I started planning for a Bucket List Birthday for Rob-Roy to take place at the end of June over his birthday weekend.
We spent a relaxing evening at the beautiful Kloofzicht Lodge & Spa. The next morning we rose before the birds and headed off to experience a hot air balloon flight with AirVentures Hot Air Ballooning! Typically hot air ballooning takes place in the early hours of the morning just before sunrise – it was freezing cold, but the exhilaration of a new and somewhat unexpected experience lingers, so but we did not mind. The darkness of the early morning added to the mystery of this new and till now unknown experience. As we walked down to the launch site, we found our pilot Adam Fullmore already in the basket, puffing flames into the balloon – and saw how the balloon slowly became inflated. With lips blue and noses pinched we sipping away on steaming hot coffee, wrapped in warm jackets and beanies we watched in amazement at how this balloon popped up into a massive colourful balloon and the basket below dangling like a small trinket
We clambered aboard, grinning broadly in the dawn chill. The sun was not up yet but shades of pink light were fingering their way into the sky. Adam gave us a safety briefing to prepare us for the landing to which we listened intently to what he was saying.
A few bursts of flame in into the basket and without fanfare we were up and off the ground. Take off was gentle and exhilarating all at once! This is where the true adventure of the experience begins! It was like being in a dream, gazing at the gorgeous and colourful landscape textures and the animal life below, just enough so as not to be intrusive. I don’t know what I expected, but it was a bonus, watching the sun come up, as you tranquilly lift into the air. A unique experience like this is priceless. Our balloon took us and our passengers over residential plots and open areas of the Cradle of Humankind (a World Heritage Site), Kloofzicht Lodge & Spa, over the mountain to Glenburn Lodge and Spa and of course we experienced a gorgeous sunrise in the sky on the dawning of Rob-Roy’s birthday!
The sensation of motion is barely there, as we watched in joy at the bright red, orange, yellow, pink and lavender coloured light romped among the clouds as the sun came up. This gave my experience just that little extra sense of wonder. I was surprised by how quiet a hot air balloon is – except, of course, when the propane burners are fired up, filling the balloon with hot air. Way up high, floating above the world, I felt like a bird – and just like a bird I as able to spot the movement of wildlife below – some antelope grazing and casting long skinny shadows in the early morning sun. Then to our amazement, so tiny that he was almost overlooked – we saw a jackal trotting off on the lookout for breakfast. As we drifted over, the beautiful country side with fields planted with crops and streams and creeks to experience both the origins of flight and the origins of Humankind, cradled in the unbridled luxury afforded by Kloofzicht Lodge.
The experience of free flight is truly amazing. Panoramic views of the rich tapestry that is our landscape below, uninterrupted and unique with each and every flight. This is one of the oldest forms of flight known to man, hot air ballooning brings with the many tailored packages on offer, a certain kind of magic. I should know, having experienced a small piece of the Cradle in just this way. It’s no maybe…. this magical experience will most certainly be experienced again in my lifetime!
As we came in we could see the ground crew gathering to catch and anchor us after our textbook landing. Once the balloon was secured we scrambled out. As the crew began to re-pack we got into the waiting vehicle for the trip back to Kloofzicht Lodge for a scrumptious warm breakfast
This experience was worth every cent, so beg, borrow or steel thee money somehow as this will buy you a memory to last you a lifetime, one you will replay over and over again for years to come
So whether you want to celebrate a special occasion, pop the question, or just take in the country side from a different angle; a hot air balloon ride can do no wrong. There’s really no experience quite like hot air ballooning; from the gradual take off and panoramic views to the tranquillity and calmness you feel while watching the world come to light. And the hot air balloon pictures you can take? Priceless! All this experience requests is that you be able to stand for at least an hour, as well as climb in and out of the basket unassisted. The rest is up to you to enjoy!
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