“Good morning” tap tap tap. “Good morning” tap tap tap.
It’s 5am and I wake up to the softest, kindest “good morning” followed by three taps against my canvas tent as I wake up this morning in the Masai Mara. I open the door flap and am greeted by a warm smile from one of the camp staff, along with a pot of bold Kenyan coffee and a cookie.
If I ever have to wake up at such a ridiculous hour, it should always involve coffee and cookies.
I’m not even annoyed by being up so early, because I’ve been looking forward to this moment for months.
Today, I’m going on a hot air balloon ride over the Masai Mara, which is a must-do activity on any African safari!
Hot air balloon safaris are requisite adventures for two main reasons:
Obviously, you will see Africa from a totally different perspective. From this height, you’ll watch the sun rise over the savannah, slightly diffused by the early morning fog. You’ll see exactly how the Masai River meanders and weaves across the plains, creating the perfect homes for hippos and crocodiles. You’ll skim the acacia trees and look down to see dozens of giraffes crazing on the spiny branches.
Secondly, the balloons are nearly silent, so you won’t distract the wildlife below. Oftentimes, the sound of a safari vehicle will scare off some of the more skittish animals, but not in a balloon. You’ll be a silent witness to some phenomenal scenery, as it was meant to be experienced.
After getting my caffeine fix, I head to the main lodge to meet the others in my group. We take a short walk to a clearing where there is a balloon on its side, being filled with hot air. After a few minutes, we hop into the basket and take to the skies!
The views from even just a hundred or so feet up are amazing. There’s a bit of fog drifting over the river, providing for some dramatic travel photography. We glide over a family of giraffes, who look up at us, probably quite confused.
After a few minutes of some lower-level flying, we ascend higher, to close to a thousand feet, to get a wider perspective of the African savannah. From up here, the wildlife becomes harder to spot, but you can still see herds of elephants walking in-line or a ton of buffalo and wildebeest.
But from high above, you can really get a sense of the scale of the Masai Mara. This place is expansive! Take a moment to simply take it all in and appreciate nature, imagining the area unchanged over the eons, and similar to the way it was when humans first started roaming the planet.
After a little over an hour floating above the earth, we begin our descent back into the grassy savannah, where we land and tip on our side (totally normal!).
To our surprise and delight, our incredible team of guides and lodge staff is waiting for us with mimosas to toast a good morning!
I’ll cheers to that!
After a few more photo opportunities and a glass (or three) of champagne, we jump in the safari vehicles that are waiting for us and head back.
As I get back to my tent, I look forward to a hearty breakfast at the lodge, followed by a refreshing shower and a bit of reading on my front porch.
What an amazing morning.
During the heat of the day, most of the wildlife is pretty inactive and seeking shade in their favorite hiding spots, so I take their cue and have lunch under a tree, followed by a relaxing day by the pool, reading, napping, and enjoying a few more beverages.
Every day needs to be like this. Seriously.
Are you tempted to take a hot air balloon safari and enjoy a mimosa in the African plains? You can make this happen! I want to help you make this a reality. Call or email me and let’s chat.
Because you know we have a lot to discuss, my friend!