by Tamlin Wightman
on March 15, 2012

Up, Up and Away

Ever see the film Danny Deckchair? It’s an Aussie flick about a guy named Danny. Danny becomes famous overnight by tying bunches of balloons – the regular birthday party kind – to his deck chair and lifting off the ground. I saw this done several times in cartoons as a kid and planned one day to, like Danny, make the lift off, but on my pool lounger. Luckily, an offer of a hot air balloon trip came first. Hot air balloons are, without doubt, yards safer.

This is the first in our Up in the Air Series, in which we will be featuring blogs on the different aero-ventures you can get up to on safari in Africa, with Rhino Africa.

Kirawira Camp

Kirawira Camp

Hot Air Ballooning is one of those once-in-a-lifetime bucket list activities. It was for me, and I ticked it off flying over the Eastern Free State town of Clarens with views over the Maluti mountains. We lifted up into the sky with the flame bursting up into the giant balloon in the early morning. We caught the sun rise, rays peaking and sparkling through the rows of clouds above the mountains.

The wind fell at once stage and so did our basket – making for a thrilling landing in some trees surrounded by a field of cattle. Then it was up, up and away, with the Golden Gate National Park in the distance. With the final landing the balloon dropped slowly to the ground, taking its time to fully deflate. I quickly jumped out of the basket as our, you could call him, flight captain organised champagne and orange juice. I ran into the womb of the balloon, which was on its side with still at least three metres high from the top to the bottom. Inside it was like a kaleidoscopic circus tent. I didn’t want the day to end.

Take a ride

Where To Hot Air Balloon

There are several lodges in southern and eastern Africa that offer hot air ballooning. It’s a great addition to a safari and offers great and unique views in different game reserves – with the teeming wildlife and beautiful landscapes below. From the Kruger Park to the Serengeti, South Africa to Namibia, there are plenty different sights to take in.

These are some of our top recommendations:


Singita has introduced balloon safaris at its Grumeti Reserve in Tanzania. The one-hour safaris can accommodate between four and eight passengers, with options available for larger groups. The flight begins at 05h30 when guests leave their camp for a pre-dawn 20-minute game drive from the camp to the balloon launch pad in the reserve. Stay at Singita Faru Faru Lodge, Singita Sabora Tented Camp, and/or Singita Sasakwa Lodge.

Hot air ballooning with Singita in the Grumeti

What to expect

“You will meet your pilot, receive a briefing and watch in eager anticipation as the balloon is inflated.  At dawn, the balloon takes off, rising as the sun is coming up and floating in whichever direction the winds of the morning are moving. The pilot can precisely control the altitude of the balloon – sometimes at treetop height, sometimes lower, offering a unique perspective and great photographic opportunities of the wildlife below.  At other times the pilot will ascend to 1000 feet or more in order to view the enormity and wonderful panorama of Singita Grumeti Reserves.  From time to time he may put more heat into the balloon with the powerful whisper burners.  In between these burns there is absolute silence…apart from the natural sounds of the Serengeti landscape.” – Singita

South Africa & Kruger National Park

Stay in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve on the western border of the Kruger National Park and go on breathtaking hot air balloon rides over the 10 00 hectares of the private Ulusaba Portfolio. Stay at either Ulusaba Rock Lodge, Ulusaba Safari Lodge or Ulusaba Cliff Lodge .

Cybele Forest Lodge

Cybele Forest Lodge


Mara Serena Safari Lodge

Mara Serena Safari Lodge

The Kalahari

Ballooning in Tswalu Kalahari

Ballooning in Tswalu Kalahari


Balloon over Namibia

Balloon over Namibia

Serengeti views

Experience hot air ballooning

Go on your own hot air balloon safari! We’ll help you plan the perfect African itinerary with destinations and lodges to suit your needs, interests and budget, and includes hot air ballooning, whether it is South Africa and the Kruger, Namibia, Tanzania or Kenya you prefer.

Contact one of our expert travel consultants for more information and to start planning and start ticking off that bucket list!