Pilot Report 16/03/2013
Hot air ballooning over the Cradle of Humankind is an excellent way to view the 47,000 hectare world heritage site. The balloons launched from Kloofzicht Lodge, located on the South Eastern side of the Cradle, close to the Crocodile River.
A spectacular sunrise welcomed the two balloons into the air. The hot air balloons remained low level, and used the cool air draining through the valley to move towards the gorge in the Zwartkops Mountain. Both balloons were able to enter the gorge, and used the compressed air moving through it to increase the speed of the balloons. This gave the passengers an exhilarating experience of movingswiftly between the towering walls of the Zwartkopsmountain. As the balloons moved through the gorge an abundance of birdlife was spotted in trees overhanging the river below, and a small herd of Kudu was sighted making their way along the river banks.
After exiting the gorge, the balloons were descended over the Crocodile river where further wildlife was spotted. It was then time to ascend into the prevailing winds of the morning, and direct the balloons to good areas for landing. Approximately 1000 ft of altitude was gained, which gave the passengers a panoramic view of the skyline of Joburg, the Magaliesberg Mountains, and the Krugersdorp Goldmines. The balloons were brought into land onto a neighbouring game reserve, where champagne and orange juice was served to celebrate a superb morning of hot air ballooning.
Pilot Report 12/01/2013
On arrival at the launch site,the passengers were welcomed with weather conditions perfect for hot air ballooning. Whilst sipping an early morning cup of coffee, they watched the hot air balloons being readied for flight, just prior to sunrise. After the safety briefings were completed, the balloons took off just as the sun started to break the horizon. Patches of broken cloud left over from thunderstorms the previous night, made for the most spectacular sunrise, with an array of oranges and yellows cast against the fluffy white clouds.
Some low level flying on the cool currents draining along the valley enabled the balloons to be pushed along a nearby river. Skimming at tree-top level allowed the passengers to get some great photographic opportunities of reflections of the balloons on the river, as well as of the prolific bird life that is found along riverine areas at this time of year.
The cool air pushed the hot air balloon all the way towards the town of Magaliesberg and onto the Magalies River. A sharp left in the cool air pushed the balloons down towards the Magalies gorge, which then spills out into the Hekpoort Valley. Spectacular scenery of the large mountains looming over the balloons on each side, with the occasional barking of nearby baboons, made for some exciting flying as the balloons neared the gorge.
Prior to entering the gorge the balloons were put into an ascent and climbed to around a 1000ft above the ground to reach the favourable prevailing wind currents that would direct the balloons to good areas for landing. After some spectacular views of the Magailesberg, the balloons were brought into land. Perfect conditions on the ground allowed for the hot air balloons to be landed directly on the trailers.
Champagne was then the order of the day to celebrate a perfect morning of hot air ballooning.
Are you planning corporate teambuilding in Johannesburg anytime soon? Chances are if you answered yes you may have been thinking along the traditional lines of teambuilding. Lunches, a show or way too much drinking on the office balcony – these ideas have been done over and over again, why not shake things up? Hot air ballooning is a superb experience to try alone, but it is even more fun when all your colleagues are up in the air with you. First of all, let’s look at some of the benefits of teambuilding:
Morale: More and more companies are starting to realise the importance of good staff morale. If people are happy at your company, they will have no reason to leave – therefore you keep skilled staff for longer and increase productivity.
Evaluations: A teambuilding event can be a useful tool for management to identify the competitiveness and determination of their staff members. Many employees don’t show their true identities in an office environment, but will let their hair down out of the office.
Improved communication: On a teambuilding exercise, an employee will have to communicate with staff members that they may normally never be in contact with during office hours. This improves their general comfort around fellow employees and improves their communication in the office.
A balloon flight is not only suitable for teambuilding though, as it can also be an excellent incentive to offer staff members. This way you are creating some friendly competition in the office, and giving out a fantastic reward. Many staff members will agree that it is better to do something different rather than receive a voucher for an overpriced store that they never visit.
Wowing clients is also a possibility. What do you think they will remember more, your terrible swing and sweaty armpits on show at the golf course, or a stunning flight through the clear African skies?
Another bonus when it comes to corporate teambuilding in Gauteng with Sun Fun, is that we are completely open to special requests. We will gladly decorate the launch and landing area with your banners, logos and colours.
Contact us today and allow us to make your corporate teambuilding in Johannesburg more memorable!
