Hot Air Baloon
Our ballooning adventure begins early in the morning when you leave your camp or lodge to get to the meeting point at the Kasenyi gate of Queen Elizabeth NP for 5:30am. This early drive in the dark is a chance to see nocturnal animals that live in and around the park. On arrival to the Kasenyi gate, you will follow the ground crew to the site that has been chosen for lift off. The specific location changes daily based on current wind and weather conditions.
When you arrive at the take off point, you will meet your pilot and be given a safety briefing and instructions for boarding the balloon as well as landing procedures. As the ground crew unpack the balloon, passengers can sip on a steaming cup of coffee or tea and watch the cold inflation of the balloon. This is done using two large petrol powered fans that fill the balloon with cold air.
Once the balloon is mostly inflated but still lying on its side, the ground, the crew will invite you inside the balloon. It is overwhelming how large it is. The 16 passenger balloon has a capacity of 300,000 cubic feet. Inside, you will learn about the ropes that are used by the pilot to control the balloon Toast upon landing during flight. When the balloon is mostly inflated with cold air, the pilot enters the basket while it is still lying its side and begins to further inflate the balloon with hot air. With the addition of the hot air, the balloon slowly begins to rise in the air and uprights itself. When the balloon is completely vertical, it is time for passengers to climb into the basket and prepare for lift off.
For approximately an hour, you will float over the savannah of Queen Elizabeth NP. The pilot will fly at varying altitudes during your flight to give you different perspectives, taking advantage of the wind currents at the varying altitudes. No two flights are the same ensuring that your experience is truly unique. The flight gives passengers great photo opportunities that are different from an ordinary safari on the ground. As you gently drift over the park, you can watch the sun rise as savannah below come to life with birds and animals.
After landing, in keeping with an old ballooning tradition, the pilot and passengers celebrate the flight with a glass of sparkling wine. After the toast, passengers sit down to a delectable bush breakfast prepared by Mweya Safari Lodge. The bush breakfast makes for a memorable ending to your ballooning adventure in Queen Elizabeth NP