You will leave an indelible mark on the souls of your loved ones with special needs through hot air balloon gifts. Says Eddie Jacobs, pilot at Air to Air Africa, the only balloon operators in South Africa with seating: “We’ve been privileged to fly a multitude of people with challenged mobility. This includes from our Olympic paraplegic athletes to people who are simply recovering from injuries. It is an absolute inspiration to witness the sheer joy on their faces when they experience the freedom of flying”.
Organising a hot air balloon party for people with special needs
Air to Air Africa is well experienced in catering for those among us with disabilities. The following is good to know:
- The crew will be ready and able to assist the passenger to get into the basket.
- The pilot will not take off until the passenger is securely seated.
- There is a dedicated seat for accompanying the disabled passenger upon landing.
As the hot air balloon basket is 1 metre tall, there will also be some instances where the passenger will have to stand for a period, to appreciate the view optimally. However, as each disabled person’s needs may be different, it is recommended to call Air to Air beforehand, to discuss how each passenger can best be assisted.
Outline of the hot air balloon experience
Air to Air Africa operates from Muldersdrift, close to Lanseria International Airport – which is less than an hour’s drive from Pretoria and Johannesburg. The following is an outline of a standard hot air balloon experience:
- Meet at the wheel-chair friendly Glenburn Lodge & Spa 45 minutes prior to sunrise for coffee and tea and a safety briefing.
- Air to Air Africa transports passengers to launch site.
- Take-off at sunrise.
- Enjoy approximately an hour’s flight over the picturesque Cradle of Humankind. Toast the flight with Sparkline Wine and / or Orange Juice
- Return to Glenburn Lodge & Spa for a buffet breakfast.
- Receive a personal commemoration certificate.
Should the occasion mark an anniversary, birthday or any other special celebration, you can also contact Air to Air Africa in advance for special arrangements.
Tips to prepare
The following tips are useful to ensure the utmost comfort during the hot air balloon flight:
- Weather conditions in the air are different, a lot warmer than the ground temprature so dress layered to adapt as necessary, Closed flat walking shoes.
- Wear hats or caps as protection against the initial heat of the balloon upon take-off.
Binoculars, cameras or cell phones can be brought along at own risk, but should be tied to your person so that you don’t lose them during the flight.
Hot air ballooning costs
The costs of a hot air balloon ride are structured according to weight:
- R975 per person weighing less than 35kg.
- R1950 per person weighing between 35 – 85kg.
- R2475 per person weighing between 85 – 120kg.
- Please call for a quotation.
This is no doubt a small price to pay for such a unique and healing experience, the memory of which will last a lifetime.
As best said by Leonardi da Vinci: “Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward. For there you have been, and there you will always long to return.” Please feel free to contact Air to Air Africa for more information on hot air balloon gifts, or how we can accommodate your specific special needs.