Serengeti Hor air Balloon Safari
A Serengeti balloon safari is a fantastic once in a lifetime experience, particularly suitable for a bird’s eye-view game viewing experience on your AfricanMecca wildlife tour in northern Tanzania. Hot air balloon rides leave from three sites in this prime national park. In Central Serengeti, wildlife gathers year-round in the Seronera River Valley where there is permanent water. The Great Migration passes through around May and June.
The Western Serengeti includes the Grumeti River, scene of theatrical crossings during the Great Migration in June and July, when hundreds of thousands of gnu, brave the giant Nile crocodiles, and many perish while others detour to avoid the perilous river. In South Serengeti plains, the wildebeests assemble from December onwards, to calve in February, producing 8000 newborn every day on a three-week marathon, a sight not to be missed on your personalized nature travel in Serengeti.
Serengeti Balloon Safari Itinerary
Serengeti Balloon Safari starts at 06:30 a.m. When you arrive, you will meet your pilot and witness your balloon being inflated and prepared for launch. After a thorough safety briefing and demonstration of boarding and landing position, you will board your balloon and take-off.
The schedule has been designed to fit in with all standard safari itineraries visiting the Serengeti National Park, hence the return at 9:30 a.m. allow clients to continue with other planned activities for the rest of the day.
Each balloon can carry up to 16 people per flight. Only two balloons fly each day, hence reservation is necessary. This gives you the opportunity to take photos and have a panoramic view of the mighty Serengeti Plain.
2023 - 2024 Prices - Serengeti Balloon Safari
|Serengeti Balloon Safari – 2023||Per Person Sharing|
|January To December||$599|
|Serengeti Balloon Safari – NY||Per Person Sharing|
|January To December||$650|
What is Included?
- Balloon safaris are only available at designated camps and lodges in Serengeti based on 5.00 am pick-up.
Where in Serengeti?
Seronera is the site of the oldest tourist lodge in Serengeti National Park. It is also the site for the visitor information center, which includes museum, Villagers, coffee shop and picnic area.
How to get to Serengeti National Park?
Most safaris to the Serengeti start from the town of Arusha. The best option to get there is to fly into Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) which is situated about 46km/29mi from Arusha. It is also possible to fly into Julius Nyerere International Airport (DAR), just outside of Dar es Salaam, and fly on to Arusha Airport (ARK) or Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO).
There are regular flights from Arusha to several airstrips inside the park.
It’s also possible to drive; the trip is about 325km/202mi and will take about eight hours. It is a bumpy ride but it’s scenic and you’ll see some wildlife on the way.
Serengeti Balloon Safari FAQ's
A hot air balloon works on the principle of buoyancy. It consists of a large balloon, known as an envelope, filled with hot air. The envelope is typically made of lightweight and heat-resistant materials such as nylon or polyester. The balloon is attached to a basket or gondola, in which passengers and the pilot stand.
The process starts by heating the air inside the envelope using burners fueled by liquid petroleum gas. The burners generate a flame that heats the air, causing it to expand and become less dense than the surrounding air. As a result, the balloon becomes buoyant and begins to rise.
The balloon moves with the wind, as there is no way to steer it directly. However, our pilots can control the ascent and descent of the balloon by adjusting the heat inside the envelope. By adding more heat, the air inside the envelope becomes hotter and provides more lift, causing the balloon to rise. Conversely, by reducing the heat, the air inside the envelope cools down, becoming denser and causing the balloon to descend.
To land the balloon, the pilot gradually decreases the heat and allows the air inside the envelope to cool, slowing down the ascent. The pilot looks for a suitable landing spot and, with the help of ground crew, guides the balloon to the ground by releasing some of the hot air from the envelope.
The basic principles behind a hot air balloon are simple yet effective. By controlling the temperature of the air inside the envelope, the pilot can control the altitude of the balloon and navigate the skies. It’s a unique and serene way to experience flight and enjoy breathtaking views from above.
We are fortunate that the weather in the Serengeti is suitable for ballooning almost every day of the year.
We fly in the following areas every morning: Central Serengeti : Year Round. Ndutu Area, Ngorongoro Conservation Area/Serengeti: 20 Dec – 31 March. Western Serengeti: 15 May – October. Northern Serengeti: 15 June – 15 January. Safari wildlife viewing varies depending on the time of year and location, and the wildebeest migration moves through the ecosystem year-round so although there are no guarantees, if you’re in the right place at the right time, you have a good chance of seeing plenty of wildlife.
