If this is your first time flying in a hot air balloon ride, you should be aware of what to expect and be prepared for the adventure ahead. Here’s a quick, but comprehensive guide to getting ready for a Serengeti hot air balloon safari:
As the first piece of advice to first-time flyers worldwide, we recommend you book your safari in advance before you arrive in Tanzania. This ensures that we can adequately prepare for your arrival ahead of time. We suggest staying in the country for a couple of days after your booking date in case of any changes to your safari.
Hot Air Balloon flight depend on weather conditions, so we may have to cancel your flight if it rains or there are strong winds. Allowing a few extra days in the country will enable you to reschedule your excursion for a later date while still enjoying the fun and thrill of the adventure.
Secondly, while you might worry about feeling cold during your ride, the altitude only shaves a few degrees off the ground temperature, which is usually compensated for by the heat of the burner and the beautiful sunrise. However, it is chilly on the way to the launch site. During summer, you might consider dressing lightly and bringing a spare jacket, and however, winter usually calls for more appropriate and protective clothing.
Thirdly, leave the motion sickness medicine in your drawer at the hotel. While flying at high altitudes for over an hour might seem daunting to some, the leisurely pace of a hot air balloon gliding with the breeze is so smooth and relaxing that motion sickness rarely happens. Similarly, if heights tend to be a problem for you, we would like to reassure you that the constant gentle movement of the balloon and the vastness of the plains ensure you won’t focus on that single point meters down, which might cause your stomach to drop into your socks.
We want to emphasize the landing, just like any other vehicle flying through the air. We have professional pilots on hand to inform and guide you through the entire process. Your hot air balloon ride will most likely descend slowly to the ground and settle upright, allowing you to climb out. Do not worry if the landing is a little bumpier than intended; this is normal. This should not dissuade you from taking this incredible journey.
Seasonal temperatures and practicality are a few things to consider when choosing clothing for this trip. Let’s not forget that flying a hot air balloon over the Serengeti is an adventure, and like most excursions in the wild, comfortable clothing is the best way to go.
Depending on the season you visit, it might be most practical to consider wearing traditional safari clothing. This kind of clothing will have you covered for most weather conditions. In winter, you may need a few more layers, especially since take-off usually happens before dawn, and you might experience a slight chill.
We would also recommend that you ensure your clothes are loose enough to provide a good range of motion. You will be asked to climb in and out of the wicker basket at take-off and landing, which might be a challenging feat if your clothes are too restraining.
Lastly, wear comfortable shoes such as cushioned sneakers as you will be standing for the duration of the ride and taking a few steps in the savannah for the bush breakfast. We suggest going in closed shoes.
You can bring your bottle of water or juice and a few snacks if you wish, but it is not always necessary as you will be offered coffee, water and biscuits before take-off and onboard. Also, we do not recommend drinking too many fluids before a hot air balloon ride. However, please ensure that your plastic bottles and wrappers do not fall off the basket if you wish to bring some food and beverages. As a company that actively tries to reduce its environmental impact, we seek your collaboration in being extra careful about your waste.
A small backpack or bag is recommended to store your valuables and necessities that you do not want to carry with you on board. Our drivers will keep your belongings in the car. A small satchel, purse, or camera bag is usually enough as you do not need a lot of things for the trip.
There will be much to photograph, from pre-flight preparations to safari and bush breakfast to the drive back to your hotel. A Hot Air Balloon Ride provides a distinct advantage over regular safaris; you will be able to spot and capture the unique landmarks of the Serengeti and its neighboring parks from a bird’s eye perspective. From a height, you will be able to grasp the sheer magnitude and feel of the Great Wildebeest Migration, the Mara River crossing, giant indigenous Baobab trees, and the parks’ booming wildlife, including elephants, lions, giraffes, antelopes, crocodiles, waterbucks and much more.
When it comes to capturing your memories of this trip, you pick your gear. Whether you wish to use your professional DSLR, a small camera, or even your smartphone is totally up to you. However, we advise you to properly secure your equipment with proper straps to avoid the risk of your camera falling overboard. Similarly, please carefully stow away your gear before touchdown, as your camera might fall and break in case of a rough landing.
If you want to bring extra accessories such as selfie sticks, additional batteries, and memory cards for your devices, you can do so. However, please be mindful of the restricted space available in the wicker basket and the experience of other passengers flying with you.
For many Hot Air Balloon Ride safari fans, a pair of binoculars is one of the best pieces of equipment to bring on a hot air balloon ride. While you may easily spot the Great Migration from a distance, binoculars allow you to get a closer look at flora and fauna of the parks. Observe lions lounging in low branches, calves running around the bush, crocodiles in the Mara and Grumeti rivers, and much more while being unobstructed. Binoculars are offered onboard too.
While we all love to be on the safe side, bringing blankets if you are afraid of being cold is not recommended. Bulky covers may take up a lot of space, and this may prevent you and others from moving around to enjoy the 360° view. If flying on your Hot Air Balloon Ride during winter, a few layers of clothing and the heat from the balloon’s burner should be enough to keep you warm.
Wearing jewelry is not usually restricted during hot air balloon ride safaris. However, we would like to remind passengers to ensure their precious belongings are safely stowed away or adequately fastened during the ride to prevent instances of bracelets or other pieces of jewelry slipping off and tainting your experience of this unique adventure.
In some cases, passengers like to bring a hat or cap to protect their heads from the burner’s heat or prevent their hair from blowing into their faces. While this is not compulsory, we recommend a slightly tight-fitting hat or baseball cap to ensure it does not fly off during the ride if you decide to cover your head.
While we offer a light snack or coffee and biscuits before the Hot Air Balloon Ride flight, please note that drinking too many fluids is not recommended as you won’t be able to use any washroom facilities during the actual safari. You will have access to our famous toilet with a view of the breakfast site once you have landed.
When packing and preparing for a hot air balloon ride in Tanzania, here is all you must know. If you have not yet booked your trip with us, don’t waste more time. Visit our Bookings page to view all our offers, circuits, and destinations.