TRAVELLER FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

First time travelling on a hot air balloon? Below you can find some answers to questions you might have. 

General Knowledge

Is previous ballooning experience required?

Experience is not required. With Miracle Experience, everybody is welcome.

How do Hot Air Balloons fly?

In the presence of cool air, warm air rises. This is due to the fact that warm air is lighter than cool air as its mass is lower per unit of volume. Mass is defined in terms of how much matter an object contains. In order to lift-off the ground, a great amount of heated air is required; hence the envelope (actual balloon) has to be enormous.

What is the maximum height a balloon can fly?

The balloons will fly from ground level to around 915 metres (3000 feet) above ground level, depending on wind direction and speed. The max. altitude is 1830 metres (6000 feet) and is limited by the Tanzanian Civil Aviation Authority for Hot Air Balloons in the Serengeti.

Does the basket waver when flying?

Since it moves with the wind, the basket does not sway. There is no need to worry about motion sickness either!

How long before the experience should I book?

We suggest booking as early as possible. This is due to the immense popularity combined with limited seats available for Hot Air Ballooning in the Serengeti.

How do I pay to book my balloon flight?

We have several options available for you to make payment.

  • Bank transfer
  • PayPal
  • Credit Card (we do not charge any additional fees)
  • Via your Ground Handler/Tour Operator
  • Cash should you book it while on Safari (in Tanzania) at any of our sales points - Any Serena property and Tanzanite Experience Shop
  • If booking while on Safari at any one of our points of sale, cash is accepted as well.
  • Any Serena property
  • Any Tanzanite Experience shop
    • Miracle Experience Booking Huts
    • All Tanzanite Experience shops (including those at Serena properties)

How can I cancel my reservation?

Due to unavoidable or unfortunate circumstances leading to a cancellation from your end, the following conditions will apply:

  • Up to 14 days prior to the flight- no cancellation fee charged.
  • 13 days to 7 days prior to the flight- a 50% cancellation fee charged.
  • 6 days to 48 hours prior to the flight- a 75% cancellation fee charged.
  • 48 hours prior to the flight or for a no show- a 100% cancellation fee charged.

If the flight is cancelled from our end, we will refund you the full amount or offer an alternative date for the flight.

If you want to cancel a booking, please contact your agent or send us an email at: booking@miracleexperience.co.tz

How long does the entire experience last?

As everything is weather dependant, this varies. However, in general the whole experience takes about 5 hours from pick up to drop off.

What if my flight is cancelled due to unsuitable weather conditions?

If this occurs, Miracle Experience will refund you the entire amount of the purchase. However, if possible, we would suggest shifting your booking to the next best alternative date (most likely the next morning).

What are the most suitable conditions for ballooning?

Balloons fly better in cooler weather, as the warm air gets a better ‘incline’ in those type of conditions. Balloon experts suggest flying before dusk or on the break of dawn due to the higher probability of friendlier wind speeds at these times.

Do your balloon flights run all year round?

Yes our operations run every day, 12 months a year. We have seasonal bases in Kirawira (June - October), Kogatende (June - November) and Ndutu (December to March) with a permanent base in Seronera (All Year Round). This ensures that we track the famous migration of the Wildebeest at every step of its journey!

Can pregnant women fly?

Unfortunately, if you are pregnant or think you may be pregnant, we cannot allow you to fly. Due to bumpy landings, this is for your own safety and that of your unborn child’s.

How are your pilots certified/licensed?

Like all other aircrafts, balloons are registered and subject to constant air safety inspections. The FAA will not permit a balloon to be licensed as ‘suitable for flying’ unless the above mentioned inspections are carried out by authorised and certified personnel. Every one of our pilots is certified by the FAA and have to pass constant flight inspections.

Who regulates ballooning and guarantees safety standards?

This is controlled by the FAA- Federal Aviation Administration. This entity regulates ballooning as strictly as those regulations applied to airplanes.

Why Serengeti for Hot Air Balloon Safaris?

These endless plains are host to The Famous Migration where millions of wildebeest and zebra are on the move constantly. With an impressive population and a wide range of wildlife, Serengeti is always alive and offers unique game viewing opportunities with a varied topology. Giving you a chance to miraculously experience one of the Seven Natural Travel Wonders of the World.

Why Miracle Experience?

Miracle Experience is a new, yet renowned company established in 2018. As the name suggests, in contrast to many others, we pride ourselves in providing the highest calibre of services. Miracle Experience is an innovative game-changer in the tourism industry in Tanzania. The company is managed by professionals with vast experience in the industry. All our pilots are reputable and carefully selected to ensure you an experience that you will remember for the rest of your lives!

