After ringing in the new year with a bonfire on the banks of the Nile, I already had a sneaking suspicion that the year was off to a flying start!… So, when on the second day of that year we went hot air ballooning to see the sunrise over Luxor, that only confirmed my suspicion!
The early start of 4.30 am nearly put me off. I am not an early morning person. Thankfully it was winter otherwise it would of been even earlier. Just the thought of a birds eye view of the city, was enough to get me out of bed!
It was still pitch black when we got picked up from our hotel.
We pick up more ballooners until our van is full. Then we drive to a jetty to catch a motorboat to the West Bank. Even though it’s a super short trip we are served tea, coffee and a Twinkee on board.
When we arrive at the other side it’s back into another van for a short drive to where the balloons take off. Once there we are separated off into our different groups and then led to our balloon which is way bigger than I expected! We are essentially hopping into a giant wicker basket. This is equally scary as it is exciting. This basket fits 24 passengers and one pilot and we have a full load so it’s a very cosy ride. The pilot has his own section. Passenger sections are divided into four, with roughly six people in each.
Once everyone is in and we have been briefed on the three different types of landings.
Egyptian – soft and smooth, Australian – pretty smooth/couple of bumps, American – hard, bumpy and possible tip over of basket. We are then shown the landing position- which is holding onto the handles and facing the opposite direction to which we are landing. With the safety demo done it is now time for lift off!!!
It wasn’t long before the sun started to rise and it is nothing short of spectacular!
Now with the sun up we can really take in the sights of the city of Luxor from above!
We can also see the Valley of Kings, the Nile and Delta region. It is amazing to see the stark contrast between the rich fertile land along the Nile and then the surrounding desert.
We also get to see the temples of Luxor, Karnak and Hatshepsut from a different angle to when we visited them later that day!
All up we are in the air for about 45 glorious minutes.
Since we are at the mercy of the wind we don’t have an exact landing location.
As we start our descent we see a small boy waving at us. The boy starts to run as he follows our balloon’s descent. We eventually land and make what is considered an Australian landing in a nearby field.
It takes about 10 people on the ground to hold our balloon down. As we are waiting for the hot air to be released, the young boy comes running up all smiles and waves! We can’t believe he ran all that way. What a way to end an amazing flight!!
Unfortunately just a couple of days later there was a fatal crash in the very same area involving one of the balloons we shared the sky with. Like anything adventurous there is an element of risk and hot air ballooning is no different. Just make sure you do some research and go with an experienced and reputable company. But besides that hot air ballooning over Luxor is an amazing experience.