March 2016 – Wilderness Safaris is delighted to launch hot air balloon safaris at Vumbura Plains and Little Vumbura camps in Botswana’s Okavango Delta, which will run from 18 April until end September 2016 to coincide with the dry season.
To complement the balloon safari, guests can also opt for an exclusive eight-minute helicopter transfer to and from the launch site, which adds an additional bird’s-eye view of this incredible wilderness concession. Guests who choose to travel to the site as part of their daily game drive will just need to wake a little bit earlier to ensure they board the balloon in time for a spectacular sunrise over the Okavango Delta, and the unique opportunity to view a rich diversity of wildlife from the air.
“We are thrilled to introduce this exciting new excursion to our guests, giving us another incredible way to share the wonders of the Delta with them. Soaring over our private concession in a hot air balloon provides the ideal opportunity to fly over remote areas that are not often explored on game drives, allowing us panoramic views of untouched plains. These are interspersed with dry riverbeds and ancient island forests that are populated with gnarled and twisted trees that have managed to survive the numerous inundations over millennia”, says Deon de Villiers, Wilderness Safaris Botswana Operations Manager.
The balloon safari adds to the diverse list of already popular activities on offer at Vumbura, including mekoro (dug-out canoes), boating, game drives, game walks and scenic helicopter rides. A maximum of four guests can enjoy this excursion at any one time, ensuring a personalised journey. After approximately 45 minutes in the air, guests will be met with a champagne celebration upon landing, before returning to camp for a delicious brunch.
“We recommend that guests make this excursion a full air safari by choosing a scenic helicopter flight to or from the balloon launch site (or both), which offers an extraordinary opportunity to explore the waterways of the Delta in search of wetland species, like the secretive sitatunga and forgotten pods of hippo in remote areas”, de Villiers added. “The importance of these activities also extends into our conservation initiatives as it allows a greater, yet non-invasive human presence in remote areas which helps to protect and conserve our pristine environment."
The Okavango Delta is one of the largest inland delta system in the world, filled with water channels, lagoons and islands. Wilderness Safaris’ private Vumbura Concession comprises 60 000 hectares of a varied mix of mopane, acacia woodland, floodplains and permanent swamp. Key mammal species include herds of elephant and buffalo, sable, zebra and wildebeest. Cheetah, spotted hyaena and wild dog can also be seen occasionally. Vumbura Plains comprises 14 tented suites, and Little Vumbura is an intimate six-roomed camp; both are perfect bases from which to explore this pristine wilderness area.
Hot air balloon safaris over the private Vumbura concession in the Okavango Delta