Frequently Asked Questions

About the Balloon Flight

Where do we fly from?

Our Hot Air Balloon Safaris launch from our custom-built balloon camp in the foothills of Mt. Kilimanjaro, at the edge of the Amboseli National Park in Kenya. Enjoy spectacular views of breathtaking Mt. Kilimanjaro, the Amboseli National Park eco-system, plenty of animals and the Manyattas and Bomas of the local Maasai. The wind direction of the day determines our flight path, and each flight provides spectacular views of this magical area!

What times are the flights?

Early morning gives us the calmest and most stable weather conditions for Hot Air Balloon Safaris. Our guests check-in at approximately 5:15 am. After check-in, ‘Good Morning’ beverages of coffee, tea, and hot chocolate, as well as fresh biscuits are provided for our guests. Once our ground team has the Hot Air Balloon partially prepared, we will walk out to our on-site Launch Field. The Captain of your Hot Air Balloon will complete a Safety Briefing and answer any questions you may have. Now, it is time – the Hot Air Balloon Team begins the final inflation procedures and inflation. We always plan to launch and be in flight, just prior to the Amboseli’s majestic sunrise, generally between 6:15 and 6:30am.

From the air we experience a new dawn beginning, as the sun creeps above the Eastern skyline, and watch in awe as the rising sun shines upon Mt. Kilimanjaro, with changing hues throughout the flight. Generally, our flights are about an hour, and each day is dependent on the weather and wind conditions that Mother Nature provides us. These can vary between 45-minutes and 90-minutes, depending on the day and the time of the year.

Upon landing, you experience another game drive back to the Balloon Camp, in our custom Safari vehicles, but your Balloon Safari experience does not end yet.

Upon arrival at the Balloon Camp, we will share in the Magical Experience, with a Traditional Champagne Celebration, a full ‘Made to Order’ Safari breakfast, freshly prepared by Chef, share in stories and experience, and finally each guest is presented with a personalized Kilimanjaro Balloon Safaris Flight Ascension Certificate, signed by your Captain, as a memento of your Flight Experience.

We will then depart, for the return journey to your Camp/Lodge, taking in another Game Drive and further enhancing your Safari experience.

What is our meeting time for the flight?

Our guests are to arrive at our camp for check-in between 5:15am and 5:30am, and lodge pick-ups are scheduled accordingly based on where they are located.

Lodges close to our site such as Sentrim, Kibo, Tawi, Kilima Camp, Tulia Camp and AA Lodges will have a 5:00am to 5:15am pick up, while those further away such as Tortilis, Sopa Lodge, Ol Tukai and Serena Lodge will have a 4:30am to 4:45am pick up. You will be advised of your pickup time upon booking your flight.

How long is the hot air balloon safari?

The full Hot Air Balloon Safari experience, from pickup, to camp/lodge return with us usually requires 4-hours to 5-hours, depending on your camp/lodge location and depending on prevailing weather conditions and suitability of landing sites. The actual flight time is about 1-hour, but remember, we offer a whole lot more than just the Balloon Flight, and we are confident the whole experience, will be the ‘the adventure of a lifetime’. This includes your check-in, morning beverages, pilot safety briefing, balloon preparation and launch, the flight itself, game drives to the camp in the early morning darkness (many game sightings not seen by other guests, or daytime safaris), travelling back to our balloon camp, a champagne celebration, freshly prepared hot breakfast, personalized Balloon Flight Certificate, and a return Game drive to your Camp/Lodge.

How do we get there?

Complimentary pickups and drop-offs are available for all lodges/camps in the Amboseli National Park area, upon request. You can select your lodge at the time of booking or contact us at least 2 days prior to your flight to notify us of your accommodation booked.

Our guests are to arrive at our camp for check-in between 5:15am-5:30am, and lodge pick-ups are scheduled accordingly based on where they are located.

Lodges close to our site such as Sentrim, Kibo, Tawi, Kilima Camp, Zebra Plains and AA Lodges will have a 5:15am pick up, while those further away such as Tortilis, Sopa Lodge, Ol Tukai and Serena Lodge will have a 4:45am pick up. You will be advised of your pickup time upon booking your flight.

What will we see during our flight?

We are confident that your flight with Kilimanjaro Balloon Safaris will be one of the most spectacular adventures you will ever have! See the colors change on Mt. Kilimanjaro as the sun peeks over the horizon and blesses us with its warmth. Float over the local Maasai Manyattas and wave to the excited children below. This area is renowned for the quantity and variety of ‘game’. Often these animals will be making their way to the swamps of the Amboseli National Park, in herds large and small. Enjoy a bird’s eye view of elephant, buffalo, giraffe, lion, cheetah, ostrich, zebra, wildebeest, hyena, impala, gazelle, hyrax, dik-dik, lesser kudu, baboon, bat-eared foxes, among many more. Additionally, there are more than 400-species of birds to search out.

