What a treat to float with the clouds as one of your morning duties… Vumbura Plains managers recently tested the guest hot-air balloon experience to ensure it delivers on our promise to valued guests.
Testing the system involves an early morning start, and lots of warm gear as mid-winter is sharing her dark side. Much excitement as we hit the road over fresh lion tracks, still steaming. “How long will it take us to get there?” asks Laura, with enthusiasm.
It seems like minutes (but we know it’s an hour), and we see the lights of the balloon crew setting up. Steamy coffee is waiting with a bubbly balloon crew going about their morning duties. Mervin the captain introduces himself and sets about lighting the burners which offer a welcome relief from an otherwise frosty morning.
Interesting winter clouds spread across the sky, so we set off without hesitation to watch the sun rise from a hundred feet up. As the shadow below us disappears in the warm sun’s rays, it’s like magic as animals appear from out of the dark. “There’s elephant… and a kudu,” shouts Laura as she explains that kudu are her favourite antelope. Next we see a herd of sable antelope in all their glory and a hundred more elephant shortly thereafter. All of this while trying to take in the most spectacular sunrise one could wish for.
Giraffe, buffalo, honey badger, lechwe and zebra make up the species for the morning and we’re all very content. What a surreal experience, seeing Africa’s finest from above in the tranquil setting of the balloon, definitely a perspective on safari that one normally wouldn’t expect.
Written and Photographed by Deon de Villiers. This article has been reposted in partnership with Wilderness Safaris.
Want to ascend the sky and see the sprawling savannah below? Contact us and we’ll make it happen.