Visitors to the Maasai Mara can experience the rare excitement of game viewing from a hot air balloon. In the crisp air of dawn, the passengers drink coffee while the crew partially inflates the balloon with enormous fans. The gas burners are then ignited and the balloon fills with hot air slowly raising the baskets. Before departing, finalized checks are made, and the passengers then climb into the balloon basket for a takeoff…
The balloons lift off just before sunrise when the breeze on the plains is still cold. Once airborne, the balloons are blown by the prevailing winds across the broad landscape. Apart from the hiss of the burners, the flight above the Masai Mara plains is magically silent. The pilot controls the height of the craft by regulating the flow of hot air into the balloon. Sometimes the balloon will descend over the plains for a closeup view of the wildlife; on other occasions, it rises to clear a tree canopy and rise over the riverine forest.
Excellent photographic opportunities, champagne breakfast, and superb game viewing opportunities.
Recommended duration of stay: minimum 3 nights stay at you’re chosen camp or lodge in the Masai Mara
The hot-air balloon safari is available with
- An hour’s balloon flight
- Services of an experienced guide
- Return transport from the camp
- Game drive after the flight
- Special champagne breakfast
- Balloon safari certificate to commemorate the special flight
Rates: Balloon rates start from as low as US$450 per person.
Below are balloon Companies operating in Mara.
1. Hot Air Safaris
They offer balloon flights in Kenya’s Masai Mara National Reserve. The Mara is the northernmost part of the spectacular Serengeti-Mara ecosystem, home to the “Great Migration” and scores of other wildlife, including lions, cheetahs, elephants, rhinos, hippos, and crocodiles.
2. Skyship Company :
Located on the western bank of the Mara River, our camp is only a 10-minute drive from Kichwa Tembo, Bateleur, and Olonana Tented Camps, and a 15-minute drive from Oloololo Gate (the North West Gate of the Masai Mara Reserve). We have 3 balloons – a Lindstrand 210 that holds an exclusive 8 passengers, and 2 Lindstrand 400’s, which hold up to 18 passengers each.
Our balloons come to us directly from the Lindstrand factory, fitted with comfortable seats for our passengers. They are also specifically manufactured for use in the Masai Mara.
Camps & Lodges Skyship Pick Up From
CAMP/LOGDE PICK UP TIME DROP OFF TIME
Kichwa Tembo- 5.30 am between 9.30 & 10.30 am
Bateleur Camp – 5.30am between 9.30 & 10.30 am
Olonana- 5.30am between 9.30 & 10.30 am
Karen Blixen -(Minimum 2 pax) 4.45am Between 9.30 & 10.30 am
Mpata Safari Club- 4.45am Between 9.30 & 10.30 am
Mara Siria – 5.15am Between 9.30 & 10.30 am
Mara Timbo – (Minimum 2 pax) 5.00am Between 9.30 & 10.30 am
Kicheche Camp – (Minimum 2 pax) 4.45am between 9.30 & 10.30 am
Kilima Camp – 5.15 am between 9.30 & 10.30 am
Mara Crossings (Self-transfer)
Cheetah Tented Camp 4.30am between 9.30 & 10.30 am
Mara West 5.00 am between 9.30 & 10.30 am
Serian Camp(Min 2 Pax) 5.15 am between 9.30 & 10.30 am
Richard’s Camp 4.00 am Between 9.30 & 10.30 am
Elephant Pepper Camp – (Minimum 2 Pax) 4.30 am between 9.30 & 10.30 am
Mara River Lodge – (David Livingstone)
(Minimum 2 Pax) 4.30 am between 9.30 & 10.30 am
Royal Mara – (Minimum 2 Pax) 4.30 am between 9.30 & 10.30 am
Fairmont Mara Safari Club- (Minimum 4 Pax) 4.30 am between 9.30 & 10.30 am
Mara Enkipai Camp – 5.00 am between 9.30 & 10.30 am
Exploreans Mara Rianta Camp- (Minimum 2 Pax) 5.00 am between 9.30 & 10.30 am
Ngerende Island Camp -4.00 am between 9.30 & 10.30 am
Losokwan Camp(Minimum 4 Pax) – 4.00 am between 9.30 & 10.30 am
Enkerende Camp- (Minimum 4 Pax) 4.00 am between 9.30 & 10.30 am
Mara Sun Lodge- (Minimum 4 Pax) 4.00 am between 9.30 & 10.30 am
Salt Springs Mara Camp- 5.00 am between 9.30 & 10.30 am
Mara River Camp – 5.15 am between 9.30 & 10.30 am
Acaluma Camp- (Minimum 4 Pax) 4.30 am between 9.30 & 10.30 am
Mahali Mzuri Camp – (Minimum 2 Pax) 4.00 am between 9.30 & 10.30 am
