Hot Air Balloon Safari in Masai Mara
Hot Air Balloon Safari are among the unique game viewing activities in Masai Mara national reserve which are overly enjoyed as you have an aerial view of the park. This activity takes place the early morning before the sunrises.
This activity of hot air ballooning involves safety briefing as the hot air balloons are being prepared for take-off. Briefing of the passengers is done by the pilot who provides information about what to expect during a hot air balloon flight.
Masai Mara national reserve is located in the south western part of Kenya and is made up of different private conservancies. This national reserve is also known for the wildebeest migration which takes place between Serengeti national park and this reserve.
The hot air balloon safari takes about one hour as tourists explore the beautiful sites and attractions in the Maasai Mara national reserve. During the hot air balloon safaris in the Masai Mara reserve, weather conditions are important especially the windy conditions that favor the floating and direction of the hot air balloons.
The hot air balloon safari in Masai Mara reserve takes about one hour of enjoying the sunrise, scenery and watching the wildlife species below such as wildebeest, elephants, buffalos, lions, leopards, giraffes, gazelles, hippos, hyenas, cheetahs and among others grazing or hunting in the gentle rolling hills, drinking from the meandering rivers and in the lush grasslands.
The baskets where the passengers of the hot air balloons are made of cane and willow and are restricted to carry a specific weight for strength and resilience. The number of people allowed on a hot air balloon safari varies depending on the capacity of the basket.
The baskets during the hot air balloons are of capacities such as 16 passengers, 12 passengers, 8 passengers and 4 passengers which are operated by different companies.
Preparation for the hot air balloon safari
The crew lights up the flames of the hot air balloon burners which helps to inflate the hot air balloon. When the hot air balloon fills, it rises as it prepares the tourists for an adventure of drifting through the air while enjoying scenic views of the plains, forests, and rivers during their adventure of wildlife viewing.
The hot air balloon is inflated by the ground crew laying it on the ground and a large fan is used to inflate the envelope partially and then the crew attaches the basket and burner which is used to inflate the envelope fully and this experience is also part of the balloon experience in Masai Mara reserve.
The beautifully colored hot air balloons can be seen floating through the air as the sunsets. The hotter the flames in the hot air balloon, the faster it rises. The hot air balloon adventures in the Masai Mara take place at heights which are not far from the ground making it easy to see the wildlife.
The direction of the hot air balloon depends on the wind which is blowing the balloon and the pilot is tasked with steering the hot air balloon in the right direction by choosing the height of flight for the hot air balloon since this greatly determines the strength of the wind.
The unique envelope form of the hot air balloons makes it a safe form of flight especially in cases of failure of the burner which is very rare during hot air balloon safaris in Masai Mara national reserve. The envelop part of the hot air balloon makes the descent easier since it acts as a parachute.
The people who operate the hot air balloons in Masai Mara national reserve are known as pilots. These pilots are tasked with making sure the weather is favorable before the flight, carrying out preflight checks and keeping logbooks.
After the hot air balloon adventure, the tourists enjoy breakfast and champagne at the base where the hot air balloon safaris begin as they share their experiences with each other and interact and to celebrate the success of their adventure of wildlife viewing in the air.
Price of the hot air balloon
The hot air balloon safari in Masai Mara national reserve costs USD 500 for an experience of a totally different perspective of the landscape from the air.
Other activities in Maasai mara reserve
Other activities in the Masai Mara national reserve include game drives, nature walks, birding, horseback riding, cultural encounters among others.
Cultural encounters involve interactions with the local community of the Masai people who are known for their nomadic way of life. During the cultural visits, tourists learn more about the different traditions and norms of the Maasai, watching traditional dance performances, seeing local arts and crafts such as beaded jewelry among others.
Bird species which can be seen during the birding adventures in the Masai Mara reserve include herons, secretary birds, barbets, African finfoot, kingfishers, cisticola, woolly necked stork, yellow throated sandgrouse among others.
How to get to Maasai Mara reserve
Tourists can access the Masai Mara reserve from different gates which include Oloololo gate, Oloolaimutia gate, Sekenani gate, Musiara gate, and Talek gate.
Tourists planning to visit the Masai Mara reserve have different factors which they consider as they plan for their safaris and one of these factors is the means of transport to use during their tour. This national reserve can also be accessed through different means of transport such as road and air transport means.
- By road, Masai Mara national reserve can be accessed from Nairobi- Narok route which has beautiful scenery and views such as the great rift valley escarpment,
- By air, tourists can access the Masai Mara reserve. Domestic flights are also available to the reserve. Different flight companies organize the flights to this reserve and they include Safari Kink, Air Kenya, Fly Sax, fly 540, Mombasa air services, Silverstone air, Aeronav, Boskovic Air Charters, Jetways among others. The airstrips in this reserve include Kichwa Tembo airstrip, Mara Serena airstrip, Ol kiombo airstrip, Keekorok airstrip, and Musiara airstrip.
Best time to visit the Masai Mara reserve for the hot air balloon safari is during the months of July to October which are the dry seasons of the year and usually attract a big number of tourists.
Different accommodation facilities are available in the Maasai Mara national reserve and they range from luxury accommodations, midrange accommodations and budget accommodations for tourists interested in hot air balloon safaris and other activities in the reserve.
Soar high in the sky as you enjoy the beautiful scenery of the plains of the Masai Mara reserve and view the different wildlife species and other attractions during a hot air balloon safari.