Hot-Air Balloon with Bush Champagne Breakfast in the Serengeti

41465079_273563239936090_8687081409296203776_nOur Safari Driver Daniel – Great Guy!

When you drive through the game preserves, they’re so huge it forever amazes me how our driver Daniel knew which way to go. As were looking for the animals it was Daniel who more likely than not was the first one to spot something moving in the Bush.

On more than one occasion when he stopped and we had our binoculars looking in the direction it would take us a few seconds to zero in on what he saw without using his binoculars. Don’t ever take sight-seeing directions from Jeanette. She would say” he’s over by that tree, and their would be 30 trees out there in that direction.

Photo: Jeanette, our driver Daniel, and myself with our Safari vehicle. We were together for 8 exciting days! never knew what the day would bring.

Watched elephants, zebras heading north.

Mother nature did a great job of giving these animals their camouflage coats. The lodges we stayed at had great view of the corridors (small valleys) that the animals passed thru following the rain, or heading to the river to get a drink seems like single file there and back. Watched elephants, zebras heading north. Just get a good pair of binoculars.

I think I spent about $150. for mine, Jeanette’s about $100. Wish I had spent more for more powerful ones.We both had smaller binoculars. I choose not to carry anything, chunky or heavy. My luggage is always under 20 lbs. Jeanette’s that’s another story.

41613757_1343139219156575_6727210325151580160_nControl Burns

Many places on the Serengeti had “control” burns or as best as they could. There are bumpy dirt roads throughout the game reserve. You “must” stay on these roads. The controlled fire “they hope” will burn up to the edge of the dirt road (fire break) and just go out.

Seems to work, sometimes not so much. This helps stimulate the germination of trees and plants for the new grass when the rains arrive.

Early morning balloon flight with champagne breakfast!

On our way to the balloon rendezvous, driving along a female lion steps out on the road. She turns around and goes back into the tall grass, our driver slows down and turns into the grass. There in front of us is a pride of about 4-5 females and some cubs, no male though. See females and cubs together at different times but no males.

Everyone is awake now. Still dark when we arrive in the open fields, some people have to use the bathroom. No toilets, guys go that way, girls over behind the vans.

41473080_2127122914172590_7053525872829005824_nStarting to fill up balloons!

Balloons will go up with 16 passenger aboard each balloon, plus the pilot and we had a trainee aboard. Were told that are some of the biggest balloons in the world and that they take into consideration some people aren’t completely honest when asked their weight. Got a good laugh out of that. He told us that they had 16 Maori Rugby players on board once, and their big. Weight is no problem.

41439666_237114496916402_8902889862219169792_n

Still dark, and we don’t just climb in. The basket is laid on its side and we get in and lay on our backs with our knees brought up to our chest. We also have a heavy-duty belt with a heavy duty clip that we attached to the basket. Your not leaving that basket , safety.

Photo: I’m seated right next to Cap. Johnathan, and I could feel the heat each time he turned on the burner.

Captain Jonathan has flown balloons all over the world. Got to say it was a great experience, even though we did see animals, not nearly what I thought we would see. Saw a lot of controlled burns, in our hour flight.

Spoke to other people who took flights in other parts of the park, and they didn’t see the migratory herds either, but the views were terrific. After the landing had a bush champagne breakfast, set up under a large Acacia tree. We all boarded the vehicles again and headed back to meet our own drivers. What a morning.

Photo: With Capt. Jonathan, invited us to come over and fly with him in Asia. Safe landing.

 

Setting up our Bush Champagne Breakfast. Looks like all we had for our breakfast was champagne, but they actually had a great meal planned for us.

XOXO – John & Jeanette

(Sent August 18, 2018)

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