Hot air balloon rides are known to be a thrilling experience and one of the best ways to view the diverse wildlife during your Kenya Wildlife Safari. a hot air balloon safari over Masai Mara National Reserve will reward you with very an unforgettable taste of Africa’s rich fauna. For visitors to fully appreciate this adventure, they need to plan to stay within the reserve for close to three days to enjoy their hot air balloon ride alongside other safari activities like cultural village visits, bush walks, game drives and more.

You can do the hot air balloon safari more conveniently on the day that you have a Full day in the Masai Mara; for example while doing our 3 days Masai Mara safari. 

To enjoy this experience, adults are encouraged to be in proper physical condition. For safety precautions, adults who are over one hundred and twenty (120) kilograms (265 Ibs) may have to pay twice the cost for an additional spot on the balloon.  However, this can be overlooked with prior approval from the pilot depending on how many people turn up for a particular flight. in case this is your first time to be part of a hot air balloon ride, our reservation angers will be happy to share with you all general information about how the balloon works and what to expect on your adventure. There will be between 20 to 25 staff waiting for you at the launch site and later at the recovery site.  At the launch site, guests may be able to see the balloon, also known as ‘envelope’ being inflated. Firstly, the envelope is laid down and spread out on the ground by the ground crew. The envelope is then partially inflated using a large fan. The basket and burner are then attached to the half-full envelope.  At this point, the basket is fully secured on the ground as the balloon is being inflated. The burner is then used to fully inflate the balloon.

Seeing the massive size of the balloon during the preparation and inflation is an amazing experience. The basket has sections with many compartments meant for safety and comfort. The crew then helps passengers aboard as soon as the balloon is completely inflated. As the pilot offers the guests a safety pre-ride briefing, the ground crew steadies the balloon. Once everyone is safely aboard, the burner is switched on, lifting the balloon off the ground. The ground crew continues to guide the basket until the balloon is finally launched safely. Usually each hot air balloon safari experience is different from another because the balloons depend on air currents for speed as well as the wind direction. The pilot on the other hand only controls the upward and downward movement of the balloon. It is for this reason that every hot air balloon expedition will need a chase team on the ground, and this best explains why no two rides will never be similar as each will offer you a only one of its kind sightseeing of the Maasai Mara National Reserve.

Special about this adventure is that the balloon will fly over the areas that are limited to safari vehicles. Sometimes, the balloon will fly closer to the earth, giving a closer view of different animals, and other times, the balloon will fly at a higher altitude so the guests can see miles ahead.

The Actual Experience on a Balloon Safari Ride in Masai Mara

You will awaken quite early before dawn on the day of your hot air balloon safari. You will hear sounds of swooshing vegetation signaling the movements of a large mammal, the grunts and snorts of hippos going back to the river; you may hear a lion roar in the distance but the yielding calls of indigenous birds will fully awaken you. You look forward to the amazing feeling of viewing the savannah plains from above in the hot air balloon because your mind will be filled with memories from the previous day’s game drive. It is important for you to research on the best travel time to enjoy this experience fully. As the anticipation grows, you hurriedly put on your preferred Kenya safari Clothing– preferably long trousers, hiking shoes and a comfortable shirt. Don’t forget a few additional accessories like your camera, a hat, binoculars, and a long-sleeved jacket (to protect you against the cold) and off you go.Masai Mara Hot air balloon safari

You will board your safari vehicle and head out into the open plains where you can see some animal such as an elephant calf playing with its mother, antelopes chasing birds, a gazelle gracefully moving in the plains or hyenas devouring the leftovers of a lion’s kill. At a distance, you will be able to see some of the balloon crew working around the partly inflated balloon. You will be able to experience the last moments of the air balloon set up as the basket and the burner are attached together by the crew.  The burner will suddenly release an orange flame that beautifully distinguishes itself from the neutral colors of the early morning sky.  After all this, you climb into the basket.

