May, 23 2013

BALLOONING

Tags: 
Namibia
Sports
Honeymoon
Family
Photography

Gliding over the giant Bilbao trees as the sun rises over a lush landscape, catching sight of herds of wild animals as they wake and roam the lands for breakfast, marveling in the unparalleled panoramic view of the natural wonders of the African continent. Birds are not the only ones who can witness these magical mornings - you can too by taking a flight in a hot air balloon and experiencing a safari in a unique way.

Hot air balloons are comprised of three main parts – the basket, the balloon, and the burner. The science behind ballooning is simple: warmer air rises above cool air because it is slightly lighter (weight/mass). So, in order to go ballooning we need to trap a LOT of warm air in a GIANT balloon, attach a basket, and away we go!

Guests are typically picked up before sunrise and transferred to the takeoff site. Takeoff occurs just after sunrise and guests will experience the sheer joy and freedom of simply floating above, like a bird, for an hour before landing back on solid ground. A car will meet guests at their landing location and whisk them off to have a traditional champagne toast over breakfast. Why is the champagne toast traditional? Legend has it that early balloonists carried champagne with them on all flights in case they landed in hostile territory. Everyone becomes friendlier after a glass (or two) of bubbly, right? So riase a glass and cheer to your balloon adventure!

Safari by balloon is an exhilarating experience and while such an adventure is not for everyone, those who undertake this adventure never forget how incredible it is to float above the flora, fauna, and creatures. The best places to balloon in Africa are those that have a diverse landscape and following are our top picks for a balloon safari.

Okavango Delta, Botswana

The Okavango Delta is one of the world’s largest inland deltas, spanning over 16,000 square kilometers. Its lush wetland characteristics stand out like a sapphire in the vast desert. We all know that water is the source of life, so you can be sure to see animals grazing and drinking among beautiful plants and flowers.

Maasai Mara Kenya

The Massai Mara is one of the largest game reserves in Africa, and is known to have exceptionally large populations of the ‘Big Five.’ So many that the Maasai Mara is known as the destination of the ‘Great Migration.’ The word ‘Mara’ means ‘spotted’ in the local language, Maa, referring to the aerial view of the land. Its trees, savanna, and cloud shadows that mark the area look like spots from above. Take a balloon ride to see how this reserve gets its name. Overlanding Africa can take you on a Maasai Mara balloon adventure.

Swapakmund, Namibia

One of the world’s top extreme sports destinations offers skydiving, as well as sand skiing and sand boarding on imposing dunes in the Namib Desert. For people who are slightly less adventurous, there’s the option to go ballooning. Soar over some of the world’s largest sand dunes and enjoy the stunning sand-meets-sea views.