Serengeti Balloon Safaris#9 in Best Things To Do in Serengeti National Park
Not all safaris require a four-wheel-drive vehicle; in fact, one of the most popular safaris requires no wheels at all. Since 1989, Serengeti Balloon Safaris has helped park visitors take to the skies to spot animals and watch the park's famous Great Migration. The company's fleet of eight-, 12- and 16-passenger hot air balloons carries travelers annually across Central Serengeti (and seasonally through the Western Corridor and Southern Serengeti) to give them a bird's-eye view of the park. The safari guide collects visitors at 5 a.m. so that the balloons and their passengers can rise alongside the sun. Flights last about an hour, after which passengers gather, surrounded by the park's lush plains, for a sparkling wine toast and an "Out of Africa" English-style breakfast.
Some recent travelers bemoaned the balloon safari's early departure time and high price tag, but most say that the experience is worth it. Former visitors were also impressed with Serengeti Balloon Safaris' staff and pilots, who reviewers described as friendly and knowledgeable.
Hot air balloon safaris, which include round-trip transfers, the one-hour hot air balloon ride and breakfast, cost $546.20 per person. Advance bookings are recommended to ensure availability. You can reserve a balloon safari through your tour provider or at one of the park's lodges. Children 6 and younger, pregnant women and travelers with select mobility and health conditions are not permitted to participate in this excursion. For more information, visit Serengeti Balloon Safaris' website.
More Best Things To Do in Serengeti National Park
#1 The Great Migration
The primary reason to visit Serengeti National Park is to witness The Great Migration. Considered one of the world's largest animal migrations, The Great Migration involves more than one million wildebeest, zebras, gazelles and a variety of other animals traversing the Serengeti annually in search of food and breeding grounds. From December to June (the Serengeti's wet season), the animals head south to Naabi Hill and Southern Serengeti. As temperatures rise and the dry season sets in, the herd travels through the Seronera River Valley and the Western Corridor before crossing the Grumeti River and moving north to the Lobo Valley and Bologonja Springs. After several months of grazing in greener pastures, the hoofed menagerie turns around and starts the process over again.
Keep in mind the animals' whereabouts when booking Serengeti accommodations. If you're visiting in the winter, stay in the southern plains, and between July and November, set up camp in Central Serengeti, the Western Corridor or Northern Serengeti.
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