Tag Archives: hot air balloon

Top 10 Wild Gifts for Christmas

There’re  just 10 days to go till Christmas Day. Are you stuck for gift ideas? Here’s our Top 10 Wild Christmas gifts for that ‘hard to buy for’ person in your life.

1.Spend time with the relations – Gorilla trekking permit, from US $600 (Uganda) to US $750 (Rwanda)

  • Find out more about gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda here.
  • See sample gorilla trekking safari holidays here.
  • Read Lily’s account of gorilla trekking here.

2.Mistletoe moment – fall in love with Africa and give a subscription to Travel Africa, the world’s only magazine dedicated to exploring Africa, from £15. Check out their subscription offers here.

3.Cloud Nine Experience – take to the skies at sunrise with a hot air balloon safari, complete with champagne breakfast from £325  (available in the Masai Mara, Serengeti and Tarangire)

  • Read about Robert’s experience in Tarangire here.
  • Find out more about hot air balloon safaris and other unforgettable safari experiences here.

4.Christmas Cracker – traditional cool, colourful cotton Kenyan Kikoys (try saving that after a few sherries) from £25. We love these ones from Blue Summer.

5.Flight of Angels – fly high over Victoria Falls, from £100 – £180 per person. A fabulous way to take in the full drama of this natural spectacle.

  • See a video of the Flight of Angels here.
  • There are many excursions from Victoria Falls – you can get some ideas here.
  • See sample safari itineraries in Zimbabwe and Zambia.

6.Trumpet Fanfare – adopt an elephant, from US $50 per year. Enjoy monthly emails updating you on your elephant with pictures and videos.

  • Find out more about the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust fostering programme here.
  • Read about Kithaka and Arruba, the elephants fostered by the Real Africa Trust here.

7.Give a Great White Christmas – adventurous cage diving in South Africa from £120 per person. It  might not be the most obvious thing to give your loved one, but cage diving with  a Great White in South Africa’s glorious Cape is sure to be an unforgettable experience.

Cage diving can be easily added to any tailormade safari in the Cape. Find out more about our safaris and holidays in South Africa here.
8.A Night with the Stars – sleep out under the great African night sky from US $625 per person per night. Romantic, wonderful, unforgettable – this is a real Christmas cracker. There are many lodges offering a star bed experience including Loisaba and Serian in Kenya, Little Kulala in Namibia, Tswalu in South Africa, Baines and Jao Camp in Botswana. We love Nkwichi on Lake Malawi and the Dove’s Nest at The Hide in Hwange. 

Read our blog about the best star beds in Africa here.

9.Jumbo Bells – Real Africa silver elephant pendant, from £140 each. These beautiful hand-finished eles, as worn by Saba Douglas-Hamilton, are made by jeweller, Penny Price and were specially commissioned by Real Africa for our 15th anniversary. 30% from each and every one (all the profit) is donated to conservation charity Save the Elephants.

To find out more or to order online please click here. Please note: due to overwhelming demand we are now looking at New Year deliveries!

10. Gold, Frankincence, Myrrh …and travel show tickets of course – let Brian Jackman, Monty Halls and other travel experts inspire you in the travel theatres and spend your day consulting the specialists about your future travels plans. Compliments of Real Africa.

Request your complimentary tickets to the new Telegraph Travel Show or Destinations Manchester or London here.




Guide to the Best African Hot Air Balloon Safaris

Hot air ballooning is becoming a very popular option on safaris in Africa. A hot air balloon ride truly gives you a “once in a lifetime” experience that will never be forgotten. It is so completely different to anything else you may have experienced before in both sensation and spectacle. Combining this with the opportunity to explore the stunning African landscape and throw in some game viewing from close at hand and you have all the ingredients to a magical adventure.

The ride is so quiet that it gives you the perfect opportunity to see animals up close and en masse due to the overhead perspective you get from a balloon. You can truly see for miles and miles and soak up the vastness of the African plains. With the only noise being the gentle hiss of the gas burners the peace and quiet gives you the chance to just enjoy the moment and marvel at all you can see before you.

Most tour operators offer trips like this and they follow fairly similar schedules. They tend to start very early in the morning, usually before sunrise, when the air is at its coldest and therefore its calmest. You will be served tea or coffee while you wait and watch the balloonists prepare the hot air balloon for take-off. Once you take off up into the clear African sky you will gently drift across the plains with the prevailing winds. Your pilot will decide the height for flying as necessary and they will be able to drop lower for close up game viewing or rise up high over the tree canopies. The actual flight itself usually takes around an hour and when you land a ground crew will collect you and drive you back to the launch site where you will enjoy a full champagne breakfast. Then finally before heading back to your safari lodge or camp you will be awarded a certificate as a memento of your hot air balloon flight from the balloon pilot.

In Kenya balloon flights are usually over the magnificent Masai Mara National Reserve. The Mara is the northernmost part of the spectacular Serengeti-Mara ecosystem, and is famous for being home to the awe-inspiring annual migration where millions of animals are on the move at the same time. The migration is a great time to go on a balloon trip as it gives you a great perspective on the size and speed of the migration that you just can’t get from the ground. The rest of the year is equally as good with scores of other wildlife on view including lions, cheetahs, elephants, rhinos, hippos, and crocodiles.

Also you can do hot air ballooning across Tanzania and the Serengeti and also South Africa; the Winelands, near Cape Town and over the Kruger National Park are some of the most popular options.

By Paul Hickey-Fry