Going up in a hot air balloon was never something on my list of must dos – partly because I always wondered why they don’t catch fire more often, but when I saw a balloon tour over parts of the ruins on the West Bank of Luxor, I figured that would be a view worth paying for.
Cost is around NZ$200 which I thought was reasonable value for 90 minutes actually up in the air. The only hassle was having to meet the driver at 4.55 am to get me there!
This is the view we had as we got to the takeoff strip. It was still well before 6 am, and we had crossed the Nile by boat by then. Ou pilot told us that group was being reckless going up while dark as if there is an emergency it helps to be able to see the ground. I agree!
This is our balloon having the air heated up
This is taken inside the basket as we rise up. Yes you stand close to the flame and yes it is bloody hot.
This is the Temple of Queen Hatshsesut.
A view of the crops on the side nearer to the Nile.
I just love this photo (and the view). The sun rising in the East over the Nile, with a balloon in the foreground. Magnificent.
These are some of the Tombs of the Nobles.
You get some idea of how high up we were at this stage. You don’t even notice until you look down, as you move so fluidly.
In ancient times the Nile meant life or death. You can see why with this photo – the areas that get water from a high Nile flourish, while areas further away do not. Almost all of Egypt lives near the Nile or on the coast in more recent times.
Some other balloons starting to rise after us.
I’m sure the safety briefing said nothing about leaning out of the basket so someone can get a better shot of you!
Again we went pretty damn high up.
This is taken on the maximum zoom lens. You couldn’t even see these guys working away except for the moving crops that alerted us.
And as we came back down to land, the support crew ready to hold us down. We were told how to brace ourselves for the landing but one could have remained standing it was so gentle.
This was an absolute highlight. I recommend it to anyone who visits Egypt.