For many of us, a trip to Africa is a lifelong dream. Every year 30 million people make it come true. Which means you want to get this bucket-list item done right.
You want to make sure you tick off the big attractions, do a safari, and see the sights. To savor this trip and remember it forever. That’s why you want to throw in some especially unforgettable elements.
Like a balloon safari. We bet you didn’t even know that was a thing.
Want to learn all about what a balloon safari is like, and some advice on the top five ways to make sure your trip is all you dream of? Read on!
Beginning We Began: Africa
While many visit Africa for business or to see family, most tourists to Africa are there to see the incredible wildlife on a safari. Africa remains the most popular safari destination in the world. Which makes sense, since the word ‘safari’ comes from Swahili, and means ‘to travel’.
You can choose a long or short safari and can choose between national parks and even countries. There are great safari options in South Africa, Botswana, Kenya, and others. Our recommendation would be to do a safari in Tanzania.
We recommend a safari in Tanzania partly because the national parks and the wildlife are world-famous. But also because in Tanzania you can do a bit of everything without losing a lot of time on travel. Tanzania offers diverse experiences to tourists.
After the safari tour, you can enjoy a beach holiday on its stunning beaches. You can climb Kilimanjaro. You can even hot air balloon – but more on that last one shortly!
Safari in Tanzania
Safari tours give you the chance to see magnificent African wildlife in its natural habitat. There’s nothing quite like it. Tanzanian safaris are popular because they offer the chance to see the big five game as well as the wildebeest migration.
Make sure you choose your company carefully and check their online reviews. Companies vetted with certificates of excellence and local tourism boards are best. We at expeditions have a certificate of excellence from Trip Advisor for the past two years – 2017 and 2018.
We are proud to be a responsible, ethical tour operator giving a great service to our tour groups.
There are some fantastic safari spots in Tanzania to include. The Serengeti National Park, and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, to begin with. Then there’s Lake Manyara National Park and Tarangire National Park.
In Tanzania’s national parks you stand a great chance to check off all the ‘big five’ game off your photo list: elephant, leopard, buffalo, rhino, and lion.
Tanzanian Beach Holiday
The tropical beaches of Zanzibar offer an area of Africa with Arabic influences. Come and see why 300,000 visitors flock to these shores each year, from all around the world.
You can spend your time here laying on spectacular beaches, or exploring the reef. At certain times of the year, majestic whale sharks can be seen off the reef. It is about 20 minutes by plane from the Tanzanian capital Dar es Salaam.
If you tire of soaking up the sun on these crystal water beaches, you can take a look at Stone Town – a UNESCO world heritage area. In the 14th century, it was an outpost of the Ottoman empire.
What better way to rest up after your safari or trekking adventures?
Kilimanjaro National Park hosts the highest mountain in Africa – Mount Kilimanjaro. Also known as the Roof of Africa, it stands at 5,895 meters. It’s the tallest free-standing mountain on earth.
In climbing the mountain you passing through five different climatic zones. Imagine the changes to the ecosystem and biodiversity with each! Over 5 to 10 days climbers go from rainforest climates and alpine desert to even glacial conditions.
Take a Balloon Safari
Hot air ballooning is a particularly memorable way to see the safari plains. We have packages you can personalize to your itinerary or special occasion. We bet you’ve got some questions about how it works and what the trip involves.
Let’s look at it in detail.
How Hot Air Ballooning Works
Perhaps you want to understand the mechanics of hot air balloon air travel before hearing where we take you. You should know that hot air balloons are one of the safest means of flying out there. But how do they fly?
Hot air isn’t as dense as cold air. When the burner fires hot air into the balloon, the balloon can rise into the air. This is because the hot air in the balloon is now lighter than the air outside of it.
Hot air balloons can only launch in the air that is stable – that’s why they fly in the morning, evening, or in winter. During these times there aren’t thermals from the sun heating the earth. Beneath the hot air balloon is a wicker basket or gondola where you, as our passenger, ride the balloon.
