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Ballooning in Morocco

Listed under Flying, Gliding & Ballooning in Marrakech, Morocco.

  • Photo of Ballooning in Morocco
  • Photo of Ballooning in Morocco
  • Photo of Ballooning in Morocco
  • Photo of Ballooning in Morocco
  • Photo of Ballooning in Morocco
Photo of Ballooning in Morocco
Photo by Imaneb82
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Unusual but easily identified flying objects have been drifting through the Moroccan skies since 1990… enormous multi-coloured bubbles can be admired as they float across the sky to the north of the Palmeraie of Marrakesh or almost anywhere in the Deep South of Morocco.

These ‘bubbles’ are hot-air balloons allowing visitors to appreciate the glories of the Moroccan countryside from the privileged viewpoint of the basket of a hot-air balloon.

For first timers, the flight begins the night before with the dreams and worries that usually precede such a singular experience.

On arrival at the flight area, a take-off point is chosen by releasing a small helium balloon for a hot-air balloon cannot be steered – it goes wherever the wind takes it.

Now there is no time for worrying – everyone is much too busy. First the equipment needs to be unloaded and here is the first surprise – lighter than air but actually very heavy.

The burners and their bottled gas are loaded into the basket then the burners are lighted to test them … no leaks? … Correct pressure? Everything is going well.

The basket is laid out on the ground and then the canvas (35 metres long – immense) is taken out of its bag and attached to the basket – this balloon is one of the largest in the world!

The parachute panel is closed, everything has been thoroughly checked – inflation can begin. A powerful fan sends torrents of cold air into the balloon, and the canvas seems to come alive in a series of rippling multi-coloured waves.

Once the canvas envelope is properly inflated, taking on a semi-spherical shape, the ballooner lights the burner and heats the air imprisoned in the envelope. Helpers open the mouth of the balloon as wide as possible so that the six-to-seven metres high flame can penetrate the balloon without endangering the Nylon.

During this stage other helpers hold the hot-air balloon down by holding the crown rope (the rope attached to the top of the balloon). The more the ballooner heats the balloon the more hot-air balloon tries to rise up. We have to pull with all our strength to control this phase of the inflation, until finally the balloon rises up to a majestic vertical position.

Then we finish the preparations by testing the parachute panel, setting the instruments on the control panel and checking the radio …. and then the passengers can board.

The ballooner continues to heat the air in the balloon, waiting until the temperature reaches around 100 degrees Celsius at the top of the balloon (the temperature varies in accordance with the load, the surrounding temperature and the age of the balloon).

We begin to feel twitches as if a sleeping giant were slowly awakening and coming to life.

Finally the pilot gives the order to ‘let go’.

The helpers let go of their ropes all at the same time, allowing the hot-air balloon to rise up in the air.

Everyone holds their breath. It is a magical moment. It is a marvellous sight for those who stay on the ground, and for the passengers it is an intensely beautiful and moving moment.

The delicious sensation of floating through the skies attached to a bubble of hot air soon sweeps away any feelings of surprise at the vertical take-off.

The tension that may have filled the hearts of first-time flyers disappears, their hands unclench and let go of the edge of the basket and they begin to exclaim at the beauty of the experience “How lovely this is, how smooth, I didn’t even realise we’d taken off!”

During the balloon flight passengers ask myriad questions and steep themselves in the beauty of Morocco from above while enjoying the delicious sensation of having left all their daily concerns far below. Seen from the skies, everything is more beautiful and everyone takes their proper place and importance (your bank, the taxman, your boss).

But we must not forget that we will have to go down again. The pilot chooses a flat area and begins the approach after having first explained to the passengers what they should do as the balloon touches down.

If the air is still, the landing is incredibly gentle (a ‘kiss landing’). If it is windy, the basket will be dragged across the ground for a few yards.

Next, what could be better than a glass of mint tea and a chance to talk about the flight in one of the small villages we have seen from the air so that visitors can experience that marvellous Moroccan hospitality as they munch on a home-made biscuit or a slice of bread dunked in olive oil.

Watch a balloon flight over Morocco.

Written by  Imaneb82.

Comments, reviews and questions by other travellers

Photos and video

Would i be able to travel with crew to take photos and video.

How much is a shared flight.

Which company did you travel with.

2 Replies

You'd have to check with each individual company as to how many people they fit in their basket, but you shouldn't have much trouble.

Dear Bridget,

Yes, of course you can take photos during the flight.

Watch the video of Ciel d'Afrique; the oldest Company in Morocco since 1990, in the article.

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