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Hot Air Ballooning During the Wildebeest Migration
As the enormous candy-striped balloons take the shape of giant lollipops and start to rise from the ground, so does the sun rising from the back of the mountains, casting a golden glow on the landscape below. Balloon safaris typically launch just after dawn to take advantage of the beautiful light, cooler temperatures, and abundant animal activity that takes place as the sun rises. However, the direction taken by the balloon and the highlights you see depend entirely on the wind, although many things are in your pilot’s control, including the altitude of your balloon, which depends on what’s around you. Your pilot may fly at treetop height, sometimes lower, offering great photographic opportunities of the wildlife below, and at other times, the pilot will ascend to more than 1,000 feet to show you the enormity of the landscape.
Just imagine floating above endless plains, skimming treetops in complete silence, while seeing wildlife, including the Big Five (lion, elephant, leopard, rhino, and buffalo). Witnessing millions of wildebeests accompanied by zebras and impalas embarking on their journey from a bird’s-eye view is like floating in Dreamland, where every corner reveals new wonders and delights. The flight typically lasts about 45 minutes to 1 hour, drifting silently while soaring above herds of grazing animals, with the landscape of vast plains, rolling hills, and a beautiful African sunrise during the cool morning breeze gently caressing your skin as you take in the stunning view. Flying over in a hot air balloon is a charming experience that is hard to describe in words, for the beauty of the landscape unfolds before you like a living painting, and the endless horizon stretches out in all directions, making it a truly unforgettable experience that will leave you refreshed and inspired.
The great wildebeest migration is one of the most spectacular natural events on Earth, where over two million wildebeests, zebras, springy Thomson’s gazelles, and elegant impalas, as far as the eye can see from a hot air balloon, all mingle together in colorful herds as they travel across the plains between the months of June and October, from the southern Serengeti in Tanzania to Masai Mara in Kenya, in search of food and water, creating a remarkable sight that can feast your eyes. Being above all the animals and seeing the herds of wildebeests is truly an incredible experience, so without a doubt, the hot air balloon safari is one of the things that just have to be done in a lifetime because there is little that can match the aesthetic appeal of a huge colorful balloon rising like an airborne giant out of the pre-dawn darkness into the first rays of the sun, offering a unique aerial view of the migration from above.
During the migration, the herds cross rivers (Mara and Grumeti) and face predators, making it a truly thrilling and dramatic event to witness on your hot air balloon safari, where you can witness the overall experience of the awe-inspiring great migration up close. Vast herds may wait for days on the banks of the Mara river in fear of the raging current and lurking crocodiles. Eventually, their migratory instinct takes over, and they leap into the water from ridiculous heights. In desperate panic, many animals, including the young and weak calves, die in soupy mud, crocodile jaws, or the overpowering torrential current.
After the deadly river crossing, wildebeest carcasses are seen piled up on sandbanks, with vultures squabbling over the pickings. Across the river, carnivores like lions, hyenas, cheetahs, and leopards settle in a period of feasting as they hunt down and feed on the surviving wildebeests, impalas, Thomson’s gazelles, and zebras. After enjoying the aerial view of the herds grazing gracefully in the thigh-high grass of the savannah, as the balloon takes its position on land after a long float in the air, the breakfast truck, which follows up the balloon almost everywhere, also arrives within seconds. Right there, you are served the champagne bush breakfast. A set of stools surrounds the trestle table laid with plates of soft sweet pawpaw and pineapple, chocolate croissants and muffins, crispy bacon and sizzling sausages, accompanied by the French champagne that is popped to commence the delightful yet bizarre bush breakfast. I can tell you about the balloon ride until the cows come home, but you really have to see it to believe it. So, if you love nature and wildlife, witnessing the great wildebeest migration in a hot air balloon is a once-in-a-lifetime experience you can’t afford to miss.

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