It is still dark and very early in the morning when we get our wake-up call to get ready for our first ballooning trip ever. A quick shower and a few strokes of the hairbrush later we were ready at reception where we had a fresh coffee waiting for us. Not much later a closed 4×4 came to collect us and took us to the take of site of the balloon.
Because a balloon moves with the wind the take-off site differs from day to day and the landing spot can also never be anticipated much before the end of the flight. Once we arrived at the balloon it was still being inflated, an interesting spectacle to see.
Our pilot for the trip is John, he divides us in the basked so we are nicely balanced, gives a short but clear briefing on what to do and what to expect and then we are off. The feeling of slowing lifting up from the ground is amazing, you can’t compare it to anything else as it is so silent and gentle, before you know it, you are high up in the air. And then the show begins, as the sun rises you see the world come alive and the shadows move away.
Once you are at a good height and the burner cools down it becomes so quiet you hear the sound of silence and the views are breathtaking. John measures and reads the wind and we are in luck today as the wind is taking us into the Namib Naukluft Park, direction Sossusvlei, direction the big red dunes…
Once we get close to the dunes John lets some of the hot air go and we slowly decent to a height just about the ground, the basket touching the tops of grass. Now we are in for low flight, amazing experience, really unbelievable how we all slide so smoothly, so close to the ground.
A few minutes later we are back up in the air and John informs his ground team where to set up the landing site. Not much later the team is right beneath us guiding the balloon with ropes to touch down exactly where John wants it to be.
The flight is over, but not the experience! While the team packs up the balloon we had a 4×4 taking us to the most idyllic place right at the foot of a dune where breakfast was waiting for us. Not just any breakfast, champagne breakfast with croissants and even petits pain-au-chocolats ! As if that was not enough for a wonderful experience, John taught us how to open a champagne bottle with a sabre sword, oh yes, there was more then one bottle of champagne.