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Take to the skies: 5 picture-perfect places to go hot air ballooning

Hot air balloon operators in KwaZulu-Natal are forced to close between June and October because of high winds, and in Cape Town in May due to the start of the rainy season. Picture: John Hart/Wisconsin State Journal via AP

Hot air balloon operators in KwaZulu-Natal are forced to close between June and October because of high winds, and in Cape Town in May due to the start of the rainy season. Picture: John Hart/Wisconsin State Journal via AP

Published Jul 19, 2022

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According to SA Venues, hot air ballooning in Mpumalanga and surrounds is an all-year-round activity because of the generally good weather conditions throughout the year.

Hot air balloon operators in KwaZulu-Natal are forced to close between June and October because of high winds, and in Cape Town in May due to the start of the rainy season.

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With South Africa’s diverse nature and landscape, you can enjoy the fruits of your labour with a safari tour, followed by a flight with a view of the Magaliesberg mountains and the Cradle of Humankind.

Here are five picture-perfect places where you can tick off your hot air balloon bucket list experience.

Enjoy a flight with the Drakensberg mountain as a backdrop. Picture: Instagam

A tour of the Midlands and Drakensberg

Hot air ballooning is possible from a number of locations in proximity to the Drakensberg, but particularly in Winterton in the northern part of the range, which is situated in the KZN Midlands.

You can enjoy views of the mountains and Champagne Valley. Most flights range from R2400 per person sharing to R5000. Depending on your operator, the package usually includes a hot air balloon flight and breakfast after.

Safari hot air balloon rides are also possible in SA and provide a once in a lifetime experience. Picture: Unsplash

Cradle of Humankind Magaliesberg

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The Cradle of Humankind (Muldersdrift) and Hartbeespoort Dam are popular hot air ballooning spots. Since flights are usually early in the morning, it’s advisable that you stay over at a location close to your departure point.

The soft early morning light mixing with the mist lifting off Lake Heritage in Krugersdorp makes for perfect photographic opportunities. Most flight durations are an hour.

Chasing sunrises with peaceful and tranquil skies is the new trend. Picture: Unsplash

Sunrise at the Kruger National Park

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This one is for the sunrise and sunset chasers. Catch the first rays of the African sun as it rises over the Kruger National Park, painting the sky pink, with the Klein Drakensberg Mountains to the west, and the African bushveld below.

Hoedspruit, a game-rich town in Limpopo, is a stone’s throw from the park and is a popular hot air ballooning spot. Flights take place daily throughout the year - weather permitting.

Fancy seeing the beauty of nature from an angle that no human eye can reach? Picture: Unsplash

Garden Route Triangle

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If you’re out and about along the Garden Route area then why not take to the skies in a hot air balloon?

The African Travel Gateway has a tour company operating from the George-Oudtshoorn-Mossel Bay triangle and their hot air balloon operation takes full advantage of the dramatic scenery of the Outeniqua Mountains, the sprawling spaces of the Klein Karoo and the vast blue ocean beyond.

Most launches take place in the Klein Karoo side of the Outeniqua Mountains, near the town of Oudtshoorn.The Klein Karoo is a semi-desert region stretching from Montagu in the west to Uniondale in the east, and is almost completely surrounded by mountains.

Tour of the Cape Winelands

There are many ways to enjoy the Cape Winelands, with its brilliant colours, craggy mountains and manicured vineyards, but nothing compares to sailing above this picture-perfect countryside in a hot air balloon.

Wineland Ballooning has been operating hot air balloon rides in the Berg River Valley - a picturesque area not far from the Cape Winelands town of Paarl - since 1990. Paarl itself is a small town about 40 minutes from Cape Town and is famous as one of South Africa’s premier wine growing areas, and is also where you will find the world’s second largest granite rock outcrop.

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