Our balloon safari takes in the scenery and wild animals of the Serengeti National Park – from above! The flights last about one hour, ending with a smooth landing on the plains. And a decadent champagne breakfast that awaits!
So after drinking in the scenery with a bird’s eye view, you’ll enjoy it, champagne in hand, on the ground. Talk about bucket list trips!
Planning Your Trip to Africa
Once you get to planning your trip to Africa, you’ll need to think about what to buy and some other important bits and pieces to get done. Preferably, get organized well in advance.
What to Take
A trip on a safari calls for neutral, beige colors, and some khaki. This helps you blend into the environment and scare the animals less. You’ll put in your camera, of course – though it needn’t be the best on the market.
The animals will be up close and you’ll capture them just fine without it being the latest and greatest camera. Much of Africa is very safe, especially in tourist areas.
But you want to be on the safe side by being a little conservative with the things you pack and the jewelry you wear. This is true in tourist spots even in richer countries – thieves are often just opportunistic.
We have some bits and pieces of advice on things to do before you arrive in Tanzania. See your doctor well before your trip to ensure you are in great health, and to get your vaccinations under control in good time.
While the popular tourist spots of Africa are generally safe, it’s also a good idea to keep an eye on your government’s travel warnings website.
Our final tip is to bring some photocopies of your passport and leave digital copies with someone staying at home. This can be helpful to carry around to use as ID. Or in case of any unexpected events happen like loss or theft of your passport.
Top 5 Ways to Ensure a Successful Baloon Safari
Before you make your booking for your balloon safari, we have some final pieces of advice.
1. Choose the Dates Wisely
Just about any time you go up in a balloon over the African plains, you’ll see stunning views of nature and animals. But there are two especially good times to book.
The first being June to October. That’s when game viewing is at its peak. The second is between November and August to see the wildebeest migration.
If you’re unsure, you can contact us to talk it through a bit more. We want to make sure you’re satisfied with the special trip.
2. Go with a Reputable Provider
Not all balloon trip safaris are created equal. It’s important you go with a reputable provider with good reviews. The things you want to look for in reviews include comments about the treatment and pay of tour guides.
Check if they leave the national parks as they found them. And make sure they don’t oversell tours or expose you to any unnecessary danger.
We encourage you to look at the reviews on our website. Then you can see why we make a safe and responsible choice for your balloon trip safari.
3. Choose Knowledgeable Guides
While you’re in your wicker basket traveling over those incredible African animals, we want to ensure all your questions are answered. Our guides can explain the National Park’s history to you and tell you strange animals’ names.
While many come to see the big five, they often walk away charmed by a bird or animal they’d never heard of before! Our team is locals, they know what they are talking about and love to share that knowledge with our guests.
4. Take a Camera
It sounds obvious, but it’s happened that people arrive on the tour without their camera! You’ll need it.
No one will possibly believe what you tell them about what it was like cruising above the Serengeti National Park at sunrise. You’ll need the stunning shots to prove it!
5. Combine It with Other Bucket-List Activities
The safari from a hot air balloon is incredible. But while you’re so close to the beaches of Zanzibar and the excitement of climbing Kilimanjaro, why not combine them on the one trip. Talk to us about what you’d like and we can give you some suggestions and a quote.
You won’t cruise over the Serengeti plains in a hot air balloon many times in your life, we assume. So use the opportunity.
Surprise your fellow travelers with the activity. Or time the trip it so it lands on a loved one’s birthday. Maybe you’re not yet married – but this is the moment to propose?!
It’s a spiritual experience drifting up there over these animals in the African savanna. Why not make it doubly memorable by pairing it up with a special moment or anniversary?
Come Balloon Safari with Us
If you’re ready to tick a few items off your bucket list, it’s time to come to Africa. By joining our highly-rated tours in Tanzania, you’ll be making the right decision.
Why not make a quick list of the sorts of activities you’d like to do and the things you’d like to see and get in touch.
We can tell you about the ready-made tours that match and then add-on special activities. Like a balloon safari over the Serengeti. Pack your camera, bring someone special.
What’s left? Get in touch today!