When does Miracle Experience operate?

Our operations run every day, 12 months a year. We have seasonal bases in Kirawira (June - October), Kogatende (June - November) and Ndutu (December to March) with a permanent base in Seronera (All Year Round). This ensures that we track the famous migration of the Wildebeest at every step of its journey!

Why do flights take place in the early hours of the morning?

Balloon experts suggest flying before dusk or on the break of dawn due to the higher probability of friendlier wind speeds at these times.

What are the main components of a balloon?

Hot Air Balloons have three main components.
     - Wicker Basket - for passengers to stand/sit in
     - The Burner - used as the source of fire
     - The Envelope - the actual balloon itself which carries the basket

How does the inflation process of the balloon work?

The following steps are essential when it comes to raising the balloon into the air:
    1. The envelope (actual balloon) is placed down in a long line
    2. The burners are bounded to the uprights
    3. The basket is enclosed to the cables on the lowermost part of the envelope
    4. To inflate the envelope with suitably cold air, an engine-driven fan is used
    5. When partly inflated, the air is warmed by a burner causing the envelope to rise beyond the basket
    6. Further heating ensues until there is sufficient lift for the balloon to soar!

What are the materials used to make balloons?

The envelope (actual balloon) is mostly made of nylon or polyester. It is incredibly compactly woven and is layered with a material that makes it extremely airtight. The nylon is essential as it is utilised to keep the warm air in the balloon. The basket load is shifted by steel or Kevlar cables to a series of perpendicular tapes which carry the entirety of the overall weight.

Why is the basket made of wicker?

A basket made of wicker is very strong and flexible for its weight. It is woven around an aluminium or steel frame, which aids in supporting the standing posts upon which the burner is affixed.

What kind of fuel is used for the burners?

The burners are fuelled by Propane gas to warm the air. A cheaper alternative would be to use Butane gas. However, Miracle Experience selects to use Propane, despite it being double the price of Butane. This is due to the fact that Propane is safer and more environmentally friendly (in comparison).

How tall are the balloons?

Balloons may be as tall as 100 feet (approximately 30 meters). This varies and is contingent on the weight capacity of the balloon.

How will the chase crew know where we are?

The chase crew follows the balloon at all times. Radios are utilised to stay in touch with the chase crew.

What if I have a phobia of heights?

This experience is entirely different from that of climbing a ladder or standing on the balcony in a tall building. That vertigo feeling is completely absent. The ballooning experience entails the ground unfolding beneath you as you soar the skies. Due to moving with the wind, there is no wind blowing. The basket does not sway and hence, there is no need to worry about motion sickness either!

I sometimes go through motion sickness on airplanes. Will ballooning be the same?

There is no need to worry. The turbulence you encounter on airplanes is completely non-existent in a Hot Air Balloon. The tranquillity and smoothness of a balloon flight is inexplicably calming!

How do you steer a Hot Air Balloon?

It is essential to note that the balloon moves with the direction of the wind. In what is referred to as the ‘purest form of sailing’, balloon pilots can seek higher or lower altitudes to find wind currents of diverse direction.

Do balloons wear out?

A well maintained balloon envelope (actual balloon) should last around 500 flying hours. However, Miracle Experience’s balloons are specifically manufactured by Ultra Magic with the latest and state of the art technology. This, and the use of durable hyper-life fabrics, ensures that our balloons last for up to 1000 hours of flying.

What instruments do balloons make use of?

1. Altimeter - an altitude indicator
2. Variometer - indicates the rate of incline or descent
3. Compass - for directions
4. Temperature gauge - to illustrate the warmth of the fabric (top most part of balloon)
5. Fuel gauge - for propane tank
6. Fuel pressure gauge - for the burner

Before Flight

When do you fly?

We fly every morning at approximately 6:00am, all year round.

Where are you situated?

Our basecamps are located in prime areas of the Serengeti offering the most breathtaking views of the savannah. Currently, our seasonal bases are situated in Kirawira (June to October), Kogatende (June to November), Ndutu (December to March) with a permanent base in Seronera (all year round). This ensures that we follow the famous migration of the wildebeest at each step of its journey.

Any age restrictions?

Children between the ages of 5 and 7 must be accompanied by a responsible adult. Anyone above the age of 7 can fly with us!

Any weight restrictions?

Due to weight and space restrictions in the basket, anyone over 120kg (265lb/19stone) will be required to pay a supplement.

Any height restrictions?

At least 1.2 metres (3.9ft) tall.

What do I wear?

Suitable Clothing
      · Trousers/Pants
      · Covered comfortable shoes
      · Scarves
      · Long sleeved shirts
      · Long hair should be tied up
      · Any loose items to be placed in your jacket
Recommended: A hat for after the flight to avoid getting sunburnt

What essentials should I carry with me?

