Drifting Over the Serengeti: Witness the Great Migration on a Hot Air Balloon Safari

Are you a fan of adventure, wildlife, and stunning landscapes? Then drifting over the Serengeti in a hot air balloon during the annual wildebeest migration is an experience you won’t want to miss. Witnessing millions of wildebeest embarking on their journey from a bird’s eye view is like floating through a dreamland, where every corner reveals new wonders and delights.

Imagine being high above the endless plains, the sun rising and casting a golden glow on the landscape below. The cool morning breeze gently caresses your skin as you take in the stunning view. Soaring above herds of animals and witnessing nature’s greatest migration is something that will stay with you forever.

From the smooth takeoff to the champagne toast that awaits you upon landing, drifting over the Serengeti in a hot air balloon is a truly memorable experience. Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or looking to add an extraordinary adventure to your life, this miracle experience is perfect for anyone who wants to feed their wanderlust and witness the magic of nature in all its glory.

Hot air balloon flying in the Serengeti
Hot air balloon flying over the Serengeti

The Enchanting Experience of Flying Over the Serengeti Plains

Flying over the Serengeti Plains is an enchanting experience that is hard to describe in words. As you glide through the sky, the world beneath you seems to come alive in a way that is both breathtaking and awe-inspiring. The wind rushes past you, and the sensation of weightlessness is exhilarating. You feel as though you are part of the landscape, and you are able to see the Serengeti from a perspective that few people ever get to experience. The beauty of the landscape unfolds before you like a living painting, and the endless horizon stretches out in all directions. It is truly an unforgettable experience that will leave you feeling rejuvenated and inspired. 

Hot Air Safari in the Serengeti

Hot air balloon flights over the Serengeti plains have been a popular attraction for tourists for many years. The first hot air balloon ride in the Serengeti was pioneered by a British pilot, Captain Joe Zekria, in the 1970s. Since then, the popularity of hot air balloon flights has increased, and it has become a bucket list experience for many travelers.

The experience of flying over the Serengeti in a hot air balloon is nothing short of breathtaking. The gentle breeze and the panoramic views of the plains and wildlife below create a sense of awe and wonder. As you drift silently above the savannah, you’ll have a bird’s-eye view of the herds of wildebeest and zebras on their annual migration, as well as other wildlife such as elephants, giraffes, and lions.

Fun fact: The hot air balloon flights in the Serengeti are not just for tourists. In fact, they are also used by researchers and conservationists to study and monitor the movements of wildlife in the park. The balloons provide a unique perspective and a non-invasive way to observe the animals in their natural habitat.

Hot air balloon tour in the Serengeti
Hot air balloon safari over the Serengeti

Before traveling to the Serengeti for a hot air balloon ride, it’s important to know that the flights are weather-dependent and can be affected by the rainy season. It’s also advisable to book your flight in advance to secure your spot, as they can fill up quickly during peak tourist seasons. Additionally, be sure to dress in layers as it can be chilly in the early morning, and bring a camera to capture the stunning views from above.

Where to Go: Popular Locations for Hot Air Balloon Rides in the Serengeti National Park

The Serengeti National Park is a vast expanse of wilderness spanning over 14,000 square kilometers. One of the best ways to take in the sweeping views of this stunning landscape is from above, in a hot air balloon. Here are some of the most popular locations for hot air balloon rides in the park:

  1. Seronera Valley: Located in the central part of the park, the Seronera Valley is a hotspot for wildlife sightings. From above, you can see herds of elephants, giraffes, and wildebeests grazing on the plains. Fun fact: The Seronera River runs through the valley, providing a vital source of water for the animals. Before traveling here, keep in mind that the valley can get crowded during peak tourist season.
  2. Western Corridor: This section of the park follows the path of the Grumeti River, which is home to crocodiles and hippos. From the hot air balloon, you can see the winding river and the animals that depend on it for survival. Fun fact: The Western Corridor is also home to the endangered black rhinoceros. Travelers should note that the area can be inaccessible during the rainy season.
  3. Ndutu: Located in the southern part of the park, Ndutu is a hidden gem that offers stunning views of the Serengeti. From the balloon, you can see Lake Ndutu, which is a popular spot for flamingos and other water birds. Fun fact: Ndutu is also home to the Olduvai Gorge, where some of the earliest human fossils were discovered. Travelers should know that the area is only accessible during the dry season.

