Kenya is the dream country, the monarch of safari lands offering fantastic hot air ballooning and the consequent aerial photographic opportunities. Vast savanna grasslands with migrating herds of zebras, gnus and antelopes would be simply amazing as tourist spotting, a panorama that would create a lasting impression in your mind. Equally enchanting would be the mid-air feel. Here, you drift across the sky with clouds sailing past as the flame is periodically triggered to feed the balloon with buoyant heat so that it remains borne aloft and sails through thin air to your delight.
The guide gives you the detail information of best spots of balloon safari in Kenya and what you can expect.
You will read about:
Guide to Balloon Safari in Kenya by Dr Prem – Best Spots, Tips and What to Expect
Some of the famous places in Kenya where hot air ballooning opportunities exist are briefed here under:
Amboseli balloon safari
Of all the hot air balloon safaris that operates in various exquisite and exotic Kenyan locations Amboseli ballooning break stays at the helm. As you soar up into air riding on the hot air balloon you get a direct view of Mt Kilimanjaro, the summit, making a level straight line with the line of your vision. Just before sunrise when the sky is painted in a pink hue, the rise commences with the tourist filled balloon climbing to an increasing altitude through the Amboseli sky with the view of majestic Mt Kilimanjaro in the picturesque backdrop.
The balloon then tenderly glides across countless pink, orange and purple shades that illuminate the Amboseli blue. The imposing vision of Mt Kilimanjaro standing regal with graceful herds of elephants crossing the vast plains at the foothills would be a heavenly spectacle.
Serengeti Balloon Safari
Hot air balloon ride over Serengeti wild life could be a very exciting adventure. It is an elite departure from the regular routine chores and a wonderful break over incomparably amazing landscape beneath an azure sky. As typical of Africa, the trademark scenes waiting below could be as thrilling as you ride up in the air.
A pair of cheetahs may be stalking a herd of grazing antelopes or a lion busy crushing a zebra bone would be the most common scenes. How would be the sight of an elephant calf trying frantically to catch up with the adult herd members? Mesmerizing! It would simply be mesmerizing! Ballooning over Serengeti national park is a very trendy expedition for those adventure seekers ready to pay some extra bucks to achieve that extra shot of excitement that is more than what money can buy you.
A night stay at Serengeti safari lodges is the added bonus before you get the wake-up call for the early morning ballooning flight. Two balloons fly each morning as per plans where you are about to get an exposure to one of the most thrilling ventures you can possibly conceive.
Masaimara balloon safari
At a reasonable price per tourist, Masaimara offers an awesome hot air ballooning opportunity over a panoramic landscape below with myriad wild life practically crawling with a regular drama of grazing, group migration, predator- prey- hunt chases and many other thrilling spectacles that will keep you engrossed with nail biting anticipation.
Masaimara balloon ride offers a wide range of photo opportunities as you rise up into the air through an altitude of almost one thousand feet above the ground level. The experience is worth its trip cost, and it is guaranteed you will achieve the ecstasy for every dime you spend! While you glide through the sky, you feel the kick when the pilot puts in more heat into the system to trigger its flight, and you hear the whistle of the burner.
Before the early morning flight, you are put up in a lodge or a camp and wake up in the morning to a treat of Kenyan tea and coffee. After completion of the flight, you are treated with the best champagne. You also receive a ballooning certificate after the flight along with a hearty English breakfast.
What to expect and how to prepare for Kenyan balloon safari
Kenyan hot air balloon ride is a much superior experience to most of the ventures of its kind. As you drift along the sky you can expect a feeling of stagnation even though you are moving.
It is a marvelous revelation that gets permanently imprinted on your mind. You do not experience a sensation of velocity or a sudden lift while on the balloon although both the phenomena are highly in progress.
Thrilling experience of mid-air ride
While in the basket you share the company of your fellow tourists and enjoy occasional bouts of conversation. The chilling air of high altitude will give you a pleasant feel, and the panoramic view far below on the ground will enchant you beyond expectation. Simply the picturesque landscape down below will not honestly describe the thrill captured in your 360 degrees vision coverage. Kenya is supposed to be the wild life capital of the world. It is a wild life buff’s paradise on the earth.
