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Hot air ballooning

Africa's best authentic tailor-made safaris

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Hot air ballooning

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By Diane Du Plessis

Safari Travel Planner

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A low risk, low impact and environmentally friendly way of seeing Africa’s plains from the sky.Not many activities in Africa give travellers an aerial perspective at a slow pace, without making a lot of noise. That’s why a hot air balloon ride across the far-reaching plains is such a wonderful way to spend a morning.

Planes and helicopters are intrusive and noisy and it’s difficult for them to get low enough to the ground for a quiet and serene view of the world below. Hot air balloon safaris glide low over the African savannah -sometimes even as low as treetop level – for a very peaceful view of the world below.

The best balloon safari by far glides over the Serengeti migration. But there are many other amazing places to experience this wonderful mode of travel. The Masai Mara, Amboseli National Park and Lake Manyara National Park, for example, might not have an annual migration, but the views are equally impressive.

In South Africa, the ballooning operators are absolutely excellent and flights usually go up just before sunrise when the weather is still calm and predictable. A very memorable sunrise from the balloon is usually followed by a festive champagne breakfast back on the ground.

The balloon’s lift comes from hot air which is slightly lighter than the surrounding cold atmosphere. The hotter the balloon, the faster it rises. As the balloon cools it slowly descends. The pilot can control the balloon to brush the treetops or even the grass, yet could go as high as 15 000 feet.

These rides are entirely secure. In the very unlikely event of loss of power, the balloon will enter a stable cold descent back to the ground. This feature of the balloon makes it one of the safest forms of flight.

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Copyright © Discover Africa Safaris | Hot air ballooning | Last Updated: 29 September 2023