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Up, Up and Away: The 15 Best Places for a Hot Air Balloon Safari In Africa

HuffPost logo HuffPost 6/10/2015 AFKTravel

Ballooning near the Valley of the Kings, Thebes, Egypt, Africa. © Alan Copson / Robert Harding/Rex Ballooning near the Valley of the Kings, Thebes, Egypt, Africa. There's no more thrilling way to see Africa's incredible landscapes and animals than from a hot air balloon. Silently float over herds of game and see picturesque vistas from the ultimate vantage point -- the air! Here's a roundup of the best places for a hot air balloon safari in Africa.

1. Cradle of Humankind, South Africa

Situated just outside the busy city of Johannesburg, this World Heritage Site is primarily famous for its ancient fossil discoveries. But the surrounding Magaliesburg mountains with their undulating forms and palette of soft colors are worth checking out, from above. Head up with Air To Air Africa from Heia Safari Private Game Reserve for an early morning ride over the stunning countryside.

2. Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

Serengeti national park. © ImageBroker/Rex Features Serengeti national park. After your early morning pick-up by Serengeti Balloon Safaris, you'll be taken to the launch site, where you'll see your balloon being inflated. Soon you'll be up in the air watching the sun rise over the mighty Serengeti. You'll witness immense herds of animals as they wake and move through this incredible landscape.

3. Cape Winelands, South Africa 

© Public Domain Images, Provided by The Huffington Post Andulela can take you over some of the world-famous vineyards just outside of Cape Town. The one-hour flight also includes a delicious champagne breakfast at Grand Roche in Paarl.

4. Sossusvlei, Namibia

© Photo courtesy of Namibsky, Provided by The Huffington Post Head to Namib Naukluft Park in Sossusvlei -- one of the most beautiful regions in Namibia- and enjoy a hot air balloon safari with Namibsky. The Namib Desert, with its enormous sandy dunes, rocky mountains and stunning wildlife, is a photographer's dream.

5. Luxor, Egypt 

A tourist looks at the ruins of the Karnak Temple in Luxor, Egypt. © AP Photo/Hassan Ammar A tourist looks at the ruins of the Karnak Temple in Luxor, Egypt. Enjoy a hot air balloon "safari" with Sinbad Balloons. Drift along the west bank of the Nile and get a birds-eye view of the pyramids and monuments of Thebes.

6. Kruger National Park, South Africa

© Bidgee/Wikimedia Commons, Provided by The Huffington Post Head out to the famous Kruger National Park in South Africa and catch the first rays of African sunlight on a hot air balloon safari with African Travel. With the Klein Drakensberg Mountains in the west and stunning bushveld as far the eye can see below, you'll enjoy the park as it changes from darkness to a bustling haven of animal activity.

7. Kafue National Park, Zambia

© Credit: Wajahat Mahmood/Flickr, Provided by The Huffington Post The Busanga Plains of Zambia's Kafue National Park are best admired on a Wilderness Safaris' balloon safari. Because of the remoteness of the 28,000 hectare Busanga Concession, this destination is the most exclusive hot air ballooning destination in Africa. It has spectacular wildlife, including thousands of red lechwe, puku, hippo and buffalo. You'll also be treated to a delicious champagne breakfast.

8. Oudtshoorn, South Africa

Stalactites and stalagmites in Van Zyl's Hall inside the Cango Caves, Oudtshoorn, South Africa. © Image Broker/REX Stalactites and stalagmites in Van Zyl's Hall inside the Cango Caves, Oudtshoorn, South Africa. One of the best activities in Oudtshoorn is a hot air balloon excursion with Dirty Boots. The one-hour flight takes you 1000 feet into the air over the Klein Karoo and majestic Swartland Mountains. The trip departs just before sunrise, when the light is at its most beautiful.

9. Pilanesberg Game Reserve, South Africa

© Credit: Pilanesberg Game Reserve, Provided by The Huffington Post Head to one of South Africa's most beautiful and accessible game reserves and enjoy a hot air balloon safari with Gametrackers Outdoor Adventures. Spot the Big Five from the sky on the one-hour flight before enjoying some sparkling wine.

10. Okavango Delta, Botswana

© Courtesy of Godwana Tours & Safari, Provided by The Huffington Post For a different perspective on the amazing Okavango Delta, go on a hot air balloon safari with Godwana Tours & Safari. Watch as elephants bathe, crocodiles feed, and boats meander down this one-of-a-kind inland waterway.

11. Great Rift Valley, Kenya

© Courtesy of Gamewatchers Safaris, Provided by The Huffington Post Head out just before sunrise with Gamewatchers Safaris to experience Kenya's Great Rift Valley. Early morning is the best time to see wild animals in the Masai Mara Game Reserve, and this one-hour flight showcases exactly that. You'll also enjoy a champagne breakfast in the bush after landing.

12. Marrakech, Morocco

© Courtesy of Complete Morocco, Provided by The Huffington Post Explore the beauty of Marrakech and the surrounding area by air with Complete Morocco. It's quite a treat to see this bustling, noisy city in complete silence. You'll also be treated to views of small towns below, and the Atlas mountains in the distance.

13. Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe/Zambia 

© DoctorJoeE/Wikimedia Commons, Provided by The Huffington Post To see the magnitude of Zimbabwe's main attraction, head out on a hot air balloon safari. Unlike a crowded ground-based tours, in the air you'll get a unique view of the falls surrounded by a maximum of just five people.

14. Sahara Desert, Tunisia

© Luca Galuzzi/Wikimedia Commons, Provided by The Huffington Post Watch the sun rise over the golden dunes of the Sahara while floating almost 1,000 feet from the ground. Head out with Aeroasis which offers trips from both Douz and Tozeur.

15. Hoedspruit, South Africa

© Sun Catchers Hot Air Ballooning, Provided by The Huffington Post With Sun Catchers Hot Air Ballooning, you can go on an hour-long hot air balloon safari over Hoedspruit at the foot of the Drakensberg Escarpment. The company offers flights over the Lowveld section of the Blyde River where you'll see a mixture of farmland, private nature reserves and wildlife estates.

By Lara Moses

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