Get a 360 degree view of the amazing landscape
This is something you get to see while riding a hot air balloon anywhere. In Kenya, the bonus is the vast landscape dotted with myriad animals which makes this balloon ride worth every penny spent.
Watch animals in action
The ground will be an animated picture of myriad animals in action. The balloon ride is noiseless, so expect even the shyest of animals in action amid a great natural setting. You can even spot the pouncing leopards. There will be practically millions of wildebeests and zebras moving in huge herds kicking up dust in their frantic trail.
But the annual migration doesn’t happen all round the year. It is seasonal and if you could synchronize your balloon ride with the annual herd migrations you can expect to be the happiest person around. You stand in the airborne moving basket feeling calm somewhere around an altitude between 1000 ft to 1200ft with the occasional whiz emitted by the burner of the balloon.
Enjoy the calm and tranquility
You are likely to hear the exclamatory ecstatic resonance from your co-tourists. A feel of profound tranquility would overcome you as there would be perfect calm and not the harsh grating and mechanical whine of an automobile engine. The occasional whoosh of the burner will punctuate the silence at intervals, and believe me you will welcome this note of the gliding inflated medium of air transport.
Early morning ride is the best
You can invariably expect the ascent in the early morning hours when the atmosphere is pleasantly chilling. The early soft rays will gradually illuminate the sky as your balloon starts rising up defying the gravity.
Expect to be picked up very early
For late risers, this could be an issue. Nobody will like to be dragged out of bed at 4.00 in the morning. But the arrangement with your lodge and the distance of the balloon riding site may call for an early leave. But do not worry. You might be welcomed with a hot cup of coffee at the site while pilots make things ready to fly the balloon.
Children below 3 years are not allowed
This might sound disappointing for a family having kids below 3 years. One cannot expect to enjoy such a great experience leaving kids behind.
Balloon ride is expensive and highly sought-after
Be ready to shell more than $400 dollars. For children, the charge is much less nearly by $100. The charge again depends on the camp or safari lodge from where you are planning your flight. Make sure to book before your trip as these get sold very quickly.
Get educated about the balloon ride from the pilot
However, before the ascent you will receive a long lecture of instruction from your pilot. You will be allocated to a balloon along with around 15 co- travelers in the same basket. You and your ballooning group already have a pilot assigned who will maneuver your balloon across the sky along a predestined track possibly rendered aimless and erratic by the whims of the air current.
Before the lift, the pilot will educate you briefly on safety aspects of ballooning. Watching the crew inflate the balloon is certainly a feast to the eyes. The procedure includes employing burners to feed in hot air as the balloon gradually inflates and gets ready for a takeoff. The entire operation takes around 30 minutes.
There will be a final safety inspection of the balloon, and you are eventually borne aloft with your fellow passengers. The ride roughly takes an hour after which you slowly land. Once grounded you expect a euphoric celebration with a fountain from champagne bottle followed by a generous English breakfast.
By the way, ballooning is an expensive affair and hope you have a lot of money in your pocket to spend. Mentally prepare yourself to encounter a sizeable balloon riding fee price tag ranging between $ 250- $ 450 per balloon rider for an hour long ride.
Before preparation for a balloon ride, the condition of weather should be tested. Reports from weather forecast office must be studied for a safe launch. The point of take off should be carefully selected so that there are no obstructions on the way up into the air. The tourists should be mentally prepared as this is a high altitude venture having a bearing on the nerves.
Engaging chat with the pilot and guides
They are the treasure trove of experiences. Exciting stories and events picked up from their long hot air balloon flying experience add thrill to the ride. They are also the best persons to help you spotting animals in specific sites as you fly over them.
The safari can get aborted
The wind speed matters in a balloon safari. If the climate is not conducive on that day, your balloon ride can get cancelled. In that case, you can reschedule it for the next day. If at all it cannot be done, you can ask for the refund. While planning, allot a spare day and check the contract with the balloon ride provider. The good news – Masai Mara has the optimal conditions for flying with fewer chances of cancellation.