In Serengeti, it mostly rains in the afternoons, evenings or night time, early morning is the driest part of the day and that’s when we fly!
Yes, we operate daily throughout the year in central Serengeti. We operate seasonally in the following areas in Serengeti: Central Serengeti : Year Round Ndutu Area, Ngorongoro Conservation/Serengeti: 20 Dec – 31 March Western Serengeti: June – October Northern Serengeti: 01 July – 15 November A typical day on safari can now include an early morning balloon flight and a different perspective the Serengeti!
We strongly recommend that you book in advance, either directly with us or with your tour operator. We have limited capacity and this exclusive adventure is often fully booked. For peace of mind, it is always best to book in advance to avoid disappointment.
There are several incredible destinations around the world that offer exceptional hot air ballooning experiences. Here are some of the best destinations for hot air ballooning:
- Serengeti National Park, Tanzania: Hot air ballooning over the vast Serengeti plains allows you to witness the Great Migration, where millions of wildebeests and other animals migrate in search of water and fresh grazing. It’s an awe-inspiring experience to see these animals from above.
There are now several balloon operators in Serengeti, however, Serengeti Balloon Safaris are the most experienced by far. Serengeti Balloon Safaris pioneered balloon safaris in Tanzania, starting in The Serengeti National Park some 33 years ago. Being the first and only balloon operator for more than 25 years means that we know the Serengeti, the terrain, the weather, the best places to launch and land, the best areas for wildlife viewing better than recent operations.
Serengeti Balloon Safaris awarded BEST BALLOON OPERATOR 2021 & 2022 BY TANZANIA NATIONAL PARKS.
Serengeti Balloon Safaris are the first choice for Travel Agents and Tour Operators Worldwide.
Serengeti Balloon Safaris have been chosen by British & European Royalty, many Heads of State (including two American Presidents and their families) and famous celebrities from around the world. Their confidence is reassuring to our guests.
Serengeti Balloon Safaris Commercial Balloon Pilots are amongst the most experienced and respected in the world. Each hold commercial balloon pilot licences issued by the Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority and commercial licences from at least one other country in the world. Our Chief Pilot has been appointed by the Civil Aviation Authority as Examiner for ALL balloon pilots in the country.
Our insurance cover is 100 times greater than some of our competitors. Insurance is reassurance.
For most travellers, A Balloon Safari over the Serengeti is a Bucket List, Once in a Lifetime experience. INSIST ON THE BEST!
The number of people that can fit in a hot air balloon can vary depending on the size and weight capacity of the balloon. Generally, smaller balloons can carry 2-3 passengers, while larger balloons can hold anywhere from 4 to 16 passengers. Commercial balloons can even accommodate larger groups of up to 24 or more people. The capacity also depends on factors such as the weight of the passengers and the amount of fuel needed for the hot air balloon to stay aloft.
At Serengeti Balloon Safaris, almost all of our balloons are 16 seaters as we find that this is the optimum size for comfort and experience.
Yes, the pilot of a hot air balloon has some control over the direction of the balloon, but it is limited. Hot air balloons are primarily at the mercy of wind currents and do not have engines for propulsion or the ability to control their direction in the same way an airplane does.
While the pilot cannot steer a hot air balloon like you would a car or a boat, he or she can control the altitude to some extent. By adjusting the amount of heat in the envelope (the fabric part of the balloon that holds the hot air), you can ascend or descend to catch different wind currents at varying altitudes.
Pilots often navigate hot air balloons by choosing different altitudes and following different wind patterns to reach a desired destination. Our pilots use their accumulated knowledge of wind patterns, and long experience to make your flight as rewarding as possible, every day.
Our flight lasts approximately an hour. It may be a little more or it may be a little less, it depends o the wind speed and direction on the day. Our pilots will always choose the safest landing spots and if the conditions will take us away from those before an hour is up, we will land.
The whole experience is about 5 hours, from the pre-dawn night drive to the safety briefing, spicy beverage and flight, to the champagne toast on landing, our sumptuous Out of Africa breakfast and our short return drive to your safari guide to continue with the rest of your morning’s activities.
On average, recreational hot air balloons typically fly between 1,000 and 3,000 feet (305 to 914 meters) above the ground.
However, hot air balloons have the potential to reach much higher altitudes. In fact, the current altitude record for a hot air balloon stands at around 69,852 feet (21,290 meters), achieved by Vijaypat Singhania in 2005. This level of altitude is exceptional and requires specialized equipment and training.
