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Balloon Safari Question

Boulder, Colorado
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1,144 posts
89 reviews
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Balloon Safari Question

I know this topic comes up fairly regularly, but it seems as if it is often mixed with other questions and inquiries.

But we are considering adding a balloon flight one morning while staying in the Central Serengeti for two nights in late July. We will also be staying 3 nights in the Mara area of the park where the flights are not offered. We are traveling with two children (10 & 12).

From my reading, ballooning is certainly a fine experience (I have never been), but can be hit or miss as far as wildlife is concerned. It is extraordinarily expensive, particularly for 4 people. This on top of what has already become a very expensive 3 week trip. :)

So I guess I would really like to hear what you think with regard to whether the $500 pp expenditure is worthwhile.

Many thanks,

Bill

Ottawa, Canada
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1. Re: Balloon Safari Question

I was travelling single. As a first ballooning experience, it was what I wanted, but I try to ignore that it cost $500, as I think it was not worth that much money. For 4, I would also say no.

Bristol
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2. Re: Balloon Safari Question

Yes I really enjoyed it. It was our first trip to the Serengeti and our first balloon ride and I couldn't think of a better place to combine the two. This was a trip to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary as as QM says we ignored the $500pp price tag. However would I have spent that much money on a balloon flight for my 2 kids at that age and I would definately say no!!!

Isle of Man, United...
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3. Re: Balloon Safari Question

Plenty of Balloon rides at home if that is the experience you seek. Fairly pointless frivolity on Safari (along with massages, pedicures and all the other stuff they peddle to you to squeeze the cash from you.)

I was dismayed to see a Balloon at Ndutu last month. Disturbed me, terrified the Wildlife. This is so not necessary to the enjoyment of the Safari. Why do it? Why are you there?

Lights blue touch paper. No apologies! (Just hugs)

Chicago
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4 reviews
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4. Re: Balloon Safari Question

I decided that there were many other ways I could spend my $500 per person, when that could do so much good for the people in the country-not a guilt trip, just a perspective.I personally was very uncomfortable spending such large amounts of money on my trip when many people living there have so little. If I went back, I would definitely find ways to reduce costs and eat and stay more economically.

nyc
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14,536 posts
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5. Re: Balloon Safari Question

Who advised there is NO hot-air balloon in the Mara> That's wrong. Besides the price in the Mara is actually less expensive that if in the Serengeti. In the Mara, price is about (avg) $450, whereas in the Serengeti rate has gone up to $515 (was $500/pp). For children, believe under 12/yrs the rate is somewhat lower both countries.

For me - I just don't do heights.

Boulder, Colorado
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1,144 posts
89 reviews
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6. Re: Balloon Safari Question

Thank you for your responses.

It has actually gone up to $539, including a new park fee of some sort. I actually meant the Mara area of the Serengeti on the Tanzania side. That wasn't clear.

I'll think about it a bit more. Having spent so much money to travel to East Africa, then out on safari, the mentality of squeezing each "experience of a life time" is pushed hard and readily accepted. I'm sure I could leave my kids at camp and just go with my wife! :)

Thanks,

Bill

Manchester-by-the-Se...
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7. Re: Balloon Safari Question

I took the balloon ride I'm February 2013 in the Serengeti. I did it because I felt it was a great place to take my probably one and only balloon ride. It's not so much about seeing wildlife, I think, as relalizing how expansive, vast and beautiful the area is. I was very struck by that. We did see the big hippo pool, herds of zebra and giraffe, but that was about it, we really were sort of high up to really appreciate smaller details like that.

Two things somewhat disappointing were one, we weren't up "for" sunrise even though it's advertised as a sunrise ride; we were actually loading into the basket and by the time we were up and vertical, the sun was well up. And two, you do miss the morning game ride, which was always my favorite of the day. Breakfast in the bush was fun though.

nyc
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14,536 posts
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8. Re: Balloon Safari Question

Last info I received indicated there were NOW balloon safaris in the Kogatende (North/Mara) area of Serengeti, so I'd reconfirm that. Yes there is a further increase of about $50 as a 'conservation' fee. The latter I can't understand as visitor has already paid the park fee, so where does a conservation fee come from? Sounds like double-dipping to me.

Atlanta, Georgia
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9. Re: Balloon Safari Question

Bill....here is my perspective. I did the balloon safari last February. While floating in a hot air balloon is fantastic, doing it over the Serengeti was anti-climatic. It is certainly up to the winds how much you will see from the balloon....in my opinion, seeing the Serengeti from the ground beats up in the air. I see you are from Boulder...the very best balloon experience I have had was in Taos, NM in and out of the Rio Grande...that was spectacular. Save your $2K+ and enjoy all the other great experiences in Tanzania.

Ottawa, Canada
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10. Re: Balloon Safari Question

Rich, you have a point. Perhaps using the balloon in an area which is not easily accessible by other methods, would be better use of time and money. Though I enjoyed my Serengeti balloon ride, does it hit the memory first for Serengeti experience? Not at all. Now, the Rio Grande, or Grand Canyon, someplace like that - that would be worth it.