The full grandeur of the Namib Desert is well appreciated from aloft. Even the prestigious Conde Nast Traveler agrees that Namibia is tops when it comes to hot air ballooning.
To really appreciate and enjoy this picturesque treat you have to get up early in the desert. Once the sun is up the heat is too intense for airborne excursions.
Participants are collected from their nearby accommodation before dawn cracks the horizon, and make their way to the launch point outside the Namib Naukluft National Park. Here the balloons will rise up to greet you, their colours brilliant in the grey half-light.
Dreamscapes and Desert Denizens
The sight of the sun rising slowly over the dreamy red desert scenes at dawn is spectacular, offering views of untrodden paths and secret desert hideaways. You may even be lucky enough to spot one of the denizens of this harsh place ambling undisturbed among the sands. Perhaps an oryx or herd of zebra will come into view, or you may catch sight of a leopard or desert fox heading for cover after their nightly forays.
See the trees of the deadvlei from up high, their shadows like spiders stuck in mid scurry across the stark white of the soil, and the huge dunes rising up towards you as you drift by. You’ll never get a better overview of the hiking opportunities and chances to explore than from the heights of a hot air balloon.
The Gentlest Way to Travel
This gentle mode of travel allows plenty of time for photographers to focus on the task at hand, while sightseers get to fully absorb the scenes gently unfolding before them.
Travelling with the wind, there is little sensation of moving at all during your journey, but eventually, you will see the support vehicles come into view. It’s then time to settle down to a champagne breakfast in this sandy wonderland.
Hot Air Ballooning has an excellent safety record and is well worth trying out. If you are afraid of heights, fear not. You will soon forget your qualms when confronted with the panoramic smorgasbord spread out in front of you as you experience the soothing motion of the basket.
Even children are welcome aboard as long as they are tall enough (1.30m) to see over the basket safely. There is no maximum age limit for taking part in this adventure and no exertion involved.
Other Venues in Namibia
While Sossusvlei surely deserves its place at the top of the list, you can also head for the skies above the unique habitats of the Skeleton Coast at Swakopmund, Damaraland and the Brandberg. Each of these offering a unique perspective on Namibia’s striking scenic wealth.