The View From Above

Darkness and an early morning chill cloaked the savannah when the legion of Land Rovers set out for an early morning adventure.  We jolted our way along winding dirt roads to the hot air balloon launch site.    The “Blue Hour” was just beginning as we checked-in and listened to the pilot briefing.   The sky began to lighten as my group of 12 made our way over to the waiting balloons.  In the distance other balloons were preparing to lift off.

Balloons Ready For Take Off At Dawn.Maasai Mara, Kenya.September 2012 (Kim Day)

Our balloon basket was laying on its side in front of our partially filled balloon.

Crew Waiting To Launch.Hot Air Balloon Ride Over Maasai Mara, Kenya.September 2012 (Kim Day)

Divided into four small compartments, with the pilot in the center, three of us had to wiggle into each compartment while it lay on its slide so that we were laying on our backs, looking up at the sky.

In The Balloon CompartmentsOnce everyone was shoehorned into their little compartment, the launch team got us ready for take off.  We were treated to amazing views of the sunrise over the Maasai Mara after we got up into the air.

Dawn Breaking Over The Mara.Maasai Mara, Kenya.September 2012 (Kim Day)

Maasai Mara Sunrise (Kim Day)

Silhouetted Balloons Against Orange Sunrise.Maasai Mara, Kenya.September 2012 (Kim Day)

African Savannah In Soft First Light.Maasai Mara, Kenya.September 2012 (Kim Day)

As the sun rose higher into the sky, the landscape became more distinct.

Balloons At Sunrise.Maasai Mara, Kenya.September 2012 (Kim Day)

Balloons In Golden Light.Maasai Mara, Kenya.September 2012 (Kim Day)

Safari vehicles started to creep down criss-crossed trails wet from the previous nights rain.

Trails After The Rain.Maasai Mara, Kenya.September 2012 (Kim Day)

Water holes glistened in the early morning light and the diurnal animals started to emerge, from a saddle billed stork …

Watering Hole In Maasai Mara.Maasai Mara, Kenya.September 2012 (Kim Day)

Saddle Billed Stork In Water Hole.Maasai Mara, Kenya.September 2012 (Kim Day)

… to herds of wildebeests that dotted the land as far as the eye could see.

Wildebeest Far As The Eye Can See.Maasai Mara, Kenya.September 2012 (Kim Day)

We saw zebra and wildebeests running across the ground beneath us.

Wildebeest And Zebra On The Run.Maasai Mara, Kenya.September 2012 (Kim Day)

We also had a group shot taken from a camera tied to the balloon (I’m to the far right).

My Group In Hot Air Balloon

We drift through the skies for over an hour.  As we neared the end, we saw other balloons setting down to head for the champagne breakfast.

End Of The Ride.Maasai Mara, Kenya.September 2012 (Kim Day)

And Land Rovers started to chase our balloon to our landing site so we could get to our own champagne breakfast.

Land Rover Chase.Maasai Mara, Kenya.September 2012 (Kim Day)

A horde of about 80 Chinese tourists made it to the picnic site before us (in fact they snapped up all of the balloons except ours that morning) and this line of vehicles was waiting to take them back to the lodge when we arrived.

Line of Land Rovers Waiting for Mass Of Chinese Tourists.Maasai Mara, Kenya.September 2012 (Kim Day)

Our group picnicked on quiches, fruits, and fresh pastries and an unending supply of champagne.

Post-Hot Air Balloon Champagne Breakfast.Maasai Mara, Kenya.September 2012 (Kim Day)

After breakfast, we enjoyed a game drive en route to the lodge.  We were lucky enough to see the lions I shared in a previous post as well as have some up close views of  wildebeest and zebra below.

When zebra stand beside each other, you’ll notice that the ones next to each other typically will face in opposite directions.  This is so that they can keep an eye out for predators.

Three Zebra.Maasai Mara, Kenya.September 2012 (Kim Day)

And finally, the wildebeests.

Wildebeest and Zebra.Maasai Mara, Kenya.September 2012 (Kim Day)

Staring Wildebeest.Maasai Mara, Kenya.September 2012 (Kim Day)

Wildebeests.Maasai Mara, Kenya.September 2012 (Kim Day)

 

One Response to “The View From Above”

  1. Marie says:

    WoW!The Hot Air Balloon pics are AMAZING. I can’t believe you got in that basket…you are truly and adventurous girl! The 8th picture captioned “distinct landscape” is my favorite.

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