Ujuzi traveler Bill Starr has jumped out of airplanes. Every year, he goes fishing in Alaska among wild bears. But he says no experience compares to a balloon ride over the Serengeti. “There were animals as far as the eye could see—wildebeest, zebra, ostrich, hyenas,” he said of his experience. “Nothing tops that. I could tell you about that balloon ride until the cows come home, but you really have to see it to believe it.”
Hot air balloon rides offer an amazing bird’s eye perspective on African wildlife. They are perhaps the best way to view the Great Wildebeest Migration in Serengeti National Park, Tanzania, the other-worldly desert landscape of Sossuvlei, Namibia, and the flowing waters of Murchison Falls, Uganda.
When Becky Raab’s family traveled to Tanzania with Ujuzi, they also opted for a balloon safari. She was amazed by the panoramic views, but also surprised by how intimate the animal encounters could feel. Flying low over a pond, they had an unobstructed view of a bathing hippo pod. The animals swam with their snouts peeking out above the water, their broad bodies visible just below the surface.
Later, Becky and her family watched hundreds—possibly thousands—of wildebeest gallop across the plains. “Being above all the animals and seeing the herds of wildebeest was truly an incredible experience,” she said.