Hot air balloon flights rank among the top things to do in South Africa. This country has so much scenic beauty for both visitors and locals to enjoy, but not everybody has been able to see it from a bird’s eye view. Hot air balloon rides offer a majestic experience that cannot be matched, but it is also important that you go prepared. To assist you in making things as comfortable and enjoyable as possible, here are a few tips:
1. Dress accordingly:
South Africa has some of the best weather in the world for hot air ballooning (hence the 70 percent success rate in flying), which makes dressing for the occasion quite simple actually. In the summer months, it is advised to dress relatively cool as temperatures will rise with the sun. In the winter months the wind can get chilly on occasion, so bring a warm top with you.
2. Don’t worry about motion medication:
Unlike flying in an aeroplane, hot air ballooning provides a smooth and relaxing experience for you to enjoy. Because there is no G-force pressing you back into your seat or extreme turbulence, people who suffer from motion sickness are not affected by this trip. Having a fear of heights also prevents a lot of people from enjoying a journey, but it shouldn’t. The gondola or basket is 1.2m high, which means you won’t be looking straight down.
3. Be careful with your accessories:
Things like binoculars or cameras should definitely be present on this trip and it is definitely safe for you to bring them along, but you should be mindful that you are up in the air. Simple acts, like putting the binoculars strap around your neck and fitting the safety band of your camera around your wrist will ensure that your goods are safe if they are held out over the edge of the basket.
Now that you are properly prepared, contact a representative at Sun Fun today for more information on hot air balloon flights Johannesburg!
Runny noses and stuffy chests… Winter is here everyone!
So what will it take to get YOU out of bed before the sun has even peeped over the horizon?
Let me tell you what it will take…
- Steamy hot coffee to warm up the frozen limbs
- Good looking hot air balloon crew and handsome pilots
- A hot 8 foot flame above your head that heats up the basket in which you are standing very closely to your loved one
- A view of unspoilt natural mountain ranges, interessting agricultural land shapes, the sun rising slowly over the horizon
- Delicious sparkling wine tickling your palet after a soft landing
- A scrumptious country buffet style breakfast to fill the empty space in your tummy
- A certificate to prove that YOU were brave enough, not just to face the early morning chill, but that you also to enjoyed the oldest form of flight known to man
So what are you waiting for?
Eleanor: 076 953 0436
The village of Magaliesburg, lies just below the Southern Range of the Magaliesburg Mountains. The roads and rivers take similar paths, breaking though the steep ridges of the mountains in a few places, only to traverse much of the land along the valleys on either side of the two mountain ridges.
The reality of Magaliesburg belies its languid village ambience. There are many places to visit and things to do in the region. A variety of accommodation and a host of fascinating people await you. Whatever your interest, you will find something to delight you as you travel the roads and experience the environment.
The Magaliesberg probably has the most intriguing and longest session of history, as man would have experienced, than anywhere else on earth. The reason for this is the discovery of the remains of the earliest species of primitive man know today, in and around the Sterkfontein Caves, some 20 minutes drive from Magaliesburg.
The tribes of the descendants of the earliest proto- hominids had free reign in this tranquil valley, and fished the clear streams, and hunted the vast herds of animals that roamed the plains, with is tools made initially from stone and later forged from iron. While his life may have been threatened by the odd wild animal, or early death from injury or disease, man lived in total harmony with nature, which flourished in abundance in the greater Magaliesburg Area over the past two million years of his development.
Then, in what is very recent history, in the mid 1800’s, the savage feet of the great tribes of the north swept through the valley, bringing grief and a temporary tension to the once quiet paradise. The Tribes moved on, and peace returned, but not for long, as war broke out again, when Mzilikazi’s impis attacked (generally after sunset), capturing the women and enslaving the men and young, to be incorporated into his army as warriors.
In the brief moments of time, it was not long afterwards, in the late 1800’s, that the “white” tribes from the south arrived, they too seeking their piece of this paradise and with guns ablazing, they drove back the local tribes and hunted the herds of game daily, causing their numbers to dwindle rapidly.
Then on 1 October 1899, war between the two “White Tribes”, the British and the Boer republics of Transvaal and Orange Free State, was declared. Within a year, blood and human lives were lost between these two warring parties, in the Magaliesberg valleys, at Kommando Nek, Nooitgedacht and in many of the deep gorges and high ridges along the mountain side.
