Hot Air Ballooning over the Serengeti Plains
Our day starts with a 3:00 am wake-up call by our Maasai security guard, a quick shower, coffee and eagerly awaiting to hear if we have the green light. Hot air ballooning can only be experienced early in the morning and can only take place in stable weather, for this reason we can only find out at the last minute if the weather conditions are suitable for us to take off.
We head off into the darkness to our launching pad which is +- 90 minutes from our camp, the goal is to arrive on time for our security brief and to launch just as light breaks in order to catch the sunrise over the magnificent plains.
It is rainy season which adds to the challenge and slows our time even further, the heavy thunder showers have added to the adventure with flooded gravel roads making it more challenging and adding pressure to our time constraint. I am on day 7 of our trip and we have already been stuck in the mud and added two flat tires to the list of many adventures.
After a few wildlife sightings we arrive at the launch pad, we are met by a group of energized and excited staff who have hot chocolate, coffee, tea, muffins, croissants waiting for us.
After our safety briefing from our pilot we climb into the basket and prepare for take-off. The flight duration is one hour. As we take off and head upwards, I look across the plains I see the sun rising over the vast green plains of the Serengeti, I hear the sounds of hippos wading in the rivers, the call of the African Eagle (my favorite bird), a troop of monkeys already up to their antics fruiting from one tree to another, a cheetah walking between some thick grassland and then silence.
Even though I was suspended in a basket, a few hundred meters above the ground, I felt a sense of being grounded, being centered, being aligned and an expansion of gratitude emanating from my heart for the opportunity to experience this magnificent continent in so many ways and to be able to create unforgettable journeys for others to experience this too.
by Vicky Pappadopoulos