Balloon safari in Uganda, Queen Elizabeth National park
The safari experience begins with an early morning wake up at the lodge for a quick freshening up before assembling at the designated zone in the Queen Elizabeth National park. The early morning drive into the euphorbia vegetation will most likely yield the early risers like the Hippos, spotted hyena, Giant forest hog or the Elephant herds that may be observed along the Kasenyi track. The Balloon safari crew of the pilot and the ground assistants will be available to begin a morning briefing on the weather conditions, etiquette as well as take questions pertaining to the morning safari prior to the flaring of the inflatable hot air balloon.
You will have a morning either cup of tea or coffee as the Balloons that carry a total of about 16 passengers gets filled with LPG gas. The Balloon crew would then usher the team of the guests into a sturdy attached basket for strapping with seat belts and picking the vantage positions before beginning the slow ascent over the Savannah grasslands of the Queen Elizabeth Park. The sandbags are dropped from the Balloon to free the anchor and begin the safari over the wildlife from a bird’s eye view.
Following the wind direction and the altitude of the Balloon being controlled by the captain, you will be flying at over the treetops of the park and over some beautiful vegetation and scenic Crater Lakes. Game will be observed from the air where you spot lion prides, Cape buffalo, Uganda Kob, Elephant, Hyena, Bushbuck, Giant Forest Hog and a 360 degrees view of the entire Queen Elizabeth National park and the adjacent Ruwenzori Mountain system. On a clear day, peaks of Ruwenzori’s Margherita Park can be seen from the comfort of your vantage point.
After about an hour of the flight with chances of seeing Lion Kills or the White Backed Vultures feeding on the carcasses of the Kobs over the morning sunrise, the Captain will gently bring down the Balloon into an opening of the Savannah plains. The support crew and the service vehicle delivers the breakfast in the middle of the wilderness where fresh fruit, pastries and a full English breakfast with champagne will be served in the bush.
The trip then ends with a morning Queen Elizabeth Safari along the Kasenyi tracks in search of hunting lion prides, grazing cape buffalo, the Uganda Kobs on their morning territorial dominance fights at the mating grounds, prowling hyenas, Elephants browsing on the acacia vegetation and the late hippos heading down to the Kazinga channel following a night of feeding on the mainland.
The price for the Balloon safari starts at USD380 and this tour needs to be booked ahead of time.