Balloon ride Masai mara. The Masai Mara balloon flight experience starts well before dawn. Depending on the location of your safari accommodation place, a driver and jeep will collect you as early as 4 am and drive you through the Masai Mara to the balloon launch site. This pitch-dark is the start of an adventure, as the headlight picks out nocturnal wildlife en route. At the site, you will watch as the enormous, multi-coloured fabric envelope of the balloon is slowly filled by gigantic, portable fans. You will receive a safety briefing by the pilot and be given advice about the kind of flight you can expect (everyone is unique) and what you might see from the flying basket.
About 06:30, as the balloon towers overhead, but with the basket still safely tethered to the ground, you climb aboard. The basket is divided into compartments, each equipped with harnesses and handholds. You`ll need to be reasonably mobile –but not a gymnast.
As soon as all the passengers are on board (and usually after some pictures have been taken by others on the ground), the pilot starts the burner, the lines rereleased, and you lift off. The sunrise is about to break above the horizon, sending lays of golden light across the landscape.
If the atmosphere is cool, balloon rises very quickly and you`re at treetop height in seconds, drifting in a generally south –easterly direction with the prevailing wind.
From now on, where you will go and what you see depends on a combination of the pilot`s skill, the speed and direction of the wind and that permanent safari combination, luck. You may fly at treetop height along the forested banks of the Mara river, peering into vulture`s nest, watching monkeys, wildebeest migration if you fly between july and September, and baboons as they wake in their roosts, or peering through the trees to see elephants or even potentially a leopard.
You may also fly low across the grasslands, with the pilot using a puff of the burner every so often to lift the balloon above a lone tree or a termite mound. Periodically the pilot will turn the balloon so that those at the back of the basket are facing forward.
Widlife tends to move away at the approach of the balloon`s shadow and the sound of its burner, but you will see some remarkable sights, from jostling, muddied hippos, to prides of lions and even the occasional rhino.
After an hour or so in the air, the pilot lands the basket in a convenient spot close to where the ground crew have prepared a campaign bush breakfast.
A full breakfast is served and you toast the flight with sparkling wine. Everyone gets a certificate and the chance to take photos, before loading into a safari jeep to go back and meet your guide to continue with your Game drive.
Height and age restrictions: The basket height is 1.2m (4ft). Children need to be at least 1.2m in height to give them a good chance of experiencing the ride and can fly at the pilot`s discretion, depending on their age and maturity.
Availability: Balloon flights are available every morning, subject to suitable weather conditions. If the flight is canceled because of poor weather, you will be rebooked the next day or your money refunded 100%.