There are many ways to see the wonders of Africa. Here is why you need to experience a sensational Serengeti hot air balloon trip at sunrise, seeing the landscape and animals of Tanzania as you float serenely through the sky.
Entering the Serengeti
Having already explored Nairobi and the Kenyan part of the Serengeti – the Maasai Mara – we entered Tanzania’s part, including the Ngorogoro Crater and Serengeti National Park.
Magnificent Mount Kilimanjaro watched over us as we drove the eight hours across the border from Kenya to Tanzania in our tour group’s large orange truck. Then finally we were there, on the edge of the Ngorongoro Crater, for the start of an unforgettable adventure.
Flying in a hot air balloon Tanzania style
The next morning we had a 4am start for our Serengeti hot air balloon safari. In a large field, we watched the balloons being inflated with the powerful flaming bursts of air. Sliding into the basket compartments we fastened our seatbelts, like on a roller coaster ride. These balloons are among the largest in operation, carrying 16 passengers as well as the crew.
Our British pilot had around two decades of experience, having worked for the Serengeti hot air balloon’s manufacturing company in the UK, before taking to the skies as a guide in Tanzania and Myanmar. Not a bad job. As we lifted off, we took in the amazing views and he directed us to the points of interest.
Floating high up it felt like being in a dream, it was so smooth and so quiet, punctuated by the occasional blast of the burner. Below us, we could see herds of animals awakening for morning and a hyena scouting around ominously for breakfast.
Swooping low, we passed over a pond and spotted a crocodile and some hippos emerging for the day. I wasn’t expecting that the balloon would fly so close to the ground at times. It meant we had an incredible array of perspectives of the land and its inhabitants.
High up, we could see the cracks and scars of the land.
After an hour it was time to descend the Serengeti hot air balloon. We floated gracefully towards the ground and landed with barely a bump. Pretty much perfect.
To conclude this amazing experience, our hosts popped open bottles of French champagne in honour of the Montgolfier Brothers who first successfully launched a manned hot air balloon flight in 1783. We were then each handed a certificate and feasted on a decadent breakfast under the sun. A blissful way to end this adventure. It felt as though we’d already achieved a lot, even though it was still the morning.
To find out more about doing a Serengeti hot air balloon safari, visit Serengeti Balloon Safaris.
Now read about all the amazing things to do on the nearby island of Zanzibar.