- Balloon Safari
- Balloon Safari FAQs
- Night Drive Safari
Take off at Dawn
Serengeti Balloon Safari adventure starts early morning when it is still dark and you may be fortunate to see nocturnal animals on the way to the launch site. When you arrive, you will meet your pilot and witness your balloon being inflated and prepared for launch. After a thorough safety briefing and demonstration of boarding and landing position you board your balloon and lift off! Rising as the sun rises your balloon floats in whatever direction the winds of the day are heading over this wonderful area.
It is an adventure – even for us. Whereas we know where we have started, we genuinely do not know where we will land as we float in the direction of and speed of the wind. Your pilot will use varying altitudes and layers of air to navigate the balloon over this amazing area. Each day is different, some of the flight may be low, offering a different perspective and at other times your balloon may climb to 1000’ or more. Nobody can predict, no two flights are ever the same and your balloon safari will be unique.
A balloon offers an opportunity to see the Serengeti from a unique perspective. You will notice wildlife trails made by generations of animals impossible to see from the ground. We aim to fly for about an hour, depending on conditions. After landing, you celebrate in the traditional way with a champagne toast (well, an excellent sparkling wine) before heading off to a special ‘Out of Africa’ breakfast.
Out of Africa Breakfast
Breakfast is prepared in the bush and served under a convenient acacia tree. Linen, bone china, Sheffield cutlery and freshly prepared fare in the company of your fellow passengers makes a memorable finale to your adventure.
After breakfast, you are taken to the rendezvous point to meet with your driver guide and continue your day’s activities.
You will fly over areas out of bounds to vehicles as off road driving is not permitted in much of the Serengeti
Do I need to book in advance?
We strongly recommend that you book in advance with your tour operator to secure your place. We have limited capacity and this exclusive adventure is frequently fully booked.
How much does it cost?
The price is US$599 inclusive of all fees & taxes
This is also the rate that you will pay if you book ‘stand by’ on a space available basis in Serengeti.
When is the best time of year for ballooning in Serengeti?
We are fortunate that the weather in the Serengeti is suitable for ballooning almost every day of the year.
What about the ‘rainy seasons’?
We prefer to call them the GREEN SEASONS. The ‘long rains’ (late March to early June) & the ‘short rains’ (November to mid-December). The great migration passes through Central Serengeti during the green seasons. At these times it USUALLY rains late afternoon and during the night. Mornings are USUALLY bright and clear with gentle winds (ideal ballooning weather!). The landscape is lush, green and dust free (yes, your vehicle may get stuck in the mud – but our balloon won’t!)
Do you operate year round?
Yes, we operate daily throughout the year in central Serengeti. We operate seasonally in Serengeti South, from Christmas day to 15th March. We operate seasonally in the Western Corridor from beginning of June to the end of August.
Are there any restrictions?
Yes, we do not carry children under the age of 7 years. There is no upper age limit, however passengers must be reasonably mobile, fit to fly and prepared for an adventure. Ballooning is not suitable for pregnant ladies, people with mobility or health conditions (heart conditions, brittle bones, neck or back conditions). Passengers must be able to bend their knees, hold on to rope handles with both hands for take-off and landing and be able to climb into and out of the basket.
Balloon passenger weights are calculated at an average of 80 kgs. Passengers weighing 50% + more than this (i.e. 120kgs / 265lbs / 19 stone) may be charged for two places.
I am on an organized safari with a set itinerary. Can I do this?
Yes, providing you are staying at any of the central Serengeti lodges or camps or (seasonally) in any of the western corridor lodges / camps or (again seasonally) at any Serengeti South lodges or camps or those in the Ndutu area. We collect you before the flight from your lodge/camp early morning and return you to the rendezvous point at 9.45am to join the rest of your party & continue your day’s activities
What should I wear? What should I bring?
It can be cool in the early morning, but often warm later, therefore a jacket or sweater that can be removed later is a good idea. A hat is recommended (particularly for the ‘follically challenged) as radiant heat from the burners can be uncomfortable. We suggest long trousers, long sleeves, preferably in natural fibres and stout shoes. Don’t forget your camera and binoculars. You can bring a camera bag or small backpack with you in the balloon.
Why is ballooning expensive?
Our balloons each cost the same as a big Mercedes but only last a few hundreds hours. They use a significant amount of fuel per flight and involve a minimum crew of six men plus professional pilot to get it in the air plus a further ten employees behind the scenes for each balloon. In addition, there are the retrieving vehicles, logistics, back up etc. We operate in a remote area. There is a very substantial sum in the form of concession fees for every passenger to Tanzania National Parks towards conservation funds.
Explore wildlife in the bush at night in Lake Manyara
Head out after dark on a night game drive and experience the bush in a whole new way. Night game drive are about catching sight of smaller, nocturnal animals such as genets, civets, porcupines and aardvarks or the chance to catch a lion or leopard in your spotlight. You can feel the alertness and tension from the plains game as the predators prepare themselves for their nightly huts. It gives you a different perspective of the park and wildlife. Especially a night game drive in Lake Manyara National Park.
Lake Manyara ecosystem
Lake Manyara is the ideal location for a night game drive because of its many ecosystems. It is said to have 11 different systems; the area is a melting pot for all types of animals and plants – with the lake, the rift valley cliffs, ground water forest, Ngorongoro highlands and the dry Tarangire system all close by.
Lake Manyara wildlife
Manyara National Park have good reliable water year round and animals here are in prime condition making wildlife viewing even better. The less seen animals are generally active at night and Lake Manyara National Park are full of them! Porcupines, genets and civet cats are frequent visitors to the forest. Hippos are nocturnal animals (active by night) and it is highly likely to see many of these beasts grazing on the side of the road. Lake Manyara is well known for a large number of Leopards and although it is not a common occurrence these elusive cats are spotted on a regular basis. Lion sightings are more common and where lions are mostly sleeping in day time at night they are almost always active.
All our night game drives in Lake Manyara include a nice bush dinner inside the park. So when you are already in the park on a day game drive you don’t have to exit the park for dinner anymore. Relax and enjoy a bush dinner at the Endala picnic site on the lakeshores. After the bush dinner, you can experience a great night safari.
Night game drive program
Your drive starts around 20:00 from where you head into the thick ground-water forest of Lake Manyara. From the forest you head down towards the lake following the Simba River to the hippo pools. You will return back to the forest and finally be back at the park gate around 22:30. We can either leave you at the gate to be collected by your safari driver or we can take you to the Serena Manyara Lodge for collection.
This night safari will give you an entirely different perspective of the park and wildlife.
Bujo Tours Rates Night Game Drive
- The price for night game drive is $198 per personwhich includes $ 59 TANAPA night drive per personal and park fee of $ 53 per personal for a day entry and bush dinner.
Contact us to incorporate a night drive in your safari or another activity like walking, mountain biking and canoeing.