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Mara Ballooning Hot Air Safaris Masai Mara Game Reserve offers balloon flights in Kenya’s famous Masai Mara National Reserve. The Mara is the northernmost part of the spectacular Serengeti – Mara ecosystem, home to the “Great Migration” and scores of other wildlife, including lions, cheetahs, elephants, rhinos, hippos, and crocodiles.
Mara Ballooning Hot Air Safaris Masai Mara Game Reserve custom 4 x 4 safari vehicles will pick you up from your camp or lodge between 0400 hours – 0530 hours and drive you to the launch site, to arrive by 0600 hours. 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 0630 hours.
As you rise the Maasai Mara plains open up before your eyes to feast on the golden sunrise, enchanting sceneries, and plains game below as the winds gently blow 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 0715 hours and 0730 hours, observe the complete deflation of the balloon envelope as our vehicles waiting for you for a short drive to your morning hearty meal. Our 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 or any of the other Hot Air Safaris merchandise on display.
The finale is a 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 1030 hours already reliving the memories of the morning’s flight.
Mara Ballooning Hot Air Safaris Masai Mara Game Reserve Prices Prices
|Dates From||Dates To||Price Per Person||Children Aged
7 Year to 12 Years
|1st January 2023||31st December 2023||Request For Rates||Request For Rates|
* Chlid Policy: 3 -11 years is consider a child above 12 years is considered an adult
* All children flying has to be accompanied by an adult. We do not carry children under 3 years of age
Balloons Baskets Information
Mara Ballooning fleet has 8 balloons consisting of the following:
* 1 Cameron 250 carrying 8 passengers
* 1 Cameron 415 balloon flying 12 passengers
* 5 Kubichek 425’s balloons flying 16 passengers each
* 1 Cameron-Lindstrand carrying 4 passengers (ideal for couples, photography, honeymooners, or special occasions, subject to availability
Mara Ballooning baskets are specially designed and have been modified over the years to accommodate the particular demands of safari-flying. The baskets are divided into compartments, each able to accommodate up to 4 people. For safety and comfort, the sides of the baskets are relatively high and well-padded.
There are also well-cushioned seats and secure handles made of rope for use during take-off and landing.
Balloon Flight Frequently Asked Questions
1. When is the balloon ride done?
The ride is normally done early in the morning at approximately 0630am in time to enjoy the sunrise glow in the distant horizon. The good thing about the Mara weather is that it is conducive for balloon rides to be operated daily, throughout the year.
Our company operations base and the launch site are close to Talek River bordering Masai Mara Game Reserve, but during windy times we use a launch site INSIDE the park, approximately 7 Minutes-drive (4km) from Talek Gate, just off the main Talek-Keekorok road.
How long does the excursion last?
The flight usually lasts approximately one hour and covers anything between 5 and 20 km from launch to landing. The total distance covered is always dependent on the wind conditions on any given day. The entire excursion from pick up at the camp/ lodge to drop off back at the camp or lodge varies from a 4.00 am departure to a 6.00 am departure, depending on the close proximity/location of said camp/lodge.
There are plenty of photographic opportunities on board and also on the ground to & from the balloon excursion including a game drive en route back to your camp/ lodge by around 1030am.
3. Is there minimum age/mobility restrictions?
As a rule of thumb, we generally don’t fly children under the height of the basket or under the age of 3 years. There is no upper age limit, provided passengers are reasonably fit and ready to enjoy the adventurous soaring across the majestic plains. For the client’s own safety, ballooning is not suitable for pregnant ladies, persons with health conditions; heart matters, brittle bones, or neck or back conditions.
Any balloon flight requires a certain amount of physical strength to climb in/out of the basket, in case the basket is standing upright OR lying on its side. People with impaired mobility may be accommodated with prior notice to help us plan for them.
4. What should I bring with me?
We encourage guests to carry binoculars, cameras and if so desirous, a “selfie stick’ to catch that very fine once-in -a-life-time moments! Dressing in layers; a warm Jacket/ fleece is best for the transition from the cool, dark early morning to the relatively late morning sun rays.
It is normally cool in the early mornings and as you watch and wait for the balloons to be inflated, the chilly morning breeze can be uncomfortable. Once on board, the heat from burners above makes all around you warm.
Trousers, long-sleeved shirts/tops, and closed shoes come in handy in case we need to walk through some grass after landing.
5. How does the pilot control the balloon?
Hot air rises…..The balloon normally glides with the wind, but at different altitudes, the wind often flows in different directions; by expertly navigating this vertical landscape the pilot finds some directional control.
In order to gain or lose altitude, the pilot manipulates the temperature of the air inside the balloon envelope using burners fueled by butane gas. When heat is added, the balloon gently rises. In order to descend, the pilot allows the balloon to cool naturally.
The cooler the air inside the balloon becomes the more quickly it descends. As the balloon descends and approaches landing the pilot will add some bursts of heat from the burners to slow down the rate of descent and ensure landing is safely done with the expertise of a Mara Pilot.
6. Are take-offs and landings rough?
Take-off is generally quite gentle, although it may be a bit fast in windy conditions. If the wind is above 15 knots at the take-off site, we will not fly due to safety concerns.
While most of the landings are smooth, some landings are what we call a “tip over” landing, where the balloon basket drags along the ground for some meters before coming to a stop lying on its side. There may be a few bumpy landings though… all steered safely to a stop.
7. Do you ever cancel a flight? What happens if my flight is canceled?
We rarely cancel flights (~5 times per year), and only do so due to high winds, rain, or extremely poor visibility. If your flight is canceled you will receive a 100% refund. Or, if your safari schedule allows and there is available space in the balloons, we can attempt to fly you the following day.
8. How many people fit in the basket?
Our balloons can hold a maximum of 16 people in a basket.
9. What is served at breakfast?
Our breakfast is set up on the picturesque savannah plains of the Mara, typically under the shade of a single acacia tree. You will sit down to a full bush breakfast in the Kenyan style, complete with eggs-to-order, fresh juices, waiters in traditional Swahili attire, and, of course, champagne
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 or any of the other Hot Air Safaris merchandise on display.
NB: Please feel free to contact us if you have additional questions or concerns.