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Author: margelfand

Joined: 4/4/2012
Posts: 2
GCT Trips Taken: 0
OAT Trips Taken: 1
Traveler Since: 2012

April 04, 2012

Has anyone ever done the Serengeti or Masa Mara balloon rides?  Wondered how they are and if they are worthwhile.  Thanks.  Marilyn

Author: lyndandraul

Joined: 8/7/2011
Posts: 1
GCT Trips Taken: 2
OAT Trips Taken: 9
Traveler Since: 2002

April 04, 2012

 We did a hot air balloon ride over the Masa Mara.  It was an awesome experience.  We did it nine years ago and we still frequently talk about it.  I remember well seeing and hearing the elephants as the balloon floated over.  There was the amazing breakfast at the edge of the Mara River.  I feel like this was a not to be missed experience.

Lynda

Author: blongova

Joined: 11/27/2011
Posts: 3
GCT Trips Taken: 3
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Traveler Since: 2010

April 08, 2012

I will be taking a balloon ride over Prague in 11 days. It's going to be fantastic.  Hopefully the weather will be kind, it's spring time. Barbara

 

 

Author: janice!

Joined: 3/18/2010
Posts: 277
GCT Trips Taken: 7
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Traveler Since: 1999

April 09, 2012

Barbara, have you already arranged the balloon flight and, if so, how did you do it? i am currently on the Essence of the Elbe trip which ends in Prague and would love to do balloon flight there.

Thanks, Janice

Author: franally

Joined: 4/9/2012
Posts: 2
GCT Trips Taken: 13
OAT Trips Taken: 1
Countries Visited:

63 countries and willing to add many more!! 40 cruises, with 41 in Mar 2011

Traveler Since: 2001

April 12, 2012

My hubby took ride in Masi Mara.  He had a great time - they landed in the wrong place, so no fancy breakfast - the truck finally found them, he had a flat and no spare.  They got back to camp five hours late.  We on land had the best viewing of lions and cubs while they were lost!!!

Author: gobuckeyes

Joined: 7/7/2010
Posts: 158
GCT Trips Taken: 4
OAT Trips Taken: 9
Traveler Since: 2005

April 12, 2012

We did the balloon ride in Australia a few years ago. It was alright; however, very uncomfortable in the balloon's basket. The basket was divided into 4 sections plus the pilots. Each section would have held 2 people comfortably or 4 people very uncomfortably. We had 4 (16 total) in the basket, Seventeen counting the pilot who had a separate section in the center. We were so packed in we couldn't even move/turn around.

Just sayin': I have no idea if GCT/OAT's balloon ride contractors in other countries pack them in like Australia's do. However, before you book it you just might want to ask how many people (maximum) they will take per balloon.

 

Author: jandb

Joined: 3/10/2010
Posts: 33
GCT Trips Taken: 7
OAT Trips Taken: 5
Traveler Since: 1999

April 12, 2012

 Our first balloon ride was over Cappadocia on an extension of the Agean Sea cruise (at that time with OAT)  It was fabulous.  Later we took a balloon over the Nile River Valley on the Eternal Nile tour.  It was less spectacular than the one in Turkey, but still great!  Will do it again when the next opportunity arises.

 

Author: nanaandpapa

Joined: 3/30/2011
Posts: 513
GCT Trips Taken: 12
OAT Trips Taken: 4
Countries Visited:

Aruba, Austria, Australia, Bermuda, Belgium, Botswana, Canada, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Rep., Egypt, England, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Luxembourg, Mexico, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Russia, South Africa, Spain, St. Marten (fr), St. Martin (nd), Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, USA, Vatican, Zimbabwe

Traveler Since: 2002

April 12, 2012

 We did Australia, New Zealand & Fiji 2 years ago and took the hot air baloon  ride in Cairns. We had 21 plus the pilot on the basket, and we did not feel overcrowded. If you want to see pictures, check out my blog at jackthetravelingman.blogspot,com.

Author: gobuckeyes

Joined: 7/7/2010
Posts: 158
GCT Trips Taken: 4
OAT Trips Taken: 9
Traveler Since: 2005

April 12, 2012

Re: nanaandpapa....We did Australia, New Zealand & Fiji 2 years ago and took the hot air baloon ride in Cairns. We had 21 plus the pilot on the basket, and we did not feel overcrowded. If you want to see pictures, check out my blog at jackthetravelingman.blogspot,com.

Very nice blog, You had an extra large basket. Mine was on an OAT tour, it wasn't in Cairns, it was in Alice Springs, and had the following basket:

 

Four people just didn't fit real comfortable in the cubicles. 

 

 

 

Author: nanaandpapa

Joined: 3/30/2011
Posts: 513
GCT Trips Taken: 12
OAT Trips Taken: 4
Countries Visited:

Aruba, Austria, Australia, Bermuda, Belgium, Botswana, Canada, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Rep., Egypt, England, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Luxembourg, Mexico, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Russia, South Africa, Spain, St. Marten (fr), St. Martin (nd), Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, USA, Vatican, Zimbabwe

Traveler Since: 2002

April 12, 2012

 Gobuckeyes,

I agree that basket for 4 does look a might snug. Did you actually launch from the basket lying on it's side?

