One of my all time to-dos was to take a ride in a hot air balloon over an iconic landscape. Whilst visiting Namibia in 2019 I finally managed to achieve this.
A 4AM start meant driving from my accommodation to the pick-up point in Sossusvlei near to the entrance of the National Park. Once at the lift off location the balloon was nearly inflated and it was just a case of climbing into the basket and after a quick safety brief from the pilot we were away. The flight didn't just give the expected blue skies but also slivers of cloud generating shadows and crepuscular rays over the barren sands - as the balloon pilot stated "some of the best light that he had seen ever". A wonderful hour and a quarter was then spent travelling some 15kms with the breeze - a silent journey, taking off with the sun rising over the red dunes of Sossusvlei. After a faultless landing we were then treated to a champagne breakfast with only the sound of cork being popped interrupting the stillness of the desert.
Many thanks to the first class service from Namib Sky Balloons for a once in a lifetime experience!