Sun Fun Africa Safaris, based in the magnificent Magaliesberg, offers air balloon rides in an area renowned for its panoramic view of Africa’s wonders. The Magaliesberg mountain range is nestled between the highveld savannah of the Witwatersrand and the African bushveld. The mountain range is nearly 100 times older than Mount Everest and supports spellbinding fauna, flora, geology and archaeology.
Formed well over two billion years ago, the Magaliesberg Mountains are a true African treasure and home to hundreds of animal and plant species. The history of man in the area is nearly as rich as that of nature though, as the region has seen both turbulent and tranquil times. Many years ago, African tribes and Voortrekkers alike moved amid the fields and plains engaging in great battles and daring hunts, all within the regal shadow of the Magaliesberg Mountains. The mountain range itself is approximately 120km long with its highest peak reaching about 1 780m above sea level. Due to the high ground that supports the range it is only 300m above the land.
It is in this majestic natural environment that Sun Fun Africa Safaris hosts its spectacular balloon flights. Patrons sail gently through the air observing this pristine landscape in a depth and detail that no other form of travel (not even other forms of air travel) can compare to. The sense of wonder as one gently navigates the skies over Magaliesberg can not be compared to any other journey. With over 120 species of trees, over 100 types of grass, over 90 species of mammals, around 300 species of birds, over a dozen types of frogs and nearly two dozen forms of lizards, it is a journey that bears repeating.
Share the awe inspiring sight of prowling leopards hunting amidst the kloofs and ravines or try to spot of the wide range of snakes found in the area. All of this, on top of an aerial adventure through balloon flights conducted by top professionals in the industry. At Sun Fun Arica Safaris air balloon rides are not a business but a calling, and one we love sharing with families all over South Africa.
The team here at Sun Fun has had some interesting safety questions from sky shy clients who were preparing for their first balloon safari. Naturally, once you’re up in the air a feeling of peaceful wonder immediately takes over. Our pilots just smile as the questions drop away and that look of awe spreads on the faces of our holidaymakers. More than one of our expert pilots will tell you that this is why they love their work. It’s a feeling so much more personal than traveling in a noisy helicopter or a frantic airplane, but, let’s take a look at those safety questions and how the balloon works its magic.
Operating on the basic premise that ‘hot air rises’ a hot air balloon functions on reliable and time honoured scientific know-how. Many people practice hot air ballooning as a recreational sport, revelling in the feeling of freedom and relaxation. This traditional mode of flight has a proven safety track record and is certainly more secure than some forms of more modern aviation.
To properly examine the safety of hot air balloons, it would be helpful to understand how they work. Sporting a large bag called an envelope which is attached to a sturdy gondola, the air in the bag is heated with the assistance of an open flame. As the air is heated, the balloon rises. The pilot controls the ascent by manipulating a valve which restricts or opens up the flow of air. At the conclusion of a flight, the pilot gradually lets out enough air, causing the balloon to drop gracefully to the landing area.
Hot air ballooning is performed by travelling with the wind, though the pilot has some control over their direction via their altitude due to various air currents running in different directions. Generally, the best time to fly is in the early morning hours as wind speeds are still low. Lower wind speeds make hot air balloons a great deal safer, and the flights are more enjoyable, since the balloon gently coasts on its path rather than being buffeted along.
So the weather does play a major role in ballooning safety and we will ensure that we avoid extreme weather patterns during our flights. Our pilots are gifted in being able to tell good flight weather from bad at the very first signs of a change in climate – a sense developed by years of practise and extensive knowledge of the area. That’s not something that you get with your pilots licence, although they have those as well. For these few reasons and so many more, balloon safaris are perfectly safe and provide an experience that can’t be found anywhere else in the sky.
Once upon a time there was a country called Sun Fun Land
(Magaliesburg for those of you who feel like getting technical)
They had many friends who came from far away places to join them on a thrilling hot air balloon ride!
Meisie, “Meisie’s” mom , Dikeledi & Bernard (Happy bday Bernard), Sanet and Megan thank you for making the journey.
It made the Prince happy to be in the company of Princesses
In Sun Fun Land we play many games – Like the “Hide and seek”
Which was done beautifully by Dikeledi & Bernard
The Prince decided to treat his guests to a hot air balloon ride to show off his entertaining side
The visitors spent a hour soaring above and over the beautiful landscape of Sun Fun Land.
But…..all good things must come to an end…the trusty noble steed had to stop for a rest.
Everyone in Sun Fun Land decided to have a drink and be merry . . .
~ The end ~
(15 September 2010)
What a SuNnY day!
Frank, Natacha, Meisie, Lucinda, Yvonne, Jenny, Cheryl and Eric were our latest adventurers, and flew with us on Sunday 5 September 2010.
The sun is creeping up on us earlier and earlier every morning. Our flight on Sunday took off at 6h10, and lasted for 1hr and 20mins. Mother nature had some fun with the Happy All Day balloon, her winds pushing it so slow at times that it seemed as if the balloon was hanging in the air like a Christmas Tree decoration.
Our guests had the opportunity to view wildlife in the surrounding area while the mountains were decorating their Horizon.
Even the landing felt like it took a lifetime. The Sun Fun balloon came back down to earth in typical South African slow motion style!
Thank all of you for flying with us, braving the smell of fresh cattle “poo” and landmines!