It was 5:30 in the morning when we met our driver for our hot air balloon ride over the Masai Mara. As we stopped to pick up our captain, he replied “You’re late, we’re going to miss sunrise” Uh Oh. We did notice that the clerk who booked our flight crossed out the time to meet in the lobby and made it a later departure, but we didn’t think much of it. We thought, “I guess the sun rises at a different time at this time of year.” Our driver rushed to the departure point and there was a flurry of activity once we got out of the truck.
We loved our captain, Kim. He was exactly my type of guy. Tell it like it is, knows his job well, is skilled and talented and has a fantastic sense of humour.
He was determined to make it up in time for sunrise and worked hard to make it happen. He was yelling orders at the group of 10 men preparing our balloon, he was running around doing much of the work himself like repositioning the fan, spreading out the balloons parachute like material and blowing hot flames into the balloon.
It was incredible to watch and within a few minutes he was yelling at us to lay down in the tipped over basket and be prepared to hang on. Once the balloon was nearly filled, the flight engineers all jumped in frantically to join us for a flight over the Masai Mara.
Flying over the Masai Mara isn’t as popular at this time of year as it is during the great migration, but it is still a spectacular experience. Since others didn’t book a trip with us today, the local guys who work for the company were our traveling companions. We felt happy to know that they get to experience what they prepare each day.
It was surprising to me just how smooth a flight in a hot air balloon is. I didn’t even realize we had left the ground and as I peered over the side of the basket, I was shocked to see just how high we were in the air. It is the closest feeling you will ever get to walking on a cloud.
As we floated gently over the Masai Mara, Captain Kim chatted to us about our life and his. Captain Kim is from Korea but it was here flying high over the African Savanna that we realized just how small the world is. When we told him we were from Canada he replied that he used to fly hot air balloons in Canada. We assumed he would say somewhere like Vancouver, but no, he was based in London Ontario. A town near my parents home in Woodstock. He knew Woodstock well as he often manned flights over Kitchener Ontario. Woodstock is dead centre between London and Kitchener!
Link to blog: http://theplanetd.com/hot-air-balloon-kenya/#sthash.M3rio42i.dpuf
About the authors
Hi we’re Dave and Deb from Toronto, Canada. Married for 16 years we’ve have always lived a life less ordinary. It was only a year into our relationship that we relocated from Toronto to Vancouver to pursue our dreams of being famous musicians. While things didn’t exactly go as planned, we did fall into the booming film business instead. Dave as a Rigging Gaffer and Deb as a Make-Up Artist.
It was after moving back to Toronto, that we decided to buy a house and focus on our careers. The Toronto Film Industry was busy back then, and summers were spent working on Hollywood Blockbusters as part of the crew. Dave worked on films like X-Men, Chicago and The Incredible Hulk. We ended up working 14 to 16 hour days and dreaming of next vacation. Having months off at a time during the winter, we escaped the Canadian cold to explore such exotic lands as Asia, Africa, South and Central America.
Soon, travel defined us more than our careers. In 2004 we took a seven month trip through South East Asia and knew that we would one day we would figure out a way to make travel a regular part of our lives. We brainstormed many ideas from being dive masters to owning a bar or running cycling tours. Nothing stirred a passion in us but we kept searching until we found what made us both happy.
It was signing up for the Tour d’Afrique, (the world’s longest cycling race) in 2008 that we finally took the step to turning our passion into a full time career. Deb was women’s champion of the race and Dave won the prestigious title of Cycling Every “Fabulous” Inch of Africa from Cairo, Egypt to Cape Town, South Africa. Since Africa we started our travel blog and have gone on to drive 14,000 km from London, England to Ulanbataar Mongolia in an ill suited car over rough terrain in the Mongol Rally, and reached the bottom of the world as we explored Antarctica by kayak, on foot and even camped on the continent.
Living by our motto “Adventure is For Everyone” we aim to prove that you don’t have to be an uber-athlete, adrenaline junkie or a part of the ultra rich to be an adventurer!