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Hot Air Balloon safari

Summit-trails adventiure Collection offers Hot Air Balloon Safaris over the Mara River, plains and forests of the Masai Mara. The adventure begins just before dawn. Departure is from a perfect natural launch site behind Little Camp, and flames from the hot air balloon burners light the darkness as the crews inflate their craft. The first, pink tongues of sunlight flicker across the skies as the hot air balloon fills, then rises. Suspended in a basket beneath the rainbow-coloured canopy, you’re off for a wildlife viewing adventure with an entirely different perspective. What amazes most first-time balloonists is the absolute stillness: the silence as you float above the plains, the forest and the rivers of the Masai Mara. Even if you’ve flown elsewhere, this is a unique experience. The flight lasts an hour or so, drifting wherever the air currents take you, and with ample opportunities for photography and video filming. Then your Kenyan Hot Air Balloon Safari finishes with a flourish. In the time honoured tradition of balloon flights the world over, you toast your return to earth with a champagne breakfast, cooked wherever you land. The Balloon Safari ends with a game drive on your way back to your camp. We also offer Hot Air Balloon Safaris for those staying at other select Masai Mara Camps.

Our pilots hold commercial pilot licenses and undergo stringent annual checks by experienced examiners, as required by Kenyan law. In addition, they hold “bronze” level certificates from the Kenya Professional Safari Guides Association and possess excellent knowledge of the local wildlife, environment, and Maasai culture.

Chief Pilot: Captain Andrew R. Peart

Andrew grew up on a ranch in Zimbabwe, and has had a life-long love for wildlife. He began his ballooning career in 1988, and has worked as a commercial balloon pilot in Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Italy, the United Kingdom, Tanzania, and Kenya. He has worked in East Africa since 1994, mainly in the Mara and Serengeti National Park. Last year he flew the first balloons over Tarangire National Park (Tanzania), and he has recently enjoyed some flying over Amboseli National Park (Kenya), next to Mount Kilimanjaro.

Andrew is one of the most experienced commercial pilots in Kenya, having accumulated over 3500 flying hours. He absolutely loves flying, as well as sharing his knowledge of the wildlife below: there is no other work he could imagine doing. Andrew has always dreamed of starting his own balloon company in the Mara, and is thrilled to see this dream become a reality as he and his partners launch Hot Air Safaris. In his free time, Andrew enjoys motorcycling, bicycling, golf, listening to live music, and spending time with his family. Andrew, his wife, Meseret, and daughter, Alisha, split their time between their homes in the Mara and Nairobi.

Line Pilot: Captain Rizwan Jiwa

‘Riz’ was born and raised in Kenya, grew up in Nairobi and travelled widely as a child with his outdoor oriented family. His flying career began with a fixed wing pilots’ license, which was hardly used as a camp manager in the Masai Mara. It was during this time that he met Andrew, and with that meeting came the opportunity to experience the magic of ballooning. It didn’t take long before Riz decided to become an ‘Aeronaut’, and he travelled to the world renowned ballooning destination of Albquerque, New Mexico, for his training. Since 2009 he has worked in Amboseli, in the South East of Kenya, flying passengers to view the highest mountain in Africa Mt. Kilimanjaro, as well as the abundant wildlife in the area.

Riz’s studies in Sport, Recreation and Tourism have allowed him to work in a fascinating variety of fields, including teaching swimming and physical education, managing a health centre and being the voice of daily sports updates on nairobi’s ‘Capital FM’ and ‘Nation FM’ radio stations. However his career in tourism started as a Camp Manager, Guide and host, meaning Riz is no stranger to sharing his passion for the wilderness and how to enjoy it best. In his own words – ‘I’m a safari guide, that flies.’ Riz comes from an active background, and played competitive squash until a few years ago, he enjoys motorcycling, Landrovers and 4-wheel-driving, all kinds of sports and photography, and his partner Anja and him share their time between family in Nairobi, Denmark, and their home in the Masai Mara.

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