Hot Air Ballooning in Uganda is an activity where a given number of tourists sit in a hot air balloon to view wildlife, physical features, and different landscapes. It is such a satisfying experience especially the early morning hot air balloon which enables you to see the beautiful sunsets. In Uganda, hot air ballooning is done in Queen Elizabeth National Park and Murchison Falls National Park, which is located in the southwestern part of the country.
It’s one of Uganda’s treasures and most visited tourist destinations in the country and the only place to find the famous tree-climbing lions not found elsewhere in Uganda. The park is bisected by the famous Kazinga channel with black-lined elephants, hippos, and giant Nile crocodiles. However, it feels good to view these beautiful creatures from the sky other than Game Drive.
The hot air balloon safari starts in the morning with magnificent views of the beautiful sun rising from the East as though it were coming out from Lake George, which is East of the park. This hot air balloon safari is one of a kind as you fly through the tranquility of Africa’s untamed wilderness in the endless Ishasha plains. The flight lasts for about an hour and the adventurous trip kicks off at 5:30 am.
The flight usually starts at Kasenyi gate, where you meet for briefing, the sites for lift-off often change daily due to weather conditions and the wind flow. During the briefing, you’ll meet your pilot, receive safety gear, and learn about landing procedures, while also having access to coffee and/or tea The balloon can accommodate about 16 passengers with a capacity of 300000 Cubic feet. The pilot flies at varying altitudes during your flight to give you different perspectives, taking advantage of the varying wind currents.
The flight gives passengers great photo opportunities and an experience that is truly unique and different from an ordinary game safari on the ground. As you gently drift over the park, you can watch the sunrise as the savannah below comes to life with birds and animals. After a hot air balloon is a yummy bush breakfast that is served by Mweya Safari Lodge staff. The hot air ballooning safari is the best way to view wildlife as one can spot hyenas back from catching prey and other animals with hippos going back to the water, especially in the Kazinga channel area. It’s a journey of discovery to delight and a flying certificate is also awarded after the flight. After the flight, Passengers celebrate with a glass of sparkling wine followed by the mighty bush breakfast from Mweya Safari Lodge.
Dream Balloons conducts hot air balloon safaris in Murchison Falls National Park. The company was first licensed and established in 2007 to operate hot air balloon safaris in Egypt but later expanded its operations to East Africa and then Uganda. In Uganda, Dream Balloons Company was registered in 2011 to operate hot air balloon safaris and it’s fully licensed by authorities such as the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), and other responsible government authorities.
The pilots who drive the hot air balloon are also certified and licensed by both the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority and Egyptian Aviation Authority and have experience flying for 1000 and above hours. Dream Balloons Company also trains its ground crew members on ground operations under the guidance of a certified and specialized instructor. Therefore, safety is a guarantee for those who would like to undertake a Hot air balloon.
There are different sizes of hot air balloons in Murchison Falls National Park. The bigger the size of the hot air balloon, the greater its volume of air and capacity to carry passengers. In Murchison Falls National Park there is a medium-sized hot air balloon that carries about 8 passengers and can fly up to 10,000 feet above sea level and there is a big size balloon that carries 16 people. This capacity is the most suitable for private use, honeymooners, and wedding proposals.
Hot air balloon activity in Murchison Falls National Park has two sessions that is the sunrise session which starts at 5:00 am and enables you to see early bird grazers and the sunset session which starts at 4:00 pm and ends at 6:30 pm. During the hot air balloon activity, the company picks up visitors staying in the northern sector of the park and transports them to the starting point. Uganda Wildlife Authority speed boats transport those staying in the southern sector to the starting point in the northern sector. On arrival, they will watch the balloon inflation and then be briefed by the pilot about the expectations, and safety regulations and then start flying at around 6:00 am to 8:00 am because it takes about 2 hours.
During the ride in the hot air balloon, visitors will have spectacular views of the park, sunrise, animals, birds, savannah vegetation, tree tops, lake Albert, and the mighty Murchison Falls among others where after you will land on the ground, receive your certificate for participating in the hot air activity. Afterward, you’ll enjoy a bush breakfast with a bottle of champagne prepared by the Paraa Safari Lodge chef. Afterward, the company will transport you back to your lodge. You can alternatively choose to embark on a game drive within the park.
Another hot air balloon session begins at 4:00 pm and ends at around 6:30 pm. The company will transport visitors to the starting point and provide a briefing about expectations and safety measures. After landing, the company will issue participants a certificate for their participation in the activity, but the flight fee does not cover the cost of a bush dinner.
The cost of a hot air balloon safari in Uganda depends on the national park, the number of individuals, and the purpose of the flight.
Note: Children between 6-12 years pay 50% of the adult fee. Those below 6 years meanwhile do not pay though they should able to stand on their own without parents’ support and if you book with a group of 8 people, there’s a discount.
Visitors can engage in hot air ballooning, an adventurous activity in the park, at any time throughout the year, although the optimal periods are during the dry season from June to August and December to February. During the dry season, there is less rainfall, short grass for clear viewing, and favorable weather conditions. Therefore, you will have panoramic views of the park, tree tops, vegetation types, sunset, and sunrise. You’ll observe animals grazing in the open savannah plains, where short grass and other features are visible. This option is preferable to the wet season, which brings heavy rainfall and leads to ride cancellations with refunds for passengers.
Are you thirsty for such a mouthwatering safari experience? We’re here to quench your thirst. Safari Vacations and Travel Services organizes tailormade hot air balloon safaris, gorilla trekking safaris, horseback riding safaris, birding safaris, and many others and we are 100% sure that if you book with us, you will have an astonishing tourism experience that you will live to remember.