The perfection of a safari to Masai Mara can be witnessed in a hot hair balloon while you fly over Masai Mara. The panoramic view of the vast wildlife in the savanna is worth every single penny and a lifetime experience.
You trip begins when you get your wake up call at your safari lodge or tented camp in the early hours of the morning, as you yawn away, and thoughts about your wildlife viewing from an elevated position begins to stir your mind. The fresh Kenyan traditional hot tea and coffee quickly awaken you, in fact preparing you for a “mission”. Price range from $ 450 per person
BALLOON SAFARIS IN MASAI MARA & SERENGETI
Probably the most beautiful balloon flight in the world and the ultimate African safari experience. This can be arrange in Kenya (both Masai Mara and Taita Hills) and Tanzania in Serengeti.
5:00 am: Collection from your Serengeti (Central) and Masai Mara lodge or camp, and transfer you by Land rover to the launch site. Here you will meet your pilot, receive a briefing and watch the inflation of your balloon.
At dawn we take off, rising as the sun rises and float in whichever direction the winds of the morning take us. Your pilot can precisely control the altitude of your balloon: sometimes flying at treetop height, sometimes lower, offering a unique perspective and great photographic opportunities of the wildlife below.
At other times he will ascend to 1000′ or more to see the enormity and wonderful panorama of the Serengeti. From time to time the pilot must put more heat into the balloon with the powerful whisper burners. In between these burns, there is silence apart from the natural sounds below.
The flight is for about one hour depending on conditions, on landing you celebrate in the traditional manner with champagne (well, an excellent sparkling wine), before sitting down to a full English breakfast prepared and served in the bush in ‘Out of Africa’ style with bone china, linen table cloths, King’s silver etc.
After breakfast you receive your Balloon certificate and we drive you back to the Lodge or camp with game viewing enroute. 9:30 am Arrive at the lodge/camp ready to continue your day’s activities.
The African Serengeti Plains offer you the exciting hot air balloon safari experience. You are exposed to a game safari within the most attractive panoramic views in a landscape that will support you in taking stunning photographs for the possible big five and the birds that you may not find elsewhere. Right away from the luxurious Serengeti Serena Safari Lodge take a pre-dawn luxury safari to the hot air balloon launch site next to Maasai Kopjes. A hot air balloon pilot will warmly welcome and brief you as he inflates the hot air balloon as you are watching. This is the only opportunity for you to tour Serengeti at night – viewing nocturnal animals as you take stunning photographs.
There are two hot air balloons each with a capacity of carrying 12 passengers and each flying once in a day. They start rising at dawn as the sun rises and thus floating in response to the wind direction.
The altitude of the hot air balloon is subject to the control of the pilot who can push it up to 1,000 ft in the interest of an exciting panoramic view of the park, or at lower altitudes for the sake of taking photographs of the wildlife. An early flight above River Seronera will offer you an opportunity to spot and photograph animals drinking along the river. These animals include lions, leopard, cheetahs, buffaloes, elephants, hippos, wildebeest, warthog, zebra, giraffe, baboons, monkeys and a vast bird population.
As the pilot continues adding more heat in the hot air balloon from time to time, the burners make a gentle roar and this a great chance for one to take photographs-but as you drift forward silence sometimes reigns. Throught this period there is nothing to disturb you from taking photographs as you travel on a vibration-free platform.
Before landing the pilot will alert you to keep your cameras and prepare for your landing – it is really amazing! A breakfast table will have been prepared for you with a well cooked English breakfast with some African dishes.
You will be issued with a Serengeti Hot Air Balloon Certificate before you are transferred to Serengeti Serena Safari Lodge.
The Balloons lift off at dawn (0615) after coffee and a flight briefing.
The one hour flight will give you a birds eye view, of the best East Africa has to offer, in the magnificent setting of the Great Rift Valley.
A champagne breakfast in the bush after you land, adds to the buzz you will get from the early morning air and the sights and sounds, that only an eagle ever sees.
Early morning is the ideal time to see wild animals on the plains. In the Masai Mara Game Reserve in Kenya it is an experience you will never forget.
About the Ballons – Stand 10 Storeys Tall
Made by Cameron Balloons of Bristol, England, our balloons last about 400 flying hours in the fierce African sun, which means they must be replaced every 2 years.
They are twice the size of Double Eagle II, the balloon the Americans used to successfully cross the Atlantic in August 1978.
The larger of our balloons, the Cameron A315, stands as high as a ten storey building, measures 100 feet across at it’s equator and has a volume of 315,000 cubic feet ( 9000 cubic metres).
The A315 is among the largest operational balloons in the world. At sea level it has a lift capability of over two tons ( 2000kgs), although in Africa they carry only a maximum of 12 passengers and the pilot.
The balloon ‘envelope’ is made of a nylon based fabric superior to that of a spinnaker sail. The basket is made of woven cane and willow by expert craftsmen in the Royal Workshops for the Blind in Bristol. The design has not been surpassed in over a hundred years of balloon flight as there are few other materials that combine strength with resilience for so little weight.
Flight Control – one of the safest forms of flight
The balloon’s lift comes from hot air which is slightly lighter than the surrounding cold atmosphere. The hotter the balloon the faster it rises. As the balloon cools it slowly descends. The pilot can control the balloon to brush the grass or the tops of trees, yet could if he wished, go as high as 15,000 feet. However, our flying is kept more down to earth.
We do not fly the balloons in winds greater than 15 mph ( 30kph) so the calm African mornings are the perfect time for our flights. The balloons must go where the winds take them but, as winds at varying heights often have varying directions, the pilot can choose his height and hence his direction.
The balloon is “powered” by ordinary cooking gas to heat the air in the envelope.
The fuel system is duplicated in every respect to prevent failure of the burner. If all power should be lost however,( something which has, in fact, never happened) the balloon would enter a stable cold descent with the envelope acting as a parachute. This feature of the balloon makes it one of the safest forms of flight.
To pilot a balloon, it is necessary to gain a pilots licence exactly as with other forms of aircraft. There is a set number of hours of instruction and the same theoretical exams to pass as any fixed wing pilot. Also like their fixed wing counterparts, balloon pilots keep logs books, carry out pre-flight checks and monitor the weather conditions for safe flying. In addition, all Balloon Safaris pilots have undergone extensive professional training and worked as commercial balloon pilots around the world