The glow of fire gently inflating a huge balloon, only to lift off as the sun’s rays streak across the horizon, is the best way to start the day. Floating in the sky with the sun while watching Mother Nature wake up is a unique experience.
One of my favorite travel experiences was taking a hot air balloon ride in the Masai Mara during the Great Migration. The Masai Mara is home to thousands of species of animals, including the big five safari animals, and is truly a wildlife lover’s dream destination.
Driving and walking safaris are the most common experiences on a safari in Kenya, but don’t miss the chance to see the animals from above. Here is your guide to taking a hot air balloon ride in Kenya.
How much does a hot air balloon ride in the Masai Mara cost?
First, the price. That’s usually what everyone wants to know. It costs $500 per person for a hot air balloon experience, including landing fees. This was an optional excursion as part of our safari, and not everyone chose to go. If you’re part of a group and choose not to go, you’ll be treated to a morning game drive (or you can sleep in!). Sunworld Safari organized our hot air balloon ride with Mara Ballooning!
Is a hot air balloon ride in the Masai Mara worth it?
YES !!!! Sorry, am I a little too excited? Yes probably, but if I ever go back to Kenya I would pay to do it again. There are more details below about our experience.
How is the hot air balloon landing?
Surprisingly, more people ask about landing than taking off. Still, both went off without a hitch. I have a terrible fear of heights and was trying to keep my breath under control for both aspects of the experience.
How is a hot air balloon ride in Kenya?
On the day of the hot air balloon safari, we start early. The camp staff woke us up at 4am with coffee, tea and snacks to last us until breakfast. Armed guards escorted us to our jeep (remember you are always close to wildlife in Africa – hippos and buffalo often eat and sleep nearby). The 35 minute ride was in total darkness. I who get lost in my hometown, I couldn’t understand how our driver knew where to turn in the dark!
We came to an open field with a number of other jeeps. Our driver informed us that the wind was favorable and that we would have plenty of opportunities for photography and wildlife viewing!
I get dizzy, so when we were in the basket, I kept my head down and took a deep breath. I was nervous when the ball took off – worried it would be rough, bouncy or fast – I didn’t know what to expect! Honestly, I couldn’t even tell when we left the ground.
Once in the air, the hot air balloon ride was incredibly smooth. It’s quickly become my favorite form of game drive and I wish more of our game drives were in a balloon (and I could afford it).
One of the benefits of a hot air balloon ride in the Masai Mara is the beauty of the wildlife. Not only are you greeted by a beautiful sunrise, but also by millions of wildebeest, herds of giraffes and zebras. We were lucky enough to see a few hyenas and a pride of lions.
The hot air balloon flight lasts approximately sixty minutes before landing at a designated spot in the Masai Mara National Reserve. We were welcomed by the staff for a champagne breakfast – which remains my favorite breakfast of all time! The Masai Mara has got to be the coolest breakfast spot in the world. Not only were we served a delicious breakfast, but there was also a temporary bathroom installed – the Loo with a view! Where else can you go to the bathroom while watching wild zebras?