Beauty From Great Hights
AirVentures offers daily balloon flights over the Cradle of Humankind, Magaliesberg, and selected game reserves.
AirVentures Hot Air Ballooning offers more than just a hot air balloon ride, we offer a total experience encompassing all the good things that make Africa great, from sun rise to great food, from wildlife to breathtaking scenery. Come and experience a spectacular South African sunrise, occasionally skimming treetops or simply drifting peacefully across the skies. Hot air ballooning is a must for everyone, from the daring adventurer through to the romantic connoisseur. Revel in miles and miles of Africa as you float upwards in this majestic craft, enjoyed by enthusiasts across the world and known to be the purest and safest form of flight.
Approximately one hour, unless the pilot feels the flight should be cut short for safety reasons i.e. weather conditions
Children, ideally they must be able to see over the top of the basket which is approximately four feet (1,2 meters) high. A basket on average can take eight, however balloons range from 2 man balloons through to 14 man balloons.
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The motivating force behind AirVentures, was to create a hot air ballooning company that incorporated an African “feel”, and provided a quality air-borne adventure that would leave passengers with the memory of a true “African experience”.
Whether it be drifting over wildlife on our Safari Flight, or taking in the breathtaking scenery on one of our Classic Flights, we add further value to your experience by employing FGASA (Field Guides Association of South Africa) qualified pilots and staff. Their knowledge of the environment will ensure that your time spent with us is informative, as well as exciting and fun.
Our African Identity
Our primary balloon fleet was designed as a tribute to an African sunrise, with the warmth of the colour spectrum reflected in the use of reds, oranges and yellow. The intricate pattern used for the balloon “envelope” incorporates the geometric design of tribal artwork, and our baskets are woven in the traditional manner.
Khaki uniforms for ground crew and pilots, continue our safari theme, and our towing vehicles are well suited to traverse the African bush terrain. From our website, to our logo, from our flight confirmations, to our certificates, we focus on the detail that ensures we provide an experience that encompasses all that is great about Africa.
Beautiful Flying Areas
Cradle of Humankind (World Heritage Site):
We are the only balloon operator to launch our balloons centrally within the Cradle of Humankind, and to offer a full flight experience within the 53 000 hectare world heritage site. Proclaimed a world heritage site in 1998, this protected area is predominately made up of large private game reserves, it contains 13 fossil sites, and has over one third of all hominid fossil finds in the world. With minimal human impact, this area is a true wilderness gem to fly in.
Renowned for ballooning, this picturesque area boasts a range of mountains that are almost a 100 times older than Everest , and are literally thousands of millions of years old. An area of significant South African and geological history, its vastness and beauty can only really be appreciated from the air. Like the Cape vulture that soars in the thermals around these mountains, a hot air balloon ride is un-paralleled in its ability to provide silent, 360 degree visability.
Okavango Delta (World Heritage Site) – Botswana:
AirVentures is the sole licensed provider of hot air balloon safaris over the Okavango Delta, operating over the remote North Western region. We provide the opportunity for you to experience the epitome of a balloon safari, drifting over one of Africa’s great wilderness destinations. A unique landscape flooded with water interspersed with winding channels, dotted with islands and surprisingly large expanses of woodland forests. This age old adventure explores the Okavango Delta in a completely unique way, offering a 360 degree panoramic view from tree top level to a thousand feet in the air.
AirVentures Hot Air Ballooning is a commercial air transport service that is registered with the South African Civil Aviation Authority and abides by the same strict rules and regulations set for commercial airlines – License no. G874D/N837D
We use the latest and safest equipment which is maintained to the highest safety standards. Our pilots are some of the most qualified and experienced in the country, ensuring a safe and memorable flight.
Facts about us
Conservation projects: AirVentures prides itself on being able to show guests the unique perspective we offer of our beautiful country, and we are therefore conscious of efforts needed to preserve the environment. To date we have been involved with the conservation effort by Kerri Wolter and her team with the Cape Vulture, the Leopard Conservation Trust, SanWild, and the Endangered Wildlife Trust.
The preferred balloon operator to be sub chartered to fly in the Pilanesberg National Park.
Hot Air Ballooning
Commonly we most often refer to these vehicles as hot air balloons, in fact there are various types of balloons that can take passengers. A balloon is a type of lighter than air aircraft that remains aloft due to its buoyancy. A balloon travels by moving with the wind. It is distinct from an airship which is a buoyant aircraft that can be propelled through the air in a controlled manner. It is also distinct from aerostat which is a balloon that is moored to the ground rather than free flying.
