have a celebratory toast and breakfast in the bushes afterwards! The total time taken for an average hot air balloon day trip is about 4 to 5 hours.

Safety of Hot Air Balloon Rides

As far as the safety of hot air balloon rides is concerned, you don’t need to worry! Only experienced, licensed pilots are allowed to operate the balloons and safety precautions are taken to ensure there aren’t any mishaps. If the weather becomes unsuitable for flying, the pilots will let you know and you’ll get a refund!

So now that you know what it's all about and how to ensure your safety during your trip.

Let's check out what your options are with the best locations for hot air balloon safaris in East Africa:

1. Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

A hot air balloon ride Serengeti is a once-in-a-lifetime experience! At the Serengeti National Park, you can witness the majestic natural phenomenon, the Great Migration of Serengeti. Watching from up above as millions of herbivores migrate in search of food and water is breath-taking, to say the least. You can also spot the Big Five here!

  • Highlights: Great Migration of Serengeti, Big 5, hippos, elephants, giraffes, over 500 bird species.
  • Price: $600 per person, but the Serengeti balloon ride is worth it!
  • Best time to visit: Central Serengeti – all year round. For the other parts of Serengeti, it varies from place to place.
Watching the wildebeests from a hot air balloon

Watching the wildebeests from a hot air balloon, Image Source: AdventureAfricaHolidays.Com

2. Ruaha National Park, Tanzania

Observe the largest national park in Tanzania, the Ruaha National Park, from a bird’s eye view and appreciate the vastness and contrast that this National Park has to offer. From forests of giant baobab trees to mighty Ruaha River, around which most of the wildlife is concentrated, you’ll find special and rare sightings here! Over here, you can see many wildlife species that belong not only to East Africa but also a few that can be seen only in South Africa! These include the roan, sable and greater kudu. Apart from these, you’ll get to see lots of elephants, giraffes, buffaloes, lions, African wild dogs.

  • Highlights: Elephants, giraffes, buffaloes, lions, African wild dogs, baobab forest, Ruaha River, some South African wildlife species.
  • Cost: $575 per person
  • Best time to visit: June to October

3. Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tanzania

The Ngorongoro Conservation Area consists of the largest intact volcanic caldera of the world, the Ngorongoro Crater. Observing the different landscapes and scenic views from grassland to forest from up above is a thrilling experience. The vastness of the crater itself is breathtaking. When it comes to wildlife, you can get excellent wildlife viewing in a Ngorongoro Crater hot air balloon ride! Apart from the Big 5, you can also catch the Great Migration of Serengeti here as the herbivores cross this part.

  • Highlights: Great Migration of Serengeti, Big 5, African wild dogs, hippos, 500 species of birds, diverse vegetation including forests, swamps, lakes and grassland and the Ngorongoro Crater itself.
  • Cost: $600 per person
  • Best time to visit: December to March
Hot air balloon adventures in Tanzania

Hot air balloon adventures in Tanzania, Image Source: NatureBoundAfrica.Com

4. Masai Mara, Kenya

Observe the annual Great Migration of Serengeti here as the herbivores migrate to the plains of Masai Mara in Kenya. Here, too, you get a chance to view the Big 5 from up above, along with many other wildlife species and spectacular views.

  • Highlights: The Great Migration, Big 5, cheetahs, wildebeest, giraffes, hyenas, impalas
  • Cost: $475 per person
  • Best time to visit: July to October

5. Tarangire National Park, Tanzania

Hover over the Tarangire National Park in Tanzania and observe the numerous wildlife species it has to offer! The Tarangire River attracts most of the animals, so wildlife viewing is simple and easy here! Moreover, Tarangire has a pretty dense elephant population.

  • Highlights: Elephants, buffaloes, giraffes, zebras, wildebeest, cheetah, leopards, greater and lesser kudu and Verreaux Eagle Owls that have 4-feet long wings!
  • Cost: $500 per person
  • Best time to visit: July to October
Hot Air Balloon Safari In Tanzania

Hot Air Balloon Safari In Tanzania, Image Source: WitoAfricaSafaris.Com

6. Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda

Observe the famous tree-climbing lions in the Ishasha Sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park as you fly above them! It’s a pretty interesting and unique sight. The lions climb the trees in order to get away from the tsetse flies that are on the ground and also in the summer season to get away from the hot ground. Watch as the lions ferociously hunt for their prey.

  • Highlights: Tree climbing lions, Big 5, leopards, chimpanzees, hippos, elephants, buffaloes and about 600 bird species.
  • Cost: $380 per person, with a 50% discount for children under 12.
  • Best time to visit: January, February and June to September

7. Murchison Falls National Park, Uganda

Catch a bird’s eye view of the Victoria Nile, Lake Alberta and the Murchison Falls as you fly above the vast National Park. Watch lions as they hunt Uganda kobs and observe the wildlife as it gathers around the Victoria Nile and Lake Alberta

  • Highlights: Lions, 4 out of the Big 5(there aren’t any rhinos), Uganda kob, Rothschild’s giraffes, Pata’s monkey, chimpanzees, and many bird species including herons, ducks and fish eagles.
  • Cost: $380 per person, with a 50% discount for children under 12.
  • Best time to visit: December to February and June to September.
Hot air ballooning in Uganda

Hot air ballooning in Uganda, Image Source: Gorilla-Tracking.Com

8. Selous Game Reserve, Tanzania

Fly over the largest game reserve in Africa, the Selous Game Reserve. The Selous Game Reserve has a dense wildlife population and the numbers exceed any other in the country. Home to over 4,000 lions, Selous is the best place to observe the big cat!

  • Highlights: Big 5, hippos, wildebeest, zebras, impalas, giraffes, waterbuck, greater kudu, African wild dogs, crocodiles, leopards, hyenas and over 400 species of birds.
  • Cost: $500-$600 per person.
  • Best time to visit: June to October

Note: Prices correct at time of publication and are subject to change. 

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