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    What to expect on a hot air balloon safari In Tanzania

    11 minutes read
    11 minutes read
    african hot air balloon safari

    Experience the magical beauty of the Serengeti as you ascend to the sky on an African hot air balloon safari in Tanzania!

    Here, you’ll witness the enchanting view of the rising sun and the wildebeest herds retreating across the grasslands of the Savannah. It’s a fantastic, life-changing experience where you can have a bird’s eye view of your African safari wildlife tour.

    With the abundant scenery on a Tanzania safari, there are a lot of things to expect. You can anticipate seeing majestic sightings, such as the scene of the theatrical crossings during the Great Migration around May and June.

    Furthermore, you’ll also see the astonishing view of the Grumeti River crossing the western corridor of the Serengeti National Park, moving westwards into Lake Victoria. The corridor of the west extends 50 km and covers broad savannah grasslands, rolling hills, shady acacia groves, and riverine forests.

    Preparations

    1. Booking

    The first step to this adventure is booking your hot air balloon safari. Selecting a reputable safari company like Easy Travel is paramount; credibility ensures safety and high-quality service.

    When choosing a date for the experience, consider that hot air balloon flights are subjected to weather conditions—clear and calm weather is required. Hence, it’s worth checking the seasonal weather patterns of your chosen destination.

    2. Packing Essentials

    Preparing for a hot balloon safari goes beyond an adventurous spirit. Comfortable attire is advised, preferably layers, as it can be chilly during the early morning lift-off and gradually warms up. Sturdy footwear is also essential.

    Remember your camera equipment and binoculars; you want to capture spectacular scenes from the sky. Lastly, skincare essentials like sunscreen and sunglasses are vital to protect against the sun.

    Hot air balloon safari in Tanzania: What to expect

    Pre-dawn Departure

    • Safety Briefing
    • Majestic Scenery
    • Height & Duration
    • Luxurious English Breakfast

    Pre-dawn departure of balloon safari: 05:00

    Hot air balloon safari in tanzania

    Imagine the thrill of waking up before the sun rises, knowing that you’re in for a once-in-a-lifetime trip with a hot air balloon ride lined up. Preparing for your journey under the expert guidance of a professional balloon company ensures safety and an enchanting experience.

    As you drive to the starting place in the quiet early morning, you get excited thinking about the fantastic view: The Serengeti plains from high in the sky. 

    When you get to the site, your balloon team prepares the hot air balloon in the soft morning light. They tell you how they ensure everything is safe and ready for your ride.

    When you get in the balloon basket, you start to rise. This is a super exciting bit and also very peaceful. As you get higher, the first light of the morning begins to color the sky orange and pink. 

    The whole Serengeti shines in this beautiful light. Getting up early is worth it! The sun rises over the world’s edge, throwing long shadows over the fields. 

    It looks like the start of a fantastic day full of adventures. Tiredness goes away, leaving you amazed and full of excitement.

    1. Arrival and Check-in

    Upon reaching the launch site for your hot air ballooning adventure, you’ll be met with a buzz of excitement and anticipation. First, you’ll check in and confirm your reservation details with the balloon company.

    This is a great time to meet new people who share your sense of adventure and make some friends- the other balloon safari participants. You can start comparing notes about what you look forward to viewing over the African plains.

    After freshening up and getting ready, you’ll meet the two most vital people for your journey – the balloon pilot and the balloon crew. The pilot responsible for navigating your flight is a professional certified by the Federal Aviation Administration.

    They have undergone stringent training and checks to ensure they provide you with a safe and enthralling hot air ballooning experience. As they guide you through the dos and don’ts during the flight, the crew preps the balloon, filling it with more hot air until it’s buoyant and ready for take-off.

    Now, it’s just a matter of moments before the African plains stretch out below you in all their glory, offering an unmatched viewing experience.