At Serengeti Balloon Safaris, we have a self-imposed maximum flying height of 2,000ft (610m) above ground for your safety. The views from up there are magnificent!
Yes, providing you are staying at any of the central Serengeti lodges or camps or (seasonally) in any of the western corridor lodges/camps or (again seasonally) at any Serengeti South lodges or camps or those in the Ndutu area. We also now operate seasonally in North Serengeti and we can collect you from almost all of the camps in that area. We aim to provide a perfect complement to your safari wildlife viewing.
It can be cool in the early morning, but often warm later, therefore a jacket or sweater that can be removed later is a good idea. A hat is recommended (particularly for the ‘follically challenged) as radiant heat from the burners can be uncomfortable. We suggest long trousers, long sleeves, preferably in natural fibres and stout shoes. Don’t forget your camera and binoculars. You can bring a camera bag or small backpack with you in the balloon.
A number of our guests talked about a fear of heights before the flight but all of them have said they are so pleased that they took the flight and that their worries were unfounded. Do take a look at our Testimonials or TripAdvisor for firsthand accounts.
Many of our guests say that the feeling of floating in a balloon is so different to that of standing on the edge of a tall building that there is no comparison.
Yes, there are some restrictions:
There is no upper age limit, however passengers must be reasonably mobile, fit to fly and prepared for an adventure. Ballooning is not suitable for pregnant ladies, people with mobility or health conditions (heart conditions, brittle bones, neck or back conditions). Passengers must be able to bend their knees, hold on to rope handles with both hands for take-off and landing and be able to climb into and out of the basket.
There are usually weight restrictions for hot air ballooning due to safety concerns and the limitations of the balloon’s capacity. The weight restrictions vary depending on the size and type of the balloon, as well as the specific regulations and guidelines set by the balloon operator. Typically, these restrictions can range from around 200 to 250 pounds (90 to 113 kilograms) per passenger for standard-sized balloons. However, it’s important to note that weight restrictions may vary, so it’s best to check with the specific hot air balloon operator or company you plan to fly with to get accurate information.
At Serengeti Balloon Safaris, our average passenger weights for planning purposes are calculated at 80 kgs. Passengers weighing 50% plus more than this (i.e.120 kgs/265 lb/19 stone) may be charged for two places and given two spaces.
Hot air ballooning can generally be considered a safe activity when appropriate precautions are taken. However, as with any adventure sport, there are certain risks involved. It is essential to choose a reputable hot air ballooning company with experienced pilots and a well-maintained fleet of balloons, such as Serengeti Balloon Safaris. Additionally, weather conditions play a crucial role in the safety of a hot air balloon ride. Serengeti Balloon Safaris have strict guidelines regarding conditions of the day to ensure safe operations.
Our modern hot air balloons are designed and built to high safety standards. Our pilots undergo extensive training and hold at least 2 commercial licenses from different national aviation authorities. They must regularly pass medical checks and participate in ongoing training to maintain their skills and licences. Furthermore, our balloons are regularly inspected and undergo routine maintenance to ensure they are in top condition.
While accidents are relatively rare, it’s important to be aware that risks exist. At Serengeti Balloon Safaris, we adopt a strict attitude to safety, we rigorously apply our weather restrictions, we were the first ballooning company in the world to insist that all guests wear safety restraint systems and we inspect our balloons much more regularly than required by their manufacturers. Our pilots are chosen for their experience and skill.
Ultimately, if you choose a reputable company like Serengeti Balloon Safaris and follow the instructions and safety guidelines provided by our pilot and crew, hot air ballooning can be a safe and enjoyable experience.
Private balloon bookings are available and are becoming increasingly popular, they work really well for groups travelling together, for families and even for couples, looking for that extra special morning. Our baskets carry 12 or 16 people in compartments of 2, 3 or 4 people, depending on the model. Check out our blog for more information. Please enquire with us for rates and availability.
We prefer to call them the GREEN SEASONS. The ‘long rains’ (late March to early June) & the ‘short rains’ (November to mid December). In the Serengeti, the great migration passes through Central Serengeti during the green seasons. At these times it USUALLY rains late afternoon and during the night. Mornings are USUALLY bright and clear with gentle winds (ideal ballooning weather!). The landscape is lush, green and dust free (yes, your vehicle may get stuck in the mud – but our balloon won’t!).
