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Hot air ballooning in the Serengeti

Float gently over the plains as the sun slowly lights up the sky and you spot elephants roaming and giraffe munching.



Marketing Manager
Published on

19 Dec 2022

Updated on

28 Feb 2024

Balloon And Hippo2

Hot air ballooning is one of Tanzania’s most iconic experiences and one not to be missed if you are looking to get a true sense of what Africa has to offer. The Serengeti National Park is the best-known area for ballooning, with flights operating throughout the year. Visitors to both the Tarangire and Ruaha National Parks will also be able to enjoy balloon flights, although the seasons are more limited in these areas. What the flights do have in common is their dawn starts, the amazing sense of tranquillity they offer when you are in the area and a delicious champagne bush breakfast that is enjoyed after landing.

Flying time is around 1 hour, but when the drive to the launch site, inflating the balloon, flying and the bush breakfast, as well as the drive back to camp, are factored in, it is a full morning away from camp. Prices start from $600 per person for the full three-in-one experience - night drive to the launch site, hot air ballooning experience and champagne bush breakfast!

What to expect?

Get ready for an early start – it’s worth it! Your drive to the launch site will vary depending upon your camp location, arriving just before dawn and your adventure is about to begin. Bleary-eyed, your senses are awoken by the sound of roaring flames and the sight of a balloon being inflated before your very eyes.

Whilst your craft is being prepared, you'll have a briefing from the crew. Dawn breaks and your flight is ready to take off. As you rise slowly above the Serengeti, you’ll appreciate the vastness of the landscape and the great vantage point you now hold. Enjoying this totally new perspective, wildlife viewing, and photo opportunities become a priority.

Then relax! Enjoy the view as you float effortlessly through the air suspended underneath your beautiful craft. Take in all the views and sights during your 60-minute flight. Moments to cherish for a lifetime. As your balloon comes into land and you think your adventure is over, don't fret, it's not!

Whilst you've been up in the air the ground crew have been keeping tracks on you. Once they've worked out your landing location, they create the traditional end of flight meal, a beautiful champagne breakfast.

It's still not over. You need to get back to camp, and the best way to do that is on a game drive! The rest of the morning is spent slowly heading back to your accommodation taking in all available wildlife viewing.

Viewing  Wildebeest From  Balloon
Viewing wildebeest from a balloon

Added Bonus

Night Game Drive

Night game drives are not allowed in the Serengeti National Park, but because ballooning companies are allowed to transfer their guest in the dark to ensure they are at the launch site for sunrise, these transfers essentially become a night game drive experience which is a real added bonus. Frequently wildlife is spotted en route to the launch site from nocturnal predators such as hyenas, lions hunting, leopard etc and recently on a drive they spotted this gorgeous night creature – an aardvark- which are notoriously elusive so a real highlight to see one.

Champagne Bush Breakfast

Whilst the balloon flight itself is of course magnificent, the chance to have a champagne breakfast on the plains is very special in itself. You'll be greeted with a glass of fizz, can watch your scrambled eggs being freshly cooked, and load your plate up with toast, bacon, beans, fruit, etc, while admiring the view around you. Gaze at giraffes having their breakfast from a tree on the horizon, keep an eye out for guinea fowl scratching in the burnt orange dust or watch springbok quietly grazing. You never know what animals you will see and the setting is always superb!

Night Safari Ardvark
Breakfast Under Acacia Tree
Breakfast under an Acacia Tree

Captain's Report

Flight report by Captain Jason Adams – Canadian pilot for Serengeti Balloon Safaris

“What an amazing flight we had in Seronera this morning! We arrived at the launch site under clear skies and were up just in time for a beautiful sunrise. Winds took us towards Sopa again today and as we crossed the plains we found thousands of gazelle, many hyenas, warthog, zebra, hartebeest, kori bustard and topi. As we arrived at the dry river there were 3 lions walking along. And then to our surprise, we were right over 3 rhinos. There was mom, dad and baby heading north along the16 valley. We then climbed to 1500ft for a spectacular panoramic of the Serengeti. We ended up at the end of sopa valley amongst a herd of wildebeest, where we had a smooth standup landing. We had breakfast at River Tree. All guests had an amazing time.”

