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What to Expect on Your First Serengeti Hot Air Balloon Safari

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Adelle Bell

Safari Travel Planner

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Adelle Bell

Author: Adelle Bell - 17 January 2024

Last Update: 20 February 2024

A safari in the Serengeti offers the chance to witness the annual Great Wildebeest Migration, a phenomenon that sees over 1.5 million wildebeest follow a circular route across Tanzania and Kenya in search of fresh grazing and water. The wildebeest are accompanied by a host of other wildlife, including zebras, gazelles, and other herbivores, with predators making the most of the moving meals.

One of the best ways to see the migration is from a hot-air balloon floating over the African savannah. Here’s what to expect on your first Serengeti balloon safari.

The Night Before Your Flight

It’s a good idea to book your Serengeti balloon safari well in advance, especially if you’re planning to travel between June and October, the prime time for viewing the Great Wildebeest Migration.

On the night before your flight, you’ll have a pre-briefing at your lodge explaining the different aspects of safe hot air ballooning, what time you’ll be picked up, what to bring, the trip to your take-off point, and what you can expect on your Serengeti balloon safari.

Rise Before the Sun

On the day of your flight, you’ll wake before dawn and get picked up for your transfer to the take-off point, usually between 4AM and 5AM. It’ll be a bit chilly, so wear layers you can strip off once you’re on your flight. You might get to see some wildlife waking up on the way to your destination, so keep your eyes peeled and your camera ready.

Group of travelers getting started early before the sun rises over the Serengeti, Tanzania
A group of travelers getting started early before the sun rises over the Serengeti, Tanzania

Pack a hat and some sunscreen – the sun will be shining brightly by the time you land. Bring your binoculars for better views of the landscapes and wildlife you’ll see on your flight, such as elephants, wildebeest, lions, zebras, and giraffes, to name just a few.

Tea Before Take-off

While the crew is preparing your hot air balloon for take-off, you’ll get the chance to enjoy a hot cup of tea or coffee as the sky turns the most beautiful shade of purple above you. Just before take-off, you’ll have a safety briefing and be issued with your safety belt, which clips into the basket.

Crew members in the basket preparing a hot-air balloon for take off
Crew members in the basket preparing a hot-air balloon for take-off

The great thing about a hot-air balloon is that it moves with the wind, so there’s no risk of motion sickness while you’re enjoying your Serengeti balloon safari. The basket itself is divided into four compartments and can comfortably accommodate 12 to 16 passengers.

Escape the Earth!

Once everyone is in the basket and safely clipped in, the hot air balloon will rise gently into the air. It won’t be long before the sun rises to greet you on your incredible voyage and the first golden rays of light start shining down on the sprawling Serengeti below you.

Aerial view of a hot-air balloon over the Serengeti, Tanzania: Photo credit: Songa Tented Camp
Aerial view of a hot-air balloon over the Serengeti, Tanzania: Photo credit: Songa Tented Camp

You’ll have a bird’s-eye panoramic view of the plains and the wildlife casting long shadows in the light of dawn. Your flight will last about 60 blissful minutes before everyone is instructed to sit down in the basket for landing.

Breakfast in the Bush

Upon your smooth landing, you’ll be transferred to an idyllic spot where a sumptuous champagne breakfast awaits you. Expect fresh fruits, juices, and hot and cold breakfast items, like sausages, pancakes, and eggs, exactly how you like them.

Table with various options to enjoy your bush breakfast
Table with various options to enjoy your bush breakfast in Serengeti, Tanzania

After an unforgettable breakfast in the bush, you’ll be transferred back to your lodge, with the opportunity to spot more wildlife along the way.

A Serengeti hot air balloon safari is an experience unlike any other and offers the chance to make memories (and photographs!) you won’t soon forget. Speak to a safari expert at Discover Africa today about planning your tailor-made Serengeti balloon safari.


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