Now if you remember I had on my bucket list experience to go up in a hot air balloon which had still not been ticked off.
It is like when you go on a safari and you see the lions so far that you need your snazzy compact binoculars to see them, and then you tick off that you have seen the lions – not for me though. Seeing the lions as a tick off my list is when the lions are the furthest 20 meters away. Anything further than that is not counted as a sighting for me. The same with the hot air balloon trip – getting into the basket and rising 15cm above ground level is not going on a balloon safari. So now this is the day and I am half excited and half stressed if this is going to go up in the air – excuse the pun. As my last experience was full of hot air http://www.wanderingwarthog.com/blog/2018/09/23/full-of-hot-air/
We arrive very early before sunrise to enjoy fresh coffee and muffins at Bill Harrop’s Original Balloon Safari https://balloon.co.za We watch with anticipation as they fill the balloons with the propane gas, at the same time very aware of the wind. Is there wind is the question? A slight breeze we don’t want, and at the same time gale force winds in a definite no no!
After the safety briefing we do the long walk to the baskets waiting for us on the grass. The morning sun has arrived and promises us a good day, we accept this promise. We take a few photos of the multi-coloured rainbow balloon and step into the basket.
We wait and wait, and then we finally slowly start rising and lifting up. I am still at this stage not sure if we going to go all the way up, or if this is a teaser and we going to come down again. We see the clubhouse starting to get smaller as we get higher. We are all in the basket and the cameras start clicking, finally we are up in the air. Our hot air balloon adventure has begun.
We gently float in the warm blue sky with the morning sun on our backs. The views in front of us start changing as we get glimpses of open lands and blue grey mountains. The balloon and basket is painted below us in shadows on the ground and moves with us. We don’t feel any wind and we are hot from excitement, we stealthy rising to the sun.
High high and up we continue to go. We glide sideways and allow the slight wind to navigate us as the scenery below us keeps changing from mountains to farmlands. The only sound that breaks the silence is the occasional blast from the powerful burners to keep us up in the air.
After an enjoyable time in the air, we were gently steered for landing. Finally we drop slowly down and come back to earth. The vehicle and trailer were waiting and we landed with one small bump onto the trailer. Now the trick was to get out the basket without falling out. Champagne was waiting for us and as we sipped the men were working and deflating the balloon and repacking it neatly.
We drove back to the Edwardian clubhouse in their vehicle where fresh coffee, juices and a wholesome breakfast was waiting for us. There was much excitement among us as we made new friends. Yes, now we could tick our bucket list of with Bill Harrop’s Original Balloon Safari. We were each presented with a Citation Certificate that we had flown and left feeling alive and refreshed with the sky under our belts.
Some tips from my side:
If you planning to do the hot air balloon choose the Safari one which glides over wild animals – imagine the photo images you will get!
If you wanting to pop the question of marriage to a loved one – this is the best way to do it – champagne in the air and no ways will the answer be no – it would be crazy to say no to such a proposal and idea! Unless you not a romantic.
If you stand nearer to the middle of the basket, it can get hot due to the gas blowers that occasionally fire up
If you are afraid of heights, there is truly nothing to worry about – the whole experience is so gentle and you are safe in your basket.
Don’t dress too warm as the burners in the basket makes it a bit hot, and as you float up the cold air stays below
And remember lots of batteries for those photos will be needed
Unless there is a large group booked you will not be able to get a photo of other balloons in the air.
Don’t take too much up as you will need to leave it on the basket floor and each time you need something, you will have to bend. There is not much space to move, so allow yourself to be free!
Enjoy and let us know if you ever do this experience. So if you in Johannesburg area do book with Bill Harrop’s Original Balloon Safaris!!
Happy ballooning folks!