And since the days when peace was declared the turn of the last century/ 1902, peace reigned once again in this garden of Eden, where for over the past several decades, man has lived in a peaceful co-existence with nature, farming the land and toiling with the historic truths of democracy.
Today, Magaliesburg has developed into a tranquil haven of tourist attractions, with a number and variety of hospitality venues, where every human being descendant of the earliest species of mankind, is welcome to come back “home” and rest a while. To soak in the peaceful atmosphere and relax in our paradise, just once again.
At a time, several millions of years ago (almost half the age of the Earth itself), the inland plain and drainage wetland underwent massive geological upheaval and the area slit into two sections, and the ground tilted to the north, forming a line of two parallel mountain ranges which stretch for some 120 kilometers, from Pretoria, through Rustenburg to the Pilanesburg. This was the birth of the Magaliesberg Mountain range, which forms a natural barrier between the lower lying bushveld to the north, and the cooler highveld to the South and is the “meeting point” of many a species. The Sable’s southern most area of habitat was found in this area, while for the Springbok, they were not found to live any further North than this majestic range.
The Witwatersrand Gold reef, was formed over hundreds of thousands of years, with its most northern reaches being discovered just a few kilometers from the present day village of Magaliesburg, at Blaauwbank. This is where the first strike of the Witwatersrand System, was made and in 1874, the Blaauwbank area was pegged out for formal gold mining activities. Here, the first mining company near the current Johannesburg was formed, named as the “Nil Desperandum Co-operative Quartz Company”. The importance of this mine, was to attract miners to the present day Johannesburg Area and along with it and the discovery of rich and payable veins of gold, creating the largest settlement of man in Sub Saharan Africa.
Today, you can view the early day beginnings of Gold Mining activity, at the “still operational” Blaauwbank Gold Mine and Museum, within minutes drive of the village of Magaliesburg.
There are a number of places on earth where hot air balloon flights are a memorable experience but in South Africa – ballooning is simply magical. The allure of Africa attracts visitors from far and wide on a yearly basis. The main reason for this is the abundance of wildlife, supreme natural beauty and a vibrant atmosphere with loads of culture. If you are a big fan of safaris and sightseeing, then let us tell you that there is almost nothing like seeing the best of Africa from high up in the air.
Here are just some of the reasons why South Africa is considered a premier location for hot air balloon rides:
Nobody enjoys being covered in layers of thick clothing while gliding through the air in the dark. South Africa has the perfect climate for hot air ballooning, with moderate winds and warm, sunny conditions. This allows you to enjoy a renowned African sunrise while you slowly ascend and the sun will keep your bones nice and warm for the rest of the journey.
Flying over lakes and cities can be a unique experience, but observing wildlife below as they continue with their daily lives is something few people are privileged enough to see. Added to this, South Africa’s mountainous terrain and lush bushveld just makes it even better.
South Africa is amazing simply because it always keeps you guessing. Not only is each part of South Africa visually different, but the lifestyle of locals also differs. This means that you are treated to a rich cultural experience wherever you go, with the only shared trait being friendliness.
In South Africa, you really do get more bang for your buck. Your balloon experience will get you coffee/tea on arrival, a one hour flight, sparkling wine and orange juice on landing, a flight certificate and a delicious full buffet breakfast which you can enjoy while you go over the details of your journey.
At Sun Fun, we use our years of experience to provide you with the ultimate hot air balloon trips. Contact us now to find out more!
What to Expect….
This adventure calls for some early rising as you are expected to meet at your flight venue one hour before sunrise. This is when the air is most stable and the winds are calm, ensuring a tranquil flight. At our Magaliesberg venue, The Whispering Pines Lodge, you will be enjoying some warm coffee and taking photographs whilst watching the balloon being inflated. After about half an hour the pilot will call on you to board.
The flight will last approximately one hour. You will be enjoying the fresh crisp air, seeing the sun rise over the valley and experiencing the absolute calm and tranquillity of this ancient form of flight.
At the landing point, the balloon crew will pack the envelope and the basket whilst cold sparkling wine is being served.
The flight is R1850 per person and will include the following:
Refreshments on arrival
One Hour Flight
Sparkling wine/Orange Juice on landing
Transfer back to lodge
Full Country Buffet breakfast
First flight certificate
Our special occasion flights (Anniversaries; Birthdays; Romance and Engagements) are R2125 per person that includes all of above and a delicious gift basket filled with surprise goodies! Just to spoil that special someone a little extra!
