Whilst the Bristol Balloon Fiesta is up, up and away our roving in-house reporter can surely top any experience the south-west of England has to offer having been lucky enough to witness the phenomenal migration over the Maasai Mara on a recent trip to Kenya.
“Often described as one of THE experiences you have to do in your lifetime, I felt extremely lucky and excited about this trip. An early start, I was picked up from my hotel at 5am and was driven to the launch site. I met our pilot Dan and the other 11 people who would be sharing a balloon with me. We had a safety briefing and clambered into the balloon basket.
I could feel the heat of the burner as we slowly began to rise. The sun was beginning to peep over the horizon and it was a perfect morning for a balloon ride. It was getting light and I gazed across the huge expanse of the plains below.
Initially I did not see any animals below. Our pilot pointed out a couple of ostrich and we were lucky to see some lions, although they were a tiny dot on the landscape. We travelled further and I could see a few zebra running away from the balloon. We would rise and fall as we continued across the vast landscape.
Then Dan pointed out a huge herd of wildebeest in the distance. Excitedly we inquired if we would get closer and Dan just smiled and said that was where the wind was taking us. As we approached, I could not believe what I was seeing. I saw hundreds of wildebeest who had arrived from Tanzania, seeking water at the Mara River. Although I did not see wildebeest crossing the river, as you do on documentaries, I was astounded by the number grazing below us. It was coming to the end of our hour and we began to descend slowly. Animals would scatter as we got closer. We were going to land surrounded by wildebeest, zebra and topi.
I took over 200 pictures and couldn’t believe what we had seen. We were then driven to the site where we were all going to enjoy a champagne breakfast. The perfect end to our adventure.
The balloon ride was amazing but to actually see some of the migration made it incredible special and a memory I would have for the rest of my life.”
Read more about the migration.
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