Bill Harrop's "Original" Balloon Safaris
Bill Harrop’s “Original” Balloon Safaris has been operating as a legally licensed balloon Air Transport Service since 1981. It is a family business run by Bill Harrop, his wife Mary, and daughter Sarah working in partnership with over 60 full time, part time, contract and casual staff.
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Bill Harrop’s Ballooning at a glance...
Only qualified and experienced professional pilots are employed, and over five-thousand very happy passengers a year are testimony to our professional attitude in entertaining you to one of the most memorably enjoyable experiences of your life.
We run a fleet of six large hot air balloons which can carry between two and eighteen passengers each. So whether it is a romantic balloon flight for 2, or a party for 18 adventurers in one of the biggest balloons in the world, or a corporate adventure for 120+, Bill Harrop’s “Original” Balloon Safaris is the preferred choice for safe, reliable, quality ballooning.
Flying high for over a quarter century; meet an “Original” company.
Have you ever flown in a balloon? It’s an amazing experience “the roaring of the burner as you take off on a pre-dawn flight, then the silent soaring high above the ground, but low enough so that you can see everything “getting a real bird’s eye view of the landscape below”.
Commercial Balloon flying was brought to Gauteng’s skies over a quarter century ago in 1981, by one of the South African travel industry’s most colourful characters, Bill Harrop, a winner in the 2006 SA Tourism Welcome Awards. Bill, who was a hotel manager in Bermuda before coming to South Africa, was an enthusiastic yachtsman, and first took up ballooning as an adventure sport. As he says It’s like three-dimensional yachting, so far from the sea!” He was one of the first in South Africa to do so, and then, as a seasoned tourism professional, he realized he could possibly turn his hobby into a business in the industry he loves.
Harrop started his company in 1981, under the name of Balloon Safaris South Africa. He was a pioneer, where others have followed later, and in 1992 changed the company’s name to Bill Harrop’s “Original” Balloon Safaris as other companies had started up, and he needed a really “original” trade mark. This says it all. Over the past 28 years Bill Harrop’s “Original” Balloon Safaris has established itself as an icon of the South Africa’s tourism industry. In their field (and sky), it has been leading by example, with a combination of safe, legal flying and a hard- earned reputation for providing top world class customer service and value. Being the very first winner of the prestigious S.A Tourism 2006 Welcome Award for Tour Operators and being judged the very best Tour Operator in South Africa was the cherry on the top for Bill and his staff crowning this very special anniversary year. In celebration, 55 of the company’s employees and partners let their hair down in a very special party at their riverside country base in the Magaliesberg.
Game Viewing Balloon Safari Packages
Game Viewing at Entabeni Safari Conservancy
World Heritage “Waterberg Biosphere” Limpopo Province. We now offer you the opportunity to view the magnificent panoramas of this ancient land and enjoy this rare and special privilege of observing the flora and fauna of the World Heritage “Waterberg Biosphere” from the slowly drifting vantage of your hot air balloon.To read more about the Entabeni Safari Conservancy
The 22000 ha Entabeni Safari Conservancy, situated in the renowned, malaria-free Waterberg area of Limpopo Province, boasts spectacular scenery with mountains, waterfalls and terrain which varies from bushveld to unspoilt ravines. All of this only 3 hours drive from Johannesburg.
The 5 star Hanglip Mountain Luxury Lodge or the 4 star Wildside Tented Camp are both on the lower escarpment and most convenient to the balloon safari takeoff area. Other 4 and 5 star lodges are also available on the upper escarpment.
Entabeni Balloon Safari
The packages include: Accommodation, 3 meals, a game drive and a balloon safari game spotting flight.
Other activities available are scenic helicopter flights, horseback safaris, rejuvenation at the wellness centre, wildlife centre, cultural village, the extreme golfing experience and game viewing activities by day and night, far in excess of the ubiquitous sightings of “just the Big 5″.
Return Transfers can be arranged from your hotel to our balloon base.
Rates available on request.
For fast and easy, detailed information on the best rates for you: Contact one of our helpful Reservations Assistants now and organise your Hot Air Ballooning experience.
