Soaring above the Okavango Delta in a hot air balloon is surely on your bucket list. Watch the sunrise as dawn awakens the big cats as they start their morning hunt, see herds of elephants and buffaloes head to the water’s edge for their morning drink and hear the morning chorus of the birds throughout the mopane forests. This is a wonderful opportunity to get some aerial photos and videos and to truly understand the complex ecosystems that make up the Okavango Delta. After your balloon flight, you’ll be treated to champagne and bush snacks. For those who wish, enjoy scenic helicopter flights to and from the hot air balloon launch site. This gives you ample opportunity to experience the wildlife from the sky.
When I stayed at Vumbura Plains recently I had the most amazing experience of arriving by helicopter. I’ve travelled by light aircraft on countless journeys in and out of the Delta since I first went in 2002, but I’d never been in a helicopter before. I really am not used to this incredible treatment but I was coming from Chief’s Camp (one of the only camps in the Delta to have WIFI), and found out that I had just completed on my first flat, so I think I probably told everyone working there, as I couldn’t contain my excitement! The heli pilot got wind and didn’t have a scheduled flight that day so he thought he’d drop me off to Vumbura Plains himself (and stop off for a champagne break enroute). What an amazing experience it was, I saw herds of ellies, big crocs sunbathing and dazzles of zebra! It was incredible to spot the wildlife from above through massive clear screens. But to then do this in a hot air balloon must be even better. It is slower (I love travelling slowly) and you’re with the elements. The balloons only take 4 guests and a pilot (I remember being packed into one with 12 in Bagan so 4 is a real treat), so it’s perfect for couples looking for romance or families looking for adventure. Little Vumbura and Vumbura Plains both have family rooms and so long as a child is accompanied by their parents, they are fine to fly and even get a certificate!