Overall, a hot air balloon ride over the Serengeti is an unforgettable experience that allows you to take in the vastness of the park and see its inhabitants from a unique perspective. When planning your trip, be sure to book your ride in advance and check with the provider about any restrictions or requirements.

Witnessing the Great Wildebeest Migration in the Serengeti

The Great Wildebeest Migration in the Serengeti is one of the most spectacular natural events on earth. Every year, over two million wildebeest, zebra, and gazelles travel across the plains of the Serengeti in search of food and water, creating a remarkable sight that draws visitors from all over the world.

The migration happens between the months of June and October, when the animals move from the southern Serengeti in Tanzania to the Masai Mara in Kenya. During this time, the herds cross rivers and face predators, making it a truly thrilling and dramatic event to witness.

Visitors can participate in a game drive or hot air balloon safaris over the Serengeti to see the migration up close. The Game drive allow visitors to get up close and personal with the animals on the ground, while hot air balloon safaris offer a unique aerial view of the migration from above.

The wildebeest migration in the Serengeti.

The overall experience of witnessing the Great Wildebeest Migration is simply awe-inspiring. The sheer scale of the herds is breathtaking, and the sight of thousands of wildebeest running across the plains is nothing short of incredible. It’s not just about the animals though – the landscape of the Serengeti is stunning, with vast open plains, rolling hills, and a beautiful African sunset that casts a warm glow over the horizon.

For those who love nature and wildlife, witnessing the Great Wildebeest Migration in the Serengeti is an experience that should not be missed. It’s a chance to witness one of the world’s most magnificent natural wonders and be left in awe of the power and beauty of the natural world.

What is the Serengeti?

The Serengeti is a vast and awe-inspiring landscape located in East Africa. It stretches over 30,000 square kilometers and encompasses a variety of habitats, including grassy plains, woodlands, and riverine forests. The name “Serengeti” comes from the Maasai language and means “endless plains,” a fitting description of the region’s vast open spaces.

Perhaps most famous for the annual wildebeest migration, the Serengeti is home to a staggering array of wildlife, including lions, elephants, giraffes, and more. It is also a crucial conservation area, with efforts underway to protect the Serengeti’s fragile ecosystems and ensure the survival of its many endangered species.

The Serengeti offers travelers and nature enthusiasts a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness some of the world’s most impressive wildlife spectacles and explore a truly unique and breathtaking landscape.

Exploring Masai Mara and South Africa’s Park Reserves

Masai Mara and South Africa’s Park Reserves offer an incredible opportunity to explore some of the planet’s most beautiful and diverse wildlife. Located in the heart of Africa, these parks boast a stunning array of animals, from majestic lions to towering giraffes, massive elephants, and elusive leopards.

Masai Mara is situated in southwest Kenya, and it is a renowned African safari destination. The park is home to the famous wildebeest migration, a natural phenomenon that sees millions of wildebeest and other animals move from the Serengeti in Tanzania to the Masai Mara in Kenya every year from July to October. This migration is one of the most spectacular sights on the planet, and witnessing it is an unforgettable experience.

On the other hand, South Africa’s Park Reserves offer a unique experience to see the Big Five (lions, elephants, rhinos, leopards, and buffalos) up close. The parks have a wide variety of landscapes, from rugged mountains to sweeping grasslands, and this variety of terrain attracts a diverse range of animals.

Hot air balloons drifting over the Serengeti plains with zebras and wildebeests in sight.

To see the wildlife in these parks, one can go on a guided safari in a jeep or on foot. Experienced guides lead visitors on game drives, providing insights into the animals’ behavior and habitats. Hot air balloon safaris are also available in Masai Mara, providing a unique perspective on the landscape and wildlife.

The thrill of seeing a lioness on the hunt or watching a herd of elephants cross a river is a feeling that stays with you long after you leave. And the chance to witness the incredible natural beauty of Africa is something that should be on every traveler’s bucket list.

Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya/Tanzania Border

The Masai Mara National Reserve is a wildlife-rich destination in southwestern Kenya and the northern part of Tanzania’s Serengeti Plains. Covering an area of over 1,500 square kilometers, the reserve is home to a diverse range of wildlife species, including the famous Big Five – elephants, lions, leopards, rhinoceros, and Cape buffaloes. The reserve is situated on the Kenya/Tanzania border and is a continuation of the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. The Masai Mara is renowned for its annual wildebeest migration, which takes place between July and October, as over two million wildebeests, zebras, and gazelles make their way across the Mara River in search of greener pastures. The reserve also offers spectacular views of the open savannah, scenic landscapes, and a rich Maasai culture.

South Serengeti/North Mara Region, Tanzania

The South Serengeti/North Mara Region in Tanzania is a breathtaking and picturesque location famous for its incredible wildlife and natural beauty. Located in the northern part of Tanzania, this region is home to some of the world’s most diverse and unique species of wildlife, including elephants, lions, zebras, and giraffes. The region is also known for its stunning landscapes, which include vast grassy plains, rolling hills, and lush forests.

 Southern Serengeti Plains, Tanzania

Welcome to the Southern Serengeti Plains, one of our planet’s most breathtaking natural wonders. This vast region of Tanzania in East Africa has immense beauty, unparalleled wildlife, and an important conservation success story. The Southern Serengeti Plains are part of the larger Serengeti ecosystem, spanning Tanzania and Kenya. It is home to the famous Great Migration, where millions of wildebeest, zebras, and other grazing animals make their annual journey in search of greener pastures.

The Southern Serengeti Plains have vast savanna grasslands, scattered acacia trees, and rocky outcrops. The region is home to diverse wildlife, including lions, leopards, cheetahs, elephants, giraffes, and many more. Visitors to the Southern Serengeti Plains can experience the thrill of an incredible balloon safari, with game drives that offer the chance to spot these incredible creatures in their natural habitat.

Red hot air balloon drifting over the Serengeti over a field of zebras.

But the Southern Serengeti Plains are more than just a place to see wildlife. They are a place to connect with nature and learn about the complex web of life that sustains this fragile ecosystem. It is also a place of great cultural significance, as the region is home to the Maasai people, who have lived in harmony with the wildlife for generations.

The Southern Serengeti Plains should be top if you’re looking for a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. So pack your bags, grab your camera, and prepare for an unforgettable journey into the heart of Africa from a Serengeti Balloon.

The Ngorongoro Crater

Nestled in northern Tanzania, the Ngorongoro Crater is a spectacular natural wonder that draws visitors worldwide. This geological formation is the world’s largest inactive, intact, and unfilled volcanic caldera, boasting a diameter of approximately 20 kilometers and a depth of around 610 meters. The Ngorongoro Crater is located within the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, a UNESCO World Heritage Site home to a diverse range of flora and fauna, including the famous “big five” game animals (lion, elephant, leopard, buffalo, and rhino).

Visitors to the Ngorongoro Crater can expect to be awed by the stunning landscapes, which include lush forests, grassy plains, and sparkling lakes. They can also look forward to an incredible safari experience, with the opportunity to witness some of Africa’s most iconic wildlife up close in their natural habitat. Additionally, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area is home to several indigenous tribes, including the Maasai people, who offer unique cultural experiences and insights into their traditional way of life.


Amboseli National Park

The Amboseli National Park in Tanzania is one of Africa’s most iconic and breathtaking destinations, drawing visitors from around the globe to experience its incredible natural wonders. At the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest peak on the African continent, Amboseli offers visitors a unique combination of stunning landscapes, diverse wildlife, and fascinating cultural experiences.

Whether you’re a nature lover, an adventure seeker, or a cultural enthusiast, Amboseli National Park has something for everyone. With its incredible wildlife, stunning scenery, and rich cultural heritage, it’s no wonder that Amboseli is considered one of Tanzania’s top tourist destinations.

Millions of Wildebeests in Motion

The wildebeest is a fascinating animal that plays a critical role in the Serengeti ecosystem. It is one of the many species that participate in the Great Migration, an annual event where millions of wildebeests, zebras, and gazelles migrate across the Serengeti plains in search of fresh grass and water. The wildebeests are a key component of this migration, as they provide food for predators like lions, hyenas, and crocodiles.

