Now if you remember previously I had on my bucket list: To go up in a hot air balloon, which had still not been ticked off.
It was like when you go on a safari and the lions are so far that you need your snazzy compact binoculars to see them, then you tick off that you have seen the lions – not for me though! Seeing the lions as a tick off my list is only when the lions are no further than 20 meters. Anything further than that is not counted as a sighting to 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 was the day and I was half excited and half stressed; if this is THE DAY that we 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 arrived very early before sunrise to enjoy fresh coffee and muffins at Bill Harrop’s Original Balloon Safari https://balloon.co.za We watched with anticipation as they filled the balloons with the propane gas, at the same time very much aware of any wind. Is there wind was the question? A slight breeze we did want, but at the same time gale force winds is a definite no no!
After the safety briefing we did the long walk to the baskets which were waiting for us on the grass. The morning sun had arrived promising us a good day, we accepted this promise. We took a few photos of the multi-colour rainbow balloon and stepped into the basket.
We waited and waited, and then finally we slowly started to rise and lift up. I was still at this stage not sure if we going to go all the way up, or if this was another teaser and we going to come back down again. We could see the clubhouse starting to get smaller as we got higher. We were all in the basket when suddenly excited began and cameras started clicking away, finally we are up in the air. Our hot air balloon adventure had begun.
We gently floated in the warm blue sky with the morning sun on our backs. The views in front of us started changing as we got glimpses of open lands and blue grey mountains. The balloon and basket was painted below as shadows on the ground and it gently moved with us, like a painter doing strokes. We didn’t feel any wind to cool us down as we were hot from excitement, as we stealthy rose to the sun.
High high and up we continued to go. We glided sideways and allowed the slight wind to navigate us as the scenery below kept changing from mountains to farmlands. The only sound that broke the silence was the occasional blast from the powerful burners that kept us up in the air.
After an enjoyable time in the air, we were gently steered for landing. Finally we dropped slowly down and came 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! We sipped the bubbly while the men were working, 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: Hot Air Balloon experience 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 could 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 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 truly 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 and a spare memory card for those photos!
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. If you planning to be in the Johannesburg area do book with Bill Harrops “Original” Balloon Safaris!!
Happy ballooning folks!