There are three main types of balloon aircraft:
- Hot air balloons
- Gas balloons
- Rozière balloons
Hot air balloons obtain their buoyancy by heating the air inside the balloon. They are the most common type of balloon aircraft.
Gas balloons are inflated with a gas of lower molecular weight than the ambient atmosphere. Most gas balloons operate with the internal pressure of the gas being the same as the surrounding atmosphere. There is a special type of gas balloon called super pressure balloons that can operate with the lifting gas at pressure that exceeds the pressure of the surrounding air with the objective of limiting or eliminating the loss of gas from day-time heating. Gas balloons are filled with gases such as:
hydrogen – not widely used for aircraft since the Hindenburg disaster because of high flammability (except for some sport balloons as well as nearly all unmanned scientific and weather balloons).
helium – the gas used today for all airships and most manned balloons in the United States
ammonia – used infrequently due to its caustic qualities and limited lift
coal gas – used in the early days of ballooning, high flammability
Rozière balloons use both heated and unheated lifting gases. The most common modern use of this type of balloon is for long distance record flights such as the recent circumnavigations.
Highest Altitude: 34 668 m – Malcom D. ROSS (USA) 1961
Greatest Distance Travelled: 40 814 km – Bertrand PICCARD (Switzerland) 1999
Longest Flight: 477 h. 47 min. – Bertrand PICCARD (Switzerland) 1999
Shortest time around the world: 320 h 33 min – Steve FOSSETT (USA) 2002
The hot air balloon was developed as a children’s toy round about the 2nd or 3rd century AD in China.
It has been proposed that some ancient civilizations developed manned hot air balloon flight. For example, it has been proposed that the Nazca lines (which are best seen from the air) presuppose some form of manned flight, and a balloon was the only possible available technology that could have achieved this. Julian Nott designed and built a balloon using woven cotton fabric and a Torta reed gondola, both readily available to the peoples who made the Nazca lines. Heating the air in the balloon with a wood fire, Nott flew over the Nazca Plains. He comments that there is no evidence of any kind that that ancient peoples did fly but this flight proved beyond doubt that most early civilizations could have flown: all they needed was a loom and fire.
In 1709 in Lisbon, Bartolomeu de Gusmão made a balloon filled with heated air rise inside a room. He also made a balloon named Passarola (Port. Big bird) and attempted to lift himself from Saint George Castle, in Lisbon, but only managed to harmlessly fall about one kilometre away.
Following Henry Cavendish’s work on hydrogen, of 1766, Joseph Black proposed that a balloon filled with hydrogen would be able to rise in the air.
A model of the Montgolfier brothers balloon at the London Science Museum
The first recorded manned balloon flight was made in a hot air balloon built by the Montgolfier brothers on November 21, 1783. The flight started in Paris and reached a height of 500 feet or so. The pilots, Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier and Francois Laurent (the Marquis of d’ Arlanders) covered about 5 1/2 miles in 25 minutes.
Only a few days later, on December 1, 1783, Professor Jacques Charles and Nicholas Louis Robert made the first gas balloon flight. Like the first hot air balloon flight, this flight left from Paris. The hydrogen filled balloon flew to almost 2000 feet, stayed aloft for over 2 hours and covered a distance of 27 miles, landing in the small town of Nesle.
Once flight was shown to be possible, the next great challenge was to fly across the English Channel. The feat was accomplished on January 7, 1785 by Jean-Pierre Blanchard, a Frenchman, and American John Jeffries, who sponsored the flight.
Blanchard went on to make the first manned flight of a balloon in America on January 9, 1793. His hydrogen filled balloon took off from a prison yard in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The flight reached 5,800 feet and landed in Gloucester County in New Jersey. George Washington was among the guests observing the take off.
Gas balloons became the most common type from the 1790s until the 1960s.
The first steerable balloon (also known as a dirigible) was attempted by Henri Giffard in 1852. Powered by a steam engine it was too slow to be effective. Like heavier than air flight, the internal combustion engine made dirigibles, especially blimps, practical, starting in the late nineteenth century.
Ed Yost reinvented the design of hot air balloons in the late 1950s using rip-stop nylon fabrics and high-powered propane burners to create the modern hot air balloon. His first flight of such a balloon, lasting 25 minutes and covering 3 miles, occurred on October 22, 1960 in Bruning, Nebraska.
Yost’s improved design for hot air balloons triggered the modern sport balloon movement. Today, hot air balloons are much more common than gas balloons.