Day 4 - Masai Mara Balloon Ride
28/09/2009

Up at 4am. Woke Steve up and the three of us got ready by torchlight! Whilst we waited for our bus, we saw the beautiful African night sky, full of stars and even some shooting stars.

Bus journey in a high off the ground jeep – extremely bumpy and pitch black outside. Arrived at the Fig Tree Lodge to meet with the rest of the ballooners. Matt, Steve and I were put with eleven other tourists in a 16 person balloon. Our captain Mike was from Bristol!


Steve and I approaching the 3 balloons - ours was the middle one









Loading the first balloon

Captain Mike






Preparing to launch the Balloons

Very gentle take off – all had to sit in ‘landing position’ holding onto the rope handles with both hands.


Fig Tree Lodge, where we launched from





Looking down on a Giraffe, he's in the centre of the picture - honestly!



As the sun rose we had a photo taken by a digital camera that was suspended out on a wooden plank pretty much in mid air!




That's us on far right!


Another cheesy shot from the Balloon's camera!











During our flight we saw a pride of lions running, including cubs, zebra, elephants, giraffe, wildebeest, warthog, lizard, ostrich, hyena, small crocodile, lilac breasted lola and hippo in the Masai river.










The views from the basket

Had a very rough landing, bumping off some large termite mounds!


This was one hell of a landling - we're on the bottom left!



Team shot with all fellow ballooners and the set up team


Us with Steve






Mara River right next to where we landed - famed for the wildebeest crossing each year where the crocodiles lie in wait.




The Mara River - [+] enlarge image





Champagne breakfast after balloon flight under single acacia tree





Must admit this tasted great!






Our breakfast companions










Baby crocodile




Hyena


Warthog - Pumba


Mother and baby Zebra





We're watching you!






Zebra taking a very cautious drink


Something spooked the Zebra - possibly a crocodile

Met with the rest our group back at Fig Tree lodge and went for lunch under a lone tree in the Masai Mara. We ate samosas, salad, chicken and bread with ripe bananas.










Elaine trying to work one of the team's very complex cameras!


Safari Group shot

Afternoon game drive – saw lots of elephants and a female lion under some shade cooling off. Saw many other animals.


It was amazing to see so many Giraffe sitting down














These hyena were wearing collars for research purpose








Possibly our favourite Elephant shot




















Many Buffalo




Birds picking bugs off the skin or just catching a ride!






Female lion cooling off in the shade






We called these Turkeys...!






Little lizard



Visited a Maasai village and was shown round warrior Alex’s house. Did Maasai male and female dancing and gave gifts to the children.


Maasai women dancing



Starting a fire with just two sticks


Matt and Jeremy having a go


The male Massai dancing


Inside Warrior Alex's home





Back at camp had beef, vegetables, chapatti and rice for dinner and played ‘Ass hole’ whilst drinking Tusker and arranged tips for the Kenyan staff.

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Day 4 Map

click for bigger map

Day Highlights
Balloon Ride
Mara River
Champagne Breakfast
Team Photo
Giraffe
Hyena
Elephant
First Lion
Maasai Village

Day 4 Facts:
The Mara River

The Mara River flows through Kenya and Tanzania, and lies across the migration path of ungulates in the Serengeti/Masai Mara game reserves.

The river is a vital source to grazing animals nearby. Although during the dry season it may often appear shallow, it may swell to up to twice its normal size after heavy rainfall. This can create rapids in the river, which may lead to shortage of food for predators that cannot cross the river to hunt.



COMPLETE
TRIP DETAILS


Kenya
Day 1 - Nairobi
Day 2 - Lake Nakuru
Day 3 - Masai Mara
Day 4 - Masai Mara (Balloon)
Day 5 - Lake Victoria


Tanzania
Day 6 - Serengeti
Day 7 - Serengeti
Day 8 - Olduvai Gorge
Day 9 - Ngorongoro Crater


Zanzibar
Day 10-14
Dolphins