Monday, December 24, 2012
Hot air Balloon at Masai Mara
Taking a balloon safari is one of the most thrilling events one can experience while on safari. In Kenya, some of the places one can enjoy this spectacular event is in the Masai Mara as well as the Soysambu ranch.
The safari is conducted in the morning. There is a wake up call in the lodge or camp. The balloon company will usually organize the pick up where by a driver comes for you in the lodge usually in a land rover and takes you to the launch site. This will usually be at around 5am. One then meets with the balloon’s pilot, where a briefing is conducted. Here, one also gets to watch the balloon getting inflated and prepared.
At dawn, the take off takes place. This will usually be around 6am. As the balloon rises, you get the sensation that you are rising simultaneously with the sun. The feeling is amazing as one feels as if he/she is floating. The beauty of the morning and the light in the horizon make this a magnificent moment. It is appropriate to have proper clothing, usually cotton. A sweater may also be instrumental as it will protect incase it is windy. Most balloons are designed to take around 15 persons.
The balloon follows the direction of the wind as it rises. Altitude is adjusted by temperature. The pilot will alternate from low altitudes to high up to fit different situations. He/she may lower the balloon to enable you have a fine view of the animals below at closer quarters. This presents an ideal chance for you to take classic photos. He/she will then make the balloon float on high altitudes for you to have the splendid view of the vast plains and into the horizon. It is quite fascinating to have a bird’s view of the earth below. It is practically viewing in 3 dimensions. What makes it even more thrilling is viewing the animals below. From the distance, even a herd of elephants can look like colony of ants.
The ride takes around 1 hour. The balloon will then land, upon which most balloon companies organize some champagne and wine opening and drinking. Bush breakfast is also done, which climaxes the ultimate African safari.
Hot air balloon rides in Soysambu Ranch are a bit cheaper than in The Mara. This is near the Lake Elementaita. The ride can go up to an altitude of 4000m above sea level, from where one gate a view of Lake Elementaita, Lake Nakuru, Lake Naivasha, Hell’s Gate Park and mount Kenya in the distance, all at once, depending on the weather. One gets to watch the flamingoes in Lake Nakuru and Elementaita taking off and landing as well as herds of giraffes and buffaloes in The Soysambu conservancy. The ride takes approximately one hour. Upon landing, there is a photo session, wine taking and a sumptuous breakfast.