The Balloon Safari
Up up and away over the Mara
One of the most magically memorable of the Mara experiences, a balloon safari allows you to drift in silence above the splendour of the plains, dip down to visit the hippo pools of the Mara River, enjoy a bird's eye view of the wildlife theatre enacted below and descend to a scenic champagne breakfast cooked on the balloon's burners, and served on the savannah plains. Awakened by an early-morning cup of tea (around 5.30 am) you will be driven to the balloon take-off point, where you will meet your fully-qualified balloon pilot.
Taking off from a site just below the lodge, your arrival will be timed to allow you to see the vast globe of the rainbow-coloured balloon slowly filling with hot air and, as dawn breaks, watch as it slowly rises into the air. When all is ready, you will be helped into the stout wicker basket (a typical balloon carries around 8-16 passengers and is equipped with seats and safety belts), the sandbags will be cast off, and the balloon will rise into the cool of the morning air. Driven by the wind, and guided by jets of hot air from the gas-burners (which allow it to rise or fall according to the pilot's direction), the balloon will fly for a period of around 45 minutes (trailed by a team of ground vehicles). Then, as the morning sun rises, it will descend to a gentle controlled-landing on the plains. Celebrating your flight with a glass of chilled champagne, you will receive your ‘flight certificate' from your balloon pilot, before sitting down to a full English breakfast, cooked on the burners of the balloon. Breakfast over, you can then enjoy a leisurely game-drive back to the lodge.