Ballooning in the Maasai Mara

Hot Air Balloons in the Maasai Mara

Hot Air Balloons in the Maasai Mara

Two Digital Gypsies Rating – 5 Stars

Neither my wife nor I have ever been on a hot air balloon ride, so when we were on safari in the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya we decided we would book a balloon ride with Mara Ballooning. The balloon ride was expensive, over $400 each, but we figured it was a once in a lifetime experience and we couldn’t think of a more beautiful place in the world to take the plunge. My wife Barbara doesn’t like things like Ferris wheels and heights, so it took some convincing to coax her into the balloon ride.

On the day of the balloon ride Mara Ballooning sent a driver to pick us up at 5am in the morning. After driving for around an hour we arrived at the balloon launching spot where we were served hot coffee and pastries by the crew. Then we were led to a clearing where the balloon was located, and got to watch the crew fill the balloon with air. Once the balloon was ready, we were helped into the basket by the crew.

On the launch there were no words to describe the feeling. Floating silently up from the ground like we did is something neither one of us will ever forget. Even my wife’s fear of heights was temporarily abated and she became totally enamored with the balloon ride.

Our pilot’s name was Andrew and he had an experienced eye for pointing out the wildlife below, and gave us a local’s perspective on the plight that many of the wild animals in Kenya face from poachers. The panoramic view from the balloon of the Maasai Mara was breathtaking and unforgettable. The entire trip covered around 15km and we floated at elevations up to 500 feet. After a little over an hour we touched softly back to earth and were treated to an excellent breakfast with champagne by the crew. After breakfast we were given certificates that we “survived” the balloon ride and then were driven back to our accommodations at Ashnil where we continued our safari.

If you have a bucket list, I can’t think of a better item to add to it than a hot air balloon ride in the Maasai Mara National Reserve.