African hot air balloon safaris: Kenya, Tanzania & more

Hot air balloon safari over the wildebeest migration, Serengeti

Are you hoping to have a bird’s eye view of the savannah on your next adventure in the wild? An African hot air balloon safari provides just that and so much more.

You can soar above and admire the stunning landscapes in some of the most iconic safari destinations.

Whether you want to see herds of animals or spectacular sunrise views, a balloon safari is a fantastic way to take in the beauty of Africa.

So, let’s take a look at some hot air balloon highlights, the best destinations for fun rides, and other tips for an unforgettable African safari.

What is an African Hot Air Balloon Safari?

Masai giraffe and hot air balloon in the background

A balloon safari is probably the most romantic way to discover Africa’s wildlife treasures.

As its name suggests, it is an experience whereby safari goers have a unique perspective of the wildlife below from a hot air balloon.

What to Expect on a Hot Air Balloon in Africa

A hot air balloon ride is an exhilarating activity worth adding to your safari itinerary. However, if you’re still on the fence about this thrilling adventure, here are some safari tips and things you can expect.

African safari hot air balloon highlights

Little girl in a hot air balloon, hovering over the Masai Mara

Calling all early birds, a hot air balloon ride in Africa offers outstanding sunrise views.

See the rising sun create a myriad of colors across the sky and take in the peaceful stillness experience while floating silently above the plains.

You’ll travel in whichever direction the wind takes you. If this seems a bit scary, don’t fret, as your pilot controls the altitude of the hot air balloon. Sometimes flying at treetop height, other times way below (as if you could almost scratch a lion’s back!).

There are extraordinary photographic opportunities and stunning scenery to admire. So don’t leave your camera equipment behind.

Herd of zebras from a hot air balloon

Seeing the grazing animals below might make you feel peckish. Fortunately, many balloon safaris include delicious meals.

Enjoy a champagne breakfast that awaits wherever you land in the midst of the African bush. The food tingles your taste buds, while the views further delight your senses.

Each passenger receives a certificate which the pilot signs in person to commemorate the flight.

Additionally, some hot air balloon safaris include land-based game viewing. From animal sightings in safari vehicles to guided nature walks, there is plenty to discover on your excursion.

Hot air balloon safari over Africa: Things to consider

While hot air balloon safaris certainly provide exciting experiences, it’s always best to prepare accordingly.

To help you plan your trip, here are a few important things to note.

Africa Hot Air Balloon Safari: Times & Duration

Hot air balloon getting ready for take-off, Pilanesberg

You should prepare yourself for an early start to the day. The best time for hot air balloon rides is during the early morning, as the wind is the calmest. As such, many tours occur during sunrise.

You’ll have to wake up before dawn, then sip on your morning cup of coffee, and get ready for an unforgettable excursion.

The flight duration is usually around one hour — way too short; if only it could last forever.

Hot Air Balloon, Africa: Bookings, Cost & Cancellations

A hot air balloon safari costs around $400-$600. The price may vary from this range depending on the duration and other additional offerings, such as transport from your accommodation.

A balloon safari is a popular activity, particularly during peak safari season.

Additionally, there is limited space as most balloons hold around 2-16 passengers. So it’s best to book in advance to secure your spot in the basket.

Hot air balloon tours may be canceled due to bad weather conditions. In this case, reputable service providers will offer rescheduling options or a full refund.

African Hot Air Balloon Tour: Health Considerations

Two hot air balloons over the Serengeti in Tanzania

Seeing the beautiful scenery and animals from above is unforgettable. But if you have a fear of heights, it may not be the right activity for you.

It’s best to consult with your safari operator for advice. However, the sensation is very different from aircraft flight and is unlikely to cause vertigo.

Hot air balloon rides are not suitable for those with heart problems, mobility impairments, and pregnant women. So, be sure to consider your health conditions when planning, as there are always other fun safari activities in Africa to try.

Another thing to consider is the noise from the hot air balloon burner. This can be annoying for both people and animals. Fortunately, new balloons feature “whisper” burners, thus minimizing the overall noise.

Top Destinations for Hot Air Balloon Safaris in Africa

Now that you know what to expect, let’s look at the top locations for hot air ballooning in Africa. These include some of the best safari destinations on the continent.

1. Serengeti balloon safari, Tanzania

Lone hippo and balloons over the Serengeti

The Serengeti is a spectacular location for a hot air balloon safari in Tanzania.

In the Maasai language, the name “Serengeti” translates to “endless plains. So you can expect awe-inspiring views from above.

As the Serengeti supports an incredible variety of animal species, the wildlife sightings are a treat to the eyes.

Spot a giraffe nibbling on leaves from bushes and trees or admire herds of African elephants roaming the plains. Lions, buffalo, leopards, hippos, and gazelles are just a few animals on the long list of possible sightings.

If you’re planning a balloon ride in June and July, you might even see the great wildebeest migration.

Tip: For the best experience, head on your balloon safari during the dry season (between June to October).

For more information on Serengeti balloon safaris, check out:

2. Masai Mara hot air balloon safaris, Kenya

Defassa waterbuck family in the Mara plains, with balloon as a backdrop

With diverse landscapes and abundant wildlife, it’s no secret that Masai Mara is a sought-after safari destination. If you want to experience it all from a different perspective, why not enjoy a Masai Mara balloon safari?

