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Hot Air Ballooning Over The Serengeti...Worth The $800 Or Not???

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Feb 1st, 2006, 11:06 PM
  #1
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Hot Air Ballooning Over The Serengeti...Worth The $800 Or Not???

I have enhanced my Tanzania/Zanzibar/Amsterdam/Paris trip in every possible way, with the exception of one that I can think of...hot air ballooning. My wife is not particularly interested in this, but I think it could potentially be a great experience...an $800 ($400 pp) great experience, though, I am not sure.

Yay, Nay???

I would think that I would be able to get some unique photographs while hot air ballooning over the Serengeti.

Please share your experiences with hot air ballooning over the Serengeti. I want to know if this would be an appropriate grande finale to my Tanzanian safari, or if it may only leave a grande bad taste in my mouth after spending $800. I am not shy about spending, but I do like to receive value for money.

Thanks.

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Feb 2nd, 2006, 01:01 AM
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It is probably about the right price... but you may be able to negotiate a bit on it when you get to your destination, rather than booking in advance. (Of course there is always the risk it will be fully booked when you get there.

I would aim for $300 per person.

It's something I hope to do fairly soon and a bit sad I didn't take the opportunity a few years ago in the Mara.

Is it one where you land and get the champagne breakfast in the bush?

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Feb 2nd, 2006, 01:21 AM
  #3
santharamhari
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It's a different perspective from the air (vs from regular game drives). I did one in the Mara a few years and ago, and just got lucky with the migration at the same time.....however, the winds switched directions from the herds.......it was still quite awesome........

Dont expect to get great pictures of the animals etc from the air, except just after take off and close to landing.

I fully recommend the ride.....and the splurge.........
 
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Feb 2nd, 2006, 04:22 AM
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Whether something is "worth it" is a personal matter and no one else can determine that for you.

My experience is that I loved the ride and would do it again. Then again, I tend to splurge when travelling...

The views are awesome if the weather cooperates, as it usually does, and the animals/herds are on the course (not always). And I differ from the previous poster in that I found many superb photo ops during all phases of the flight.

Of course, you could always go while she sleeps in.....
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Feb 2nd, 2006, 05:26 AM
  #5
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I've never done - the height thing!
But in my photo album, there are a few pics at the end, taken by a couple we met on Zanzibar. They loved it.

Since you'll be MM the night before and have to be at Seronera next morning for flight to ZNZ, this early morning would be the perfect time for you (Alexsandra can drive down with you and wait till you land (it's about 1-hr up there); join you for breakfast.

Then you take your flight to ZNZ.

I'll send you those few hot air balloon pics, under separate cover. Then decide. But you should pre-book your space, as last year a few were locked out.
 
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Feb 2nd, 2006, 05:45 AM
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I did not do hot air balloning when I was in the Masai Mara five years ago and I keep kicking myself about it.
My husband and I did a private hot air ballon trip when we were in Tuscany 2 years ago. We did it with another couple we are friends with....we had a such a blast, we have already made plans to do it again!

Just do it!!!
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Feb 2nd, 2006, 06:13 AM
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We went ballooning in the Serengeti last May. If you are going to travel that far, I think it is worth the investment. It is something you will always remember. I agree with one of the other writers you should be able to do for about $300 each.
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Feb 2nd, 2006, 07:12 AM
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It's listed on the cover of the book "1000 Places to See Before You Die". Rocco, you are on a roll to accomplish this, lucky dog!
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Feb 2nd, 2006, 07:12 AM
  #9
sandi
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The current net price is $365 lowest (prices have gone up). If you can negotiate less than $400 with ATR, that's great. But if you've gone so far, "what's another $400?" You've already blown every other budget on this board.

 
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Feb 2nd, 2006, 04:33 PM
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Rocco, I have not done this, and it's not even because I'm kind of a cheapie. Like your wife, I'm not interested. The champagne breakfast, the whole deal--really not for me. I do appreciate that many people enjoy it quite a bit, and I'm probably being closeminded and ridiculous as usual.

