Is Hot-Air Ballooning Over The Serengeti Worth It?

Written by Thomson Safaris

Magical! Serene! Stunning! These are some of the words our guests use to describe the experience of soaring over the Serengeti in a hot-air balloon at sunrise. Those who opt to add the balloon flight to their itinerary consider the experience bucket list-worthy.

Variables such as ever-changing wind patterns dictate each balloon flight: Passengers may soar high above the park, viewing grand perspectives of the plains; they may fly very low to the ground for an intimate view of the flora and fauna; the wildlife may remain hidden from view or may be visible in great abundance. All of these elements combine to make each flight a unique experience.

One of the consistent features of the Serengeti hot-air balloon flight is the Champagne toast upon landing. This decadent tradition is said to date back to the late 1700’s following one of the first hot-air balloon flights, when a pilot offered a bottle of Champagne – initially meant for him and his passengers – as a gesture of goodwill to the owners of the farm where the balloon touched down. Since then, every hot-air balloon flight concludes with a Champagne toast.

Our guest, Casey Kenaston, shared a video montage with us documenting his entire balloon ride over the Serengeti, beginning with balloon inflation and take-off and concluding with the champagne toast and the “out of Africa” breakfast. He told us the highlight of his experience was following the curves of the hippo-inhabited river from above. Be sure to watch his video here.

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Casey adds, “My safari with Thomson Safaris was a great experience and one that I will remember all of my life. One of the highlights of the trip was a balloon ride over the savanna. We got up early in the morning, while it was still dark, and traveled to the sight where the balloon was being inflated. We ascended shortly before sunrise. There were thirteen of us in the party and we all stood in the large balloon basket during the ride.  We traveled at various altitudes from 100 to 1000 feet to provide an optimum view of the animals and scenery.  It was a beautiful site and we saw a variety of African game. I had the opportunity to get excellent photos and video of the trip. When we landed, we had a nice breakfast awaiting us.”