General

“Balloonists can dawdle, lollygag, cast their fate to the wind and become part of the ebb and flow of nature.”

In that silent realm, far from the mischief and toil of society, all one hears is the urgent breathing of the wind and, now and then, an inspiring gasp of hot air.” — Diane Ackerman

When?

Every morning at sunrise,our balloons depart from launch sites in the Hoedspruit area. Come aboard for an experience of a lifetime.

Experience the magic of lighter-than-air flight over the private nature reserves adjoining the Kruger National Park, or over the Lowveld section of the Blyde River near Otters Den River Lodge. Our pilots and guides will ensure a safe, enjoyable and informative adventure that will be one of the highlights of your visit to the Kruger to Canyons Biosphere.

Where?

We are located near Hoedspruit, and we offer flights over Otters Den, Tshukudu and other lodges and game reserves that have suitable terrain. Depending on forecast wind directions, we select a launch site that will place us upwind of good flying terrain. The decision is usually made the evening before the flight. Self-drive passengers are provided with a detailed map showing the locations of our regular launch sites. For lodge guests who don’t have their own transport, we can help arrange a transfer company to take you to the launch site.

What to expect:

We meet before sunrise and coffee is served while you watch your eight-storey high balloon being inflated and prepared for flight.

After a safety briefing you should be airborne in time to witness the sunrise. Then a change in altitude to search for a favorable wind that will allow you to drift gently over the landscape. Game spotting cannot be guaranteed but on most flights we see giraffe, wildebeest, zebra, nyala, impala, bushbuck, waterbuck,duiker and warthog. Rhino, buffalo, elephant and lion are more difficult to spot, but there is always a good chance.

After about an hour’s flight, the pilot will select a suitable landing site where the retrieve crew will be in attendance. Passengers don’t have to be physically fit, but be prepared to stand in the basket for at least an hour. Youngsters are welcome but should be at least 1.2m (4 foot) tall, so they can see over the rim of the basket. Sparkling wine and fruit juice are served after the flight. Passengers are invited to have breakfast at Otters Den, if it suits them.

Bookings and Terms

A minimum of two passengers and a maximum of 18 per flight. If weather conditions don’t allow a flight on the day of your booking, you are entitled to a full refund, or you can choose to carry your ticket over to another day.

What to wear and bring along:

Though Winter dawns can be nippy, once you’re up in the basket, it will be surprisingly warm.

Warm clothes will be useful during pre-flight. Cameras and binoculars can be brought along.

Staff and equipment

Your pilot is, of course, fully qualified and is also an expert in environmental interpretation. We fly a Kavanagh 210 that carries pilot plus 8 passengers, a Thunder & Colt 180 that carries pilot plus 6 passengers and a Kavanagh 120 that carries pilot plus 4 passengers..

Licensing and Insurance.

Changing Tides 1126 CC trading as Suncatchers Hot Air Balloon Safaris

Class II Air Service License No. N691D

Liability Insurance: SA Eagle Policy Number AV1/041