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Ballooning at the Hartbeespoort Dam

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After waking up at sparrow fart, we headed out to the Hartbeespoort Dam to try find out why hot air ballooning is considered the ultimate romantic activity - and we soon got answers - at 05h00 on arrival at the takeoff zone it was cold and I couldn't help but snuggle up to my partner under the cover of the dark. To supplement the human warmth, we were supplied with the choice of hot chocolate, coffee or tea, and once the flame throwers (aka propane burners) came on there was no more cold.

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hot air balloon burners

There were 6 of us plus a pilot (Conraad) who clambered into the basket (do not expect to be able to do this in a ladylike fashion) - romance point number 2 - you are compressed closely and cosily next to each other - expect full body contact. Interestingly, all of those in our basket and the other one were couples.

liftoff in our balloon at the Hartbeespoort Dam

Romance point 3 - although it is pretty safe, there is that excitement of the possible danger from being so high up - and ladies can cuddle up to their men, or men to their ladies (!) if they feel a little scared.

ballooning at the Hartbeespoort Dam

To add in a bit more excitement we did a "dip and dash" - and no, this is not the description of a Gauteng mating ritual - but rather the terminology used for lowering the ballooning basket into the Hartbeespoort (yes, it hit the water) before rising up again.

dip and dash in the Hartbeespoort Dam

These were simply the most beautiful views of the Hartbeespoort.

ballooning over the Hartbeespoort Dam

We got into an ideal position for views over the Kosmos area of the Hartbeespoort Dam.

Kosmos Village, Hartbeespoort Dam from a hot air balloon

Whilst below our basket another balloon was executing a "dip-and-dash":

balloon below our basket

A bit of history: In 1942 Johan Schoeman (who had established Kosmos in 1937) sold his tearoom and amenities sites in Kosmos with their commercial boating rights. The new owner erected a building and some rondavels and established the Scenic View Hotel, which became a popular alternative to coastal destinations during and after World War II. The Scenic View Hotel was later renamed the Hotel Kosmos and still later the Sail Inn, which lost its liquor license after it failed to get a hotel board star rating in the late 1960s. It became dilapidated and was later demolished to make way for what is now Mariners’ Village (which you can see in the photo below).

Mariners Village at the Hartbeespoort Dam

We were lucky enough to be blown over the Magaliesberg (towards Brits). Here's a view of the Mooiuitsig peak.

Magaliesberg at the Hartbeespoort

Just before landing the pilot instructed us to take up (pre-rehearsed) landing positions, entailing crouching in the basket. We had a fast landing (about 35km/h) and the basket dragged about 100m along the ground whilst it slowed down with us tucked inside it. It did get bumpy, and it adds to the fun of it (the landings aren't always this bumpy, it all depends on the wind speed). We were up in the air for almost exactly an hour and covered 25km, with a maximum speed of 56km/h.

hot air ballooning landing near Brits, South Africa

Here's where we had lunch, and where can be more beautiful and romantic than under a windmill overlooking the Hartbeespoort Dam. We sat here with the crew, chewing the fat together, and sharing our hot air ballooning "war stories".

lunch at the Hartbeespoort Dam

What I really liked was the friendliness of both the crew and the fellow passengers. From the ground crew to the pilots to the ladies responsible for the marketing and signing of forms, I have rarely come across a more convivial bunch of people.

Random photos

The team setting the hot air balloon up in the dark.

Initially a fan is used to fill the balloon with air

setting the basket of the hot air balloon up

fanning the balloon to fill it with air

Propane burners are used to heat the air.

Here's the side-on view.

propane burners used to heat the air

hot air balloon filling with air

It's warm when the propane burners are on.

Our ballooning pilot, Conraad, and his thick gloves.

propane burners in a hot air balloon

our ballooning pilot - Conraad

Meerhof part of Hartbeespoort in the foreground.

Our cars are in the field to the right of this balloon.

view of the Hartbeespoort from our balloon

takeoff in a hot air balloon

Hot air balloon rising into the skies

Meerhof suburb of Hartbeespoort

hot air balloon rising into the skies

Meerhof suburb of Hartbeespoort Dam

Classic view of a hot air balloon

Beautiful view of Hartbeespoort ballooning

classic view of a hot air balloon

Hartbeespoort balloon

Ballooning just before the Hartbeespoort Dam wall

Kalkheuwel, Renosterkop and Krokodilberg

ballooning at the Hartbeespoort Dam wall

Kalkheuwel next to the Hartbeespoort Dam

Yachts moored at the Hartbeespoort Dam

Pecanwood Golf & Country Club

yachts moored at the Hartbeespoort Dam

Pecanwood Golf Estate at Hartbeespoort from a hot air balloon

Hartbeespoort up to Magaliespark Golf Course

Hartbeespoort with its yachts, dam wall and Kosmos

Hartbeespoort Dam up to Magaliespark

Kosmos area of the Hartbeespoort

Kosmos & Magaliesberg from above

Hartbeespoort Kosmos Market

Komsmos & the Magaliesberg from above

Hartbeespoort Kosmos Market

farming activity around the R104

Farmhouse near Wolhuterskop

farming activity around the R104

farmhouse near Wolhuterskop

The N4 leading to Modderspruit

Paint your house red and we shall see it

N4 to Modderspruit

red house from above

Village we ballooned over just before landing.

One of the many mines in the region

village we ballooned over

mine from above

If you've read this far you may be thinking of taking somebody special hot air ballooning. It's so difficult to think of gifts for somebody, and I would thoroughly recommend purchasing a couple of gift vouchers for a loved one and yourself to go hot air ballooning (email me at and I'll arrange it). Or have a look at our ballooning Gauteng page to make a reservation.

Hot air balloon weddings

You can have your wedding in a hot air balloon...will make for one hell of a story to tell your grandchildren.


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