And enjoy the most incredible views of Mt. Kilimanjaro, in all its glory, standing majestically watching over this precious land!

Visit our Gallery and Instagram for a preview!

How far will we fly?

Hot air balloons can’t be steered in the traditional sense of other aircraft, and instead we ‘Walk the Winds’ provided by Mother Nature daily. We travel where the wind takes us, with highly skilled pilots controlling the altitude by heating the air inside the balloon. How far you will fly depends on the wind speed and when your Captain finds a suitable landing location. We can travel a few KM on days when the winds are calm, to up to 15-20 KM on breezy days.

Where will we land?

Hot air balloons cannot be steered, so they travel with the wind, and we never know where exactly you are going to land. The Captain will start looking for a suitable landing site after around 45 minutes. The ground crew will track the balloon on the ground and aim to arrive shortly after landing. Generally, we will look for open areas clear from trees, shrubs, and termite mounds. Upon landing we may be met by local children, Maasai herdsmen or even zebra and wildebeest watching us from a safe distance!

What is the landing like?

As the early morning winds in our flight area are generally quite calm, the balloon will usually touch down gently with a couple of small bumps as it stabilizes and ‘stands’ upon the ground. The gondolas are equipped with cushioned benches that all passengers will sit on, holding onto handles, for landing. This passenger landing position protects the head, neck and back of the passengers should we have a more active landing. On days when the wind is a bit stronger the basket can tip and/or drag along before coming to rest. This is perfectly normal on a windy day and an exciting part of the experience; many people say it is their favourite part of the flight!

How do we get in and out of the basket?

The gondola is approximately 1.3m (52”) in height and each end has stepping holes that you will use to boost yourself up to climb in, and out. If you still feel you might have problems climbing in, please let the Captain know when you check in and they will have a crew member assist you.

What facilities are at the Guest Pavilion before take-off and post-flight?

Our custom-built balloon camp has been designed for the comfort of our guests, while enjoying spectacular views of Mt. Kilimanjaro. Female and Male Toilets, Wi-Fi, and USB chargers (installed at each guest table) are available to all guests in the Guest Pavilion.

Why don’t you generally fly during the day?

During the day, the sun heats the ground which in turn heats the air above causing ‘thermals or columns’ of rising air. These thermals cause updrafts and downdrafts which affect the Captain’s ability to safely control the balloon. The early morning hours provide us the calmest and most stable conditions for our Balloon Safaris.

Will the balloon fly over the lodge that we are staying at?

We would love to be able to fly over your lodge or camp but, as hot air balloons cannot be steered in the traditional sense, we cannot promise this. If you are staying at one of the lodges or camps in the immediate area, it is possible you will have an aerial view of it, but to avoid disappointment, please do not expect it.

What should we wear?

Hot Air Ballooning is an interactive experience, and an active morning outdoors, so wear clothing that can get dusty or dirty:

  • Wear clothing suitable for hiking, including sturdy shoes, socks, and a cap, plus sunglasses if you like,
  • We meet before sunrise, thus depending on the time of year and weather, some mornings can be quite cool, and we would suggest layers that can be removed as the morning sun warms the air,
  • Generally, it will not be any colder in the air during the flight, than on the ground, so layering clothing is recommended, so that it can be removed as the morning temperatures warm,
  • The hot air balloon burners produce radiant heat, so it is recommended to wear a hat. The burners can sometimes drip water mixed with carbon. Kilimanjaro Balloon Safaris will not be responsible for clothing damaged or stained, though this seldom occurs,
  • Launch and Landing is generally in rough terrain with weeds and sometimes thorns. Closed toe shoes are recommended for all guests. High-heeled shoes and open toe shoes, such as thongs/flip flops are NOT suitable footwear.
What should we bring or not bring?

Cameras, cell phones and binoculars are always welcome!

You can bring along a small backpack or bag to hold your belongings.

Weapons, firearms, knives, aerosols, and explosives are NOT permitted in the hot air balloon, the same as any commercial Airline.

How big is the hot air balloon?

At Kilimanjaro Balloon Safaris our balloons range in size from 350,000 to 450,000 cubic feet. When fully inflated the balloons stand as tall as a 10-storey building! Each balloon carries 12-16 passengers, making it easy to accommodate families and groups. Our large baskets make for more space per person and our balloons have turning vents so the pilot can rotate the balloon during flight, giving everyone a 360-degree view of the game and typography.

How many passengers are there in the balloon?

Each balloon carries 12-16 passengers, making it easy to accommodate families and groups. Our large baskets make for more space per person and our balloons have turning vents so the pilot can rotate the balloon during flight, giving everyone a 360 degree view of the game and typography.

What is the cost and how do I book?

What is the cost?

