I was asked by Round the World Experts about my incredible hot air balloon flight over the Magaliesberg area:
‘We gather before dawn, hot coffee in hand huddled around an open fire to ward off the chill, watching as the vehicles arrive to offload their precious cargo. The team acts without words, each knowing exactly what to do. Stretching out the patchwork orange onto the lawn, connecting rope to basket, preparing gas for flame as our excitement builds. It’s a first for me, a long-standing dream come true. I’m about to take flight in a hot air balloon.
The very notion of hot air ballooning smacks of romance, of a bygone era. Spanning over centuries it includes many firsts, the first human flight, and first crossing of the English Channel, first flight in North America, and is actually considered the safest aviation sport in history.
In South Africa it was the legendary Bill Harrop who brought us Balloon Safaris. Bill started his company in 1981, a pioneer that was soon to be followed by others, something that prompted him to change his company’s name to Bill Harrop’s ‘Original’ Balloon Safaris in 1992. Working out of the Skeerpoort Country Base in the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage site near Hartebeesport Dam, we are gathered near the Clubhouse Pavilion watching pilots and crew ready the three balloons on the flood lit field.
Held at a precise and perfect angle, the flame loudly propels hot air into the void, causing the balloon to expand and lift. Slowly you see it rise, take pride of place and stretch far and ever wider into the sky.Once ready, the pilot invites us to climb aboard and offers a short briefing. Then with regular bursts of hot air that left my face glowing from the heat, we lift off…’
Read the full story and get some practical ballooning advise here. And whatever you do, put hot air ballooning on your experience wish list. I travelled with South African Tourism and #MeetSouthAfrica.
Here is the video I took whilst up there.