Mara Engai Wilderness Lodge – (Minimum 4 Pax) 4.00 am between 9.30 & 10.30 am
Mara Nubian Camp- (Minimum 4 Pax) 4.00 am between 9.30 & 10.30 am
Mara Serena Safari Lodge – (Minimum 2 Pax) 4.45 am between 9.30 & 10.30 am
Little Governors Camp -5.15 am between 9.30 & 10.30 am
Mara Wildebeest Lodge- (Minimum 2 Pax) 4.15 am between 9.30 & 10.30 am
Offbeat Mara- (Minimum 2 Pax) 4.00 am between 9.30 & 10.30 am
Kandili Camp -(Minimum 2 Pax) 4.30 am between 9.30 & 10.30 am
Duma Camp – (Minimum 2 Pax) 4.30 am between 9.30 & 10.30 am
Angama – (Minimum 2 Pax) 5.00 am between 9.30 & 10.30 am
Asilia Mara – 4.00 am between 9.30 & 10.30 am
Saruni Camp – 4.00 am between 9.30 & 10.30 am
Saruni in the Wild – 4.45 am between 9.30 & 10.30 am
Ngerende in the Wild-(Riverview/ Lakeview) (Minimum 2 Pax) 4.45am between 9.30 & 10.30 am
Please note that pick up times indicated serve as a guideline and may vary slightly depending on weather/ road conditions. Please reconfirm minimum pax requirements when making your bookings.
3. Governors Balloon Safaris :
Their Balloon flights begin from a natural launch site just behind Little Governors Camp in the Masai Mara. The prevailing winds in our area normally carry us from Little Governors Camp over the riverine forest that surrounds and follows the Mara River and then out and across the Eluai Plains towards the Olololoo Escarpment on the Western boundary of the Masai Mara. Landing normally takes place on the Eluai Plain having flown down some of the most spectacular bends in the Mara River, from where we whisk you away to your freshly prepared bush breakfast.
4. Balloon Safaris Ltd :
Balloon safaris are a romantic and evocative way of experiencing the wilderness of East Africa, as you gracefully and silently fly over the plains teeming with herds of wildlife in the early morning. Typically, a Hot Air balloon safari begins at the break of dawn, about 6 am, and lasts for around 1 hour, during which you will fly over parts of the vast Masai Mara plain, seeing the magnificent wildlife below, spread over several square kilometers of the reserve.
Balloon flights are available daily in Maasai Mara and take off from designated sites where the disturbance to animals is kept to a minimum. Your safari vehicle drops you off at the take-off site and picks you up from your landing site. The flight is followed by a champagne breakfast “in the bush”, with a well laid out seating arrangement and waiters on hand, to give you a fitting finale to your memorable flight in the wild.
You will have to rise early, usually before dawn around 4 – 5 am to be taken from your camp to the ballooning start point. On getting there you can enjoy a cup of tea or coffee while you watch as the balloon is inflated. When they are ready you clamber into the basket and your pilot will give you a short briefing. Then, as the sun rises, so does your balloon. The direction you take will depend on the wind and you may float over forest, plains or rivers. Your pilot will point out the game below and there are ample opportunities for photography. One of the best things about ballooning is that’s silent apart from the occasional noise from the balloon’s burners. After around an hour you will land on the plains, possibly with a bump and certainly ready for breakfast.
Once you’ve landed a breakfast will be set up and served for you in the middle of the park. You can enjoy a glass of champagne whilst the table is laid and sausages cooked for you. Sitting on a camp stool, tucking into breakfast and watching the birds soar overhead is a magical experience. After breakfast, you climb into your safari vehicle and enjoy a game drive back to camp.
0500 hours – a Wakeup call
0530 hours – Pick up and transfer to the launch site
0600 hours – Passengers arrive at the balloon launch site.
0615 hours – Balloon lift-off for a flight of about one hour
On landing, passengers are provided with a delicious champagne-style bush breakfast. Flight Certificates are issued by the flight captain. Passengers return to their lodges or camps by about 1000 hours with a short game drive en-route.
END OF SERVICE