More about Jason

Jason had his first flight in a hot air balloon at the young age of 2. His father became the third pilot in Canada in 1970. Throughout grade school, Jason constantly dreamed about flying and would often get kicked out of class for making burner noises and claiming his father flew hot air balloons. That all came to a stop one day when Jason made his dad tether the balloon outside the classroom to everyone’s surprise. He often told his classmates one day he would fly a balloon over the wild animals in Africa.

During high school Jason attained his balloon licence and had become a commercial pilot by age 19. Since then Jason has flown on 6 out of 7 continents, too many countries to list and still dreams about the Antarctic. He is also a multi-time Canadian Champion and represents Canada around the world in major competitions. Jason’s dream to fly in Africa came true in 2010 with Serengeti Balloon Safaris and he has never looked back. After flying all over the world, flying Serengeti Balloon Safaris in Serengeti, is still his favourite place to fly.

Key stats

  • Over 4,000 hours as Pilot in Command
  • Over 6,000 hrs In balloons.
  • Flown many special shape balloons including a Canadian Mounty Riding his horse to promote Canadian Tourism
  • Representative of Canada in 7 World Championships
  • Flown over Niagara Falls, ancient temples of Bagan, Masai Mara, Serengeti, Las Vegas, Dubai to name a few
  • March 2023 will be his 30th anniversary as a Commercial Hot Air Balloon pilot.
  • Jason has owned and operated 2 balloon companies which he sold both to travel the world. (Up N’Away and CJFLY) over the years.
Jason As A Child
Jason on a balloon safari as a child
Jason Flying
Captain Jason Adams flying

Where can you do ballooning in Tanzania?

Serengeti Ballooning

Ballooning is possible year-round in the Serengeti. As well as offering the chance to see the migration (depending on the time of year and location), these flights offer a totally different perspective on the plains of the Serengeti and are a highlight of any trip

Tarangire Ballooning

Offered in Tarangire’s dry season between July and October the balloon flights here follow the winding course of the Tarangire River as it cuts a swathe through the baobab-studded landscape of the park. With elephants found in strong numbers in the park you will often see these mighty pachyderms making their stately way along the plains which adds to the drama of these flights.

Ruaha Ballooning

As in Tarangire, balloon flights in Ruaha are seasonal, usually starting around the end of June and running through until the middle of October. The flights offer an incredible perspective on the park, with views to the Miombo woodlands that cover huge parts of the park, as well as of course the Ruaha River which lends the park its name. As well as elephants, you will often see large herds of buffalo on these flights, with more eagle-eyed travellers able to pick out a lion or two as well.


How much does it cost?

The price is circa US$599pp in a shared balloon. This includes your collection from your lodge, transfer to the launch site, your scenic flight of 45-60minutes and champagne breakfast on landing.

There is no denying that ballooning isn't a cheap experience, but it is a true once-in-a-lifetime bucket list activity and almost every clients' favourite part of their trip. It is worth understanding that the balloons used cost over $100,000 each and are retired after only 850 hours of flying. There are also a significant number of people involved in the operation - set up crew, professional pilot, drivers, chefs etc, plus the logicists of operating in a remote area and fuel used during the flight.

It is a particularly popular add-on to a Tanzania honeymoon - romantic and very memorable!

What should I pack?

A camera and binoculars are a must, you will want to capture the amazing landscape as you float on by. Wearing layers can also be handy and having a small backpack to put things in. It can be surprisingly chilly in the early morning so you want to be able to wrap up warm, but once the sun is up and you are eating your scrambled egg on the plains, it can be really quite warm so you might want to be able to strip off. It is also worth bringing a hat as the heat from the burner in the balloon can be sensitive on your hair follicles and a hat helps protect from this.

What if there is bad weather?

Safety is always the upmost priority, so if there are strong winds, then the balloon flight would be cancelled and you would be moved to another day if possible or reimbursed, however, cancellations are rare. Even during the rainy season, the rains are usually in the afternoon with the mornings bright and clear with only a gentle breeze.

Trip Idea

Join our world-first Serengeti ballooning expedition where you will be part of the first group ever to traverse the famous Serengeti National Park by hot air balloon.

This trip will take you to untouched areas of the Serengeti which are traditionally hard to reach allowing you to explore without the crowds and will combine walking, 4x4 and balloon safari Every morning you will take a magical sunrise hot air balloon safari to a new destination which is then yours to explore.

Find out more

To arrange your hot air balloon flight in the Serengeti call us on 01768 603 715.


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