Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve is situated close to the town of Heidelberg in Gauteng, South Africa.
The reserve is a mixture of grassland and mountains. There is 68 km of good tarred roads, which can be driven in a circular way. Halfway is an attractive picnic site with ablution facilities.
The reserve has some animals, but I have never seen much. Some of the popular activities include bird watching, cycling, day hikes and overnight hiking.
The reserve is on the highveld, which means that it is cold and dry in winter and in the summer you can encounter a thunderstorm. You must take everything you need with you to the reserve, since there is no shop or restaurant.
So, I decided to fly in a hot air balloon. It is a very early morning start and you arrive at the base, from where you will fly, when it is still dark.
You receive a warm welcome on arrival and then you can relax with coffee and biscuits, while watching how they set the balloon up. Once the balloon is full of hot air, you can proceed to the basket.
After completing and practicing the safety procedures, the flight begins. For me, it was a big moment when the balloon took off. You get a sense of weightlessness and while you hang in the air, you watch the sunrise and you listen to the silence around you. It is a wonderful nature moment.
Another bonus is that you can ask the pilot all your questions. The flight is not high and the flame that create the hot air, keep you warm.
You ride the air stream for a while and then you land somewhere in die fields. A land support team follows the flight. When the flight land, they are there and you are entertained with champagne and juice while watching how they pack up the balloon.
You get transported back to the base, and they treat you further with breakfast and a certificate. I went with Bill Harrop's Original Balloon Safaris (balloon.co.za).
I am the owner of Flycatcher Travel and my idea with this blog is to report on sites that we visit. I am also very interested in South African history.