Ruaha

Ruaha

Ruaha

Ruaha

Ruaha

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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. Read more about Ruaha

Where we Fly

Your experience

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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.

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

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. If you have any difficulty booking Serengeti Balloon Safaris at any point, please do get in touch using the form below:

Do I need to book in advance?

We do strongly recommend that you book in advance with your tour operator. We have limited capacity and this exclusive adventure is frequently fully booked. 

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:

Serengeti - Central – Year Round Serengeti/Ngorongoro - Ndutu - 20 Dec – 31 March

Serengeti - Western - June - October

Serengeti - Northern - July - November

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.

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

Ruaha has ideal conditions for ballooning. We currently fly every morning during the main season: Ruaha - June – October.

Things to see on safari here vary greatly from the Serengeti and the scenery and wildlife are both very different.

What about the "rainy season"?

We prefer to call them the GREEN SEASONS. The ‘long rains’ (late March to early June) & the ‘short rains’ (November to mid December). In the Serengeti, the great migration passes through Central Serengeti during the green seasons. At these times it USUALLY rains late afternoon and during the night. Mornings are USUALLY bright and clear with gentle winds (ideal ballooning weather!). The landscape is lush, green and dust free (yes, your vehicle may get stuck in the mud – but our balloon won’t!) In Ruaha – rains tend to fall from November to April/May. During the rest of the year, rain is unusual but as ever, we can’t completely predict the weather.

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