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Interview with our Serengeti Safari Balloon Pilots

Interview with our Serengeti Safari Balloon Pilots

Capt Abeid Soka

What was your most memorable flight and why?

My most memorable flight was in June 2017 in Western Serengeti. We were flying over the Grumeti river, where we were lucky enough to see many Hippos in and out of water together with crocodiles, black and white colobus monkeys and two prides of Lions!  Also on that day we had spectacular aerial views close to our basket of Cheetah chasing and catching a Thomsons gazelle as well as Hyena hunting and catching a gazelle fawn.

What's your favourite place and time of year to fly?

My favourite place is the Grumeti River in the Western Serengeti especially in June/July when the Wildebeest migration cross the river.

Why did you want to become a balloon pilot?

Before I became a pilot, I was a Safari Guide and would bring clients to fly with Serengeti Balloon Safaris. One day I had opportunity to fly with my clients and after that I was hooked! 

I loved being able to view the game from a different perspective from the air.

I feel like being a Balloon Pilot is a continuation of my Safari Guide career where I’m Guiding from the Air instead! This makes me feel so happy and proud of myself.

What do you love most about the job?

Apart from flying Balloons,  I’m happy when I make other people happy especially when they enjoy the beauty of the Serengeti. Flying over the Serengeti National Park gives you an exclusive view of the stunning panorama and the wonderful wildlife.

What qualities do you think make a great balloon pilot?

Apart being a flier and general pilot, a balloon pilot in the Serengeti has to also be a waiter, entertainer and guide.

Name: Capt Abeid Soka

Capt Mohamed Masudi

What was your most memorable flight and why?

My most memorable flight was during one migration at Seronera in the Serengeti, where we saw so many Big Cats including Lioness, Leopard, Cheetah and Serval Cats all in one flight.

What's your favourite place and time of year to fly?

My favourite place to fly is Kirawira in the Western Serengeti because the area is so beautiful with the riverine forest, hippos, crocodiles and migrating wildebeest and zebra.

Why did you want to become a balloon pilot?

I did not know anything about Ballooning until I joined Serengeti Balloon Safaris first as ground crew then after a few flights I started falling in love with it.

What I love most about the job?

Personally, I love meeting new people every morning who tell me they have fulfilled their dream of flying over the Serengeti.

Name: Capt Mohamed Masudi

Capt Zumo Godliving

What was your most memorable flight and why?

My most memorable flight was towards the end of my training in Italy when I flew and had controls from the take-off until final landing, it was my first full flight!

What's your favourite place and time of year to fly?

I don't really have a favourite place to fly as all the places we fly over are so unique and have different flying conditions. I love flying all of the year but flying over the migration of wildebeest and Zebra is the best. This can be in Ndutu in December to March, Central Serengeti in May, June, November and December. It can be in Western Serengeti in June and July or Northern Serengeti from July until November.

Why did you want to become a balloon pilot?

My late father was an engineer who fixed aeroplanes. Sometimes he would show me the cockpits and that's where I would dream to become a pilot and fly a unique aircraft - a hot air balloon! I hassled Abeid and John for years to give me a chance to become a balloon pilot and finally my dream came true in 2018.

What do you love most about the job?

I love flying over all the different animals in the best park in the world which is the Serengeti!

Name: Capt Zumo Godliving

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