October 2, 2016
Our wake up call on our fourth day was at 4:00 AM for and 4:30 pickup for transportation to our Hot Air Balloon. We launched as the sun rose over the plains of the magnificent Serengeti. Magical. I did have a fleeting concern after the tragic balloon accident in Lockhart the month before. However, there are no power lines, fences and few roads in the Serengeti. While I was a little afraid to do it I was more afraid NOT to do it. It’s not that easy spotting wildlife from above, but the view as you skim over the acacia tree tops is absolutely breathtaking. The thrill is the flight itself. That said, we did see zebra, wildebeest, impala and a lion running across the plains.
The wicker basket was divided into four compartments, each carrying up to four passengers. After an exciting landing where we were dragged across the plain and the balloon ended up on it’s side, we gathered for a champagne toast and breakfast overlooking the Mara River.
“The champagne toast is a tradition started after the first hot air balloon flight in 1783, France. When upon landing, the pilots would celebrate with a toast to the flight. This is not only a fun tradition, but would also help convince the local land owners that the balloon and it’s occupants were of this earth and turn there fear into amazement. After all, no man had ever flown before, it was thought impossible.”
After breakfast we were met by our private guide and had another great game drive back to camp.
Overall an incredible, essential, once in a life time experience, which I would highly recommend!
Photo Credit: Shelley and Clifton Levine; Adventures Aloft
Side note: We purchased a video from Adventures Aloft but I was never able to open it. I did get a few stills. If you decide to purchase a video, from any vendor, try to download it before you leave the area.
Click on a photo to start the slide show.