In the 1956 Academy Award-winning film ‘Around the World in 80 Days’, Phileas Fogg and his valet Passepartout set out on their voyage via hot-air balloon. Recreating similarly whimsical experiences are these hot-air balloon rides, each vastly different in what they have to offer.
1. Serengeti Balloon Safaris, Tanzania
Visit the majestic Serengeti National Park on a different kind of safari adventure – from the vantage point of just above the treetops to as high as 300m in the sky. Serengeti Balloon Safaris are available for booking all year round, and while there is no guarantee of spotting specific animals, visitors can expect to catch sight of cheetah, hippo, cape buffalo, African elephant, impala, gazelle and jackal populations. Most impressive experiences include witnessing a lion or leopard kill in action and the annual million-strong wildebeest migration – one of the most amazing sights in the natural world.
2. Balloons Over Bagan, Myanmar
The heyday of the ancient city of Bagan, Myanmar, saw over 10,000 Buddhist temples, pagodas and monasteries built on its plains. Today, Balloons Over Bagan provides visitors with a bird’s eye view of the city coming to life each morning against a backdrop of over 2,200 structures that have survived to tell their tales. Or enjoy an evening flight as you float serenely over the Ayeyarwaddy River. Taking off daily from October through March, sunrise and sunset flights include hotel pick-ups and a champagne reception, and the excitement of not knowing where exactly you will land – be it in a field amid historical pagodas or on the banks of a mighty river.
3. RASCJ Wadi Rum, Jordan
A protected area in the south of Jordan, Wadi Rum covers 720 sq km of dramatic desert landscapes. Follow in the footsteps of Lawrence of Arabia on the back of a camel or soar with the eagles with Royal Aero Sports Club of Jordan in a hot-air balloon. See sheer cliffs of sandstone and granite towering over 1.7 km above the valley wilderness, a truly unique experience available from April to June, and from September to December. Flights typically lift off in the early hours of the morning while the winds and temperatures are ideal – the perfect time to marvel at the rustic scenes of Bedouin tribes starting their day, with their traditional goat-hair tents dotting the sandy vistas as far as the eye can see.