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Unusual Hot Air Balloon Safari

Exciting Hot air balloon safari in Namibia

Contrasting Hot Air Balloon In Serengeti And Maasai Mara National Parks

Since they are both great places for a hot air balloon experience, here is a blog contrasting hot air balloon in Serengeti and Maasai Mara National Parks.

Hot air balloon flights in Serengeti National Park - Experience the Serengeti from a different perspecitive

A hot air balloon safari is an activity that involves tourists floating over the savannah plains with a bird’s eye view of the wildlife beneath. Floating gracefully above the vast African plains, a hot air balloon ride offers an unparalleled perspective of the natural wonders below.

Among the most iconic destinations for such an adventure are the Serengeti national park in Tanzania and the Maasai Mara national park in Kenya. While both offer breathtaking views and unforgettable experiences, each has its own unique charm.

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Hot Air Balloon In Serengeti National Park In Tanzania

Serengeti national park is the leading park in Tanzania with hot air balloon safari as one of the most fascinating experiences you can ever have with four launch sites within the park .

The park is known for its annual wildebeest migration, which is one of the largest mammal migrations in the world securing it as one of the ten natural travel wonders of Africa with diverse habitats like riverine forests, woodlands, grasslands and swamps. Amidst its vast savannah plains is where you get to rise on a hot air balloon as the sun rises with early morning winds blowing at your face and an opportunity to see the wildlife from above the ground.

Locations include one open throughout the year, close to the Seronera area with others in the Ndutu area from December 25th to march 15th in the western corridor from June to October and in the Northern Serengeti from July to October. A ride costs $599 with a pickup from your lodge of stay, a hot air balloon ride as well as champagne breakfast upon landing in the wilderness.

History of a hot air balloon safari in Serengeti national Park

The hot air balloon safari in Serengeti national park traces its roots back to the late 1960s when it was first launched as a unique way to experience the park’s vast landscapes and wildlife from a different perspective. Originally pioneered by a few adventurous individuals, the concept quickly gained popularity among tourists seeking an unforgettable safari experience.

Over the years the hot air balloon safari industry in Serengeti has evolved and expanded, with multiple operators offering daily flights over the park’s iconic plains, allowing visitors to witness the breathtaking beauty and diverse wildlife of the Serengeti national park from high above.

Today, hot air balloon safaris have become a must do activity for many visitors who visit Serengeti national park, providing a memorable adventure that complements traditional game drives and walking safaris.

Other activities  in Serengeti national park include; game drives, nature walks, cultural experiences, bush meals, visiting the Ngorongoro crater, viewing wildebeest migration among others.

Animals in the park include; elephants, lions, leopards, African buffalos, giraffes, cheetahs, hippos, bush babies, gazelles among others.

File:Hot air ballon safari Maasai Mara National Reserve Kenya.jpg - Wikipedia

Hot Air Balloon In Maasai Mara National Park In Kenya

Balloon Safari in Serengeti: Is it worth it? | Serengeti National ParkThis is located on the southern part of Kenya along the great rift valley area, 224 Kilometers away from the capital Nairobi and borders Serengeti national park in Tanzania.  The price of a hot air balloon ride in Masai Mara costs $485 per person with an hour long hot air balloon safari. A transfer to and from your safari camp or lodge, and  bush breakfast inclusive. Other activities include hiking, game drives, nature walks, cultural tours among others.

History of a hot air balloon safaris in Maasai Mara national reserve

The tradition of hot air balloon safaris in Masai Mara dates back to several decades ago in the early 1970s when a group of adventurous individuals had the brilliant idea of using hot air balloons to explore the park from above. The breathtaking landscapes and abundant wildlife of Masai Mara made it the perfect setting for these unique aerial adventures. Over the years hot air balloon safaris have become increasingly popular, offering visitors a wonderful experience to witness the beauty of the park from a different perspective.

Other activities in the park include; game drives, nature walks, horse riding, birding, wildebeest migration and cultural experiences.

Animals in the park include; wildebeests, zebras, crocodiles, big cats, hyenas, elephants, gazelles among others.

Both a hot air balloon in Serengeti and Masai Mara national parks offer an unforgettable experiences but the two parks differ in terms of safari experience, scenery, accommodation, size, cost among others as seen below;

The Great Migration Spectacle of Maasai Mara And  Serengeti National Parks

Both Serengeti and Masai Mara are a home to the great migration of Africa which follows an ancient route between these two national parks every year. The bulk of the great migration takes place in the Serengeti national park of Tanzania because it is much larger than Kenya’s Masai Mara thus the time for seeing the great migration in Serengeti is more as compared to that of the neighboring Masai Mara which is about two months of the year.

Park Size Of Maasai Mara and Serengeti National Parks

In terms of size, Serengeti covers 14,763 square kilometers, much larger than Masai Mara which is 1,510 square kilometers thus if you want to experience vast African savannahs at their best in a hot air balloon, Serengeti is best alternative.

Wildlife Of Maasai Mara and Serengeti National Parks

In terms of wildlife density, Masai Mara is better for game viewing. Although Serengeti boasts massive wildlife populations, the wildlife is spread across a far larger area because the national park is so much bigger than Masai Mara. It is easier to see more animals over a shorter time in Maasai Mara and its known for its exceptional big cats sightings, large lions and cheetahs in the wild .

