One of the most magically memorable of the Serengeti experiences, a balloon safari allows you to drift in silence above the splendour of the plains, to dip down to visit the hippo pools of the Grumeti River, and to enjoy a bird’s eye view of the wildlife theatre as it is enacted below you.
Awakened by an early-morning cup of tea (around 5.30 am) you will be driven to the balloon take-off point, where you will meet your fully-qualified balloon pilot and watch as the team inflates the vast rainbow-coloured balloon. As dawn breaks, the balloon slowly rights itself, the guests are helped into the wicker basket (a typical balloon carries around 8 passengers and is equipped with seats and safety belts), the sandbags are cast off, and the balloon rises majestically into the cool of the morning air.
Driven by the wind, and guided by jets of hot air from the gas-burners (which allow it to rise or fall according to the pilot’s direction), the balloon will fly for a period of around 45 minutes (trailed by a team of ground vehicles). Eventually, it descends to a gentle controlled-landing on the plains. To celebrate, the ground crew offer the guests a glass of chilled champagne, while the pilot prepares their personal ‘flight certificates’. Later, everyone sits down to a full English breakfast, which is traditionally cooked on the burners of the balloon. After breakfast, guests can enjoy a leisurely game drive back to the lodge.