Hot air balloon in Murchison falls national park
Hot air balloon is an interesting and exciting activity that was recently introduced to Uganda by UWA and this activity is only carried out in two national parks that is Murchison falls national park and Queen Elizabeth national park in south western Uganda. Murchison falls national park is the largest and most visited national park in north western Uganda harboring over 76 animal species including the big four mammals which include buffaloes, lions, leopards and the elephants plus other animals like hippos, bushbucks, Oribi, waterbucks, Jackson’s hartebeest, Uganda kobs, warthogs, bushbucks, hyenas, jackals, giraffes, primates like chimpanzees, monkeys, baboons, over 450 bird species such as the pre-historic shoebill stork, malachite kingfisher, goliath heron, secretary bird, Abdims stork, white faced whistling duck, African darter, yellow billed stork among others.
Hot air balloon safari
Hot air balloon safari in Murchison falls national park is conducted by Dream Balloons a company that was first licensed and established in 2007 to operate hot air balloon safaris in Egypt but later expanded its operations in East Africa and then Uganda. In Uganda, Dream Balloons Company was registered in 2011 to operate hot air balloon safaris and it’s fully licensed by authorities such as Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), NEMA and Uganda Communication Commission (UCC). The pilots who drive the hot air balloon are also certified and licensed by both the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority, Egyptian Aviation Authority and have experience of flying for 1000 and above hours. Dream Balloons Company also has ground crew members who are trained on ground operations by a certified and specialized instructor.
Hot air balloons have different sizes and the bigger the volume of air the number of passengers it’s supposed to carry. In Murchison falls national park there is a medium sized hot air balloon which carried about 8 passengers and can fly up to 10,000 feet above the sea level. This capacity is suitable for private use, honeymooners and wedding proposals. The Hot air balloon in the park has an airworthiness certificate and its maintained regularly, serviced after every flight by a specialized hot air balloon engineer and inspected on regular basis by the Civil Aviation Authority to ensure that everything is good condition.
Hot air balloon activity in Murchison falls national park has two sessions that is the sunrise session which starts at 5:00am and the sunset session which starts at 4:00pm and ends at 6:30 pm. During the hot air balloon activity visitors who will be staying in the northern sector of the park will be picked and transferred to the starting point and those who will be staying in the southern sector will be transported by Uganda Wildlife Authority speed boats to the starting point in the northern sector. On arrival they will watch the balloon inflation and then be briefed by the pilot about the expectations, safety regulations and then start flying at around 6:00am to 8:00am because it takes about 2 hours.
During the ride in the hot air balloon visitors will have spectacular views of the park, sunrise, animals, birds, savannah vegetation, tree tops, lake albert, Murchison falls among others where after you will land on the ground, receive your certificate for participating in the hot air activity. After you will have a bush breakfast with a bottle of champagne which is prepared by Paraa Safari Lodge chef and after you will be transported back to your lodge or you can opt for a game drive in the park.
Another hot air balloon session begins at 4:00pm and ends at around 6:30pm and visitors will also be transported to the starting point and also briefed about the expectations, safety and after landing they will be given a certificate for participating in the activity but doesn’t include bush dinner.
Cost of hot air balloon in Murchison falls national park
Hot air balloon full package costs $380 for foreign non- residents and it include the bush breakfast, sunrise view, passenger boat crossing in case you are staying in the southern sector , $300 for the foreign non-residents and this price doesn’t include bush dinner but it includes the sunset view and boat crossing for passengers staying in the southern sector, $250 for East African citizens and includes sunrise or sunset view, boat crossing and $2,000 for sole usage of the hot air balloon for example wedding proposals, VIP guests, photo shoot sessions among others.
However children between 6 years to age to 12 will pay 50% of the adult price and children below the age of 6 years are not charged any amount though they should be able to stand on their own without the parents support and if it’s a group of 8 people and above you will be given discounts.
Best time to go for hot air balloon safari in Murchison falls national park
Hot air balloon is an adventurous activity in the park that can be carried out anytime throughout the year though the best time is in the dry season during the months of June to August and December to February. During the dry season there is less rainfall, short grass for clear viewing and favorable weather conditions therefore you will have panoramic views of the park, tree tops, vegetation types, sunset and sunrise, animals which will be grazing in the open savannah plains due to short grass among others compared to wet season which comes with heavy rainfall and due to that the ride will be canceled and your money will be refunded.
Apart from hot air balloon Murchison falls national park offers other exciting activities like game drive, boat cruise to the bottom of the falls and Victoria Nile delta, birding, nature walk, sport fishing, hiking to the top of the falls, sport fishing, chimpanzee trekking in Kaniyo Pabidi Budongo forest among others which reward you with lifetime memories.
Are you hungry for experience Hot air balloon in Murchison falls national park is a fascinating activity that will give you incredible and breathtaking experiences which are unforgettable on your safari in Uganda.