Hot Air Balloon Safari Cost Of Maasai Mara And Serengeti National Parks

A hot air balloon flight in Serengeti national park is 600$ per person. This rate includes a transfer from your lodge or camp to the departure balloon site, the balloon flight itself, and a champagne breakfast (after landing). The flight will last anything in between 50 and 70 minutes. While in Maasai Mara it costs 485$ per person. Included in the price for a balloon safari are:

  • Approximately one hour hot air balloon flight
  • Transfer from your safari camp or lodge
  • Champagne bush breakfast
  • Transfer back to camp after breakfast
  • Conservancy or national reserve landing fees

Accommodation Of Masai Mara And Serengeti National Parks

Masai Mara is better for affordable safari lodges and camps as it has more budget accommodation options than Serengeti national park which has more luxury safari lodges and camps.

Scenery Of Masai Mara And Serengeti National Parks

Although the two parks are very similar because they are part of the same eco system, there are differences .When it comes to landscape, Masai Mara is more hilly while Serengeti has more diverse landscapes and habitats as it takes a far larger area. Serengeti’s hot air balloon ride provides a stunning panoramic view of the expansive plains while Masai Mara offers breathtaking views of the Mara river and its surrounding landscape.

Accessibility Of Masai Mara And Serengeti National Parks

Serengeti national park is primarily located in northern Tanzania while Masai Mara national reserve is in south western  Kenya. Masai Mara is more easily accessible by road from Nairobi while Serengeti requires a longer drive or flight to reach .Depending on your location and travel plans, accessibility to either park may differ that is by air or by road.

When to visit Masai Mara And Serengeti National  Parks

Both parks are accessible all year round but the best time advisable to visit the parks is mostly during the dry season depending on the benefits each park provides as explained below;

Serengeti National Park

The best time to visit Serengeti national park in Tanzania is during the dry season from late June to October. This is when wildlife viewing is at its peak and also the great migration , when millions of wild beasts and other animals move through the park in search of water and grazing land. Additionally , the dry season offers clear skies and easier access to the park’s many attractions. However, if you prefer fewer crowds and lower prices , seasons of April to May and November to mid December can also be good times to visit.

Masai Mara National Park

The best time to experience a hot air balloon ride over the Masai Mara national park is during the dry season which runs from July to October.  This period offers clear skies and excellent wildlife viewing opportunities as animals draw near the Mara River and vegetation is thinner thus making wildlife easier to view. The cool mornings during this time also provide optimal conditions for hot air balloon rides, offering stunning views of the savannah landscape and wildlife below.

 Accessing Masai Mara And Serengeti National Parks

Masai Mara

To access Masai Mara National park, you can fly into Jomo Kenyatta international airport in Nairobi , Kenya, which is the closest major airport. From Nairobi you can then take a domestic flight to one of the airstrips near the park, such as Keekorok, Musiara, or Olkiombo. Alternatively, you can drive from Nairobi to the park, which takes around 5-6 hours depending on road conditions. There  are also tour operators that offer safari packages including transportation to and from the park.


To access Serengeti national park, you can fly into Kilimanjaro International Airport or Julius Nyerere International Airport in Tanzania. From there you can either take a domestic flight to Seronera Airstrip or drive to the park . The drive from Arusha to Serengeti takes about 6-8 hours depending on the route and road conditions. Alternatively you can join a guided safari tour that includes transportation to and from the park.

Accommodation Facilities At Masai Mara And Serengeti National Park

Accommodations range from luxury lodges and tented camps to more budget-friendly options like campsites and guesthouses and the types include;

Luxury lodges: These are often elegant and offer high facilities such as gourmet dining, spa facilities, and guided safari tours. These lodges include Olare Mara Kempinski, Keekorok Lodge, Pridelnn Mara camp and cottages and Mara leisure camp in Masai Mara and Serengeti Serena safari lodge , Melia’ Serengeti lodge and Mbalengeti Serengeti in Serengeti national park.

Tented camps: Combining the adventure of camping with the comfort of a lodge, tented camps provide spacious tents with en-suite bathrooms and sometimes even private verandas overlooking the wilderness. These include Amani Mara camp, Entim camp and little governors camp in Maasai Mara and Serengeti Kamweno tented lodge, Serengeti kifaru tented lodge and Into wild Africa luxury tented lodge in Serengeti national park.

Mid- range camps: These offer a balance between comfort and affordability, providing comfortable rooms or tents with basic facilities. These include offbeat Mara camp, Mara explorer camp and Mara Serena safari lodge in Masai Mara and Nyikani camp, Mbugani camp and Serengeti bush camp in Serengeti National park.

Budget camps or guest house: For travelers on a tighter budget, there are simpler options like budget campsites or guest houses which provide more basic facilities but still offer a place to rest after a day of safari adventures. These include crocodile camp Mara , Fisi camp and jambo Mara safari lodge in Masai Mara and Serengeti villa Arusha , Seronera wildlife lodge and Serengeti river camp in Serengeti national park.

Safari Lodges in Serengeti national park

Safari Lodges in Serengeti national park include; Serengeti Serena safari lodge, Seronera wildlife lodge and Mbalengeti Serengeti among others.

Serengeti Serena Safari Lodge | Serengeti Lodges Tanzania

Lodges in Masai Mara national park

Lodges in Masai Mara national park include; JW Marriott Masai Mara lodge from $ 3,200 per night, Mara intrepid tented camp from $376 per night, Masai Mara Sopa lodge from $170 per night among others.

Commonly asked questions about Serengeti and Maasai Mara national parks

Looking to book a Serengeti or Maasai Mara hot air balloon safari ? Get in touch with a reputable tour operator for an amazing and unforgettable safari experience kubwa 5 safaris .