Balloon Safari & Wildebeest Crossings – Tanzania

Wildebeest Migration

Serengeti, or Siringet means “the place where the land runs on forever” in Maasai and it is not hard to understand why.

After spending a few hours settling in at Lemala Kuria Hills we headed out to explore our new surroundings. We traveled through the bush in a huge jeep all to ourselves, stopping each time we saw an animal so we could quietly watch them in their natural habitat.

Vultures in the Serengeti

Oribi Serengeti

Ostrich, Serengeti

Eland, Serengeti

Within half an hour we chanced upon a Leopard snoozing (Leopard’s are the hardest of the Big 5 to spot)!Leopard, Serengeti

Zebra, Serengeti

Zebra, Serengeti

Before heading back for chicken wings..Lemala Kuria Hills

and the most beautiful sunsetsSunset, The Serengeti

The next morning we were up before dawn and picked up by the Serengeti Balloon Safari Company. We drove for 30 minutes to the launch site and on the way we spotted more wildlife in the form of Hyenas and a family of Hippos!

The balloons were nearly inflated when we arrived.

Serengeti Balloon Safari

I didn’t really know what to expect, but we were really excited. After a safety briefing, we climbed into the basket. If you read about my experience of the bush plane, you will remember i am not great with heights/ flying. THIS however was completely different. I honestly felt no anxiety whatsoever and before i knew it, we were up in the air! We actually didn’t go that high and the whole experience was remarkably smooth with the most spectacular views. The sunrise was stunning to watch and our pilot (Jason), pointed out grazing Hippos, Giraffes, Zebras, Crocodiles and hundreds of Wildebeest.

Serengeti Balloon Safari

Serengeti Balloon Safari

Serengeti Balloon Safari
“Nobody can be uncheered with a balloon.” ― A.A. Milne

If you ever get the opportunity to do a balloon safari i say just do it! It really is one of those things that should be on everyone’s bucket list. The feeling of floating silently over one of the great expanses on earth is truly unforgettable.

The hour went quickly (or you could say it ‘flew by’) after which we landed safely and very smoothly in the middle of nowhere and were then transported the very short distance to our location for Champagne breakfast right next to the Mara river.

Serengeti Balloon Safari

Serengeti Balloon Safari

It was a fully cooked breakfast (bacon, sausages, eggs) along with croissants and cereals. It was nice to speak with other travelers and find out what animals they had seen so far.

For the rest of the day (and following day), we continued spending as much time in the bush as possible.

I love this fella so much!

Mongoose

Giraffe in the Serengeti

One of the reasons we chose to visit the time of year we did was to hopefully catch the Wildebeest Migration – in particular, the river crossings. It had always been a bucket list experience for me and luckily we did see it. FOUR TIMES. It is one of the most exciting things i have ever experienced.

The Mara River is not only deep and treacherous, it is also home to rather large, hungry Nile crocodiles. As the herds struggle to cross, the Nile crocodiles lay in wait, unfolding one of the most dramatic and chaotic scenes in the animal history of the world.

Wildebeest Crossing

Wildebeest Crossing

Wildebeest Migration

Wildebeest Migration

Wildebeest Migration

Wildebeest Migration

A croc waiting for a weak Wildebeest to pass by..

Wildebeest Migration

Wildebeest Migration

On one of the crossings we watched as one of the Wildebeest made it all the way across the river, only to have his back legs crushed by the herd.

It was just heartbreaking to watch but, we are not allowed to interfere and sadly we left knowing that the lions and hyenas would find him later that evening.

On our last night at the lodge, they setup a special surprise for us, our very own bar for sun downers! It was such a lovely touch and a wonderful way to spend our last night at Lemala Kuria Hills.

Lemala Kuria Hills

Lemala Kuria Hills

Lemala Kuria Hills

We were so excited to see what our final day in the Serengeti would bring and what our new camp, Lemala Mara Tented Camp would be like.

 

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