Gently drifting along in a hot air balloon may be the ultimate Slow Journey. In the quiet space halfway to heaven with views that stretch to the horizon, everything slows down and there is just the moment. The rising sun, the occasional burst of heat from the burner and the feeling of being in a different, more peaceful world fills you with awe. Far below, the real world seems different too; the shadows cast images over the fields and the river looks like a giant blue snake winding its gentle way through the landscape.
For more magic, take a look at this SLIDE SHOW
Our flight to heaven and back was with Bill Harrop’s Original Balloon Safari, the oldest and best known hot air balloon operator in South Africa. Bill himself regularly captains the balloon, and personally hands out the Citation of Bravery afterwards, providing a touch of exclusivity and flair. The day starts early (5.45 registration) and I warmly recommend staying at one of the wonderful hotels in the area (we stayed at De Hoek Country Hotel, making the weekend the Ultimate Treat – blog coming soon).
While Bill’s staff are getting the balloons ready, you can sip a warming cup of tea, coffee or hot chocolate by the fire. It is quite a sight to see the giant, kaleidoscope coloured balloons slowly fill up as the sky goes from starlit to the palest of pink. As we took flight, the sun just broke the horizon providing a firework backdrop to the rising balloons. Once safely back on the ground, the bubbles were popped open and a hearty breakfast awaited us back at the clubhouse. This is the ultimate bucket list entry, and I personally think that every traveller and life connoisseur should fly in a hot air balloon at least once in their life!
My flight was courtesy of Bill Harrop’s Original Balloon Safaris but, as always, I maintain full editorial control of the content published on this site.