There’s nothing like a dawn hot air balloon flight over the bush: listening to the roar of the burners, watching a tower of giraffe canter gently below you, and the early morning mist rising gently off the savannah. At the end of your hour-long adventure, watching the sun creep over the horizon and turn the savannah to gold, you’ll float back down to earth, ending with a tumble as the basket touches the ground. More often than not, you’ll have a champagne breakfast waiting for you, before returning to camp as if you’ve arrived from another world.
Despite being firmly embedded in popular imagination, as part of the essential safari experience, hot air balloon safaris are offered in surprisingly few African game reserves. If you’re visiting Kenya, the Masai Mara’s almost certain to make up at least part of your safari, and a hot air balloon flight can easily be arranged here. Further south, in Tanzania, balloon flights are on offer in some, but not all, parts of the Serengeti, while down in Zambia they’re a seasonal offering on the floodplain of Kafue National Park. If you like your hot air balloon safari a little greener, try Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda (the northern part only sadly). Another option would be ballooning in Botswana, either on the Vumbura concession in the Okavango Delta, or near Chobe National Park. Finally, and worth a particularly special mention if only for the ravishing views on offer, are the balloon flights over the desert at Sossusvlei in Namibia. Utterly breathtaking and well worth the early morning start.
In South Africa, while it’s not currently possible to do a hot air balloon safari in the bush, we can arrange a pretty amazing hot air balloon flight over some gorgeous scenery as a prelude to a safari in the Kruger National Park.
Here at Extraordinary Africa we’ve learnt a few things over the years, so we’ve got a few words of wisdom…
- Wrap up warm, it can be surprisingly chilly up there.
- More often than not balloon flights are restricted to the over 12s.
- Don’t be surprised if the basket topples over when the hot air balloon lands.
Have more questions?