Our minimum age is 7 years on the date of the flight. This comes from our Safety Management System and risk analysis. We understand that this could cause a problem for families with younger children, so we’ve come up with 2 alternatives:
A: If the child is 6 years: Is the child over 1.4m? If not, can be mitigated with enhanced safety belt and the fitted seating cushion. Does the child speak English? This is needed for safety instructions. If yes, the child can fly safely with us.
B: if we have guests with children under 6, we will bring them all with us to the launch site and the under-age children will be able to watch the launch and then follow the balloons with our team and be there when the rest of the family lands. They can then join in with the celebration of the flight and the ‘full-English’ bush breakfast. We will have a dedicated carer on hand to look after them and we won’t charge a thing for those children who couldn’t fly with the rest of their families.
The price is US$599 ($580 in Ngorongoro Conservation Area) per person all inclusive in a shared balloon. This includes collection from your camp or lodge (early!) and transfer to the launch site for a sunrise take-off. After a wonderful flight of approximately 1 hour, we will give you a champagne toast on landing and then a ‘full english’ breakfast under a tree before returning you to your safari guide at the Seronera Visitors Centre or some other mutually agreed location. The price does not include park entry fees, which are usually covered in the tour operator package.
Our balloons each cost over US $100,000 but we retire them after only 850 hours to ensure that they are in top condition. They use a significant amount of fuel per flight and involve a minimum crew of six men plus professional pilot to get them in the air plus a further ten employees behind the scenes for each balloon. In addition, there are the retrieving vehicles, logistics, back up etc. We operate in a remote area. There is a very substantial sum in the form of concession fees for every passenger to Tanzania National Parks towards conservation funds. Please see our Testimonials. The vast majority of guests say that it is among the best activities to do on safari and great value.
We are sorry to say that we cannot do that. We can only collect you from your camp or lodge near to one of our launch sites in Serengeti. We are a specialised company, focusing only on the hot air balloon safari, breakfast and associated transfers. There are many reputable local tour operators, who can arrange all the other parts of a wonderful safari in Northern Tanzania. If you need recommendations, please contact us.
SERENGETI BALLOON SAFARI An unforgettable experience in TANZANIA
Top Serengeti Safari Packages
Tanzania Safaris FAQ's
Why Go on a Tanzania Luxury Safari Tour?
- In hand-picked areas like the Ngorongoro Crater, a Tanzania luxury safari tour involves world-class private camping in luxury tented accommodation.
- On a luxury safari in Tanzania, you can see the Great Wildebeest Migration as it passes through the Serengeti National Park’s plains.
- On your Tanzania Luxury Safari trip, you will have excellent game viewing all year.
- The Tarangire National Park is famous for its large herds of elephants and spectacular baobab trees
Lemala Mpingo Ridge
Lemala Mpingo Ridge Luxury Safari Lodge is located right on the ridge of a massive hill with sweeping views of Tarangire National Park.
You can even see Lake Manyara National Park in the distance as well as the Rift Valley Wall. All the Tanzania luxury Camps from Lemala have a winning recipe regarding the decoration and the layout of the spacious suites.
The same goes for all the Lemala luxury camps mentioned in this article. Understated luxury and elegance with light-coloured wood and decorations throughout the room and camp. The food is fantastic and the service is excellent!
- The highlight of this tanzania luxury safari camp: The view from the suites, bar, and dining area, and the pool is just amazing.
- Best time to visit: June to October
Sanctuary Kusini is a Tanzania luxury safari camp and is located in the Western part of the Serengeti on a rocky hill with big rocks surrounding the camp.
The Tanzania luxury Safari Camp’s dining and lounge area are beautifully decorated with large soft sofas to relax and enjoy a gin & tonic and soak up your African Safari in style. The Tanzania luxury safari camp has a great sundowner spot on a big rock overlooking the plains of the Serengeti National Park, the perfect way to start your evening!
The tented suites are also beautifully decorated in an old colonial safari style with a touch of old and new. The location is excellent to see the calving season from January to March.
- The highlight of this Tanzania luxury safari camp: The view from the suites, bar, dining area, and pool are fantastic.
- Best time to visit: January – March
Bushtops Safari Camp
When you have stayed at so many fantastic luxury safari camps in Tanzania, it starts to get challenging to pick a favourite, and if Matthys had to choose, this Camp would be one of the top camps in his opinion.
This Tanzania luxury safari camp is located in the Northern Part of the Serengeti and perfect for the time when the Migration herds cross the Mara River.
