Flying in a hot air balloon in Kenya

by Wendy Smith

Living and working in south africa for 40 years and having visited most of the state game parks and private game parks, and working in a few, I also am a hot-air balloonist! Though I am now living in England I do go back to SA whenever possible.

I have not yet visited Kenya nor have I had a balloon trip there but, am going to Kenya in 2011 to do so. Having just read all the items above it seems to me that the people most concerned are the ones that have never travelled to Africa but only listened to others, perhaps the other people have not travelled there either?

I founded a hot air balloon company with a friend, who now completely owns it. Balloons only use their liquid propane burners for short bursts of seconds. So much gas has to be loaded according to how many passengers plus their actual weight. The pilot does not waste gas by burning it at frequent intervals. Once aloft if there is a prevailing wind, the balloon will 'cruise' but if the pilot descends and then ascends again, then the burner is used, which obviously makes a noise.

I cannot conceive of anyone actually condemning something they have never experienced. I am fully aware of the technology of ballooning, as are the pilots, and no-one in their right minds will make unnecessary trips upwards and downwards if the flight is only an hour.

I could say a lot more but, as the Webmaster has so succintly put it, the economics for Kenya is based on tourism and so the life cycle goes on. Hoorah for the pilots who give people an overview of the great rift valley and well done to the game wardens who look after the animals.

My travel tip is to be completely silent when aloft and listen to what is underneath you. You will hear all manner of noises that you would never hear if chatting merrily away.

By an avid conservationist!

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Flying a hot air balloon in Kenya
by: AMO

Wendy, thank you for your comments on Hot Air Ballooning in Kenya. We look forward to seeing you in Masai Mara 2011. Be sure to let us know when you plan on arriving, we'll see if we can give you a proper pilot's welcome.
Karibu Sana!

hot-air ballooning in Kenya
by: wendy smith

Hi Archie

Many thanks for your reply re: H-A Ballooning
I will certainly write again once I have been to Kenya. I trust you have an opportunity to go flying in a balloon soon. It is a most gratifying exerience.

sincerely WS

Other areas for hot-air ballooning
by: wendy smith


Apropos my earlier comments on hot-air ballooning in Kenya, there are plenty of other areas in Southern Africa.

Take a trip to South Africa, fly over the Magaliesberg Mountain Range, watch the setting sun over the mountains. There are various balloon options from Gauteng, the Cape and along the eastern seaboard. There are also 5-day package tours across via the Drakensberg Mountans, which splits Gauteng from KwaZulu/Natal, setting down at different farms each evening, travelling aloft the next day until one eventually gets to KwaZulu/Natal. The scenery is spectacular.

For those who prefer not to travel over animals this could be an option!

Try Harrop's Balloon Safaris, I am sure they have a website.

by: Anonymous


Thankyou so much for your mail and your explicit description of the joys of ballooning in Africa.
I have to admit that this is not something I have tried and your explanation of the technicalities involved [gas v weight ratio] is comforting.

I am not quite sure which mails you have been reading regarding negative or ill informed responses but I just want to assure you that each of the moderators and of course our succinct WebMaster have all a personal interest in Kenya and its future. Each one of the team are involved either in business, projects, and NGO's in Kenya. In fact Cassandra is there now with a team of volunteers from the USA teaching the finer arts of sign language.

I would be the first to say we are not experts in all things Kenyan past and present but we try out best.

You have much experience in ballooning and I do hope that your trip in 2011 will be good. Please keep in touch with this website and let all of the subscribers know your experiences.



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