Masai Mara Balloon Flight
by Samantha Fenn
It was nothing like we had seen on previous game drives... or ones after for that matter! Animals were everywhere which is exactly what you want. This is where we saw many giraffe, lines of wildebeest, a river full of hippos and the 4 cheetahs.
Whilst on safari we had the fantastic experience of a balloon safari
I can't put into words how amazing it was. The day started very early, we had a wake up call at 4am (not that it mattered as I was too excited to get much sleep anyway!), got dressed and went to the reception for a cup of Kenyan coffee, ready for our pickup time of 5am.
A 4x4 vehicle picked us up and drove us to our balloon. We were amazed at how many balloons there were, there were 4 lined up, ready to be inflated.
After a quick briefing with our pilot explaining what we had to do and what we could expect, the balloons were inflated. They were huge!
I knew that hot air balloons were big but until I stood directly in front of one I never knew just how big they were, the people that inflate the balloon were casually walking in and out of it!
Eventually the balloon was inflated and 11 of us hopped into the basket. We were the first balloon to take off, we were told to sit in our seats and hold onto the straps.
I was expecting to be sat down for while but as soon as the balloon come away from the ground we were allowed to stand up...none of us knew it had even moved! We waved to the other passengers in the other balloons and off we went... up, up and away!
We saw zebra, gazelle, eland, lions, and an elephant amongst others whilst on our flight and may I say that the animals can not wait to get away from the balloon, they were so scared when the burner was fired up!
The pilot, Milton, was excellent! He pointed out any animal that he could possibly see and he also told us about the geographical position we were in, showing us where Mount Kenya would be, which way Tanzania was and how high we were at that point in time.
At our highest point we reached 1000 feet! What a spectacular view it was, you could see for miles and miles with no window restricting you.
After about an hour we had a nice, smooth landing. Our pilot was so good he even managed to keep the basket upright upon touch down... well done Milton!
After getting out of the basket we jumped into a 4x4 and had a 5 minute drive to our breakfast tables. We couldn't believe we were about to have our breakfast in the middle of the Masai Mara!
We were shown to our table were our breakfast was already waiting for us. Everyone was given a glass of champagne and we had a toast..."To an excellent flight".
The breakfast was the best breakfast we had throughout the entire 2 week holiday! There was a selection of sausages, quiche, eggs, croissants, fruit, cheese... not to mention the free champagne top ups! By 8:30am I had drank 3 glasses of it! Needless to say I was a bit merry!
Everyone spoke about their flight and what they had seen before being given a certificate to take home and show everyone that you really had been on a balloon safari!
Throughout the balloon flight there was a camera dangling from the balloon taking pictures of us on our experience. We were given the chance to buy these pictures at a cost of 2000 ksh, a little pricey but everyone bought them as they're not pictures you're going to be able to get again any time soon. Our friends and families had very jealous eyes when they saw what a fantastic time we had in Kenyan air!
At around 9am we were pleasantly surprised by a game drive in a 4x4... something that we did not know was included in the package. This was an experience on its own!
The fact that we could go off road and go where we wanted to go was the best part of all... we got to go to an area of green grasslands where there were an abundance of wildlife.
After around 2 hours we returned to our lodge =( The best part of our holiday
by far was over, it was a sad moment for all but we knew it had to come to an end. However, all was not lost as we have continually talked about it since our return and have even started a saving fund up for our next flight! Hopefully in 3 years time...we're not counting down or anything...honest!
The balloon was the most amazing experience we had but it wasn't the only amazing experience. On our second week we went on a Dolphin dhow excursion
to hopefully see the dolphins in the wild and snorkel over the reefs.
Once again we were very lucky! Not only did we see the dolphins from the boat but when we went into the sea, the dolphins got curious and come to see what we were doing.
They swam all around us and come as close as 2 meters away! I counted 9 dolphins, of which one was a baby! Everyone was so excited and although they didn't stay around for very long it was such a beautiful thing to see.
Unfortunately we didn't get any good pictures of the dolphins but that didn't matter, we knew that we had seen them and that's all that matters!
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The overall highlight for me was getting to see a place where humans are not the most important thing there...the animals are. We adhere to their rules. To see nothing but grasslands and trees for as far as the eye can see... no pollution, no 4 storey buildings... no traffic! Something that is a very rare thing these days. It's so calm and peaceful...with excitement added in when you see the animal. I've never experienced anything like it before and probably never will again until we return for another installment!Part 1 of Samantha's safari review »
Part 2 of Samantha's safari review »
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