A few years ago I decided to add hot air balloon rides to my safari big game business. I had seen hot air ballooning on a visit to the United States and it greatly intrigued me.
I was very impressed at the site of the balloons going up into the air, and I decided that I would like to try it myself. So I did that, and it was spectacular. It was also somewhat nerve-racking for a guy who is used to being in control of his vehicle on the ground.
Still it was an exhilarating experience and one that was quite unique. I figured it would be worth trying to start a business like that as a branch of my safari enterprise in Kenya.
I started with one hot air balloon.
Word spread of my hot air balloon business and I began to have regular clients coming from all over the country. And then my upper echelon clients typically wanted to go hot air ballooning as well. I quickly needed to add a second and then the third balloon.
So what used to be simply a safari experience has now grown into a safari and hot air ballooning adventure. Even the clients who have their hearts set on big game hunting still want to go hot air ballooning as well.
Typically they will get hot air balloon rides book-ending their safari excursion. So they will get a ride usually the day after they arrive and then the day after the conclusion of their safari trip.
Sight Seeing in Style
I mentioned in my last blog that my favorite clients are the sightseeing clients.
Typically the people that I take up into the hot air balloons become sightseeing clients even if they went on a Safari.
It’s like they wear different hats. When they’re on safari they wear one hat and have a certain personality. When they leave the safari for a balloon ride, it’s like they take off the one hat and put on the tourist hat.
They generally become much more relaxed and decent human beings. I tend to enjoy them infinitely more on the hot air balloon rides than I do on the safari.
I mentioned that I have three hot air balloons now The demand for hot air balloon sightseeing has become so great that I can’t go up with every single client.
Typically I will accompany the clients that have come over from out of the country. These are usually the high-stakes clients that I do want to please. After all, they are my bread and butter. So I will usually accompany them on the hot air balloon rides.
I have a lot of business from locals or tourists from neighboring countries who come for the hot air balloon rides. Those clients I generally send up with a hired pilot.
The rides are generally one hour or two-hour rides. In that amount of time, I can take my clients over the Rift Valley, across Maasai land, over lake Victoria and even within view of Mount Kilimanjaro.
It really is a spectacular tour from the air. It is an experience t