Hot Air Ballooning
"Balloonists can dawdle, lollygag, cast their fate to the wind and become part of the ebb and flow of nature.
In that silent realm, far from the mischief and toil of society, all one hears is the urgent breathing of the wind and, now and then, an inspiring gasp of hot air." — Diane Ackerman
Every morning, at sunrise,our balloons
depart from launch sites in the Hoedspruit.
aboard for an experience of a lifetime.
Flights are conducted throughout the year, with mid-summer sunrise at 05h00 and mid-winter sunrise at 06:30. We meet 20 minutes before sunrise at the respective launch sites.
Experience the magic of lighter-than-air flight near the foot
of the Drakensberg Escarpment. We offer one-hour long flights over the
scenic, Lowveld section of the Blyde River, 15 km West of
Hoedspruit.The terrain is a mixture of farmland, private nature
reserves and wildlife estates. The mountains to the South and West
provide shelter from the prevailing winds, thereby affording us good
flying weather on most days.As the sun rises, the landscape, the
vegetation and, if you're
lucky, some wildlife will provide photo opportunities. Game
spotting cannot be guaranteed but on most flights we see plains game
like giraffe and wildebeest.
Our pilots and crew will ensure a safe, enjoyable and informative adventure that will be one of the highlights of your visit to the Kruger to Canyons Biosphere. After the flight, guests making use of transfers will be returned to their respective lodges
What to expect:
We meet before sunrise and coffee is served while you watch your eight-storey high balloon being inflated and prepared for flight. After a safety briefing you should be airborne in time to witness the sunrise. The height above ground will vary between skimming the tree-tops to as high as 2 000 feet as the pilot changes altitude in search of favourable wind directions and speeds.
The flight duration is about an hour and towards the end of the flight the pilot will select a suitable landing site. The landing is an exciting event because the basket meets the earth at whatever speed the surface wind is at the time. Light airs allow the softest of landings while fresh breezes necessitate a "positive" landing so that the basket can serve as an anchor to slow the envelope down. If not already at the landing site, the ground crew will soon arrive to deflate and pack the balloon while passengers enjoy fruit juice and sparkling wine.
Who can participate?
Passengers must be fit enough to stand unassisted for an hour and must also be able to climb in and out of the basket. Youngsters are welcome but should be at least 1.2m (4 foot) tall, so that they can see over the rim of the basket. Regrettably, pregnant persons may not participate in a balloon flight..
What to wear and bring along:
Though Winter dawns can be nippy, once you're up in the
basket, it will be surprisingly warm.
Warm clothes will be useful during pre-flight. Cameras and binoculars can be brought along.
Staff and equipment
Your pilot is, of course, fully qualified and is also an expert in environmental interpretation. We fly a Kavanagh 210 that carries pilot plus 8-10 passengers, a Thunder & Colt 180 that carries pilot plus 6 passengers and a Kavanagh 120 that carries pilot plus 4 passengers..
How to get to the launch site
Self-drive guests are welcome and we provide detailed directions to meeting points. Safe parking will be provided for your vehicle, and you will be brought back to your vehicle after the flight. Some of the lodges in the Hoedspruit area provide transfers and we also make use of reputable transfer companies. Transfers come at an extra cost and the amount obviously depends on distance and number of guests. Please consult our tariff sheet , or even better, email or phone us for an up-to-date quotation..