April 2017 Cruises


Cheap Flights

16+ yrs

12 - 15 yrs

2 - 11 yrs

under 2 yrs

Ballooning at the Cradle of Humankind

Hot air ballooning is possible at the Cradle of Humankind (Muldersdrift), or for a bit more at the Hartbeespoort Dam. If you book throuh us, you can earn travel vouchers by writing about your experience, sending us photos and camcorder footage.

Reservations

What it's like

Details

Reader comments

Air to Air Africa fly 3 large hot air balloons designed for the comfort and safty of our passenger. They carry between

8 Passengers 2 per compartment

10 /12 passengers – 3 per compartment

16 passengers – 4 per compartment

this protects you from the Pilots cockpit holding his equipment and gas cylinders. As a balloon is quiet noisy when the pilot burners, it creates a private compartment.

All flights include 14% VAT, tea/coffee prior to an hour flight at sun rise, Sparkling Wine and/or Orange Juice on landing where every that may be, vehicle transport back to the venue for breakfast and receive a commemorative certificate.

Physical considerations

Passengers must be capable of standing for the duration of flight (1 hour) and able to enter and exit the basket unassisted... Passengers with health considerations accept the responsibility to consult a doctor before embarking on a balloon flight.

Number of Passengers

Price per Person

Single – 7

R1900.00

Group 8/10/16 - 24

R1850.00

Large Group flight (25 and up)

R1800.00

For the team builders and large groups in winter only, we offer a double hop - a 30-45 minute flight with half the group going up while the second group follow the balloon. On landing we swop the passengers around and continue with the flight. Sparkling Wine served at breakfast. This is not a flight we advise you to do in the summer as the earth heat’s up to quickly and the wind may pick up during the first flight, and we will have to postpone the second flight disappointing those who could not fly.

R1450.00

Under 35kg A guardian must accompany children under 16.

Children should be over 1.20 meters tall to see over the basket

R 925.00


First-hand experience of ballooning at the Cradle of Humankind

The ballooning takes place at the Heia Safari Ranch.  You'll make your life a lot easier if you stay there overnight, as ballooning involves waking up at sparrow fart (we met at 6am).  The Ranch is a magnificent place with friendly staff, and impala, kudu, giraffe and zebra wandering around your rondavel.  (One of the young ladies with us liked it so much she said she wanted to get married there).

dawn at Heia Safari Ranch

After enjoying some warm drinks and a safety talk at the reception of the Heia Ranch, we got into the combi and drove down to Lake Heritage, with our mittens, beanies and gloves helping us to feel toasty in the early morning frost.

hot air balloon being filled in the early morning frost at Lake Heritage

Here's Eddie Jacobs operating the propane burner and his assistant with the fan, filling the balloon. It took 30kg of propane just to fill up!

propane burners heating up the air in the hot air balloon

The soft early morning light is conducive to taking great photos of the light mixing with the vapour lifting off Lake Heritage.

hot air balloon about to take off from the Cradle of Humankind

We were in the massive 16-person balloon, which is great for company team-builds. There are only a handful of qualified pilots in South Africa for these biggest of balloons. We took off from the beautiful Lake Heritage - a "dam" fine experience!

Lake Heritage in the Cradle of Humankind

Situated on the Crocodile River and completed in 2006, Lake Heritage is the largest hand built stone dam on the African continent (and possibly in the world), standing 300m wide and 20m tall. All stones used in its construction were found on site, and cement was used to hold them together.

Lake Heritage dam wall

And then we passed over what looked like it could be situated in Tolkien's middle-earth. Whilst it was cold on the ground, the propane burners of the balloon kept us warm.

middle earth in the Cradle of Humankind

Forgetting your camera would be like not taking photos after your child is born. Even the most hardened tourist will want to record the unforgettable views for posterity (and to send us your clickies to earn travel vouchers).

camera clicking away on the hot air balloon trip

Beautiful fields

view from a hot air balloon

Here's a township we ballooned over. I have no idea what its name is (if you do please let us know).

hot air ballooning over a township in South Africa

As we came in to land the shadow of our hot air balloon got closer. This was the last photo in the air before I assumed the crouch position for landing.

shadow of hot air balloon as it comes in to land

Eddie gave the instruction to assume the crouch position in the basket.  As our balloon came down, the basket clipped the top of some trees, spraying seeds from the trees into the air.  (This is intentional - to slow down the balloon).  We then had a relatively gentle landing in a field near a school. Some of the school children came running to the balloon, before their teacher rounded them up again. We enjoyed the traditional champagne and orange juice, which harks back to the first balloon flights in France, where you would carry champagne as proof to those meeting you at your landing that you weren't foreigners!

school children running to see the hot air balloon

Feeding the giraffe

A highlight for me was feeding the giraffe! I've never come across a tame giraffe before, and they had 2. I took some of the feed out of the bucket and fed the beast with my hand. The giraffes have just had a young one, which looks like it might survive - the youngsters struggle on the highveld because of the cold (and the older ones sometimes get hit by lightning).

feeding a giraffe at Heia Safari Ranch

Breakfast at the Ranch

After feeding the giraffe we enjoyed a hearty breakfast, with Sheree handing out certificates to all participants: "This is to certify that Bob had the courage to defy the laws of gravity and explore the oldest form of flight known to man. Floating like a cloud and looking back at the earth as few ever have. This new discovery took place over Heia Safari Ranch".

Air to Air Africa are an experienced and professional outfit, headed by Eddie Jacobs, who showed the utmost expertise in piloting our balloon, and Sheree Jacobs who headed up the ground crew. I thorougly recommend using their services.

2015 Investment Cruise

Ritsgids logo