Slowly drifting away from the surface of the earth in the cool pre-dawn of early morning, safe in the basket of a hot air balloon, is one of the most fun things you can do before breakfast. So it’s a bit tough if you’re not a morning person, as almost all hot air balloon rides are conducted disgustingly early. But you don’t have to face the skies on a totally empty stomach. You’ll be offered tea or coffee and biscuits or muffins while you watch the crew inflating the balloon – which is almost as much fun as flying in it.
A hot air balloon is a pretty weird piece of technology and, while flying in one is huge fun, it’s a totally impractical form of transport. It’s just a big bag of hot air that – well, like your science teacher told you in Grade 9 – rises. And you can’t steer the balloon; it just goes whichever way the wind blows, so the pilot tries to guess the wind direction at different altitudes and moves up or down to go left or right. Yes, it’s kind of odd. But forget about the technicalities. The important things to remember is that you will have an immense adventure trip and see some awesome scenery.
Depending on where you are, you may even see some game, which is pretty cool. Wild animals pay no attention to hot air balloons as they don’t really think about what happens in the sky. With hot air ballooning taking place over the Sabie River Valley in Mpumalanga, the Tala Private Game Reserve in KwaZulu Natal, over the Kalahari Desert and Namaqualand in the Northern Cape, and over the Lowveld Big Game areas and parts of the Kruger National Park in the Limpopo Province, as well as Pilansberg hot air ballooning, you will have ample opportunities to spot wildlife from a different point of view. Gauteng hot air ballooning over the Cradle Private Game Reserve, as well as the afore mentioned areas, will reveal to you the Big Five of lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhino, to numerous species of buck; as well as giraffe, zebra, hippo, crocodile and a variety of birdlife. Your game viewing opportunities from the sky are endless.
Magaliesberg hot air ballooning takes you over the Magaliesberg Mountains in the North-West Province; a magnificent sight to behold as the rising sun casts an orange glow over the mountain ledges, slopes and hills. Breathtaking panoramic vistas are revealed as the hot air balloon slowly ascends into the sky. Oudtshoorn, located along the Garden Route and just a few hours’ outside of Cape Town, features equally spectacular mountain surrounds. As you rise over 1000ft into the air you will have a spectacular view of the Little Karoo area. The Swartberg Mountains are also magnificent when viewed from above, especially when the sun starts to peek over the top.
For the ultimate Cape excursion, Cape Town hot air ballooning over the Berg River Valley is a breathtaking and memorable experience. From your lofty height you can enjoy panoramic views of the many vineyards and wine farms located in this region. And while you’re up there you can sip on some good Cape bubbly (or orange juice if you prefer) and work up an appetite for the huge slap-up breakfast that’s being prepared for you as you float aimlessly around the sky.
If you are planning a romantic occasion or simply want a breathtaking adventure activity that will allow you to lose your head in the clouds, hot air ballooning is one of the most popular activities you may enjoy.