Bushtops Luxury Safari Camp has a fantastic rock pool with sweeping views, and the camp also has spa facilities.
Among the highlights of the Tanzania luxury safari camp, will be the great open Boma area, comfortable lounge, and dining areas.
The camp is dressed in light-coloured wooden decks, which brings a modern touch with a classic look. Understated African Safari luxury is what comes to mind when thinking of this camp.
The food is from out of this world, delicious, and the presentation can be compared to a Michelin star restaurant.
- The highlights of this Tanzania luxury safari camp: The walls of the suites can roll up and create a massive open living area with a private plunge pool with an outside shower and seating area to top it off.
- Best time to visit: June – August
Lemala Mara – Kuria Hills
Lemala Mara is located in the Western Serengeti, and the same winning formula applies that the rest of the Lemala luxury safari camps have.
The luxury safari camp offers the same high level of service, quality of food, friendly staff, elegant, understated luxury with meticulous attention to detail!
- The highlight of this Tanzania luxury safari camp: The Suites have private plunge pools with an outdoor shower and seating area.
- Best time to visit: June – August
Nimali Mara is also located in the Western Serengeti. The camp is situated on a massive exposed rock built around the rock which gives it a unique feel. The lounge and dining areas provide incredible views of the Serengeti underneath, probably the second-best view in this list of luxury safari camps.
The rooms are all located around the dining and lounge areas.
The suites offer incredible views with one side of the suite entirely made of glass with no obstructions.
The room is all about a luxury safari in Tanzania, and the finishes are all well thought out. The bathroom provides a beautiful copper bathtub with views over the grass plain, which is a luxurious safari experience that everyone should experience.
For the most part, luxury safaris in Tanzania focus on game drives as the primary mode of wildlife viewing. Days are typically scheduled around an early morning and an afternoon drive. Sunset is observed with sundowners in-hand—a gin and tonic is the tradition—served in a scenic spot. Depending on your camp or lodge, a gourmet, multi-course dinner can be taken convivially with other guests, privately in your room or al fresco in the bush. After dark, you might gather round an outdoor fire, stargaze, enjoy a night game drive (depending where you are), lay out on a star bed or simply retreat to your room to rest for the next sumptuous day on safari. Activities like hot air ballooning (in the Serengeti), guided bush walks, community visits, research participation (and so much more) add diversity to the day. Wonderfully, Tanzania also offers a host of adventurous options for safari-goers who want to explore on foot. Walking safaris, where you’ll sleep in minimalist but well-equipped fly camps, weave through untouched pockets of the Serengeti or Ngorongoro Highlands.
Yes! Abundant wildlife and the Big Five will enthrall your children, bringing the story books and movies they know and love to life. That said, Tanzania safaris often involve being out on extended game drives and camps don’t always have swimming pools or a ton of other activities, which is why we tend to recommend the country for kids ages six and older. If you want to go on safari with your littles under five (it’s totally possible!), connect with an Extraordinary Journeys family specialist who has taken their toddler out on safari for first-hand account.
The Great Migration is often presented as a map emblazoned with a clockwise circuit where wildlife cycles between Tanzania’s Serengeti in the south and Kenya’s Maasai Mara in the north, taking place between May and December. (If only!) In this oversimplified illustration of a complex phenomenon, wildlife is in the Serengeti from December to April. As with anything that moves with the rhythms of nature, the Great Migration should be interpreted as a pattern rather than gospel. Still, there are some general guidelines for when and where to visit.
Mobile camps are lightweight, temporary safari camps that change locations (pre-selected) one or more times each year to “follow” the Great Migration. Since herd movements are unpredictable and weather-dependent, mobile camps aim to place guests closer to the front row of the action. Mobile camps are designed to be nimble, so you won’t always find amenities like swimming pools, star beds, dedicated spa facilities or bathtubs, and running water. However, this is not to say you’ll be roughing it. Expect swoon-worthy tents outfitted with comfortable beds, ensuite bathrooms with hot showers and flush toilets, and gourmet meals served in dining or lounge areas—all snug in a wilderness setting.
Both Kenya and Tanzania are good safari destinations for wildlife viewing in Africa. But there’s no place like Tanzania – the sheer abundance of wildlife is unparalleled. Besides, Tanzania is home to the Serengeti National Park’s wildebeest migration, the fascinating topographical wonder of the Ngorongoro Crater and Zanzibar’s tropical beaches.