    Safety briefing of balloon safari: 05:45

    Tanzania - balloon breafing - what to expect on a hot air balloon safari in tanzania

    Before the hot air balloon ride, there is a crucial safety meeting. The trained balloon pilot will explain all the safety rules that the federal aviation government requires.

    They also take special care in discussing what to do in bad weather or unexpected situations. They explain how they use special techniques to forecast the weather and tell you how this can change the balloon’s route and your ride.

    In addition to this crucial information about safety and poor weather, the briefing also helps you understand what to expect in the balloon flight. They’ll ease any worries or fears about heights or movement by describing the gentle, almost magical ascent of the hot air balloon.

    During this time, they’ll highlight the integral protocols you must follow during take-off and landing. For instance, they’ll explain the importance of maintaining a low center of gravity within the balloon for a smooth landing.

    They’ll guide you through the best posture to ensure maximum safety. This briefing leaves no stone unturned in ensuring you’re well-informed and confident about the exhilarating journey ahead.

    The Balloon Flight

    1. Inflation and Boarding

    As soon as the pre-flight safety briefing wraps up, the next phase of your hot air balloon flight experience unfolds. This is the point where the magic starts to feel tangible. The ballooning company’s crew will roll the balloon onto a clear, open area where it will be unfurled.

    If bundled up in warm clothing, you can step forward to get a closer look. Seeing a hot air balloon operating up close is a rare sight many don’t experience – it’s truly a spectacle.

    Once the balloon is fully spread out, the experienced pilot and the crew will commence the inflation process. It’s impressive to witness the massive balloon go from a limp fabric on the ground to a gigantic, vibrant orb standing tall against the sky.

    During this process, the balloon will start to fill with hot air, causing it to rise gently off the ground. At the right moment, as the balloon fills and begins to stand upright, you’ll be assisted by the crew and guided to step into the basket. 

    Everyone’s excitement mounts as the reality of the upcoming adventure kicks in. It’s almost time for the journey over the picturesque landscapes to commence.

    2. The Ascent

    As the hot air balloon takes off, you’ll feel excitement. It’s a smooth ascent, almost as if you’re being lifted by an invisible hand into the dawn sky. I carefully picked comfortable clothes to ensure nothing spoils this magical moment.

    The ground quickly recedes beneath you, and the day-to-day realities blend into the background- all that lies ahead is adventure. The view from the balloon also explains why this has become a very popular activity among tourists and adventure-seekers worldwide.

    With every minute, you go higher and higher. You’ll float above the vast African plains that go on as far as you can see. Looking down from above, nature mixes into a beautiful view of greens, browns, and blues that will take your breath away.

    Teeming wildlife, a unique feature of these plains, becomes visible. Animals that appeared large and imposing on the ground now look peaceful and playful, blissfully unaware of their spectators in the sky.

    Birds glide freely beneath you, seemingly in a world of their own. No traditional safari can provide this bird’s eye view that offers a rare chance to observe the rhythmic pulses of nature. This truly is an experience like no other.

    Take-off is at 06:00!

    Majestic scenery

    Tanzania - majestic scenery - what to expect on a hot air balloon safari in tanzania

    Expect the balloon to hover on treetops with the never-ending view of breathtaking savannah plains in front. For an hour, you can enjoy the scene of wildebeests, elephants, lions, zebras, and others in their natural environment underneath.

    It would be best to take your DSLR camera and binoculars with you to see the fantastic sights of the safari from your hot air balloon ride. With these items, you’ll get to see grazing hippos near a river like Grumeti or Seronera, as well as keep the highlight of your Serengeti excursion.

    You could also see a hyena prowling on his track or a lion’s return from her hunt. If you travel around May or June, you’ll get to see the Wildebeest Great Migration, which is the most incredible animal migration in the world.

    From December onwards, the wildebeests assemble to calve in February in South Serengeti plains. They can produce 8000 newborns each day on a three-week marathon!

    The plains of Serengeti are especially suited for air balloon flights, allowing you to get a closer aerial view of the safari. So, you’ll surely get overwhelmed by the number of spectacles you’ll get to enjoy in your African Hot Air Balloon Safari.

