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Hot Air Balloon Safaris

There are few experiences that match watching herds of wildebeest or zebra from a hot air balloon as the sun rises.

This extraordinary adventure offers a unique perspective and some first-rate photo opportunities! As memorable as the game viewing is, it is the liberating sense of space that characterizes ballooning over destinations like the Serengeti Plains in Tanzania.

You will notice wildlife trails made by generations of animals, impossible to see from the ground. The balloon’s altitude will vary from almost ground level to over 1,000ft, offering various perspectives throughout the flight. The pilots know the area well and are committed conservationists. After your hour’s flight, you can reflect and enjoy a delicious champagne breakfast in the bush!

Top Destinations for Hot Air Balloons Safaris:

1. The Serengeti and the Maasai Mara, Tanzania/Kenya

Hot Air Balloon, Angama Mara, Greater Mara, Kenya

I have joined these two areas together because they offer a very similar experience and are famous for their huge open plains, sprawling as far as the eye can see. These two parks really are the picture that everyone has in their head when they think of Africa! Furthermore, both are home to enormous concentrations of game, including the vast herds of the Great Migration. Therefore, the Serengeti/Maasai Mara arguably offers the best ballooning for game viewing, as it allows you to see the sheer volume of animals in the two parks. Without a doubt, this is Africa’s best area for a balloon safari! For take off in the Serengeti, we'd suggest taking a look at camps such as Nasikia MobileLemala Mara and Lamai, which range from entry-level to top-end luxury.

In Kenya's Maasai Mara, Little Governors' Camp has a superb set up for hot air ballooning - you can check out YZ co-founder Julian's blog and video of his experience in a hot air balloon. 

2. The Okavango Delta, Botswana

Hot Air Balloon, Okavango Delta, Botswana

Many people claim that the Okavango Delta is the very best game-viewing region in the whole of Africa. I would certainly agree, but what really makes it stand out is the scenery. From May through to the end of August, the Delta is in full flood and full of life. There is no better way to see the breathtaking beauty of the park and the game that is attracted to the flood plains, than from the air. It is worth noting that only a few properties offer this activity, with Wilderness Little Vumbura and Wilderness Vumbura Plains being the Yellow Zebra favorites!

3. Sossusvlei, Namibia

Hot Air Balloon, Sossusvlei Desert Lodge, Sossusvlei, Namibia

Namibia is famous for its stunning scenery, with Sossusvlei’s sand dunes being the image that first springs to mind! Here the experience is less about wildlife viewing – although you may well spot oryx, springbok, and ostrich – and more about appreciating the incredible desert scenery. Little can prepare you for the stark contrasts between the towering golden dunes and the vivid cobalt sky! A journey high in the sky affords a unique opportunity to discover the ethereal beauty of this most photogenic of landscapes.

We always suggest a balloon ride for anyone staying two or three nights here. There are a number of high-quality lodges to choose from, but our personal preferences are &Beyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge and Wilderness Little Kulala.

4. Tarangire National Park, Tanzania

Hot air ballooning, The Serengeti, Tanzania

Tarangire may be the forgotten park of Northern Tanzania, but at Yellow Zebra we think it is the hidden gem. This is a park that must be included in an itinerary for anyone looking for an off-the-beaten-track experience! It is home to an elephant migration that involves approximately 3,000 elephant moving into the center of the park, while its all round great game viewing means that it is one of my favorite parks in the country. Tarangire is also unquestionably Northern Tanzania’s best park for active travelers, with many camps offering walking safaris, night drives, standard game drives and ballooning safaris. It is a must for people traveling to this region -and we'd recommend staying at either Ndovu Camp or Kuro Tarangire, two fabulous camps in this great region. 

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