One of the most persisting desires of mankind has always been to fly. To roam the sky and look down to the beauty below In magnificence. I truly feel like I’m one of the lucky ones because to fly, is to dream, to levitate and be free.
This was my first hot air balloon experience. To be honest, I’m very happy I did it in Ethiopia.
Even though I have flown a couple of times, there was something remarkable about this one. Now, I have never been on a hot air balloon before and honestly, I thought it was something the French came up with to find a fancier way of travel. After I found out that it was indeed French and one of the earliest pursuits to build the first aircraft, I was mesmerized into trying it.
My Hot Air Balloon Ride in Addis Ababa
Thus, On October 13, 2018, a beautiful Saturday morning graced me with its presence as I and several other people were picked up from our respective locations and drove towards the plane fields of Menagesha, just outside Addis.
It was a cold morning half an hour shy of sunrise as we arrived at a location where the hot air balloon ride in Addis Ababa’s flight crew were assembling the equipment to get this incredible craft into the air. Meanwhile, I was enjoying the coffee that was being served by one of the crew members while still trying to wake up, as the pilot started the burner and woke me up for certain.
I was stunned to see how big the balloon actually was because pictures would never really tell the whole story.
After a debrief of safety and instructions while in air, we all began to climb into a large basket that would hoist us up on to the sky. The time is 6:28 as the sun begins to rise on the eastern horizon. Just a 100 feet off the ground, the sheer serenity and peace, the marvelous sunrise and the calm breeze of the wind bouncing off my face was all too real to be a dream.
High Up in the Sky
As the sun graced us with all its might, we were cruising on two thousand feet serenaded with the natural beauty below. Even the trees that have been there for centuries felt so small. It was truly magnificent because I could see the ground so far below and yet I was standing on my own two feet. Besides the trees, farmlands and village roads, The only consistent thing that was on the ground was following us was the ground team below tracking us towards our landing position.
This is an amazing way of exploring Addis Ababa, and a unique way of seeing more of Ethiopia.
After almost an hour of flight, the pilot instructed all of us to assume landing positions as we glided on to a field towards astonishing decent. Soon afterward, the pilot instructed the crew to load up as he brought a nice bottle of sparkling champagne keeping up with the old tradition of the nobles.
I can only say how safe I felt, and how professional everything was handled by the pilot and his team.
The End of An Amazing Hot Air Balloon Ride in Addis Ababa
To even cap it off as an amazing start to a Saturday morning, we had a lovely breakfast and an initiation ceremony into the ballooning family. Even more interesting, there were 7 nationalities that flew with us on the day, all with incredible backgrounds towards a great network.
Afterward, we were all escorted home in due fashion. This one was truly one for the books. I dare anyone with the thrill of an adventure, to get up there and try it.
They meet all international standards of safety, and every guest gives us an amazing review of the company and trip. Have fun! And take lots of photos!