    NOTE: Make sure to wear a lightweight, long-sleeved jacket and long pants before heading out to the launching site.

    Height & flight duration

    Tanzania - height and flight duration - what to expect on a hot air balloon safari in tanzania

    Flight duration is approximately one hour. Nonetheless, it could be shorter or longer, depending on how fast the wind moves and in what direction it’s going that day.

    Even though it might seem like the balloon goes where the wind takes it, it’s not entirely up to chance. The pilot has a lot of control over where the balloon goes. They are skilled in using wind currents at various heights to steer the balloon.

    By rising to a higher altitude or descending to a lower one, the pilot can catch different wind currents. In this way, they guide the balloon across the landscape smoothly and safely. It’s just another part of the wonder of hot air ballooning – a timeless dance with the wind.

    The Landing

    1. Preparations for a Safe Landing

    As the unforgettable balloon ride concludes, the pilot looks for a suitable landing spot. They steer the balloon gradually toward the ground, using their expertise to read the landscape below. Even during this careful descent, the safety of passengers remains their top priority.

    The pilot instructs the passengers to position themselves in the basket to ensure everyone lands securely and comfortably. It’s the final guidance on this unique journey, again showing the pilot’s skill and the importance of safety during these beautiful balloon adventures.

    2. Touchdown and Disembarkation

    Landing at the end of a hot air balloon ride is often surprisingly smooth. The skilled pilot, experienced ground crew’s watchful eyes, and your careful attention to the landing position instructions all play a part.

    As the balloon gently touches the ground, the crew is already there, ready to steady the basket and ensure it doesn’t get jostled. Their focus and quick actions give the whole procedure an added layer of safety.

    Once the balloon is safely on the ground and stable, you’ll be helped out of the basket. It’s the satisfying end to a beautiful journey, leaving you with a lifetime of memories.

    Post-flight Experience

    Tanzania - luxurious english breakfast - what to expect on a hot air balloon safari in tanzania

    1. Champagne Toast and Bush Breakfast

    The hot air balloon adventure continues once your feet are firmly back on the ground. The post-flight tradition, tracing back to the pioneering days of ballooning in France, calls for a sparkling champagne toast. Everyone gathers to raise their glass in a celebratory cheer, adding a touch of glamour and festive spirit to the journey’s end.

    But that’s not all – next comes a delightful continuation of the experience at a breakfast site in the wild. You’ll be treated to a sumptuous bush breakfast amidst the beauty of the landscapes you’ve just seen from above. The inviting spread keeps the adventurous spirit of the morning alive and is a chance to share stories and impressions from the incredible flight.

    2. Receiving Flight Certificate

    As the eventful balloon journey comes to a close, there’s one more special touch to look forward to. Before leaving, you’ll be presented with a flight certificate, a token that is more than just a keepsake.

    This certificate represents the incredible experience you’ve had:

    -The magical floating sensation

    – The breathtaking views

    The privileged encounter with the wonders of nature from the skies. It’s a reminder of your accomplishment – a tangible connection to a fantastic adventure you’ll cherish long after returning to everyday life.

    3. Post-flight discussions and sharing experiences

    Once our travel adventure in the sky is over, our team will drive each person back to where they are staying. This is a great time! We all can talk about the fantastic things we saw and did.

    The departures back to the lodges or camps have all been arranged. That way, everyone can relax and swap flying tales. It’s a super way to wrap up an incredible journey.

    Sunrise or sunset

    Tanzania - sunrise or sunset - what to expect on a hot air balloon safari in tanzania

    Both Sunrise and Sunset in Serengeti are incredible! Nonetheless, viewing wildlife activities from the air is best done early in the morning as animals are most active at this time.

    You’ll also get to view the spectacular sunrise that you’ll never forget in your life!

