Flying high in Dubai – review of Balloon Adventures Emirates
It’s dark and quiet in the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve, and I can feel the cool sand beneath my feet. A large dark shape, soon to be our soaring hot air balloon, lies close by in a heap.
Out of the stillness comes the booming voice of Captain Mike: “Who is excited?” he enthuses. “Who is ready for adventure?!”
It’s well before sunrise but his enthusiasm wakes me up as we listen to the safety briefing. Before long, we find ourselves running for the big basket, clambering in as quickly as possible, while clutching our cameras. “Hurry, hurry!” Captain Mike urges. A few seconds later, the gas fires and we begin lifting.
The surge of adrenaline we felt gives way to a feeling of peace as we begin to float over the seemingly endless sand dunes. Everyone stares in wonder.
The next hour is truly magical. As we ride this magic carpet over the desert, we spot wild camels, oryx and gazelles – animals that have called the desert their home for thousands of years.
We wave to the nomadic Bedouin people, who were the earliest inhabitants of the Arabian desert region.
And as the sun rises we take photos. So many photos. It’s a glorious sight, and one that will make you glad that you set the alarm and dragged yourself out of bed that morning.
All too soon it is time to land, and I can feel the adrenaline starting to kick in again. Captain Mike reminds us of the safety briefing and we brace ourselves in preparation.
We all collectively breathe a sigh of relief as we land safely. After we hop out, there are cold drinks on ice waiting for us; a very welcome refreshment as the sun gains strength.
And as we bump along the desert tracks, back to our grand, air-conditioned hotels in the bustling city of Dubai, I feel so grateful for having spent time in this ancient, unchanged landscape.
Tips for families taking a hot air balloon flight with Balloon Adventures Emirates:
- Weather permitting, the hot air balloons fly seven days per week from September until May.
- The balloons take off in the desert, approximately 35 minutes from the Burj Khalifa.
- The balloon flies with the wind, which determines direction and distance, so the views differ from flight to flight.
- Children need to be over six years of age, and over 120 cm in height to fly.
- Women that are more than three months pregnant cannot fly.
- The entire outing takes approximately four hours.
- In winter months, bring a light cardigan or jacket, as it can get cold in the desert.
If you would like to find out more, or to make a booking, visit www.ballooning.ae.