Author: svncontinents

Joined: 11/25/2011
Posts: 230
GCT Trips Taken: 7
OAT Trips Taken: 6
Traveler Since: 2007

December 08, 2012

 We feel that asking whether it's worth it or not, depends more on what you want and also on what you have done.  As others have done, we took the balloon ride when we took our Australia/New Zealand trip in 2009( with another company ), in Cairns, which was very likely the same company that Grand Circle/OAT uses.  It cost half the price of the balloon ride over the Serengetti that was offered to us when we took our Best of Kenya and Tanzania trip the following summer, in 2010.  Having taken the balloon ride in Australia and flying over rural areas and looking down and seeing kangaroos hopping around as little specks, we decided NOT to take the balloon ride in the Serengetti, since it covered similar terraine and the animals which we would have seen would appear sized in the same manner as on our Australia trip, but at double the price.  Of course the sunrise is spectacular, and that's another plus, but we saw that in Australia also.  

We are, however, taking the balloon ride over Cappodocia when we take our OAT turkey trip this spring, because the terrain is different, and the views and architecture spectacular, from what we've read and have been told.  But back to this question.  If you've been there and done that, perhaps the cost might be a factor, but if you haven't, then you might want to take the plunge.

Author: luisa

Joined: 3/13/2010
Posts: 541
GCT Trips Taken: 6
OAT Trips Taken: 2
Countries Visited:

Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Canada, Mexico, Spain, France, Monoco, Croatia, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Morocco, Chile, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji. Ireland

Traveler Since: 2006

December 09, 2012

I'm not sure that "plunge" is a good word choice.:)

Author: svncontinents

Joined: 11/25/2011
Posts: 230
GCT Trips Taken: 7
OAT Trips Taken: 6
Traveler Since: 2007

December 09, 2012

 Why, luisa, it's only poetic license.

Author: geo

Joined: 7/27/2010
Posts: 6

January 19, 2013

We took balloon rides in Turkey and Burma and they were spectacular.  The basket on those were divided into four sections with 4 people to a sections.  It was great with lots of room to move around and get excellent photos.

We are leaving for the Serengeti in March and just booked the balloon ride at $485.00.  It is a lot of money but when you are only going to be in that part of the world  possiblly once and have just been thrilled with the other two balloon experiences we felt we should just go and enjoy the ride.  My husband is a photographer so he was concerned about the single cubical and his camera on the basket laying down on it's side.  We have never had that experience as the other two baskets you board them as they are standing as well as the landing and exit.

I will say that you should not miss taking the balloon rides in Turkey and Burma.  They are just a wonderful experience.

Georgia Schafer

Author: dmarguet

Joined: 1/20/2013
Posts: 3
GCT Trips Taken: 1
OAT Trips Taken: 3
Traveler Since: 2008

January 20, 2013

We took the ballon ride while in Africa and would not do it again. It was very expensive. They said it cost alot to maintain the balloon as it almost always got ripped on the landing. If you want the experience of a ballon ride, do it at home for alot less money.

If there will be alot of animal life one might consider doing it, at the time we went there was not alot of animal life.

Author: nanaandpapa

Joined: 3/30/2011
Posts: 513
GCT Trips Taken: 12
OAT Trips Taken: 4
Countries Visited:

Aruba, Austria, Australia, Bermuda, Belgium, Botswana, Canada, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Rep., Egypt, England, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Luxembourg, Mexico, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Russia, South Africa, Spain, St. Marten (fr), St. Martin (nd), Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, USA, Vatican, Zimbabwe

Traveler Since: 2002

January 20, 2013

 We did a balloon ride in Cairns, Australia about 3 years ago and plan to do it again in Jaipur, India next month. I am not great with heights, but it is exhilerating.

Author: luisa

Joined: 3/13/2010
Posts: 541
GCT Trips Taken: 6
OAT Trips Taken: 2
Countries Visited:

Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Canada, Mexico, Spain, France, Monoco, Croatia, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Morocco, Chile, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji. Ireland

Traveler Since: 2006

January 21, 2013

I'm not fond of heights, but loved the balloon ride in Turkey. We climbed into the upright basket and landed on the back of a flatbed truck -- really cool.

I'm intrigued by the photo of the people in the balloon lying on the ground. It looks very uncomfortable. Did they have to crawl into the spaces? I'm not sure I would want to do that and don't understand why it would be necessary.

Author: travelann

Joined: 3/12/2010
Posts: 44
GCT Trips Taken: 8
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Traveler Since: 2010

January 21, 2013

I have taken many balloon rides.knew many who owned and flew their balloons. I would be very hesitant to ride with any pilot who often tore the envelope when landing. Doesn't seem very proficient..maybe needs to practice a bit more before taking paying passengers. Just a thought.

Author: luisa

Joined: 3/13/2010
Posts: 541
GCT Trips Taken: 6
OAT Trips Taken: 2
Countries Visited:

Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Canada, Mexico, Spain, France, Monoco, Croatia, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Morocco, Chile, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji. Ireland

Traveler Since: 2006

January 27, 2013

I read a "Travelers Review" on the OAT site today which described crawling into the basket on its side on the Serengeti balloon ride and then being dragged along the ground for about 100 feet before launching. Then being dragged again after landing.

I hope that practice has changed since the reviewer took the Serengeti trip. I'd hate to pay almost $500 for that experience. She did write that the breakfast was good.

Author: gobuckeyes

Joined: 7/7/2010
Posts: 158
GCT Trips Taken: 4
OAT Trips Taken: 9
Traveler Since: 2005

January 28, 2013

To clarify my balloon ride in Australia (where we were "packed in like sardines"):

1. The basket was on it's side when some people got in, they uprighted it, then the rest got in. The first group ducked down, the gas was turned on and balloon was filled with air; just as the basket was uprighted and was about to go airbourne the second group (very quickly) had to climb in.

2. The landing was a little bumpy and we got drug a good distance, see some of the "skid marks" in photo:

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