The hot air balloon experience
After a 4:30am start, a rather muddy drive to the take-off site, and a warm cup of tea, we were instructed to hop into the basket for the launch. With the flame on full burn, the driver began to raise the basket until the rope attaching the balloon to the ground went tight. After we had waved goodbye to the team on the ground, the balloon was finally released and the flight began!
Picture this – slowly rising to tree level to the height of the birds and the monkeys. After a near miss with a branch, the basket clears the treeline and the Mara River comes into view. Leaving the grunting hippos behind, it’s not long before we see thickets opening up to vast plains and the sunrise rapidly illuminating the scars in the vegetation below. For me, this is the best place in Africa to experience game viewing from the air.
After half an hour of game viewing, the driver pointed out our landing site and after a gradual decline in height we were instructed to position ourselves for landing at the base of the basket. In slow motion, the balloon began to touch the ground until eventually the basket came to a halt.
Shortly after unloading, the vehicles arrived to collect us and we were whisked off for bush breakfast on the plains – and it was nothing short of exceptional. After a delicious meal and a much-needed coffee, we set off back to the base to meet our guides and return to camp for a well-deserved siesta!