But your question "Worth the $800 or Not?" Please! Coming from you it's a no-brainer unless Alexsandra really does NOT want to do it. Worth 800 bucks at this point? You might as well go ahead!

Have fun in that balloon.
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Feb 2nd, 2006, 04:56 PM
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Leely,

I am just afraid that Alexsandra is going to choose to sleep in and may tell me to go ahead and have a good time by myself. Well...unless someone is refunding the price of her admission, I don't think that will go over too well!


CarlaM,

Yours is the most persuasive argument, in favor of hot air ballooning, that I have seen yet. I could be a total travel snob and buy the book, put it on my coffee table, and visibly check off each one that I have done!


Cruisinred,

Very good advice. I mean I have a Macro lens sitting at home that I may have used one time in the 6+ months that I have had it. I am not crying "foul" over the lens, which cost nearly as much as the hot air ballooning will cost, so I don't see why I should hesitate to book it.


Sandi,

Would I have a chance to go back to Mbuzi Mawe afterward, or would I go straight to Seronera Airstrip. That is a bit of a tall order...being up AND packed by 5:30AM or whatever time we need to leave the camp.

What do you think the consequences would be if I brought a few water balloons along to drop on the A&K & Micato travelers? (just kidding LyndaS).


NoFlyZone,

That may be the best thing...to book it for myself...except that after I will get, "I cannot believe that you left me here alone!" Never mind that what that really means is that she didn't want to go, so therefore I should not want to go either. Hehe.


Hari,

Thanks for the feedback. I am not a big fan of passing on any opportunity to do anything that enriches my soul (and empties my bank account).


Pumbavu,

I will see what I can do about the price...you know, these tour operators, they are all the same...they MUST be getting it for $100 per person and then just be putting a huge markup on it! Yeah, right, I wish!


In sticking with my philosophy on life, I think I best book my balloon safari. I am a firm believer that I must live for the moment and do whatever most pleases me, whether it is luxury travel, adventure, photography, writing or just being a couch potato for extended periods at a time! It just feels right, so I WILL do the hot air ballooning.
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Feb 2nd, 2006, 10:01 PM
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Rocco, good decision you made!!! (to book the balloon ride, not to bring the water balloons along to drop on us...) (just make sure they are green to match the duffle bags we get!)
Without hesitation, even thought I am a weenzie bit afaid of heights, and even though we had already booked such an expensive b-( safari; we booked - ignoring the cost, because, well, you know what they say - eat dessert first, life is short. And besides, that is #2 on my list of "101 Things to Do Before We Die"!

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Feb 2nd, 2006, 10:03 PM
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Wow, that last smiley didn't work out at all - it was supposed to be a winking smiley! I sure missed the boat (balloon?) on that one!
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Feb 2nd, 2006, 11:44 PM
  #14
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Lynda,

About that smiley, it looks like a water balloon got through the helmet and busted up your face.

Now, just so I can be more annoying than ever...will you please tell me how I can get my hands on some of those smiley faces! Thanks.
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Feb 3rd, 2006, 05:38 AM
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Only if you promise to not be annoying Rocco -
My appologies ahead everyone.

http://www.foders.com/forums/smileys/

if that doesn't work go to 'other' forum and punch in smileys
Sherry
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Feb 3rd, 2006, 07:54 AM
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the correct page for smileys is:
http://www.fodors.com/forums/smileys
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Feb 3rd, 2006, 09:00 AM
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Hi Dennis,
Thanks for setting the record straight - we may regret this, if you get my drift (hint: elaborate traveler).

For some reason when you go to the other topics section, you'll see a / after smileys/. When clicked on there it works fine but for some reason not in my post - don't get it .
Best;
Sherry
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Feb 3rd, 2006, 09:42 AM
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cybor :-" i didn't want to say it, but in your link you mispelled fodors
Dennis
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Feb 3rd, 2006, 10:06 AM
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Just dying to try out the smileys,, let's seee
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Feb 3rd, 2006, 10:12 AM
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yahoo, got it, guess what I was trying to get the smileys for ages, could not find it now I am happy thanks dennis and Sherry.
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