Hot air balloon safari over the Serengeti

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Serengeti National Park

If you have the budget, why not blow it on an early morning hot air balloon? For some, it is one of the highlights of their East Safari safari.

The adventure of a hot air balloon safari over one of Africa’s most famous and majestic national parks is not easily captured in words. The quiet of floating over plains, the exhilaration of climbing into the pink-blue of the early dawn on invisible currents, the breathless awe of peering over the basket’s edge at this vast swathe of wild Africa. This is something you really must experience for yourself.

You rise at dawn so that you are at the landing site as the sun is rising. After a safety briefing you are off. The plan is to travel low over the ground, sometimes only a few metres so that you can see the wildlife at close range. (The low height also enables the pilot to’’steer’ the balloon a little, though generally you are at the mercy of the winds.)

I had the good fortune to experience a hot air balloon safari recently and it was awe-inspiring to be floating just above the Serengeti looking at the wildlife. In particular I was captivated by a pride of lions who looked up at these giant floating baskets with a quizzical air.

The silence is magnificent, and the ride (usually an hour or so) ends all too soon. As you land you all enjoy a champagne toast. And then you are whisked away to the breakfast site for a full English breakfast accompanied by more champagne.

What’s not to like?

Note: One of our party was afraid of heights but interestingly she was fine with the hot air balloon. Something about the gradual smoothness of the ascent, and perhaps the comforting harness that tethered us to the basket?