Ballooning the Kruger

Hot air baloon launch under the Blyde Canyon


For a tranquil aerial perspective on the bush, we organise early morning hot air balloon flights over the Big Five private game reserves adjoining the Kruger National Park, the largest block of privately conserved land in the world.

Hot air balloons en route to the Kruger


Herds of mammals are often seen; the balloon drops down to near ground level to give you an intimate view. The backdrop is a spectacular view of the Drakensberg Escarpment up to the Blyde River Canyon.

View of the Drakensberg from Kruger balloon


In the Hoedspruit area, there are flights over Kapama Game Reserve, Makutsi, Thornybush, and Tshukudu amongst others. The launch site is in a wildlife estate at the foot of the canyon to take advantage of the winds blowing down from the escarpment. There are fantastic views back up to the mountains.

Kruger balloon launch site


Passengers don’t have to be physically fit, but you must be prepared to stand in the basket for at least an hour. Youngsters are welcome but should be at least 1.2m (4 foot) tall, so they can see over the rim of the basket.

Inflating hot balloon at dawn in the bush


Your expert pilot is fully qualified, and will ensure a safe, enjoyable and informative experience that will be one of the highlights of your visit to Big Game country. You meet before sunrise at the designated take-off location. Coffee is served while you watch your eight-storey high balloon being inflated and prepared for flight before the sun rises.

Sunrise over the Kruger horizon


After a safety briefing you should be airborne in time to witness the sunrise. Then a change in altitude to search for a favourable wind that will allow you to drift gently over the landscape.

Breakfast after ballooning


After about an hour’s flight, the pilot will select a suitable landing site where the retrieval crew will be in attendance. Sparkling wine and fruit juice are served after the flight, and there is the opportunity to continue to an excellent local lodge on a secluded island for breakfast.

Balloon burners


A number of local Kruger lodges offer hot air ballooning. They are within striking distance of the wildlife estate where you need to assemble well before dawn.