Balloon Safari Flight Reports


“…Hippos in and out of the water…”

It has always been a bit of a standing joke here at Serengeti Balloon Safaris, almost every flight report from Seronera, Kirawira and Kogatende always contains these words and has done for 33 years! It’s because that’s what our pilots and guests see, either in the Seronera, Grumeti or Mara rivers. Early in the mornings, there are always some hippos catching a last graze before spending the day in the comfort of the water.

We write flight reports every day to keep a record of what we've seen and they make fascinating reading, here’s an excerpt from today in Seronera:

"We flew at various altitudes with nice views and also good animal sightings. We saw Topis, Thomsons Gazelles, Grants Gazelles, Kori Bustard, White-bellied Bustard, Warthogs, Giraffes, Hyenas hunting Warthogs. But best was the latter part of the flight with a female Rhino and her young calf, plainly visible all the way to the landing area."

…ok, I am showing off a bit, we don’t see rhino every day but this is the 4th time this year that we've seen rhino from our balloons in central Serengeti and kudos to the rhino conservation team at Tanzania National Parks for the wonderful opportunity.

Meanwhile in Kogatende:

"Great start over the river for sightings of Hippos (in and out!) and crocodile, Egyptian geese, storks and a pair of fish eagles. Elephants and lions before the second river crossing as well as two male lions just after the river.

Heading off towards the plains where an abundance of wildebeest, zebra,impala and eland were all available. There were also elephants in small groups in the trees as well as hyenas through the plains.

Guests were treated to a kill site where vultures were present along with jackals and carcasses bleached by the sun. 3 balloons landed near breakfast with smooth tip-over landings."

Since we started flying in Kogatende, July to October usually finds an ‘”abundance of wildebeest” in the report somewhere too, it has been incredibly consistent wildebeest viewing in north Serengeti in those months.

Ndutu can also be inundated with wildebeest, this was 11 March 2019:

"We had good weather and clear skies this morning. We launched a few minutes before sunrise with 3knots on take-off, we flew over the plains with huge herds of migrating wildbeest and Zebras. We also saw Giraffes, Lions,hartebeest, Eland, warthog. Grants and Thomson Gazelles. Lastly, we saw a Live kill; Cheetah chasing and catchinga wildbeest calf a few meters from our balloon, this was the highlight of our flight!"

And in Ruaha, this was the report from 25th August this year:

"Eighteen degrees of ambient temperature and two knots gave us a wonderful start to Great Ruaha river with different aquatic birds including fish eagles, egyptian geese, heron, and plovers.

We ascended higher for a great sunrise and that took us to mbuni picnic site with good panoramic scenery and we descended before the Mwagusi river and saw many elephants.

The other side of dry Mwagusi river we flew over bustani ya wanyama where we saw elands, giraffes, yellow baboons, zebras, impalas and kudu.

We then landed at small Serengeti in a soft touch upright standing and champagne toast followed before driving to breakfast under a baobab tree."

People often ask us what they might see at a certain area at a certain time of year, we can pull up the flight reports from that place/time in previous years and show them what they might see, it’s a super-useful record. But the beauty of mother nature is that you never know until you take to the skies what wildlife will be waiting below. That is what makes each and every flight so special for us all including the pilots … the anticipation of what will appear next is thrilling.

“Wow what an amazing experience. The balloon Safari was great from start to finish! We saw so many animals from the basket - especially those wildebeest! The pilot was great. The champagne breakfast was delicious! Food and hospitality were top notch! What a privilege to have participated!”

SIRA B flying in July 2023

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