To make life a little easier for you, we can assist you with all your accommodation and extra activity bookings.
Accommodation: Self catering & Catered lodges & Caravanning
Activities: Canopy Tours & Horse trails & Quad bike trails & Microlight flights & Paintball & Clay Pigeon shooting & many more!
Sun Fun Africa Safaris
Thank you to Wayne & team for joining us on a beautiful flight this morning!
Mother Nature is finally letting our earth dry up a bit after many weeks of rain and bad weather. It was an awesome experience driving to the launch site this morning underneath a canopy of beautiful stars! The crisp fresh air filling our lungs and wet grass decorating our shoes with little diamond drops.
De Hoek has a feeling of freedom and tranquility hanging around the hotel, with only the waters of the nearby river and singing crickets breaking the silence. While being treated to a 5* coffee and biscuits our group watched our crew prepare the balloons for flight.
Our flight launched around 5:50am with excitement and laughs filling the air.
CHEERS to happy times and great adventures!
Thank you! To all our passengers who have joined us on previous flights and thank you to the passengers who have booked flights with us well into the month of May already.
Without your enthusiasm and hunger for adventure our days here in the office would be dull and boring.
Hot air balloon ride passengers usually arrive at the flight venue very nervous and excited. The nervousness disappears and turns into an adrenaline rush when the Pilot starts inflating the massive envelope of the balloon.
This is the experience that our guests, Victor&Natasha, Johann & Corli and Biance & Ashly had one our last flight
The envelope is the beautiful coloured material part of the hot air balloon. The envelope is made up of a combination of nylon and polyester, the same material that parachutes are made of. The “scoop” is the large piece of material closest to the burners, and this material is made of Nomex. This is a fire-resistant material.
Our passengers then slowly start to lift up and then drift away once the Pilot has given his thumb’s up.
The Pilot of the balloon can not steer the balloon, and thus rides the soft air-currents and winds for a hour. Whilst aimlessly drifting over the Magalies River Valley our passengers experience one of the greatest miracles, the Sunrise.
The final destination of our flights are a surprise! The Pilot can estimate which direction the balloon will be going, but the final stop is a completely different scenario.
After the hot air balloon flight adventure, it is celebrated with a glass of cold sparkling wine/champagne and orange juice.
THE CHAMPAGNE TRADITION
One of the facets of ballooning that adds a certain romanticism to it that has largely been lost to other forms of flying is that it holds to certain small traditions, some of which go back to ballooning’s origins in France.
One of these traditions is for the pilot/aeronaut to present the landowner on whose property you make your final landing with a ceremonial bottle of champagne. This tradition is reputed to have started with the first balloonists in France. The first hot air balloons were filled with not just hot air but smoke, due to a slight mistake by scientists of that era who believed the lift was due to the smoke rather than the heat. Thus, early balloons landing in peasants’ farm fields were likely attacked to be attacked with stones and clubs and pitchforks, since they were obviously fire-breathing monsters. French peasants came with a certain level of sophistication, however. Early French aeronauts found that the peasants could be easily distracted if the monster’s human occupants offered them a glass of champagne. It is very unlikely that any landowner today thinks the balloons are monsters, but some remain irate until offered the champagne! (Today we offer the whole bottle!)
Another champagne tradition is the “First Flight Ceremony” which provides a memorable finish for someone taking their first free flight in a balloon. The ceremony can range from gentle and dignified to bizarre and sadistic. The gentle and dignified version, preferred by balloonists in the Eastern United States, has the pilot telling the story of the French origins of the champage ceremony. With champagne-filled glasses raised, the pilot pronounces “Mother Nature has taken you into the skies and returned you gently to Earth. Welcome to the ranks of the Aeronauts!” Glasses are touched, a cheer sounded, and the champagne given a just reward. In Albuquerque and other locales of the Western balloonist, a slightly nastier version may be inflicted on the newly initiated. The new aeronauts are made to kneel on the ground while the story is told. With the final pronouncement, champagne is poured on the victim’s head and dirt (to commemorate the return to earth) sprinkled onto their wet hair for good measure. The Germans are apparently the most sadistic of all. Word has it that they add to the Western U.S. version , and burn the ends of the hair of the probably horrified new aeronauts to commemorate the fire that took them aloft!