Having explored the Maasai Mara by 4×4 – we took off into the air to experience the scene from above. It was a magical experience a with a stunning sunrise, plenty of animals seen from a different angle and and abrupt end with a crash landing and a delicious breakfast on the Mara plains.
We went with Governor’s Balloon Safaris who were great. The ever friendly Jackson woke us at 4:30am with a quick fresh coffee before we headed out into the darkness. After a short jeep ride we boarded a tiny boat and were pulled across the Mara river by ropes. Since it was all still very dark and we knew hippos and crocs were not far away – this was somewhat unnerving but added to the thrill! By the time our balloon was filled with air, we were ready to watch the sunrise from 500 feet up.
We followed the course of the Maasai river. Our navigator often flew within a few feet of the ground except over rivers because of his previous experiences with jumping crocodiles!
We we warned the landing would not be a soft one! Our navigator aimed (as best as one can aim a balloon) for a patch of grass and we braced for landing. As we hit the ground, the basket flipped on to its side and we were backwards through the Maasai plains and random termite hills. This inelegant finish to graceful balloon trip did nothing to diminish the appetite for a wonderful cooked breakfast held in the open plains, sharing stories and making friends.