About the Hot Air Balloon Safari – The African Dawn
There is nothing quite like it. The absolute peace of immense vistas, muted colours and crisp, fresh air coupled with the ever-present promise of something wild as the balloon floats you silently above it all like a dream come true.
The balloon lifts off at dawn (0615) after coffee and a flight briefing. The one-hour flight will give you a bird’s eye view of the best East Africa has to offer, in the magnificent setting of the Great Rift Valley. Then, as soon as you land, a champagne breakfast in the bush awaits you.
Early morning is the ideal time to see wild animals on the plains, especially in the Masai Mara Game Reserve in Kenya. This is an experience you will never forget.
About the Balloons
They stand 10 storeys tall and are made by Cameron Balloons of Bristol, England. The 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 largest of the balloons, the Cameron A315, stands as high as a ten-storey building, measures 100 feet across at its circumference 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 it carries 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, the flying in the Mara is kept more down to earth.
The balloons are not flown 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 pilot’s licence exactly as with other forms of aircraft. There are 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 log books, carry out pre-flight checks and monitor the weather conditions for safe flying. In addition, the balloon pilots have undergone extensive professional training and have international experience.
Prices are Per Person Sharing. Travelling is in a pop-up safari vehicle, and accommodation is in a Double/Twin Room/Tent.
|High Season||Mid Season||Low Season|
|Complete Package people||€ 355.11||€ 355.11||€ 334.22|
|High Season||Mid Season||Low Season|
|Complete Package people||€ 459.56||€ 459.56||€ 459.56|
The Balloon Safari starts before dawn between 04:30 and 05:00 am, when you are picked up from your camp or lodge and transferred to the ballooning start point. On arrival, you can enjoy a cup of tea or coffee as you watch the balloon being inflated and prepared for launch. After a thorough safety briefing and demonstration of the boarding and landing position, you board your balloon and lift off as the sun rises!
Each balloon can carry between 8 and 12 people per flight.
The direction you take will depend on the wind, and you may float over forest, plains or rivers. Your pilot will point out the game below, and there are ample opportunities for photography.
One of the best things about ballooning is that it’s silent, apart from the occasional noise from the balloon’s burners. After about an hour, you will land on the plains, possibly with a bump and certainly ready for breakfast.
By joining this trip you are directly supporting positive impact projects in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
We’ve offset the carbon emitted by this trip by purchasing credits that support important projects that address the UN’s seventeen SDGs, like reducing poverty, affordable and clean energy, reducing hunger, clean water and climate action.
Proceeds from this adventure purchase carbon credits through the local and most awarded carbon project developer, which are invested into projects accelerating the transition to renewable energy sources in our developing countries.
Supported projects are based on internationally recognized standards and are third-party audited. They entail a series of positive impacts on the ground, which benefit local communities and ecosystems, that are aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
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Africa FlashMc Tours and Travel is a member of Kenya Association of Tour Operators (KATO), membership code: No.AS/687. KATO is one of the key tourism trade associations in Kenya, representing the interests of over 400 of the most experienced professional tour operators in Kenya. As a member, our services have been checked and are bound by the Code of Conduct to provide the highest possible quality of service to their clients. The scheme is insured to guarantee your holiday safari in the unlikely event that a bonded KATO member ceases operating.