One of my bucket list items was to go up in a hot air balloon – every time I saw one or saw pictures I would imagine the romance of mysteriously being taken up the air in a basket and just floating about peacefully. The bright beautiful colours of the balloon were beckoning me to jump in, with a touch of Mary Poppins.
This was my very first time and I was so excited, finally I was going to go up up up and away……
We arrived early and enjoyed our fresh filtered coffee with freshly baked muffins and biscuits. We watched as they spread the impressive balloon out on the grass and got it ready. The bright colour balloons finally opened up as they got filled with lots of hot air so the sails could expand and show off their multicolour shades. The colours of the balloon came to life with the glow of the morning sun. We took photos from all angles and silently smiled to ourselves full of excitement, not allowing anyone to notice our childish glee as if it were our birthday party. We were all so excited at the thought of being up in the air at about 1.5km above the ground, floating while sipping champagne.
We finally were allowed to come close to the massive hot air balloon with red hot flames burning from the gas burners to take us up. We each took a turn climbing in the basket, not very gracefully I might add. More like on the run and jumping over a wall, with bums in the air. We all stood and took pictures and waited for the hot air balloon to take us up and away, and we waited and waited and waited. Every now and then the silence was punctuated by the blast of the gas burners trying to get us to lift and take off. We finally managed to go up a few centimeters into the air with a jolt and then got told there was no wind and we had to get out. The hot air balloon journey was cancelled.
We could not believe it? The percentage of the balloon safari going up and taking place was 97% and 3% not because of wind, and this was the very day! We all walked to the Edwardian-style clubhouse where a freshly prepared hot breakfast was waiting for us, but somehow we had lost our appetites.
Now I never knew when I would get the opportunity again to go in a hot air balloon as I was leaving Johannesburg and all I got was a lot of hot air. My bucket list is still to go up, yes up and away in a hot air balloon, to glide across in slow motion and far above trees looking down on the world below.
Tips if you book and do go up:
Take a warm jacket for the morning, and in case it gets chilly up there – my guess it could
Make sure you have lots of battery life on your camera and spare card, selfie sticks a must