There’s no better way to see Africa’s incredible landscapes than from the air. And there’s not a more thrilling way to get that view than with a hot air balloon — where you can silently float over herds of animals and treetops from picturesque vantage points. Here’s a roundup of the best hot air balloon safaris in Africa.
1. Cradle of Humankind in South Africa
Situated just outside the busy city of Johannesburg, this World Heritage Site is famously known for the discovery of ancient fossils. Head up into the air with Air To Air Africa from Heia Safari Private Game Reserve for an early morning ride over the stunning Cradle of Humankind.
2. Serengeti in Tanzania
With an early morning pick up by Serengeti Balloon Safaris, you’ll be taken to the launch site where you’ll see your balloon being inflated. Soon you’ll be up in the air and get to watch the sun rise over the mighty Serengeti . You’ll witness herds of incredible animals as they awake and move through this incredible landscape.
3. Cape Winelands in South Africa
Float over the stunning Cape Winelands just outside of Cape Town with Andulela. This incredible experience takes you over some of the world famous vineyards that produce some of South Africa’s best wines. The one-hour flight also includes a delicious champagne breakfast at Grand Roche in Paarl.
4. Sossusvlei in Namibia
Head to Namib Naukluft Park in Sossusvlei — one of the most beautiful landscapes in Namibia- and enjoy a hot air balloon safari with Namibsky. With enormous sandy dunes, the Namib Desert, rocky mountains and stunning wildlife, seeing Sossusvlei from the air is a photographers dream.
5. Luxor in Egypt
Drift along the west bank of Luxor in Egypt and enjoy an amazing hot air balloon safari with Sinbad Balloons. From the air you’ll see views of most of the monuments of Thebes, the city below, and the Nile River.
6. Kruger National Park in South Africa
Head out to the famous Kruger National Park in South Africa and catch the first rays of African sunlight from a hot air balloon with African Travel. With the Klein Drakensberg Mountains in the west and stunning bush veld as far the eye can see below, you’ll enjoy the park as it changes from darkness to a bustling haven of animal activity.
7. Kafue National Park in Zambia
Head over to the Busanga Plains of Zambia’s Kafue National Park with Wilderness Safaris’ balloon safari. Because of the remoteness of the 28,000 hectare Busanga Concession, this destination is the most exclusive hot air ballooning destinations in Africa. It has spectacular wildlife, including thousands of red lechwe, puku, hippo and buffalo. You’ll also be treated to a delicious champagne breakfast.
8. Oudtshoorn in South Africa
One of the best activities to do in Oudtshoorn is going hot air ballooning with Dirty Boots. The one hour flight takes you 1000 feet into the air just before sunrise so you can experience this event from the air. You’ll float over the Klein Karoo and majestic Swartland Mountains before heading back to the ground.
9. Pilanesberg Game Reserve in South Africa
Head to one of South Africa’s most beautiful game reserves and enjoy a hot air balloon safari with Gametrackers Outdoor Adventures. Spot your favourite animal from the sky on the one-hour flight before enjoying some sparkling wine.
10. Okavango Delta in Botswana
For a different perspective of the amazing Okavango Delta, go on a hot air balloon safari with Gondwana Tours & Safari. Watch as elephants bathe, crocodiles feed, and boats meander down this amazing delta.
11. Great Rift Valley in Kenya
Head out just before sunrise with Gamewatchers Safaris to experience Kenya’s Great Rift Valley. Early morning is the best time to see wild animals in the Masai Mara Game Reserve, and this one-hour flight showcases exactly that. You’ll also enjoy a champagne breakfast in the bush after landing.
12. Marrakech in Morocco
Explore the beauty of Marrakech and its surrounding area by air with Marrakech by Air. See this amazing city in complete silence as the views of the stunning landscapes, small towns below, and cute villages pass you by.
13. Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe
To see the real magnitude of Zimbabwe’s main attraction, head out on a hot air balloon safari. Because Victoria Falls is so popular, you’ll get a unique view of the falls surrounded by a maximum of five people.
14. Sahara Desert in Tunisia
Watch the sunrise over the Sahara in Tunisia while floating in a hot air balloon almost 1,000 feet from the ground. Head out with Aeroasis ((00216) 64 52 577) which offers trips from both Douz and Tozeur.
15. Hoedspruit in South Africa
With Sun Catchers Hot Air Ballooning you can go on an hour-long hot air balloon safari over Hoedspruit at the foot of the Drakensberg Escarpment. The company offers flights over the Lowveld section of the Blyde River and a mixture of farmland, private nature reserves and wildlife estates.
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This article was originally published April 8, 2015.