There is really nothing quite like the feeling of freedom and exhilaration you get when flying high above the African plains. Sure, the idea of waking up at the crack of dawn during your vacation may sound less than pleasant. However the rewards of embarking on this high flying adventure greatly outweigh the inconvenience of setting your alarm clock for somewhere between 4.00 – 5.00 AM. As your guide takes you to the balloon launch pad, you'll begin to feel the anticipation grow. While you enjoy a steaming hot cup of coffee or tea, the balloon crew will inflate your balloon and prepare everything for take-off. Once the balloon is filled and you've climbed into the basket beneath it, your pilot will give you a short briefing before setting the balloon into motion. As the sun begins to rise in a stunning colour show of fiery reds and golds, your balloon will slowly rise to the skies.
Hot air ballooning & the Great Migration
If you decide to visit the Masai Mara between the months of July and October, you will have a chance cathing the 'Great Migration' while flying above the African plains. There’s nothing quite like this phenomenon of migrating herds of wildebeest, zebras and gazelles. Flying above the herds in a hot air balloon is one of the best ways to grasp the enormity of what’s taking place. Other exciting sights to behold include watching predators such as lions hunting their prey, spotting leopards perched up high in trees and seeing active hyena dens. Every hot air balloon flight brings with it the opportunity to see new and exciting sights below. Your pilot will make sure to fly lower at times to allow for the best possible pictures to be taken.
Masai Mara hot-air balloon flight price
Hot-air balloon flights are quite pricey, especially in remote areas such as the Masai Mara. Hot air balloon ride prices start at US$ 450 per person. One of the reasons for this is the fact that balloons can only be used for a limited number of hours before they need replacing. After approximately 850 flight hours, balloons are retired and a new balloon must be purchased in order to guarantee the safety of those who board a balloon. What also makes hot air balloon flights expensive is the cost of fuel and crew to operate the hot air balloon. Crews are made up of six crew members and a licenced balloon pilot. An additional ten people behind the scenes (per balloon) are responsible for getting each hot air balloon airborne. In total, this adds up to quite a group of people whose livelihoods depend on the proceeds from hot air balloon flights. In addition to this, each hot air balloon flight requires recovery vehicles, transfer vehicles and back-up operations. To top this off, a large portion of the hot air balloon flight fees are made up of conservation fees.
Included in the price for a balloon safari are:
- Approximately one hour hot air balloon flight
- Transfer from your safari camp or lodge
- Champagne style bush breakfast
- Transfer back to camp after breakfast
- Conservancy or national reserve landing fees
Planning a Masai Mara balloon safari
We can arrange departures for a Masai Mara balloon safari from most lodges and camps in the Greater Mara area. We strongly recommend booking a balloon safari in advance, as it concerns a very popular activity and gets booked out early (especially during peak season). Please remember to bring some warm clothing, and a bag in which you can secure camera, binoculars, and other personal items.
What happens if the weather is poor?
So, what happens if the hot-air balloon flight is cancelled due to poor weather? Naturally, safety is top priority to the hot air ballooning crew, so if weather conditions aren’t favorable your flight may be cancelled. If this occurs, you will be scheduled for a later flight if possible. If this isn’t an option your money will be refunded.