The Best Balloon Rides in South Africa!
Rise above the doom and gloom of politics, pandemics and environmental disasters and take your holiday to new heights of romance and adventure with a magical hot air balloon ride. South Africa’s hot air balloon riding industry has expanded rapidly over the last 10 years with flights now becoming available in many of our most scenic and exciting landscapes including the majestic mountains of the Drakensberg, the intricately patterned hills of the Cape Winelands and the rugged beauty of three World heritage sites - the Vredefort Dome, the Cradle Of Humankind and the uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park in KwaZulu-Natal.
In South Africa one of our favourite ballooning offers is a balloon safari over a nature reserve. Surrounded by profound silence you will feel like an eagle searching for prey as you can drift over the grasslands scanning for wildlife. Dirty Boots has selected and put together a list of top South African hot air balloon rides. Each offer such unique features that you may just end up doing two!
1. Cape Town
Table Mountain slowly appears in the dawn light as if sculptured out of the darkness. To see this iconic feature waking to a new day from the perspective of a hot air balloon is an experience hard to beat.
2. The Cape Winelands
Start your day in the Cape Winelands on a high note with a balloon flight over the hills and valleys of the Cape Winelands with incredible views of the sun rising over the Cape Fold Mountains and the possibility of seeing Table Mountain in the distance. A 45-minute drive from Cape Town delivers you to your winelands launch site.
3. Free State
How else would you see the consequences of a meteorites violent impact on the earth then from above? A Free State hot air balloon adventure takes you sailing above the Vredefort Dome where you can see geological evidence of the impact as well as the glassy meanderings of the Vaal River. Clarens is arguably the most scenic of ballooning destinations in South Africa.
4. Garden Route, Little Karoo
Witness the vast uncluttered beauty of the Little Karoo and the mountain range that separates it from the Garden Route, from the sky on a hot air balloon tour. The Little Karoo is easy to access from the Garden Route and an early morning balloon flight is the perfect way to spend time in this ancient landscape, once an inland sea.
5. Gauteng, North West
Float into the past with a hot air balloon excursion over the Cradle of Humankind and see where pre-historic homo sapiens eked out their tough existence in the caves, plains and hills of the Magaliesberg valley and mountains. Here you will also have a chance to spot the ancestors of some of the animals they would have hunted, including the big five. Close to Johannesburg, this is a fantastic outing for a special occasion or romantic get together.
KwaZulu Natal has three main launch sites and because they’re all so spectacular and different we must mention them all. You can fly with ‘the dragon’ in the Drakensberg’s Champagne Valley, renowned for its fine ballooning weather and inspiring mountain views. Or you can choose to drift romantically over the Midlands, bucolic scenery at its best, and end your hot air balloon flight with a sumptuous breakfast at one of the many premier lodges in the area. Or at Tala valley just 45 min from Durban.
7. Mpumalanga, Limpopo
Take your South African safari adventure to another level! Experience real African bushveld scenery in the greater Kruger Park area as you float in your hot air balloon in the gathering dawn, one of the best times of the day to spot animals. Your pilot will not only fly you safely, but they will help spot game and interpret behaviour.
8. North West
As exciting as a hot air balloon ride will ever get! Imagine hovering above a pride of lions as they laze in the early morning light after a long night of hunting. A hot air balloon is so quiet and unobtrusive, it is often not even noticed by animals- the perfect ‘vehicle’ for game watching! A North West balloon safari combines two of the world’s most iconic experiences into one amazing adventure.