There is something magical about floating silently above the unsullied natural landscapes of Africa, peering out at the herds of antelope below, or watching the clouds around you move across the horizon in the basket of a hot air balloon.
Depart early in the morning, when the wind is calmer and there are fewer thermals (vertical air currents caused by ground heating). Watch as your skilled balloon pilot prepares for take-off. Hear the burner as you wait already poised for the journey inside the holding basket, and then… suddenly you will no longer be touching the earth. Ascend as the sky lightens from purple to pink, before the golden morning sunlight spills onto the ground already far below. Watch the waving golden grassy plains from your perch above. You are floating with the wind, so there is no breeze in your basket. From your unique vantage point, you have a clear view of elephants munching on the grass, or of water buffalo drinking below. Once you land, you can enjoy a hearty and delicious bush breakfast laid out for you in the center of the wilderness.
Ready to hop into your own African ballooning adventure?
Here are our 5 top places for an Africa hot air balloon flight:
Serengeti National Park or Masai Mara National Park – Tanzania & Kenya
Both Serengeti National Park and Masai Mara National Park are home to the Great Migration, the largest animal migration in the world. Now imagine watching as millions of plains animals – wildebeest, zebra, gazelles – make their annual trek from the basket of a hot air balloon, coasting above the action with the movements of the animals splayed before you as far as the eye can see.
Tarangire National Park – Tanzania
Tarangire’s main draw is the elephants, which congregate en-masse to this baobab-tree studded landscape. You wanted iconic Africa, so how about a bird’s eye view of these giant mammals with sunrise?
Okavango Delta – Botswana
Welcome to the Okavango Delta, one of Africa’s premier wildlife areas rich with seasonal flooding. Gaze out from the air at miles of lush landscape and enjoy the sunrise over the endless and winding delta rivers with pods of hippos and exotic water-birds.
Sossusvlei – Namibia
Sossusvlei offers its visitors a desert wonderland. Watch the morning light spill across the 600 to 800-foot dunes renowned for their vibrant red coloring as you crest over them in your balloon.
Kafue National Park –Zambia
More remote than many of the other parks on this list Kafue offers visitors a more private, exclusive experience. Scan the undulating hills from your basket nest high above the treetops, keeping an eye out for red lechwe, puku, buffalo and hippo which frequent the area.