Air balloon...Serengeti o Mara?

Aug 24th, 2006, 04:16 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2006
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Air balloon...Serengeti o Mara?

Hi...if we decide to do the air ballon flight is better to take it in Serengeti or Mara?Is there a difference in views or costs? thanks!
VIRGINIAUSH is offline  
Aug 24th, 2006, 05:53 PM
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When are you going?
Bill_H is offline  
Aug 24th, 2006, 06:47 PM
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we are going to visit Mara on Set 24 &25 and Serengeti on the 28th and 29th this year
VIRGINIAUSH is offline  
Aug 24th, 2006, 08:23 PM
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With those dates I think you'll see more large herds of animals in the Mara ... the Serengeti trips are limited to the area around Seronera (I think) and there aren't as many animals in that area in late Sept.
Bill_H is offline  
Aug 25th, 2006, 06:14 AM
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thanks Bill...I-ve read these balloon adventure are quite expensive...if we have the chance to do one I want to choose the best oportunity!
VIRGINIAUSH is offline  
Aug 25th, 2006, 01:25 PM
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Remember that the trips are weather-dependent - when we went, we were told by our guide to book ourselves onto the first available day, and therefore give ourselves a chance for a reschedule if weather did not permit. We did go on the first day, but it was almost cancelled because the winds initally seemed too high at about 5am - they dropped and we had a great flight, but apparently our reservation would have transferred to the second morning if we had not been able to go on the first day and still wished to fly.

Since the time of year suggests the Mara, and you are going there first, definitely try to do the balloon ride in the Mara - try to book for your first day there so you have a backup in case of cancellation. If weather does not permit, you then have a second (third?) chance in the Serengeti.

Regarding best views, apart from choosing based on general animal locations for the time of year, the direction of the wind and other conditions will vary trip-by-trip so you may have a completely different experience even from people who went on a different day in the same place. The length of ride is also variable since there are only certain points were the balloon can land and the pilot has to make judgements and decisions about where he will be landing based on wind speed, direction etc.

Prices were very slightly cheaper in the Mara than the Serengeti when we went a few years ago, but only by about $25 per person. As a fraction of the total price, this is really no difference.

Have a great time!
nkh is offline  
Sep 1st, 2006, 07:14 PM
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When does a person book a balloon ride?
We have booked a driver for entire tour starting in Nairobi, working our way to Masai Mara and then back to Nairobi in about 7 days.
Do we book the balloon ride when we start the tour in Nairobi or upon arrival in Masai Mara at the Mara Sopa lodge(there for 3 nights). I want to make sure that we can book a balloon ride for 5 people and don't want to be too late. We will be there March 17-19.
Max69 is offline  
Sep 2nd, 2006, 12:16 AM
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 30 would be better in Masai Mara. Nice views of the wildlife and a reasonable price compared to Serengeti.
jeremy_cruise is offline  
Sep 2nd, 2006, 12:19 AM
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To Max69:

I would advise you to book your balloon safari early in advance as you cant tell whether you will get a chance during those days you will be in Mara. Sometimes are fully booked.
jeremy_cruise is offline  
Sep 2nd, 2006, 01:32 AM
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book now if u wanna guarantee 5 pax.
(although the pilots may decide to take a larger basket to fit all, sometimes the quota for the largest is already taken...)

email the lodge if u dont want your agent to cut an extra coupon
I have witnessed an American tourist angry & saying: "i've ordered a baloon ride 6 months ago. how can u tell me there's no room left?"

However, i must tell you, Sopa isn't the best Baloon location (if u wanna see wildlife from the air)...
It is situated at the extreme (north)eastern border of the park, near the gate. you will do most of your game-drives towards Keekorok, Talek (Fig Tree) and Sarova {better take a breakfast box and have very long game-drives}. There is a chance though that the herds are on Sopa side - it does happen on certain dates...

* Flying the baloon is an experience by itself. not too many have a great wildlife-viewing...

what would i do ? (supposing i had to pay for a baloon ride)
1. Check cancellation fees
2. Come to Sopa & check the situation of wildlife herds etc
2A - Sopa's good fly from Sopa. i don't really remember where the Sopas r taking off from. Check ...
2B - Sopa side is all "grass only" - try another baloon after checking the different areas. Can't promise but i reckon Keekorok or Sarova would be happy to pick you up (people r being picked up from lodges that do not have a baloon launching nearby)
From my experience, Keekorok are usually flying westwards but better check if wind direction can vary seasonally or even daily.
After an area-assessment game-drive stop at the appropriate lodge Sarova/Keekorok/Fig Tree on the back to the lodge try to book.
Of course there is a chance u won't fly
3. start emailing for info

best of luck

aby is offline  
Sep 2nd, 2006, 06:30 AM
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Thanks Jeremy and Aby,
I will contact the lodge directly and check with our travel agent since tour booked with travel agent.
If Sopo has a balloon offer, I can't see how Sarova would pick us up. I will check though.
Max69 is offline  
Sep 2nd, 2006, 06:32 AM
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Have you been on the balloon with Sopa?
Max69 is offline  
Sep 2nd, 2006, 06:33 AM
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Amy / Aby. Sorry Aby.
I haven't drank my morning coffee yet and the brain cells aren't 100%.
Max69 is offline  
Sep 2nd, 2006, 11:38 AM
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There are only about 3 or 4 lift-off sites in the Mara, so in most cases you'll have to be transferred to/from (included in the price as is champagne breakfast on landing) the one nearest your lodge/camp. I'd recommend you pre-book, to be assured space. Figure about $400/person (can be a few $s more or less).
Sep 2nd, 2006, 01:21 PM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 108
We just did a balloon ride in the Masai Mara two weeks ago. We've been on balloon rides in Napa Valley and on the St. Croix River in Minnesota and I liked both of them better. Frankly, I would have rather been down on the ground with our guide doing our safari drive. I would have seen more. You are too far up to really enjoy the animals. My opinion only. Betty
betharwein is offline  
Sep 2nd, 2006, 02:58 PM
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I could be wrong, but I don't think there's a launch point at Sopa. I think you'll be heading to Keekorok or elsewhere for your ballooning.
Patty is online now  
Sep 2nd, 2006, 03:57 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 592
Amboseli has now started ballooning also. Go to: It doesn't fly over the park but runs parallel to it and you float by Kilimanjaro. It starts just outside the park not far from the Serena. $370.00 per person.

JanGoss is offline  

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