A tuck camera and binoculars!

How much will a balloon ride cost me?

Our Rack Rate price is $599 which is inclusive of: pick-up from your camp/lodge, the balloon flight, high speed Wi-Fi, champagne celebration, plated bush breakfast, a post-flight certificate, drop-off at Visitor’s Centre, the concession fee and VAT.

Do you provide pick-up services from our hotel?

Yes! We begin by picking you up from your camp/lodge. This will be handled by our consultant guides at a pre-specified time so as to ensure arrival at our launch area by approximately 6am.

When do we meet for the flight?

Our consultant guides will pick you from your camp/lodge. Thereafter, they will bring you to the appropriate launch site. The timings are contingent on the distance between your camp/lodge and our launch sites. We usually recommend leaving your camp/lodge at approximately 5am in the morning so as to allocate sufficient time for the drive to the launch sites.

How and when will you let us know the pick-up time?

We expect your driver guide to pass you by Visitor’s Centre in Central Serengeti (Seronera) for check in, ticketing and briefing the day before the flight. In case you are not able to, our consultant guides will brief you on all the necessary details a day prior to the balloon flight at a previously agreed upon meeting point.

Which locations of the Serengeti do you pick-up from?

We pick up from all camps & lodges within our flying areas. Please be sure to give us the exact name of where you will be staying to avoid any indiscrepancies.

Do we take-off before sunrise?

We do try to plan this, although it is not always possible due to several parameters.

Is it possible to get a balloon just for our family?

Yes! To share this magical experience with your family is something we definitely cater for. You can exclusively enjoy the balloon ride with absolute privacy.

Cost implications apply.

During Flight

What is the duration of the flight?

About an hour on our Standard flights and one and a half hours on the exclusive Love flights, contingent on weather conditions and suitability of landing sites. However, you should allow a minimum of five hours for the entire experience.

What can you see?

These endless plains are host to The Wildebeest Migration where millions of wildebeest and zebra are on a constant move. With an impressive population and a wide range of wildlife, Serengeti is always alive and offers unique game viewing with a varied topology. Giving you a chance to miraculously experience one of the seven natural travel wonders of the world.

Of course, your game viewing opportunities are unpredictable as they are contingent on various factors.

You will also most likely witness a true African sunrise as well as rivers (maybe some crocodiles and hippos!)

What is the feeling like during the flight?

We fly in the calmest of conditions only. The sensation is one of total peace and absolute tranquility as we serenely glide along with the morning breeze!

Is it going to be cold up there?

Hot Air Balloons float with the wind and hence, there is no wind chill. During our flying hours, as we climb over the Serengeti, the air gets warmer by a few degrees. So not to worry, as the name suggests, you will be warmer in the balloon.

How far will we fly?

We will soar as far as the wind takes us over the Serengeti. It is essential to note that balloons float with the wind. There have been instances where our balloons flew for 1 hour and 20 minutes and travelled approximately 10 kilometres. On other days, we flew for 50 minutes and travelled 30 kilometres!

Is it peaceful in the balloon?

When the burner is off, it is exceptionally silent. Tranquillity is one of the most enjoyable aspects of ballooning.

After Flight

Do we land where the balloon launched from?

The landing for Hot Air Balloon flights is contingent on wind speed and direction. Each and every flight is different and our landing locations differ.

Is breakfast offered?

Yes! This is one of the most memorable aspects of the experience. After the balloon flight and champagne celebration come to an end, our consultant guides will drive you to our carefully selected bush breakfast area. Our butlers will warmly welcome you to enjoy a scrumptious plated breakfast. Please ensure that you have provided us with any specific dietary requirements in advance so as to help us cater to your specific needs.

How will we return after our flight?

The chase crew will follow the balloon while you are in the air. They will then meet you at the landing site which will be followed by a Champagne celebration. You will then be taken to our bush breakfast area for a scrumptious meal. After this part of the experience is complete, you will be driven back to a previously agreed upon meeting point.

Should we tip our pilot and crew?

This is entirely up to you. We leave this between you and your guide!

Which locations do you drop-off at?

We usually drop clients off at Serengeti Visitor’s Centre or any of the Airstrips. However, we can arrange to drop you off at a previously agreed upon meeting point so you can continue with your respective itineraries.

The Airstrips are a 10 to 15 minute drive from our breakfast area. For clients with a flight to catch at around 9:30am, this is very manageable. Remember that check-in at the airstrip is quick and simple. Please notify us if this case applies to you and we will prepare your breakfast preferentially.
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