Prices are per person and can be found by clicking this link: OUR RATES

Where do we book?

You can book your Hot Air Balloon Safari by contacting your Tour Company, Camp/Lodge, Guide or clicking on the BOOK A RIDE, or feel free to contact us by Phone/WhatsApp at +254 (0)712 717171 for information, confirmation or to BOOK A RIDE.

How can we amend a date booked?

Please contact us as soon as possible, and at least 3 days prior to your scheduled flight date. You can call us at +254 (0)712 717171.

Where is our booking confirmation?

Once you have booked a flight, confirmation of your booking will be sent to the email address in your order. This is usually within a few minutes of you making the booking but can take a bit longer. If your booking confirmation has not arrived within an hour or so, please check your Junk/Spam folder, as they sometimes end up in there. If it is not in Junk/Spam, contact your customer service team and we’ll send it out again.

Passenger Restrictions

Can anyone fly in a hot air balloon?

In order to ensure the safety and enjoyment of everyone who flies, passengers must be satisfied they are physically able to take part in the experience. This means that they can climb in and out over the sides of the basket (which is about 52 inches or 1.3m high), stand unassisted for an hour and be able to bend your knees to take the seated landing position. Passengers must also be able to fully understand and follow all instructions given by the Captain and react quickly to them in the unlikely event of an emergency. As per the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority, the balloon Captain has a duty of care for all passengers and, ultimately, it is the Captains decision if someone is able to safely participate on the day. Please see the sections on age and weight restrictions, medical conditions, pregnancy and disability below.

Is there an age or weight restriction?

Children must be age four or older and accompanied by a responsible adult. We have no maximum weight restriction, however, we do require all passengers to be physically able to participate. If you are unsure, please contact us in advance, to ensure your maximum Balloon Safari experience.

What about pregnancy?

Unfortunately, for safety reasons we are unable to fly women who are, or may be, pregnant.

What about medical conditions?

All passengers should be sure they do not have any pre-existing medical conditions which could be affected by the ballooning experience or could prevent them from safely taking part and should seek professional medical advice if unsure. You must not fly if you are suffering from any significant medical condition or if you have recently undergone major surgery. We require you to tell us about any medical or physical condition that could be considered to affect your safety or the safety of others. We may request a certificate of fitness to fly from a doctor or specialist.

What about disabilities?

We make every effort to ensure people with disabilities have the opportunity to participate in balloon flights with us wherever it is possible and safe to do so. As everyone’s particular situation is different and some disabilities present greater challenges than others in the unique context of ballooning, we require you to tell us about any disability before purchasing a flight voucher or booking a flight. We are, for safety reasons, unable to fly anyone who requires a wheelchair, or can not stand for a minimum of 1-hour, without the assistance of a medical device.

Can just anyone fly the balloon?

We are asked this often…No, ballooning is a highly regulated industry, and we must leave the flight operations in the hands of your highly experienced Captain. They, however, will be happy to answer questions about how they got into flying balloons and how it all works.

Weather & Cancellations

What happens if our flight is cancelled?

Hot Air Balloon Safaris are weather permitting and Kilimanjaro Balloon Safaris is in one of the best locations in the world for flight! We require calm winds, no rain and good visibility which means we can fly almost every day, year-round.

If the conditions are unsafe to fly, however, we will need to cancel the flight for the day you are scheduled but will re-schedule you as soon as possible.

Our flight has been cancelled - how do we rebook?

If your flight is cancelled, you can re-book onto another flight through your online account using a voucher that will be emailed to you. You may also call or email our Customer Service team to assist. Sometimes it takes a few hours for our system to send your voucher after a cancellation, so if you can’t re-book immediately, please allow more time and try again later in the morning.

If you are unable to select another flight during your stay, please contact our Customer Service team to arrange a refund or credit.

Refund Policy

Can we get a refund if our flight is cancelled?

If we cancel your flight, you will be entitled to a full refund, or you can reschedule for another day.

If you cancel within:

  1. 14+ days prior to flight date – no fees charged.
  2. 13 – 7 days prior – 50% charged.
  3. 6 days – 48 hours – 75% charged.
  4. Less than 48 hours – 100% charged.
  5. No show – 100% charged.

Safety & Insurance

Is hot air ballooning safe?

Hot air ballooning is an extremely safe activity, which is highly regulated by the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority. All our hot air balloon Captains hold full commercial pilot’s licences and adhere to KCAA’s frequent testing and training requirements. Passenger safety is our main concern, so we reserve the right to cancel a flight due to adverse weather conditions or safety reasons. All of our balloons undergo regular inspections and maintenance to ensure their quality and are frequently inspected in accordance to KCAA regulations.

What about insurance?

All our balloons and chase vehicles are fully insured, meeting Kenyan regulatory requirements, and we are also insured against any unlikely events resulting in injuries.

Preview the Beauty