Maarten Schäfer

We have a 4am wake-up call this morning – pretty harsh, but there is a good reason: we are going on a balloon safari and have to be at the take-off site at 6am.

It’s an hour’s drive through the nocturnal Serengeti plains. There are no street lights, only the stars to guide us. No morning joggers along the road either; only a couple of excited hyenas scampering along with us. And some hippos standing in the road looking perplexed at our early morning escapade. “Yes I know, I’m confused too, being up this early,” I think out loud.

We arrive at the take-off site, an open space in the savannah where the balloon is spread out in the middle of a field. Our pilot Abeid takes us through the do’s and don’ts of hot air ballooning and as dawn breaks, we climb into the basket.

Abeid turns up the…

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