A hot air balloon ride anywhere is an amazing experience. But experiencing a hot air balloon ride over Serengeti National Park….well, that’s on a whole other level. Period.
A hot air balloon ride was an optional excursion when we booked our safari with the Africa Adventure Company. If you’re going all the way to Tanzania for a safari, you might as well go all out, right?
We had to meet in our lodge lobby at 4am and then we were transported in the dark to the launch site. We really had no idea what to expect. When we got there, several balloons were in the process of being blown up. At the start, large fans were being used to get the balloon started.
As we were watching the balloons getting blown up, we couldn’t help but notice the man with a rifle over his shoulder standing watch. We soon would learn that he was standing guard in case some big game came into the area. He was our only protection from a curious lion or Cape buffalo. Luckily, his services were not needed.
Before we knew it, they were ready for us to jump in and get ready for take off.
The burners were turned on and it was only a matter of seconds before we were off the ground and ready for some sights. The crew sent us off and waved as we floated away.
There’s nothing quite like seeing African wildlife from the sky. We didn’t spot any animals at first, but the scenery was absolutely amazing. There were acacia trees as far as the eye could see. There were pathways to ponds from where the herds of animals would come to drink.
It was moments like these that left us speechless.
And then there were animals.
In the air, we got so much closer to hippos then we ever could have in vehicles. Our pilot would descend the balloon to give us a closer look at these amazing creatures.
To be honest, we didn’t see a whole lot of animals on the balloon ride. Hippos were the most plentiful, but we also saw giraffes, zebras, gazelle and a lone wart hog.
As the balloon ride came to an end, we touched down just in time for jeeps to take us to breakfast served under an acacia tree. A champagne toast started off the food and drink festivities, which is customary when landing after a hot air ballon ride.
One of our favorite features, and one we both used, was the bathroom facilities.
It was called “A Loo with a View.”
Basically you could sit on the toilet and do your business all the while gazing out across the land where all the wild animals roam. Needless to say, it’s a very unique bathroom experience.
Our hot air balloon ride over the Serengeti was certainly a highlight on our trip to Tanzania. The view from the sky is such a unique perspective. One that shouldn’t be missed when exploring the African Bush.