As the launch time draws nearer, your eagerness will gear up. The pilot sets the burner alight and the ground crew steadies the balloon proficiently. You won’t fail to notice a strange sensation run through your body as the balloon lifts off the ground. In a moment, you can look across the landscape and see the edges of the terrain. As the basket rises higher and higher, stunning features like the meandering rivers, gentle rising and falling hills and lush grasslands can be seen. At this point, you don’t need a tour guide to locate wildlife. Hippos, elephants, gazelles, giraffes, many other grazers and foragers can be seen from this point. With luck, you may be able to see predators like cheetahs, hyenas, lions and hunters. Sailing through the Mara ecosystem will help you appreciate its niceties like the relationship between the wild animals, vegetation and human beings.

There are different things to watch and observe here, for example, how animals move from place to place feeding upon vegetation, how a fish eagle soars in the skies  and then dives to the river surface, grabbing fish with its feet or how two elephant bulls break out into a fight for breeding rights or of how herds move towards the water to bathe and drink. Just incase the travel time you booked with Safari Desire to tour Masai Mara reserve, is from July to October, you may witness the great migration of zebras and wildebeests in their great herds.

Your hot air balloon experience will last a lifetime, even though the ride is only for an hour. Even with its high price, it is an experience worth its high charge. A bush breakfast and a customary champagne toast await you upon landing safely. The ground crew will help you out of the basket and escort you to the lavish ensemble. All this, is a toast to the African beauty that you have encountered during your splendid dream vacation in Africa and a celebration to your experience of it.

It goes without saying that the hot air balloon safari in the Masai Mara is an activity that really would spice up your honeymoon trip if you are coming for your Honeymoon safari in Kenya with beach extension.

Frequently Asked Questions on Hot Air Balloon Rides in Maasai Mara – Kenya

  1. What maximum body weight is permitted?

Balloon companies do not emphasize the weight limit for individual travelers. However, a few of them request for information beforehand especially if the individual traveler weighs over two hundred and fifty pounds.

  1. What is the Acceptable age to engage in a balloon ride?

When it comes to age-limit, children under three years are not permitted to fly in the balloon.  Both adults and children can enjoy the balloon flights. However, the children must be at least 4 years and must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

  1. Is the takeoff or landing rough on the balloon ride?

The take offs are mostly mild. If the wind is over fifteen knots, the pilot is prohibited from taking off. Guests should note that breezy conditions make the take off somewhat faster.

For most of the landings, the balloon basket drags on the ground for a little over twenty meters and then comes to halt and lies sideways; ‘Tip over’, is the commonly term used for this type of landing.

  1. What do I need to wear and carry on a balloon ride?

Dress in many covers so you can be able to comfortably shift from the early dark mornings to the rising sun.

Closed shoes will come in handy for the grassy routes you will walk through upon landing.

Binoculars and cameras are vital for sight-seeing and taking pictures.

Also carry a hat with straps and sunglasses because they may come in handy at some point.

  1. How long is the Hot air balloon ride?

The duration of the air balloon flight is an hour. The wind conditions also determine how much distance is covered however; fifteen to twenty kilometers can be expected. The start time for the trip is 0500 hours (5:00am) during takeoff at the launch site and ends at about 1030 hours when you are being taken back to your camp or lodge right after the breakfast at the bush.

  1. When should I book my hot air balloon safari?

In order to guarantee a spot on the balloon on your preferred date, it is important for you to book a couple of weeks earlier.  Make your reservation much earlier because there is a limit on the number of people that can be carried by each balloon at a time.

  1. Why is a Hot air Balloon Safari conducted in the early morning?

A hot air balloon safari is conducted early in the morning because the balloon movement is dependent on the weather. Hot air balloon flights are launched close to the rising sun, before the temperatures of the day begin to rise. Fog and strong winds are hazardous weather.

Join us by contacting us now for the best planned and executed Kenya safari tour!

Special Tip from Safari Desire:

Since the space in a balloon ride is limited to only 16 passengers, we recommend that you make your reservations early enough to enable us to make all necessary pre-arrangements and guarantee availability of your spot on your desired safari date.

Check out our 7 days honeymoon safari in Kenya with Masai Mara included where you can  do as an addon; the Hot air balloon safari in Masai Mara, Kenya.