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Serengeti Balloon Safari and authentic bush breakfast
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Reviewed 25 January 2019

Ventured to Tanzania for a once in a lifetime adventure for me and a second safari here for my wife with Thomson Safaris. My wife traveled to Kenya and Tanzania almost 30 years ago and hardly a day has gone by that she doesn't mention something from that trip! And her biggest regret? Not taking the balloon excursion. So needless to say we signed up. Now I have to be upfront and tell you I did lots of research and had a bit of apprehension the morning of the ride.Of course getting up at 4:30 a.m. was not fun but on the way we came across a large pride of lions literally at the edge of the road. We stopped and watched them till they started out on their hunt. After that we were so excited I completely forgot to be nervous. As it turned out we were the last to arrive and the huge balloon was already two-thirds full. The balloon captain quickly gave us an informative briefing and it was showtime. For this balloon, the basket you ride in is on it's side to start with so you insert yourself horizontal to the ground.The basket held 16 folks. Thankfully the captain took pity on me and my wife and had us go on the bottom row. It was easy-peazey. Then moments later the balloon is full and the basket rights itself and up you go. We had worn our heaviest jackets only to quickly unzip them as it was toasty in the basket. As you have learned from other posts it is silent as you drift along until the captain hits the gas. The day was perfect, no clouds, no wind, and no objects that you could possibly run into. We went high, we went low, we saw herds, we saw individual animals, and from our perch we could see the road which looked exactly like an old time washboard. The captain would spy a critter and made sure everyone got a look by turning the basket completely around. There was NOT a bad seat in the house. But the flight was over too soon, although we went over our
allotted flight time, and I found I did not want to go back to earth. This coming from the guy that was apprehensive about the flight for fear we would land in the middle of some hungry lions. And as fate would have it, our captain spied two male lions lounging under a large bush near our landing site!!!! He said not to worry as they had probably already eaten or did I Imagine he said that? Anyway we sat down so gently you wouldn't have spilled a drink. And this time we are upright. How does one get out? If you are in your twenties you leap the basket wall and land in a two-point stand but if you are 70 and have not missed many meals they have you use a step in the basket and then two staff members help you down.Once out of the basket we drove nearby to have a celebration of our flight. Fun, fun. Then we drove back to see the two lions up close and personal. I mean up close as the balloon folks can drive legally off the road. My pictures of the two lions ended up being my best pictures from the entire 12 day safari and I would not have gotten them if not for the balloon ride. But I can't close without mentioning the fantastic champagne breakfast we were given.How they were able to cook up such good grub in the middle of no-where is beyond me.They even had a "loo with a view" for those whom nature called. It was a three sided shelter with a wonderful panoramic view as you sat on the throne and contemplated your balloon adventure. Would I go up in the balloon again? Of course. Was it somewhat expensive ? Of course. But in the end it was priceless.

Date of experience: October 2018
3  Thank Randy M
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Reviewed 23 January 2019 via mobile

On a personal note - my husband who is well traveled and well adventured, has always wanted to do a balloon ride. Each time we have scheduled, it has been canceled for some bizarre reason. When I saw this was available during our Safari, we all pitched in and gave it to him as a gift. I hoped that this balloon trip - sunrise over the Serengeti would make up for all those prior disappointments.

And it did.

This add-on is not cheap. And you have to get up very early. And it is a little chilly at first.

But it is all so worth it! This was one of our favorite parts of our safari!

The pro’s:

Driving to the balloon ride is the equivalent of a night game drive thrown in for free! We saw all sorts of animals we otherwise would not have seen (hippo out of water!)

Experiencing the inflation process before dawn was fascinating.

Watching the sunrise over the Serengeti was a bucket list item - taken up a notch by seeing it from the air.

Bering able to see the vastness and the animal run patterns from the perspective of above instead of chasing them from a truck was a whole new experience.

The balloon operated/guide was friendly and knowledgeable.

The Champaign toast and history of ballooning made you feel like you are in a special club (well done).

And the English Breakfast in The Bush was just delightful.

The guides were all upbeat and fun. It was a great change of pace from the usual game drive day.

Save up. Ask for it as a gift. Splurge. Whatever - just add this to your itinerary.

Date of experience: January 2019
2  Thank ziggy_camp
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
johncorse, General Manager at Serengeti Balloon Safaris, responded to this reviewResponded 6 February 2019

Thank you for your detailed review ziggy_camp, I'm so glad that this worked out after your previous balloon ride cancellations. We completely agree, seeing the sun rise over Serengeti from the air is well worth the early (and chilly!) start.

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Reviewed 21 January 2019

We were fortunate enough to catch the wildebeest migration in Southern Serengeti at it's peak. Serengeti balloon safari was amazing. Our captain Sean, who is Canadian, was friendly, professional and had a great sense of humor. Our family ranged from 11 to 50 and all enjoyed it. We felt safe and very well cared for. When we landed we had celebratory champagne, and then went for an amazing English breakfast. On the way to breakfast, we saw cheetahs. Would highly recommend to anyone doing safari to add this unique experience.

Date of experience: January 2019
Thank Patty D
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
johncorse, General Manager at Serengeti Balloon Safaris, responded to this reviewResponded 6 February 2019

What a treat to catch the wildebeest migration in Southern Serengeti from the air! We are so happy that your balloon safari was such a success, well done Shawn and the team.

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Reviewed 20 January 2019

Having this ballon ride in our itinerary it was such a special to see Serengeti from a different perspective. The weather it was perfect, a bit chilly in the morning. Our pilot Ramses, was amazing flying super low and what a great sense of humor. The ballon is for 16 people I found a bit tidy to get in but once we lift up it was comfortable. We did see some animals but not as many however the highlights it was the Out of Africa style breakfast, with delicious food. Certainly an unforgettable experience. Highly recommended if you come to Serengeti.

Date of experience: January 2019
1  Thank Pontinha2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
johncorse, General Manager at Serengeti Balloon Safaris, responded to this reviewResponded 6 February 2019

Thank you for your review Pontinha2015, we couldn't agree more that a balloon safari is a must-do in Serengeti! I'm sorry that you didn't see as much wildlife as you had hoped, but am very glad that the rest of the experience made up for that.

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Reviewed 20 January 2019 via mobile

I booked the balloon safari as an anniversary gift for my wife and we were not disappointed. Ramses was our pilot and did everything to make us comfortable during the take off and to ensure we got good views of the wildlife from up high. He would lower the balloon when we came close to the animals and take us high when we knew we could get good panoramic views. The sunrise views from the balloon are also quite a sight. The breakfast at the end is also quite scrumptious. Overall, a nice way to start the day in the Serengeti.

Date of experience: December 2018
1  Thank AdityaN383
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
johncorse, General Manager at Serengeti Balloon Safaris, responded to this reviewResponded 6 February 2019

Thank you for your great review AdityaN383, we are delighted that you booked the balloon safari as an anniversary gift and that you both enjoyed it so much!

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