A Masai Mara morning

sunrise balloon ride in TanzaniaThere is something very special about seeing the world awaken and as James Fenneberg discovered, few places can put on a sunrise show like Kenya

“It’s 5.30 in the morning and I can already feel the heat of Africa. There are monkeys playing outside the window and the sky is dotted with the last remaining stars of the night. As the truck starts up, that oh so familiar sound on safari, it wheels us in darkness to an opening, where in the distance there is a hub of activity. A group of locals and a rather beardy ex-army fellow are inflating a huge hot air balloon.

We are instructed to race and jump in the basket in regimental fashion. When we are all in, the sound of the flame igniting and filling the balloon is heard across the plains. As we take off it’s less like flying but more floating into the sky, the sound is silent between the burner blasts, except for the wildlife below.

The sun rises at 6am, as it does every day on the equator, and our guide tells us it’s the fastest dawn we’ll ever see, as we are rising the same time as the sun. The sight is awesome, the plains of the Masai Mara glow in warm orange, then pink, then green sunshine. We can make out rivers of wildebeest as we get higher. It’s breathtaking. Suddenly one of our group proposes to his girlfriend, then we set down for a champagne breakfast in a plain that doesn’t seem to end. Nothing between us and the wildlife, except for a glass of bubbly and that wonderful experience!”

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* photo by Tanya Bethune – Intrepid Photography Competition

About the author

Sue Elliot - Like many of us, Sue contracted a serious travel bug at an early age. She's visited over 90 countries in search of a cure, but her wanderlust just seems to get worse. Thankfully at Intrepid Travel she's amongst people who understand the affliction and since 1998 Sue has enjoyed being our blog and newsletter editor. Here you'll find helpful travel advice and inspiring tales from Sue and other Intrepid travellers.

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