The views will leave you in awe as you drift over the grassy plains, rolling hills, and glistening rivers. Governors Balloon Safaris offers a 60-minute flight with fantastic photography opportunities.

Your trip takes off at Little Governors Camp. Sip on a welcoming cup of tea or coffee before a briefing on what to expect.

Then, start your wildlife sighting adventure from above, enjoy a champagne breakfast, and return to camp on a game drive.

During the tour, keep an eye out for wildlife roaming below. You might see herds of giraffes and antelope or spot some predators such as the mighty lion or cheetah.

Tip: Fly above the African plains in Masai Mara between July and October for a chance to witness the great wildebeest migration.

For more information on Kenya hot air balloon safaris in Masai Mara, check out:

3. Sossusvlei balloon safari, Namibia

Balloon safari over Sossusvlei in Namibia

A safari in Namibia offers a memorable experience with striking scenery and diverse wildlife.

You can admire the endless dunes as you soar over the Namib Desert on a hot air balloon. It is one of the oldest deserts in the world, with some of the highest dunes that take your breath away.

Located in the southern part of the Namib Desert, Sossusvlei is a remarkable location for a balloon safari.

Wondering what’s so special about Sossusvlei? Well, this salt and clay pan is a photographer’s dream.

Here you’ll come across massive red dunes, rocky mountains, and rolling plains. Some of the animals that roam the area include springbok, ostriches, oryx, brown hyenas, and wild horses.

A Sossusvlei balloon safari provides a unique way to see Africa and its dramatic landscapes. For more information on hot air balloon rides over the Namib Desert, check out:

4. Amboseli balloon safari, Kenya

Ballooning over Amboseli at sunrise, Kenya

If you’re planning a Kenya safari, a hot air balloon ride in Amboseli is certainly worth adding to your itinerary.

Amboseli National Park is famous for its massive herds of elephants and outstanding views of Mount Kilimanjaro. So you can expect incredible vistas of Africa’s highest mountain and wildlife as you glide over the savannah grasslands.

Relax in your comfy basket and keep your eyes peeled for elephants eating or bathing in the wild. Other animals you may see crossing the plains include buffalo, giraffes, and zebras.

The balloon ride will last for about an hour. Many tours include a delightful champagne bush breakfast that you can enjoy at the landing site. For more information, check out:

5. Drakensberg hot air balloon safari, South Africa

Hot air balloon rising above Himeville in the Southern Drakensberg Mountains

The Drakensberg is a world-famous destination with a number of exciting attractions. From marveling at the cascading Tugela Falls to admiring Bushman rock art, this World Heritage Site offers adventure for all types of travelers.

A hot air balloon ride presents a fantastic way to explore this hidden gem. As you drift over the farmlands and dams, the magnificent Drakensberg mountains create a dramatic backdrop.

When touring in the hot air balloon, Blyde River Canyon and the surrounding areas provide beautiful photography opportunities — so be sure to bring your camera along!

For more information on hot air balloon rides in the Drakensberg, check out:

Tip: If you’re a nature lover looking for more fun activities, have a look at this guide on safaris in South Africa.

What to Pack for a Hot Air Balloon Safari in Africa

Toilet with a view in the Serengeti (balloon safari)

Before you embark on your hot air balloon safari in Africa, here are a few things to bring along on your adventure.

Although it is often cool in the early morning, it can get warm during your journey. As such, it’s best to pack layered clothing.

Remember, however, that the basket stays relatively warm thanks to the burner. In addition, the balloon flows with the wind, never against it.

A good pair of binoculars (to scan the horizon) and a camera are always handy. To ensure that your items don’t fly around, bring a camera bag or small backpack.

Pack a hat or cap, as your head will get a little warm from the burners above. You’ll also want to wear sunscreen and weather-appropriate clothing.

Tip: For more information on what to wear, check out this guide on the best safari clothing.

While you can bring a few snacks and a bottle of water, refreshments are often provided before your voyage. Additionally, there are no bathroom facilities in the balloon, so it’s best to avoid drinking too many fluids.

Finally, you should bring along your “eagle-eyes” and enthusiasm. Enjoy every moment of it, as this will most certainly be one of the highlights of your life.

Ready to Enjoy Balloon Safari Animal Sightings & Scenery in Africa?

Pair of African lions and a hot air balloon in the background

A hot air balloon safari allows you to experience the beautiful African landscapes from a different perspective. With diverse wildlife roaming below and awe-inspiring vistas, there is plenty to admire from your balloon basket.

Are you ready to soar with the winds and indulge in a champagne breakfast in the wilderness?

Although you might be up before the birds, the panoramic views are definitely worth it. From seeing herds of elephants in Kenya to endless sand dunes in Namibia, you’re in for a treat.

Now that you know where to go on a hot air balloon safari and what to expect, all that’s left to do is decide on your destination and book your African safari.

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1 thought on “African hot air balloon safaris: Kenya, Tanzania & more”

  1. I agree that a hot air balloon safari is by far one of the most romantic activities you can do while on an African honeymoon trip! I personally love them because it gives you a perspective on Africa that only birds get to see.

    Looking down on huge herds running in syn is a magnificent sight to see and a great photo opportunity.

    And I'd have to say that Kruger National Park has some of the most exceptional balloon safaris. During a balloon safari in Kruger, you pass above rolling hills, quaint countryside, orchards, mountain tops, thick forests, and the famous Blyde River Canyon!

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