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Maasai Mara, Balloon Safaris and the Great Rift Valley

Without disturbing the herds below, a balloon is the perfect safari vehicle able to glide silently across the plains and at the flick of a hot air burner the basket can be whisked from a high altitude viewpoint to skim low across the grasslands.

For a truly unique perspective on this spectacular wilderness, dawn Balloon safaris, carried out daily from several lodges, can be booked through most Safari companies. This incredible once in a lifetime experience offers the visitor a fantastic view of Kenya's scenic beauty, and the chance to drift unobtrusively over the wildlife below.
The perfect way to appreciate the Mara is from above, on a hot air balloon. The Maasai Mara is Kenya's most impressive landscape - its great game rich plains are iconic Africa at its best. For The Mara has long been considered the ultimate ballooning location by hot air enthusiasts- and it's easy to see why. Perfect flying conditions are matched by expansive big sky, incredible views to enjoy whichever you turn, and Kenya's world famous big game below the basket.

A balloon flight means rising earlier than the usual time for a morning game drive- but it is an early start that is richly rewarded. Guests are driven to meet their balloons which are inflated with the gradual release of hot air from the burners, the balloon slowly taking shape and rising high above the darkened plains, their illuminated core matched by the first rays of sunrise on the horizon.

Balloon Safari over the Great Rift Valley
The Great Rift Valley is one of the most awe-inspiring sights on earth, but the best way to see the rift is from above, and a balloon safari will literally give you a bird's eye view of the valley as you join flocks of flamingo soaring high across lakes, volcanoes and forest. 

The Rift valley is one of nature's wonders, easily visible from outer space. The valley stretches 6000 kms from Jordan to Mozambique, with its width varying from between 30 to 100 kms.

The valley is at its most spectacular in Kenya, its floor studded with dormant volcanoes and fresh water and soda lakes, attracting a wide range of big game and bird life. When exploring the rift, it is difficult to gain a clear perspective of the scale and sheer size of the valley, which is where a balloon comes in handy. 

Rising from the floor, you can appreciate the entire Rift, both its vast entirety and the many natural elements and ecosystems that bring the valley to life.

The launch site is within easy reach of safari lodges and hotels in the Naivasha and Nakuru region, making this an ideal morning excursion for anyone spending the night in this area. 

The balloon safari over the rift valley launches at dawn, rising with the sun over the sprawling plains of Delamere before skimming low across the shores of Lake Elmenteita.

Package: Easily incorporated into any Safari itinerary which includes at least one night.

Important information about flying hot air balloons (F.A.Qs)

Hot air balloon fitness and medical requirements
Basically, anyone who can climb in and out of the basket and able to hold the rope with both hand should be fit enough to ride in it. Clients who suffer from brittle bones or recent bone fracture, back and neck problem, pregnant women, and those under the influence of alcohol should avoid the balloon. While there is no maximum age limit for clients, children under the age of 7 years are not permitted on the hot air balloon. Reason being at this age they are not able to see from the edge of the hot air balloon basket. Their attention span is also very short and may get restless during the flight.

How long and high does a balloon fly?
Wind direction, typically determines the direction of the flight as the pilots takes advantage of the wind to improve your flight. On average a hot air balloon can fly at approximately one hour and approximately 20 kilometers in distance. Most of the time flying below 500 feet at a height is good for game viewing while up to 1000 or even 2000 feet will give you a panoramic view. A light wind is good for a hot air balloon.

How many people can fly in a hot air balloon?
Since different hot air balloons come with different sizes of baskets, the number of passengers will be determined by the basket, six, eight, twelve or sixteen passengers at one time in the hot air balloon is common. Baskets can be partitioned so that you have different compartments for passengers in each section and the pilot in the middle compartment.
A champagne breakfast in the bush after the hot air balloon lands, adds to the buzz you will get from the early morning air and the sights and sounds that only an eagle ever sees.
Early morning is the ideal time to see wild animals on the plains. In the Maasai Mara Game Reserve in Kenya it is an experience you will never forget viewing animals from the Hot air balloon.

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