October 27, 2018 | By Caroline Abele
The day began in the dark, bumping over the rough roads of the Serengeti. Our destination was a large, colorful hot air balloon which we found laying on its side. As hot air was pumped into the balloon, it began to take shape. As the balloon grew, the sun began to rise on the horizon. Suddenly the balloon was filled and 16 happy passengers scrambled to load the basket. Not an easy thing for a white haired lady of age; but with the help of strong men, I was lifted into the basket to take my place. Instructions from the Turkish pilot followed, the main one was on how we were to safely land.
We were now ready to begin a magnificent voyage over the Serengeti. The pilot instructed the rope to be untied, he turned on a blast of heat and we had lift off. The scene was magical as we slowly floated above the trees. The air was filled with a light fog of the early morning. The sun was a big ball on the horizon. With no wind to change our course, we floated over the Mara River catching perfect views of hippos playing in the water, crocodiles waiting patiently for a victim, giraffes and elephants grazing on the Savannah. We were living “The Lion King” from above the trees.
All too soon we began our descent from the sky. We were instructed to take our landing position, which was a seat on a narrow bench at the bottom of the basket, bracing our legs and waiting for our landing. As the voyage had been perfect, the landing was perfect with the basket landing upright. Again the strong men helped me out of the basket. Our magical ride was over and was followed by a champagne toast and breakfast while we watched giraffes play in the distance. The beauty and excitement of the morning went from my eyes to my heart where it will remain forever and another perfect African day had begun.