Balloon ride over Kenya

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Mar 26th, 2002, 08:55 AM
  #1
Patricia
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Balloon ride over Kenya

I'm going to Kenya in 2 weeks and want to take a hot air balloon ride. Does anyone know of a reputable, dependable operator over there? Would really like to hear someone's personal experience. I got interested in Balloon Safaris, but then read a very bad review of them. I'd love to book it ahead of time myself to save some money, if possible.
 
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Mar 27th, 2002, 02:47 AM
  #2
Patrick
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Patricia, do not book before you go to Kenya. If a weather is bad you are in trouble, it is not fun to do it when is cloudy or worst if it rains. and April, when you are there, is rainny season. Besides Kenya is suffereing because of a small number people are visiting after 9/11 so you can decide last momemnt when you are there. We stayed four full days in the Little Governor's Camp where ballon safaris start and during this time they had only one couple taking a ride. We were going to do it but came to conlusion that we did not want to pay almost $400.00 (each) for a couple hours to see what we saw during our many game drives.
 
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Mar 27th, 2002, 10:56 AM
  #3
Penelope
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The brochures and publicity brag about the balloon gliding blissfully over herds of animals, but do not mention that the burner that produces the hot air to keep the balloon aloft is unpleasantly loud and scares away the animals below. The trip is overrated big time, especially considering the extravagant cost. When I took a balloon over the Serengeti several years ago, the most exciting thing that happened was the roar of the lion off in the dark nearby as I stepped out of the Land Rover. P
 
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Mar 27th, 2002, 12:22 PM
  #4
Yo
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We booked baloon ride in Masaai Mara in the end of February but when we got there it was canceled because of a heavy rain. And because we prepaid we are still waiting for our money to be credited to our Visa
 
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Mar 28th, 2002, 11:55 AM
  #5
Patricia
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Thanks for all the feedback. It's very helpful. I'll wait until I get there and weigh the pros and cons then.
 
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Mar 29th, 2002, 09:19 PM
  #6
Ginger
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I did a hot air balloon ride over the Masai Mara a couple of years ago and paid nothing like $400 - in fact from memory I probably paid about one quarter of that price for about an hour in the balloon and then a champagne breakfast. I thought it was a great experience. You don't need to get a balloon for yourself. I was with about 10 others but you're all in your own little compartment, great view, lots of animals. You did get a few sooty smuts on you from the burner and the burner is a little noisy, but we still say plenty of animals and even had lions wandering around us while we had breakfast! The guides kept a rather close eye on them though.

Maybe you should shop around for cheaper options when you get there. For info: I booked an independent holiday with Abercrombie and Kent.

 
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Apr 3rd, 2002, 08:59 AM
  #7
Patricia
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$400 wasn't for one person alone in a balloon. It was for each of any number of people. Actually about $385. And that is the only price I've seen.
 
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Apr 3rd, 2002, 10:04 AM
  #8
dean
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We just returned from Kenya and wanted to do a baloon safari but did not want to pay $385.00 per person. and a weather wasn't that great for such expensive one hour in the air. And who cares about champagne for breakfast? This is what we suggest our friends, who are leaving in two weeks, should do. Bring a bottle of champagne with them to the camp, ask their guide to arrange a breakfast in the field and drink own champagne. It is better and no extra cost. I can't believe people pay this much for one hour in the air and there is no guarantee that you will see antthing extraordinary
 
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Apr 6th, 2002, 02:48 AM
  #9
chris
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I just did a balloon ride on my November Safari on my birthday. Since I had never taken a balloon ride before, and the Migration was in swing, and it was a beautiful morning, the champagne breakfast was nice-all in all I thought it was worth it. The Migration looks completely different from a balloon. I just thought of it this way-some people spend hundreds of dollars for a single meal in a fancy restaurant (I don't eat out that often and usually stay in budget hotels when I travel), this was a once in a lifetime exprience.
 
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Apr 23rd, 2002, 09:20 AM
  #10
Patricia
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to Dean: Won't see anything extraordinary? Good grief! You see AFRICA! That is all I was looking forward to seeing. Anything else was gravy. Well, I just came back and we DID do the balloon ride. It was $350--high, but not that much higher than in Western Pennsylvania. I don't even like champagne, but the experience of crawling into a balloon basket at dawn, after standing around in the dark watching them inflate it, etc., and then rising over the grasslands of Africa and floating over that part of the world--occasionally seeing a few animals (we didn't see many, but that wasn't why I went). Then the pilot pointed out to us a pride of 22 lions! We floated over them pretty low and were able to count them and laugh at the babies running off into the grass! Then to land in a field and have a chef dressed all in white with a chef's hat, standing at a cooker ready to do your eggs or crepes the way you want them and a spread of whatever you could want to breakfast! What an experience! I wouldn't have traded it! We loved it. It's not just champagne and animal viewing, although that huge pride of lions really topped it off right.
 
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Apr 23rd, 2002, 09:21 AM
  #11
Patricia
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By the way--we didn't take Balloon Safaris. We went with another group (Transworld something-or-other?) that we booked in the lobby of the Mara Sopa. And he took us for an hour and a half because business was slow in the (not so)rainy season.
 
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Apr 23rd, 2002, 03:19 PM
  #12
buck
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Total waste of money, the engine noise scares away most of the animals and the crews are not very polite to the passangers. Spend your 4 bills some other way while there, like helping the poor Kenyan people, who are some of the poorest in the world. This balloon ride money goes to some miltinational corp. I am sure. Spend your money in Kenya but just don't be ripped of under the theory that its a once in a lifetime thing. Buck
 
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Apr 24th, 2002, 07:47 AM
  #13
Patricia
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Well, Buck, you're entitled to your opinion. But we didn't scare off any animals and our operator/pilot was very polite and helpful--nice as he could be. That was a dream of mine and I'm glad I did it. I'll be paying it off for awhile (not part of my budgeted spending money), but it was worth it to me. If people want to do that, it's their right. Enough said, unless it's positive, please.
 
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