Balloon Safaris are synonymous with Africa, summoning imagery of floating high into the atmosphere with the one you love, and drinking in the amazing sights and sounds below. However, they aren’t quite as romantic as they’re cracked up to be: you have to rise and shine before dawn and share your trip with up to 16 other people (unless you’re willing to pay significantly more). However, there must be a reason these safaris are so popular, that doesn’t relate to misguided marketing. The reason is a pretty simple one: in spite of less balloon room than you might expect the experience is still incredible.
Leaving your lodge or camp at around 5am you travel to your launch sight and watch as your balloon is inflated. You leave the ground as dawn is breaking and watch the sun creep over the horizon. Your pilot will be an experienced balloonist and through their skilful handling you may find yourself floating at up to 1000ft; overlooking the sweeping plains of the early morning savannah and the gentle stirrings below. Then, before you know it, you could be soaring low over the tree tops, cameras at the ready as the best time to see game is when the balloon drops to a low altitude.
It is a unique way in which to view the African plains, their stunning wildlife and to put in perspective the true beauty of the place below you. The whole trip lasts around an hour and will end with a sumptuous bush breakfast. Balloon Safaris, however, are exclusive to certain parts of the continent and you can’t just jump in a balloon anywhere in Africa and enjoy a ride. If you wish to take a bird’s eye view of the savannah then staying in the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania and the Masai Mara in Kenya will guarantee the experience or you can hitch a ride in the Kafue in Zambia. There is also the chance to go for a float over the Blyde River Canyon and the amazing Cape winelands region in South Africa.
This article was brought to you by Sarah Fox from Mahlatini African Travel.
IMAGE VIA: Wajahat Mahmood