Game Viewing at Mabula Private Game Reserve
Mabula Lodge in the Mabula Game Reserve is now included as one of the “Select Ballooning Lodges” packages which are inclusive of Accommodation and Ballooning as well as transfers, if requested.To read more about the Mabula Private Game Reserve.
Bill Harrop’s “Original” Balloon Safaris operate game viewing flights giving guests a magnificent aerial view of Mabula Game Lodge and the unique 12000 ha, game reserve, situated in the Northern Province, a mere 2½ hours drive from Johannesburg.
Legendary African wildlife is a regular occurrence at Mabula Game Lodge, where the big five roam. Enjoy the matchless hospitality and comfort of this newly refurbished, truly world-class game lodge, which offers a bouquet of activities including guided bush walks, reptile centre, horse trails, rhino tracking, game drives in open Land Rovers and a health and beauty centre.
After your balloon safari enjoy game-viewing drives in open Land Rovers, bush walks, or ride horse-back along the trails to observe the animals. During the heat of the day, relax at one of Mabula’s two sparkling swimming pools.
In the evening take a thrilling night game drive before a delightful boma dinner. Accommodation is in comfortable thatched chalets, with en-suite bathrooms and private patios.
Return Transfers can be arranged from your hotel to our balloon base. Rates available on request. For fast and easy, detailed information on the best rates for you: Contact one of our helpful Reservations Assistants now, see how we are so ETDBW (Easy to do business with!) and organise your Hot Air Ballooning experience.
Corporate Entertainment and Team Building Adventure Flights
A hot air balloon flight is a perfect corporate entertainment or team building activity. If you like, you can arrange to have the Clubhouse Pavilion and Restaurant decorated with Company banners, flags and bunting or displays. Flower arrangements maybe? We also have electricity at the restaurant in case you wish to operate any A.V. equipment. Live music can be arranged from a harpist or a string quartet to a real jumpin’ jazz band.
If you wish, your guests’ tickets can have your company’s logo incorporated in the design. Our standard Certificate for Bravery is, we think, very well written and designed, but there is scope there for personalising it for a company event. We can also arrange to have a professional photographer or videographer available to take souvenir pictures of all the activity before, during and after the hot air balloon flight. Our operations base is convenient enough for the access of large tour busses, and is big and safe enough to accommodate arrivals of VIPs by helicopter.
Some of these extra services are free as part of our hot air balloon ride package, and others are available at a reasonable fee. Just let us know how we can help.
We are the only hot air ballooning company that offers a 7 POINT GUARANTEE which includes WEATHER and COMPLETE CUSTOMER SATISFACTION.
- Fare refunds are offered if a flight is cancelled for safety reasons by Bill Harrop’s “Original” Balloon Safaris.
- Short Flight Refunds policy in place.
- Free breakfast if the flight is cancelled by us after you have arrived on site.
- Text or phone messaging service available to advise if flight is cancelled prior to one hour before the meeting time.
- If you are not completely happy with any element of the tour as described in any material published by us, and if any of our publicity has not stated clearly what you might have expected, tell us about it, and we will offer you the choice of a proportionate refund or another flight. If we have exceeded your expectations we will not charge you more.
- As a SATSA member we are Bonded with third party indemnity, ensuring your financial peace of mind.
- Passenger Legal Liability Insurance minimum of R1 000 000. Per passenger.
Accredited SATSA Member
- Assurance that you will enjoy highest industry standards for yourself as a traveller, or for your clients.
- Adherance to the SATSA code of conduct: in order to be accredited, SATSA members must conform to a strict Code of Conduct, thus guaranteeing the highest standards of service and quality.
- Fully licensed air service: current, valid Air Operators Certificate issued by the South African Civil Aviation Authority.
- Fully licenced commercial balloon pilots
Game Viewing Balloon Safaris Package Rates during 2014 vary from 4300 to R7990 per person dependant on lodge, group size and seasonality.
Special rates are available on request for seasonal promotions, frequent flyers, and large groups.
Return Transfers can be arranged from your hotel to our balloon base, or from the airport to our lodges. Rates available on request.
Contact one of our consultants now for detailed information and further assistance in organizing your Hot Air Balloon Safari.
Miles For Experiences
+ 27 (0) 21 461 6632