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My first-ever hot air balloon experience, courtesy of Royal Balloon Rwanda - I

My first-ever hot air balloon experience, courtesy of Royal Balloon Rwanda - I

Photo credit: Royal Balloon Rwanda

We entered the fenced Akagera National Park through the South Gate. Then we branched off and spun along Kayitaba Road. Shortly afterwards, we took another turn and proceeded to our take off spot, off Gasumbashyamba Road.

There is a network of unpaved roads in the aforementioned park. One of these days, I will publish a story highlighting what transpired during my latest game drive around the marked streets of this wildlife habitat.

Upon arrival, we grabbed some coffee and watched our tour operator’s team inflating the balloons in preparation for the highly anticipated flights. The inflating drill is quite intriguing. This was an opportunity to learn one or two things about the science behind the first flying mechanism in history.

Flying in a basket hooked to a balloon is probably the most thrilling thing I have ever done. I shared a balloon with three American tourists, including the daughter of the legendary hot air balloon pioneer, Matt Wiederkehr.

In Rwanda, hot air balloon excursions are offered by Royal Balloon Rwanda. Having worked in Turkey for over a decade, the company’s two pilots boast an experience of more than 1,300 flying hours.

The exhilaration of lift-off, the warmth of heated air and the breathtaking view of Rwanda’s only Savannah protected area will undoubtedly create memories you will cherish for the rest of your life. Part II of this story will be published tomorrow. Stay tuned.

The author is an adventurer on a tour of all 30 districts of Rwanda. Follow his awe-inspiring expeditions on Twitter@GeoExposure.

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