Hot air balloon flights

A Serengeti balloon safari is the ultimate way to experience the vastness of the national park.

Just imagine floating above the Serengeti plains skimming treetops in complete silence whilst seeing wildlife on the ground below. This is an essential safari experience for travellers to Serengeti National Park.

Serengeti balloon safaris locations

Balloon flights are run daily at 06h00 from four launch sites within Serengeti National Park: one throughout the year close to Seronera, and others in the Ndutu area (from 25 December to 15 March), in the Western Corridor (from June to October), and in northern Serengeti (from July to October).

The experience

Although not cheap, a balloon safaris is worth the expense. Floating serenely over the treetops as the sun peaks over the horizon permits you to experience the endless Serengeti plains from an unforgettable perspective. As we set departure very early morning, you may even spot some nocturnal predators getting ready for the day.

During most flights the pilot will include sections flown at a higher altitude allowing you to soak up uninterrupted views of the Serengeti; other sections may involve low-level flying, during which there may be the opportunity to see wildlife. Highly experienced pilots can follow rivers and streams, and will glide just meters above grunting hippos or wandering giraffes. Flying low allows you to take some great aerial wildlife photos. You move over the plains wherever the wind takes you, whilst being tracked from the ground by balloon crew in their vehicles.

Hot air ballooning & the Great Migration

The best odds for seeing the Great Migration with its innumerable wildebeest and zebra would be to book a flight in the Ndutu area as large herds congregate here between December and March. The other locations may also allow you to see the Great Migration from above, but please remember the herd is mobile and may only be in a particular area for a brief period, if not just a couple of days. This means that some luck needs to be on your side.

Serengeti hot air balloon flight price

A Serengeti balloon flight costs US$ 550 per person (this includes the Tanapa ballooning fee of US$ 40). This rate includes a transfer from your lodge or camp to the departure balloon site, the balloon flight itself, and a champagne breakfast (after landing). The flight will last anything in between 50 and 70 minutes. Depending on the landing site, also the breakfast site is set up at a different location daily. You will share the balloon with up to 16 passengers in total.

Planning a balloon safari

Be prepared for a very early start the transfer from the Seronera area leaves at 05h30 and from the other lodges in the area at around 04h00. Please remember to bring some warm clothing, and a bag in which you can secure camera, binoculars, and other personal items. We can arrange departures for a Serengeti balloon safari from most lodges and camps in the Serengeti. We strongly recommend booking a balloon safari in advance, as it concerns a very popular activity and gets booked out early (especially during peak season).

What happens if the weather is poor?

Ballooning is subject to suitable weather. If your flight is cancelled because of poor weather, you will be re-booked on a later flight If possible, otherwise your money will be refunded.

Why is a balloon safari so expensive?

Balloon flights are expensive to operate, especially in remote areas such as Serengeti National Park. Balloons -naturally- need to be in top condition, so they need to be replaced after about 850 flight hours. One balloon costs more than US$ 100,000. One also needs to consider the cost of fuel and crew to operate the balloon flight. Each crew comprises six people plus a licensed pilot. A further ten people (per balloon) operate behind the scenes to get the balloon airborne. So this adds up to a considerable amount of people. Additionally, there are the recovery vehicles, transfer vehicles, and backup operations. Last, a substantial part of the total price is allocated to conservation fees.

Further reading