Beware: Balloons Can Be Addictive

by Naomi on July 30, 2011

in Bulletin Board

Hot Air Balloon being inflated

We had a blast yesterday at Johannesburg’s Indaba Hotel, attending the Travelbags lunch sponsored by Bill Harrop’s Original Balloon Safaris, who were also celebrating their 30th Anniversary – in style! The ideal venue, excellent food, great company and brilliant entertainment, led by the legendary Bill Harrop and his dynamic daughter Sarah, was all warmed up with Nederburg wines. Nothing wrong there πŸ™‚

Big thanks to Susan and Glen Findlay from GoSafari for the invitation, and introduction to the Travelbags community. This South African Travel Womens Club, previously affiliated to the now dissolved International Federation of Women’s Travel Organisations (IFWTO), was founded as a non-profit organisation in 1958, and continues to provide exceptional networking opportunities, while raising funds for selected charities.

Yesterday’s charity was Faces of Hope and one of their members, himself a cancer survivor, gave a moving and mind-shifting speech of thanks. He mentioned the little things that every cent raised helps to finance for cancer patients; things that many of us take completely for granted on a daily basis.

Although we didn’t win any of the awesome prizes up for grabs, we did walk away with 15 sky lanterns, which Dave bought in support of this worthy cause. If you’d like to help too, and participate in the enchantment of these non-flammable, bio-degradable, flying charms, then follow this link, where you can purchase a gift set of 3 for R150.00: www.lightalantern.co.za

For more adventurous souls, who prefer to take to the skies in person, there’s Bill Harrop’s Original Balloon Safaris, based about 45 km’s north of Johannesburg – an area that “boasts some of the safest and most reliable ballooning weather in the world”. They also offer game viewing balloon safaris in the Limpopo Province and various private game reserves throughout South Africa.

We’ll be signing up soon, especially since Dave has been hot air ballooning at the Masai Mara in Kenya, and we’ve drifted together over an Eastern Cape game farm, albeit followed by a really bumpy landing πŸ˜€ Here’s some photography from Dave’s Kenya trip:

wildlife photography

HOT AIR BALLOON OVER MIGRATING WILDEBEEST - Masai Mara, Kenya

travel and tourism photography

HOT AIR BALLOON BURNER

What can I say; there’s just something about ballooning…don’t you think?

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Cindy July 30, 2011 at 9:13 am

Lovely photos as always, but I am afraid I am too scared of heights to ever go ballooning.

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Naomi July 30, 2011 at 9:37 am

Oh, that’s such a pity, Cindy. It’s so beautiful, silent and peaceful…

Thanks for appreciating Dave’s photo’s; he’ll just have to take more to share with you πŸ™‚

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nrhatch July 30, 2011 at 3:26 pm

We’ve been hot air ballooning over Palm Springs, California . . . also followed by a rather bumpy landing which tipped the basket onto its side.

No injuries.

Glad you had fun!

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Naomi July 30, 2011 at 7:02 pm

Thanks, Nancy…glad no injuries! Our basket also tipped on its side, after bumping along the ground, taking off again over a fence, and then re-landing clumsily. It was quite funny, especially since we were all fine too πŸ˜€

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Tammy July 31, 2011 at 6:39 am

I am addicted. Just love it although can’t do it terribly often. Thanks for sharing. I must visit one day.

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Naomi July 31, 2011 at 6:52 am

That would be wonderful, Tammy! Lovely to hear that you enjoy ballooning too, and we’re in the same boat – the one drawback here is the price.

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sideview July 31, 2011 at 7:45 am

goodness is Bill still flying?
20 years ago he seemed to be the oldest of the balloon pilots, so now he really must be.

i love balooning – have done it here, east africa and in australia

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Naomi July 31, 2011 at 8:15 pm

Yes, I think you must be right, Sidey πŸ™‚ How cool that you’ve gone ballooning in all these places. Bet it’s been awesome!

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sideview August 9, 2011 at 9:31 pm

I tried in Holland, saw the baloon daily but no way to trace him, in the USA when I had time, everyone was preparing theirs for a big festival up north, so I missed out on that too.

maybe one day………………

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Naomi August 10, 2011 at 1:13 pm

Oh, the elusive balloons, Sidey! Hopefully one day…your travels sound wonderful, but perhaps it’ll be closer to your own back yard πŸ˜‰

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Kate Shrewsday July 31, 2011 at 10:52 pm

There certainly is! Magical pictures, and clearly a magical night. I love the sound of balloons. Somehow it’s never intrusive, just evocative.

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Naomi August 1, 2011 at 9:27 am

Yes, Kate, “evocative”: the perfect word, thank you!

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Linda August 2, 2011 at 5:13 am

I’m with Cindy on this one. I am terrified of heights so no balloning for me. Looking at your lovely pics will do just fine. I didn’t know they made baskets that could carry that many people at once!

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Naomi August 2, 2011 at 11:40 am

Sorry to hear that, Linda, but glad you like the pics – thank you πŸ™‚ Some of the baskets are pretty big, making for festive flying! On the other hand, intimate ones that carry only two passengers can be quite romantic…

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Tokeloshe August 3, 2011 at 10:54 pm

Stunning photos !

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Naomi August 5, 2011 at 7:52 am

Thank you!

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JamieDedes August 8, 2011 at 7:15 am

What fun. The sky lanterns a lovely.

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Naomi August 9, 2011 at 8:14 pm

Looking forward to lighting them and letting them fly πŸ™‚

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