Amboseli National Park, located in Kenya’s southern reaches, is famed for its superb range of wildlife, including Maasai giraffe, elephant, lion, and cheetah, and is, unsurprisingly, one of the country’s most popular parks.
A hot air balloon safari in this incredible part of Africa allows visitors to view enormous herds of elephants and other wildlife from high up, as well as to enjoy stunning views of Mount Kilimanjaro, the world’s tallest free-standing peak.
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The best Amboseli hot air balloon safari tours
Price of an Amboseli balloon safari
Hot-air balloon trips are fairly expensive, with conservation fees accounting for a significant portion of the price. The cost of a hot air balloon ride begins at $450 per person.
One reason for this is that balloons may only be used for a certain number of hours before they need to be replaced. Balloons are decommissioned after roughly 850 flight hours, and a new balloon must be acquired to ensure the safety of passengers who board a balloon.
The expense of fuel and staff to operate the hot air balloon also contributes to the cost of hot air balloon rides. Crews consist of six crew members and a licensed balloon pilot, as well as 10 individuals who work behind the scenes with the recovery vehicles, transfers and backup operations.
Breakdown of an Amboseli balloon safari
Hot air balloon safari highlights
- See the Big 5 including lions, elephants and African buffaloes from above, a unique perspective on these incredible animals and their migration patterns
- Experience the silence as you float above the plains, forest and the rivers
- Private tour guide in English and other languages
- Champagne style bush breakfast
- Optional guided walks afterwards with professional guides
Balloon safari inclusions
The following details typical tour inclusions and exclusions on a balloon safari in Amboseli:
|Tour inclusions||Tour exclusions|
|Transfer from your safari camp or lodge||International/domestic flight transfers|
|Experienced english-speaking guide||Tips to the pilot|
|Park entrance fees||Optional guided walking activities and cultural experiences|
|Conservancy or national reserve landing fees|
Hot air balloon safari essentials and information
What animals will I see on an Amboseli balloon safari?
Amboseli is a park known for its large elephant herds carrying massive tusks and views of immense Mount Kilimanjaro, across the border in Tanzania.
Observation Hill offers panoramas of the peak and the park’s plains and swamps. Varied wildlife includes giraffes, zebras, cheetahs and hundreds of bird species.
The park is famous for being the best place in the world to get close to free-ranging elephants and for its location at the base of Mount Kilimanjaro, just an hour’s flight from Nairobi. Smaller mammals like hyena, foxes, jackals, vervet monkey and the yellow baboon can also be found.
What should I bring on an Amboseli hot air balloon safari?
Visitors should remember to bring some warm clothing, and a bag in which you can secure a camera, binoculars, and other personal items. Tour companies can arrange departures for an Amboseli balloon safari from most lodges and camps in the Greater Mara area.
Booking in advance is strongly recommended as hot air balloon safaris are a very popular activity and can get booked out early (especially during peak season).
What time do Amboseli hot air balloon safaris typically depart at?
Hot air balloon safaris in Amboseli typically depart at sunrise, meaning visitors will need to wake up early between 4am and 5am. It is however well and truly worth it as nothing beats the sensation of freedom and thrill that comes with soaring high above the African plains.
As your guide leads you to the balloon launch site, your excitement will rise. While you sip your hot beverage, the balloon crew will fill your balloon and arrange everything for take-off.
Your pilot will give you a briefing before releasing the balloon once you have filled it and climbed into the basket underneath it. As the sun begins to rise, the balloon will gently climb into the sky, displaying a beautiful color display of blazing reds and golds.
Up in the sky, you’ll see animals migrating toward the water to drink and bathe and observe elephant bulls battling for breeding rights whilst cheetah mothers travel effortlessly through the tall grasses in search of food for her offspring.
What happens if the weather is poor?
The hot air ballooning team prioritizes safety, so if weather conditions aren’t good, your flight may be canceled. If this happens, you will be booked for a later flight as soon as feasible. If this is not possible, your money will be reimbursed.
Alternatively, visitors can embark on a guided safari vehicle tour of the savannah and head out across the open plains. A pre-dawn tour provides fascinating insights into animal behavior with hyenas gathering around carcasses, baby elephants playing with birds and gazelles leaping amid the grasslands.
Is a balloon ride in Amboseli worth it?
A hot air balloon safari experience in Amboseli is well and truly worth it with guests taking in a very unique perspective of the incredible wildlife, landscape and fauna from above on a tranquil journey that will never be forgotten.
How long is a balloon safari in Amboseli?
A hot air balloon safari in Amboseli can last from one hour to four hours or even spread out over a multi-day trip, observing the park’s diverse fauna, wildlife and incredible surroundings from above combined with a champagne breakfast and game viewing drive across the plains.
How much is a balloon safari in Amboseli?
Hot air balloon safaris in Amboseli can start from US $450 per person for a half day trip, inclusive of a champagne breakfast and game viewing drive over the savannah.