Masai Mara hot air balloon safari

The Mara from a birds eye view

The air was crisp and clear as we made our way in our game drive vehicle from &Beyond Kichwa Tembo Masai Mara Tented Camp to the launch site before daybreak

As we approached we saw a huge swaying shape in the distance, a loud roar and a burst of flames was emitted from what seemed to be the belly of the beast, like a dragon slowly rising from the depths of its cave.

The hot air balloon was being prepared for take-off! To see this massive balloon being filled with hot air transforming it from a pile of unimpressive plastic to a majestic swaying orb of colour was mesmerising.

As the sky started to lighten and take on the warm glow of the morning sun, we all climbed into the basket. With a mighty thrust of flames and hot air we levitated into the skies and started to fly.

The pilot glided over the tree tops and open plains. The view is spectacular, giving one a bird’s eye view of the expanse beneath, and a clearer understanding of the magnitude of the Masai Mara. The great open vista, with animals running gracefully in herds, massive birds of prey riding the thermals always on the lookout for their next meal and the vastness of the plains leaves one speechless with wonder.

What was unexpected but truly wonderful was the fact that the balloon changes altitude throughout the experience. At some stages the bottom of the balloon will brush against the tall grass. At others one feels one is dancing among the clouds.

It is a strange feeling to land at the end of the whole awe-inspiring experience and realise you are at one with the earth again. From take-off to landing, the exhilarating feelings are hard to explain in words that can truly do it justice.

As we reluctantly clambered out of the balloon on landing and drove away, we heard the sigh of the balloon slowly deflating as if sad to see us leave.

However, in the distance we saw another magical sight …… champagne breakfast in the bush awaited us….

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Seranne Slaviero

&Beyond Travel Specialist

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