By 6.00 a.m. you are almost arriving at the hot air balloon site in the Masai Mara. As you approach the site, the balloon seems bigger than you expected, the experience is one that has never been visited, and you are about to have a trip of a lifetime, return to camp or Lodge by 09.00 a.m.
The adventure begins just before dawn. The pilot lights up the banners and as the flames flare and the balloon begins to inflate. The first, pink tongues of sunlight flicker across the skies and the balloon fills then rises. Suspended in a basket beneath the rainbow colored canopy, you're off for an awesome game-viewing adventure.
One thing that amazes most first-time balloonists is the absolute stillness, the silence as you float above the plains, the forest and the rivers of the Masai Mara. And suddenly you are flown elsewhere and everywhere, you've seen nothing like this. The sounds below drift clearly upwards: a lion's roar, elephants crashing through the bush, baboons perched in the tips of the trees startled and screeching to see something above them.
For an hour or so you drift wherever the air currents take you. If you're lucky you'll climb high above for the view of a lifetime. Then your balloon safari finishes with a flourish. In the time honoured tradition of balloon flights the world over, you toast your return to earth with a champagne breakfast. The difference is that this breakfast happens in the bush, wherever you land, and it's cooked as you see with the burners that minutes before kept you suspended in the air.
On the day of your balloon flight, one of our custom safari vehicles will collect you from your camp or lodge at around 5AM to drive you to the launch site. You will arrive at the launch site by 6AM, and can enjoy a cup of coffee or tea while you watch the balloons being prepared for take-off. You will then meet your pilot, who will give you a safety briefing as well as explain what you can expect during your flight. There are basic toilet facilities available at the launch site.
You will then be loaded into your balloon basket for take-off just before sunrise, at about 6:30AM. The flight will last approximately one hour, depending on wind conditions, and the balloon will land between 7:30 and 7:45AM. Upon landing, you can observe the complete deflation of the balloon envelope. Our vehicles will then transport you a short distance to breakfast.
Our breakfast is set up on the picturesque savannah plains of the Mara, typically under the shade of a single acacia tree. You will sit down to a full bush breakfast in the Kenyan style, complete with eggs-to-order, fresh juices, waiters in traditional Swahili attire, and, of course, champagne.
During breakfast, you can also peruse the photos your pilot has taken during the flight, and decide whether you would like to purchase the photos, or any of the other Hot Air Safaris merchandise on display.
After breakfast, at about 9AM, you will have a game drive back to your camp or lodge. Depending on what you find along the way, the game drive usually takes about one and a half hours. Our drivers are all experienced safari guides who have attained their “bronze” level guiding certificate from the Kenya Professional Safari Guides Association. Our drivers have also undertaken strict in-house training to ensure the safety and enjoyment of your game drive.
By 10:30AM you should be back at your camp or lodge, already reliving the memories of the morning's flight.
Available most of the year round but subject to prevailing weather conditions. All balloon flights begin soon after dawn, it means an early start.
Flights last an average of 1 hour over the Masai Mara. Balloon flights often get booked up in advance, we recommend you book early.
Price: 415 US$ per person Only