    Best times and Destinations for Balloon Safaris

    Tanzania - best time for tanzania balloon safari - what to expect on a hot air balloon safari in tanzania

    The most popular choice for hot air balloon rides in Tanzania is over the great Serengeti National Park. Serengeti is a vast collection of African plains, teeming with the most incredible wildlife sightings on the planet. Let’s consider the following dates:

    Dates Location
    April, May, or November Central Serengeti
    June Western Serengeti
    July, August, September, October Northern Serengeti
    December, January, February, March Ndutu

    1. Seasonal Considerations

    If you dream of a hot air balloon ride in Tanzania, remember this – timing is key! From June to October, the weather is dry and just right for balloon safaris in all three main parks. You’ll see lots of animals and enjoy clear, sunny skies.

    The story changes from November to May during the wet season. The weather then can be a wildcard, with more clouds around. However, it’s doable! You can still go on safari. But be ready for the weather to mix things up.

    Picking where and when to go for your balloon safari in Tanzania makes a big difference. It’ll make your ride awesome, give you memories you’ll never forget, and let you see Tanzania’s extraordinary land and animals.

    What to wear on a Tanzanian balloon ride safari

    Tanzania - what to wear on tanzania balloon ride safari - what to expect on a hot air balloon safari in tanzania

    Casual, comfortable clothes are the ideal clothing in safari Tanzania. It’s best to pack lightly to make the best out of your African hot air balloon experience.

    Most lodges and camps offer clothes laundering for a small fee, so it’s unnecessary to bring many clothes on your safari adventure. It’s also best to dress in layers to adjust to temperature changes in safari.

    As much as possible, avoid dressing in dark colours like black and dark blue as these can attract tsetse flies. So, stick to clothing with neutral or khaki colours.

    Here is a useful list of suitable clothing for your balloon safari:

    • Trousers/Pants
    • Covered comfortable shoes
    • Scarves
    • Long sleeved shirts
    • Long hair should be tied up
    • Any loose items to be placed in your jacket
    • A hat for after the flight to avoid getting sunburnt

    It’s also helpful to bring the following items with you:

    • Insect repellent
    • Sunglasses
    • Sunscreen

    How much is the hot air balloon ride in Tanzania safari?

    Tanzania - cost of hot air balloon ride - what to expect on a hot air balloon safari in tanzania

    The Serengeti National Park balloon rides cost approximately $500 for an adult when booking with Easy Travel ($600 when you book directly with the balloon company). The price includes getting you from your camp or lodge and transporting you to the launch site.

    Upon landing, you’ll get your toast of wine and a full luxurious ‘English breakfast’ after. The price isn’t inclusive of park entry fees, so it’s best to check your tour package operator for the inclusivity of your package.

    What to do after your balloon ride?

    Tanzania - to do after balloon ride safari - what to expect on a hot air balloon safari in tanzania

    See some of the areas worthy of adding to your itinerary and visit personally in Tanzania:

    • Mikumi National Park
    • Ngorongoro Crater
    • Ruaha National Park
    • Selous Game Reserve
    • Serengeti National Park
    • Arusha
    • Dar Es Salaam
    • Katavi National Park
    • Lake Manyara National Park
    • Mahale Mountains National Park
    • Tanzania Coast
    • Tarangire National Park
    • Zanzibar

    Conclusion

    So, what are you waiting for? Plan with Easy Travel, grab your passport, start your Tanzania journey. Experience the most unforgettable hot air balloon flight ever! The Serengeti Balloon Safaris are a must ‘bucket list experience’. Contact Easy Travel today to start planning your dream safari experience.

    Musaddiq Gulamhussein - Owner - Easy Travel Tanzania

    About the author: Musaddiq

    Meet Musaddiq Gulamhussein, owner of Easy Travel Tanzania, a tour company creating life-changing safari experiences for over 35 years. Musaddiq has explored Tanzania, developing a deep understanding of the local cultures and traditions. Follow his journey and gain insights into the African Safari experience through Easy Travel's social media and blog.

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