South Africa is one of the most naturally appealing places in the world. With so much to see, there is simply no better way to explore this wondrous beauty than with a bird's eye view from a hot air balloon.
Hot air balloons are the oldest successful human-carrying flight technology in the world. The first unconfined manned flight was carried out and accomplished on November 21st 1783 in France, with a hot air balloon made on December 14th 1782.
The many alluring aspects of hot air ballooning include extreme peacefulness and quiet, when the burners are not firing. Hot air ballooning also gives a feeling of 'no-movement' as you calmly drift through the air. And best of all, you get to enjoy an aerial view of your surroundings.
There are tons of well-established and experienced hot air balloon operators in Johannesburg who are happy to take you on this truly thrilling and amazing adventure, here are my top five choices:
Bill Harrop’s ‘Original’ Balloon Safaris
Operating within the Magaliesburg range, in the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site, this serene area boasts the perfect weather conditions for hot air ballooning. Bill Harrop's have been awarded with 5 aviation safety awards as all equipment is well maintained and all employees are professional, experienced and attentive. They are the longest established and licensed balloon airline in Southern Africa.
The regular rate is about R2000.00 per person and for a group of 24 people or more the rate is about R1800.00 per person. Special rates may be requested for seasonal promotions, frequent flyers and large groups. Rates include coffee and biscuits on arrival, a delicious breakfast, a 1 hour flight, celebratory glass of sparkling wine on landing and a citation for bravery.
For more information go to www.balloon.co.za.
AirVentures Hot Air Ballooning
This established company boasts 6 of South Africa's most experienced pilots. They have a 100% safety record and have received 6 tourism awards. Flights take place over The Cradle of Humankind, Magaliesburg and Dinokeng Big Five Game Reserve.
The group rate for 6 or more people is about R1900.00 per person for the classic flight and R2150.00 per person for the safari flight, which is launched from the Rhino and Lion nature reserve and boasts great game viewing and ample photographic opportunities. The 'African feel' is what makes this particular flight extra-special.
For more information go to www.air-ventures.co.za.
Cloud 9 Balloon Rides
These balloon rides are safe, professional and run by very experienced pilots who operate a fleet of 6 balloons. Visitors have the option of choosing from 3 different starting points, which are the Hartbeespoort Dam, Segwati Game Reserve or Kloofzicht Lodge. Flights take off just after sunrise and can accommodate up to 18 passengers, however more intimate flights are also offered. The cost for a 1 hour flight range from R1939.00 to R1470.00 per person.
For more information go to www.cloud9balloonrides.co.za.
South African Balloon Tours
All flights are 1 hour long and are launched within Hartbeespoort from the Eagle Waters Wildlife Resort. You will be served with pre-flight beverages, a delicious breakfast, champagne on landing and a flight certificate. Enquire about rates.
For more information go to www.saballoontours.co.za.
Air to Air Hot Air Balloon Operators
Operating from the Cradle of Humankind, this company was established in 1999 and has a 100% safety record. They always do their best to accommodate all visitors and have even assisted couples wishing to get married in mid-air.
Rates for single flights is about R1800.00 per person. For 24 people or more the cost is about R1700.00. Corporate flights are also offered.
For more information go to www.airtoairafrica.co.za.