A Serengeti hot air balloon ride is an adventure that can easily be included in safari itineraries that include at least two nights in central Serengeti or Western Corridor Camps (Grumeti River Camp, Kirawira Camp, Mbalageti Camp, etc).
At 5:00am Serengeti Balloon Safaris will collect you from your central Serengeti lodging, or from an organized collection point for those in western Serengeti, and transfer you by Land Rover to the launch site near Masai Kopjes. Here you will meet your pilot, receive a briefing and watch the inflation of your balloon.
You take off at dawn, rising as the sun rises and float in whichever direction the winds of the morning take us. Your pilot can precisely control the altitude of your balloon and will sometimes fly lower-down, at treetop height and sometimes lower, offering a unique perspective over the majestic Serengeti and many great photo opportunities of the wildlife below.
At other times he will ascend to 300 meters (1000 feet) or more so you can take in the wonderful panorama of the Serengeti and get an appreciation for its profound size.
Duration of flight is roughly one hour.
Hot air balloon ride breakfast
Once you are back on the ground, you will be escorted to a table that has been laid out to the highest of standards. The table is laid with bone china and silver cutlery.
Fresh tropical fruits, warm freshly baked bread and English traditional breakfast of bacon, sausage, eggs, mushrooms and tomatoes are served by stewards in customary Swahili dress.
You will also be given a glass of sparkling wine to help celebrate this amazing adventure. For those who do not wish to drink, there are alternate non-alcoholic drinks available. At around 9:30am,you will be driven back to central Serengeti lodges or to the organized drop off point in westerns Serengeti to continue your safari adventure!
The feeling is indescribable, crispness of the African air, chill in the wind that hits your face as your Mara hot air balloon gradually rises, smoothness in the exhale of your breath, and the excitement to see and learn more. One’s physical presence can be felt on the plains of the Serengeti when reading this.
You trip begins when you get your wake up call at your safari lodge in central Serengeti in the early hours of the morning, as you yawn away, and thoughts about your wildlife viewing from an elevated position begins to stir your mind. The fresh Tanzanian traditional hot tea and coffee quickly awaken you, in fact preparing you for a “mission”.
By 6.00 a.m. you are almost arriving at the hot air balloon site in the Serengeti. As you approach the site, the balloon seems bigger than you expected, the experience is one that has never been visited, and you are about to have a trip of a lifetime.
Liftoff! Up and away we go! At 6.15 a.m., the hot air balloon safari starts. The captain asks you to relax and experience the wonders under the African sky. As you finally start to get a grip on the elevation, an inner smile that resonates on one’s face does not need an explanation.
The wildebeest moving in large numbers across the Serengeti plains, the beauty of the landscape when the rising sun’s bright orange colors are displayed, the elephants at the water pool, and the gazelles and zebras scampering away, just if it was their first time to witness an alien object in the sky.
By 7.15 a.m., one is very content with balloon safari, and it is almost touch down time. There is a celebration, and for those who prefer a toast, champagne is served, as hot breakfast in the bush is being prepared.
You ask yourself, is this true? I am really doing this trip of a lifetime in Tanzania? In the Serengeti? As the sweetness and aroma of the African coffee or tea surrounds you, with fresh eggs being served as you like it, you hope for another ride, and wish that such luxury never ended.
By the time you finish your Serengeti bush breakfast, you have made up your decision to immigrate to Tanzania because such life is only found here. You begin to question yourself, and you feel an urgency to seek, live and enjoy this pristine beauty, a once in a lifetime “thing”.
By 9.00 a.m., you have been declared a champion, a mighty certificate of completion handed out to you which you hope to display in your home country, to family, friends, coworkers. Clapping and participation by everyone present makes you proud to have achieved a trip as wonderful as this.
By then, you hear a blaring sound of music or even an annoying buzz, you turn around and switch of the alarm clock. Your eyes wide open, you know that you have to get back to Tanzania, to Serengeti, again otherwise the recurring dreams will drive you mad.