Of all the places in Tanzania we could choose to fly, we singled out Ruaha because it is a land of wilderness and contrast.

The peace is palpable here and yet it is bursting with life. In Ruaha you hear the hornbill tapping at his reflection on the car window and the hippo’s morning chorus snorting in the river as we float low overhead. Our unique perspective above the landscape allows us to search for the elusive and shy just over that next bush or suddenly come upon a herd of 100 buffalo. Gentle winds steer the balloon between the baobabs and acacias, dipping down to just above the wide Ruaha River and then they are bearing us up to five hundred feet where the dawn chorus rises into the painted sky. Ruaha is a meeting point for the wildlife of southern and eastern Africa and it is here that you might just see something really special.

Where we Fly
From your camp to the balloon

From your camp to the balloon

0400 – 0515hrs

Rise before the birds to drive through the pre-dawn, eyes fixed on the glow of the headlights in case they should pick-up a night-time beasty out on the prowl. You arrive at the launch site as the crew prepare the balloon and light the burners.

Keeping safe & preparing to fly

Keeping safe & preparing to fly

0615 - 0645hrs

Our experienced Captain takes you through the important safety procedures and explains the launch and landing positions while the gold and green of the balloon billows against the lightening sky. It’s time to embark.

Journey through the soft winds

Journey through the soft winds

0645 – 0815hrs

As the balloon glides gently upward, your pilot gives the signal to rise from the launch position in the basket. Your first glimpse of Ruaha from the sky – a landscape of meandering river courses, towering baobabs, granite outcrops and acacia woodland for as far as the eye can see. Among them move big cats on early morning hunts, herds of hundreds of elephant seeking water at the river bank, hippos wallowing peacefully and birds giving accompaniment to the rising sun. Our experienced pilots will interpret the sights and sounds as you drift low across the treetops, scanning the riverbanks, or climb into the deepening blue of the sky to gaze down at this great wilderness. An hour or so aloft, and you’ll return gently to the earth, exhilarated and ready for the next part of your adventure.

Celebrating a tradition

Celebrating a tradition

0815 – 0830hrs

“We have flown so high and so well that God has joined you in laughter and set you gently back into the loving arms of mother Earth.” As is the tradition of balloonists, we toast the flight with sparkling wine before boarding a safari car for a short game drive to breakfast.

Breakfast as nature intended

Breakfast as nature intended

0830 – 0930hrs

Our crew have laid an immaculate table under the spreading boughs of a baobab tree in the wilds of Ruaha and are waiting to serve fresh coffee and juice, tropical fruit and freshly baked bread. They will cook a full English breakfast while you relax and relive your flight with your fellow passengers. The time will come to move on, but right now you can just “be”, soaking in the warm sunshine and the feeling of having let your soul soar free for a moment.

More about Ruaha

About Ruaha

Ruaha is the largest National Park in Tanzania but still relatively unknown, with only a handful camps and lodges in its area of 20,226kmsq. The park came into being in 1964 but conservation efforts go back to 1910 when the Saba Game Reserve was established by the colonial authorities. Activities on safari in Ruaha include game driving and walking, however a balloon safari is arguably the only way to really appreciate the sheer scale of this vast wilderness, and get a completely unique perspective of Ruaha.Land of Contrasts

Land of Contrasts

The wide swathe of the Ruaha River rises to open woodland interspersed with softly grassed glades and weathered granite kopjes. The forests of giant baobab trees are amongst the most striking of its diverse landscapes. The lifeline of the park is the Ruaha River and this is where the wildlife is often to be found, but in a balloon we can float at head-height above the water or change direction and soar for a better vantage point over the trees and bushes. In an area as varied as this, we have the freedom to make the most of our unique vantage point. There is no typical day on safari with so many things to see in Ruaha!

Where North meets South

The wildlife of Ruaha is notable for many reasons. This is where north meets south and it’s possible to see not only typically East African mammals such as Grant’s gazelle and lesser kudu but also roan, sable and greater kudu found mainly in Southern Africa. The park is renowned for its large herds of elephant and buffalo – sometimes numbering several hundred, and particularly sizeable lion prides which have been known to specialize in hunting giraffe. Ruaha is generally an excellent park to see big game, especially cats but it’s also possible to see wild dog. That said, it is often the smaller, unexpected animals of the bush that are the highlight of a visit here as part of a wider Tanzanian safari.

Booking & Faqs

We partner with many reputable tour operators and you can book your wonderful balloon safari through one of them or you can book directly with us using our online booking form

How does a hot air balloon work?

A hot air balloon works on the principle of buoyancy. It consists of a large balloon, known as an envelope, filled with hot air. The envelope is typically made of lightweight and heat-resistant materials such as nylon or polyester. The balloon is attached to a basket or gondola, in which passengers and the pilot stand.

The process starts by heating the air inside the envelope using burners fueled by liquid petroleum gas. The burners generate a flame that heats the air, causing it to expand and become less dense than the surrounding air. As a result, the balloon becomes buoyant and begins to rise.

The balloon moves with the wind, as there is no way to steer it directly. However, our pilots can control the ascent and descent of the balloon by adjusting the heat inside the envelope. By adding more heat, the air inside the envelope becomes hotter and provides more lift, causing the balloon to rise. Conversely, by reducing the heat, the air inside the envelope cools down, becoming denser and causing the balloon to descend.

To land the balloon, the pilot gradually decreases the heat and allows the air inside the envelope to cool, slowing down the ascent. The pilot looks for a suitable landing spot and, with the help of ground crew, guides the balloon to the ground by releasing some of the hot air from the envelope.

The basic principles behind a hot air balloon are simple yet effective. By controlling the temperature of the air inside the envelope, the pilot can control the altitude of the balloon and navigate the skies. It's a unique and serene way to experience flight and enjoy breathtaking views from above.

When is the best time of year for ballooning in Serengeti?

We are fortunate that the weather in the Serengeti is suitable for ballooning almost every day of the year.

We fly in the following areas every morning: Central Serengeti : Year Round. Ndutu Area, Ngorongoro Conservation Area/Serengeti: 20 Dec – 31 March. Western Serengeti: 15 May – October. Northern Serengeti: 15 June - 15 January. Safari wildlife viewing varies depending on the time of year and location, and the wildebeest migration moves through the ecosystem year-round so although there are no guarantees, if you're in the right place at the right time, you have a good chance of seeing plenty of wildlife.

In Serengeti, it mostly rains in the afternoons, evenings or night time, early morning is the driest part of the day and that's when we fly!

Do you operate year round?

Yes, we operate daily throughout the year in central Serengeti. We operate seasonally in the following areas in Serengeti: Central Serengeti : Year Round Ndutu Area, Ngorongoro Conservation/Serengeti: 20 Dec – 31 March Western Serengeti: June – October Northern Serengeti: 01 July - 15 November A typical day on safari can now include an early morning balloon flight and a different perspective the Serengeti!

Do I need to book in advance?

We strongly recommend that you book in advance, either directly with us or with your tour operator. We have limited capacity and this exclusive adventure is often fully booked. For peace of mind, it is always best to book in advance to avoid disappointment.

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