Balloons Over Africa

Linda Lou Burton posting from Sarova Mara Game Camp, Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya– This post isn’t mine. I’m posting on behalf of son Rick Shumate, who was brave enough, and hardy enough, to get up early enough for a 4:30 AM pickup this morning. He wanted to watch the sun rise over the Maasai Mara from a hot air balloon, floating high in the sky. Oh, did I say brave? Well, look at his face, head on the ground, instead of high in the sky. What the dickens?

“I thought I’d just climb into the basket,” he reported later. “But they turn the basket onto its side and then you get down on the ground and slide your butt into the seat. I was making that face for fun.” “Right,” I replied, rolling my eyes.

Seriously though, bravery is not my strong suit when it comes to heights. So thank you Rick, for bringing us these gorgeous images of a morning over the Maasai Mara, from sunrise to champagne, and everything between. You show us  Tanzania, just across the border. You show us the Mara River and the back-country roads twisting and turning across the plains. You show us zebras running and shadows changing and balloons hanging in the air. You show us what a person can see, when they get up early. And float in a balloon. Over Africa.

Note: Most of Rick’s footage was video; these are some of his best stills. He claimed it was nothing short of fantastic. “We didn’t see that many animals,” he said. “But that didn’t matter. All that open sky and open space and watching our shadow moving along the ground below – awesome! I’m so glad I took the trip!” 

Fig Tree Camp Balloon Safari

Mara Flight: The conditions of the day create different flight paths. All flights depend on the wind conduction of the day. Winds from Fig Tree Camp typically head South Westerly, giving passengers a flight path over the Talek River and the short plain grass area which are always popular with antelopes. The flight then typically leads over the Burrungat plains and the Ole kejuranjai and then in the direction of “Look out hill”, with most landings before the Mara River.