An excellent way to see wildlife and experience the expanse of the reserve

See Africa’s wild animals up close as you drift quietly over the African savanna. Good opportunities for photographing herds of elephants, wildebeest, and many others.

It’s a fabulous way to survey wildlife, and it beats bumping along in a land rover any day. For one thing, it’s peaceful – apart from the occasional blasts of hot air – and for another, you have a fantastic panoramic view of the Masai Mara unfolding beneath you.

Kenya – The Balloon Takes Off

You have to rise early, around 4 a.m, to meet up with your very own Phileas Fogg. You’ll probably find your hot air balloon being held down by half a dozen Masai. You climb into the basket, Phileas turns knobs and twiddles with other bits and pieces; and a blast of hot air shoots up and swells the balloon into a brilliant colorful canopy over your head. A few more shots and the letting go of guy ropes, and the balloon rises softly and swiftly over the leaders of the startled animals below.

Kenya – The Masai People

The situation of the Masai people concerning the Masai Mara arouses controversy. There is no doubt that the onset of tourism has forever changed their traditional way of life, but the Masai tribe owns the Mara. She is run by the Narok County Council, which is mainly Masai elected counselors, and they share in the financial benefits from tourism income.

It is the most popular of Kenya’s game parks. Almost every animal species in East Africa lives on this tremendous grassy savannah in one of the country’s most remote parts. The place is teeming with herbivores, about 2.5 million of them, as well as a large number of lions, leopards, cheetah, and the ubiquitous jackal.

Kenya – Masai Mara – Close to the Animals

The maximum height for a balloon safari is about two thousand feet which is great for all-round views of the landscape. A closer inspection of the animals can descend as low as one foot, near enough to zebras, giraffes, and a small herd of elephants for excellent photo opportunities.

Drifting silently above this unspoiled, natural kingdom is somewhat surreal. A hot air balloon gets you to places other means of transport cannot reach, and often a balloon safari is included as part of a broader safari trip. Many companies who offer all-in safari trips will organize trips to suit individual requirements. Whatever you choose – don’t miss out on the balloon trip.


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