Balloon Safaris in Kenya’s Masai Mara National Reserve is the ultimate ballooning destination in East Africa. The landscape is stunning and free, and the abundant wildlife can make for spectacular viewings from above. As this is a wilderness area contiguous with the Serengeti National Park of Tanzania, with free-ranging wildlife that is not fenced in, we of course cannot guarantee what we will fly over and what we will see during a particular flight. However, we typically see a good diversity of animals, and it is likely you will spot elephants, giraffes, various antelope species, and ostriches from the balloon Safaris. Many of our guests also see hyenas, lions, and cheetahs, and ballooning is one of the best ways to search for the elusive black rhino, of which there are less than 40 in the Mara. Depending on the day’s flight path, you may also drift along one of the rivers and see hippos and crocodiles.
We have had some truly amazing sightings over the years in this incredible balloon Safaris, including leopards in trees, lions on kills, and active hyena dens. If you visit the Mara between July and October, you will probably see the “Great Migration” of over a million wildebeest, along with large numbers of zebras and gazelles. Observing this phenomenon from the balloon is the best way to grasp just how huge the migrating herds really are, and is an experience not to be missed. Regardless of whether the “Big Five” are seen from the balloon, most people say that the balloon flight was a highlight of their safari.
You will be picked at your camp or lodge between 0400-0530AM and drive you to the launch site, to arrive by 0600AM. Depending on the weather conditions, you can enjoy a cup of coffee or tea while you watch the balloons being prepared for take-off. Your pilot will give a safety briefing as well as explain what you can expect during the flight. There are basic toilet facilities available at the launch site. NB: one launch site has toilet facilities.
The balloon crew will assist as you clamber into your balloon basket for take-off just before sunrise, at about 6:30AM. As you rise the Maasai Mara plains opens up before your eyes to feast on the golden sunrise, enchanting experiences, plains-game below as the winds gently blows the basket deeper into the reserve. The pilot is at hand pointing out at the wildlife below with plenty of photographic opportunities unfolding. Soar silently with 360 degrees of spectacular savannah lasting approximately one hour, depending on wind conditions.
Upon landing between 7:15 and 7:30 AM, observe the complete deflation of the balloon envelope as the vehicles wait for you for a short drive to your morning hearty meal.
The breakfast is set up on the picturesque savannah plains of the Mara, typically under the shade of a single balanite tree. Sit down to a full bush breakfast in the Kenyan style, complete with eggs-to-order, sausages, fresh juices, fruits, cereals and, of course, sparkling wine.
During breakfast, you can also peruse the photos your pilot has taken during the flight, and decide whether you would like to purchase the photos. The finale is balloon flight certificate signed by your pilot as a memoir.
After breakfast, enjoy a leisurely game drive back to your camp or lodge to arrive by around 10:30AM already reliving the memories of the morning’s flight. What an Exhilarating Balloon Safari.