During the migration, the wildebeests can be seen in massive herds, with thousands upon thousands of animals moving together in a single group. It is truly a spectacle to behold, as the sound of their hooves pounding the earth and the dust they kick up fills the air. But despite their seemingly chaotic movements, the wildebeests follow a strict migratory pattern honed over generations. They move in a circular route, following the rains and the growth of new grass and crossing rivers and other obstacles. It is a testament to their adaptability and resilience as a species.

Watching the wildebeest migration is an awe-inspiring experience. Seeing these massive herds of animals moving in unison is like watching a living, breathing organism. From the vantage point of a hot air balloon, you can truly appreciate the herds’ sheer size and the Serengeti landscape’s vastness. It’s a truly unique perspective that few people get to experience.

Millions of wildebeest in motion.

As the wildebeests make their journey across the Serengeti, they must navigate treacherous river crossings, dodge predators, and find enough food and water to sustain their long journey. It’s a difficult and dangerous journey that only the strongest and most determined animals will survive. Watching them overcome these obstacles is both thrilling and humbling. It reminds us of the incredible resilience and adaptability of nature, and the importance of preserving these natural wonders for generations to come.

Drifting over the Serengeti in a hot air balloon is a once in a Lifetime Experience experience that should not be missed. From the panoramic views of the endless plains to witnessing the Great Migration of the wildebeest from a bird’s eye view, it’s a thrilling adventure that will stay with you forever. Whether you’re an adventurous traveler or looking to add a little excitement to your life, a hot-air balloon safari in the Serengeti is perfect for anyone who wants to witness the magic of nature in all its glory. So book your flight in advance, dress in layers, bring your camera, and prepare for an adventure of a lifetime!

 

FAQ’s about a Hot Air Balloon Safari

What to expect on your hot air balloon safari in Serengeti?

Expect a breathtaking experience as you soar over the vast Serengeti plains, witnessing incredible views of wildlife and the sunrise. The hot air balloon safari usually takes about an hour, and it starts before dawn to allow for a spectacular view of the sunrise or sunset. The Balloon Operator always has their balloon flight certificate. During the flight, you will drift over herds of animals, including wildebeest, zebras, giraffes, and elephants, and enjoy panoramic landscape views. After the flight, you will return to camp for dinner, a delicious breakfast with champagne, fresh fruits, and fruit juice, or lunch.

What to bring on a hot air balloon safari in Serengeti | Pre-briefing?

Wear comfortable clothing, preferably with layers, as the temperatures can vary during the day. A hat and sunglasses are also recommended to protect you from the sun’s glare. Listening carefully to the pre-briefing is essential, covering safety measures, instructions, and what to expect during the flight. It is advisable to bring a camera or a smartphone to capture the amazing views.

What wildlife can you see on a hot air balloon safari in Serengeti?

The Serengeti is famous for its abundant wildlife, and a hot air balloon safari offers a unique opportunity to view them from above. The most famous animals to see during the Great Migration are wildebeest, zebras, and gazelles, but there are also lions, cheetahs, leopards, hyenas, elephants, giraffes, and many other animals. You may also spot different bird species, including ostriches, eagles, and vultures.

What is the price of a balloon safari in Serengeti?

The price of a hot air balloon safari in Serengeti can vary depending on the company and selected package. Generally, the cost ranges from $500 to $800 per person, including transportation to and from the launch site, breakfast, and a certificate of completion. It is advisable to check with different companies and compare prices and services offered to get the best deal.

Where to stay for your hot air balloon safari?

For those seeking a luxurious experience, several high-end safari camps, lodges, and tented camps are located within the Serengeti National Park, such as the Four Seasons Safari Lodge Serengeti, the Singita Grumeti Reserves and the Serengeti Safari Camp. These accommodations offer top-notch amenities and services and the chance to go on drives from the safari lodge and other activities in addition to the hot air balloon ride.

For those on a tighter budget, there are also several options outside the park, such as the Serengeti Heritage Luxury Tented Camp and the Nimali Central Serengeti Camp. These accommodations still offer a high level of comfort and service but at a more affordable price. 

It’s worth noting that some hot air balloon companies may also offer their own accommodations, so be sure to check with them when booking your safari.

Hot Air Balloon Pilot Eliav C.
About the Author

Chief pilot of Seattle Ballooning. I get the opportunity to provide luxury hot air balloon rides just South of Seattle in front of Mt. Rainier. When you do what you love, it’s not considered work.

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