A hot air balloon ride in Marrakech is surely one of the most memorable experiences during a stay in the famous red city. Admiring the city’s surroundings and the Atlas Mountains from the sky, and during the sunrise, is a magical moment!
On the blog today, I share my feedback on this hot air balloon flight in Marrakech. I’ll start with the useful information you need to know: the price of the flight, booking, reviews, … I’ll also explain why I recommend booking it online here before departure.
As always on the blog, your comments or feedback on hot air balloon flights in Marrakech, Morocco are welcome! So please feel free to share your questions or remarks with other readers of the blog who are planning to visit Marrakech soon and are interested in the possibility of a hot air balloon flight there.
What you need to know about hot air ballooning in Marrakech:
To start this article on the possibility of taking a hot air balloon ride in Marrakech, let’s start with the essentials to know before deciding whether or not to go for this hot air balloon experience above the red city’s surroundings.
After reading this first paragraph, you should have in mind the main things to know to decide and potentially book your hot air ballooning experience in Morocco. The rest of this article will focus on my experience and will be of interest to you if you want to know more about this unforgettable experience.
Marrakech hot air balloon price:
To begin with, let’s talk about a crucial issue: the price. It must be said that this type of experience is never cheap, whether in Morocco or elsewhere in the world. And here, the price is rather correct!
Here is the price of a hot air balloon flight in Marrakech:
- Around 200 euros per person (adult), bookable on the web here.
- Children’s price (from 4 to 10 years old included): around 100 euros.
- Transfer from your accommodation is included in the price.
On-site, the price will often be more than 200 euros. It is, therefore, preferable to book online on this site. On-site, the lottery of negotiating in a small local agency will come into play. Whatever happens, you won’t get a cheaper deal! And avoid booking with your hotel, it will be even more expensive…
Later in this review, I give you my advice on the day to choose for ballooning. You will see that it is really preferable to book it on the web, before your departure.
The price of the ballooning in Marrakech includes :
- Pick up and return to your hotel.
- Time spent in the air: about one hour.
- Hot drink before take-off and breakfast just after landing.
There is no extra cost to pay on-site. The price you pay online is therefore the total and definitive price for a quality service.
Flights possible all year round!The region’s climate allows flights to be organised all year round. Whatever the period of your stay in Morocco, it will be possible to do this activity.
An important point to note because in many countries, hot air balloon flights are only possible during part of the year. Note that the risk of rain is low, so cancellations are still possible but are rarer than in other places in the world.
We will see later in this blog post that in case of cancellation, you will be fully refunded for the fligh.
Duration of the flight:
The duration of the balloon flight in Marrakech is announced at one hour. On my flight, it lasted exactly 64 minutes. There is always a 5 or 10-minute tolerance, one way or the other. It should be remembered that the flight path depends on the winds, but also on where it is possible to land. Later in this review, I share the GPS plot of my flight and the altitude reading.
For this flight over the Marrakech area, the distance covered during the hour spent in the sky depends again on the winds. And it is not necessarily the distance that counts the most. The altitude variations are often more impressive because the landscapes are then totally different. You can see it in this article where all the photographs shared were taken during the flight I was able to make.
Where is this hot air balloon trip in Marrakech?
This ballooning activity is not performed over the city but in the surrounding countryside, beyond the palm grove.
Indeed, the take-off place is outside the red city, it takes about 35 to 40 minutes to reach this place from the city center (pick-up is included in the flight service).
The flight is therefore essentially over a desert area (but without dunes). We can see a small typical village but also cultivated lands, other more deserted lands and of course … the magnificent Atlas Mountains in the distance. And this is clearly one of the assets of hot air ballooning in Marrakech. The landscapes are varied and the visibility is great!
Only one time slot: a sunrise flightFor hot air balloon flights, the question of time does not arise. Indeed, they are all planned at sunrise.
The take-off is made 5 minutes before sunrise in order to enjoy the sunrise at the beginning of the flight. And then you can enjoy the scenery as the light gradually increases … This is for me anyway the best time of the day to fly, whether in Morocco or elsewhere. At sunrise, the light is magical! Especially in Marrakech where you have great chances to have an open sky and thus a magnificent sunrise…
Booking a hot air balloon flight in Marrakech
It is recommended to book in advance for several reasons. Online booking is possible here.
First of all, the number of places is necessarily limited. There are not dozens of balloons to fly over the surroundings of the red city. As the price of this activity is not necessarily very high (flights are often priced above 300 euros …), many travelers offer themselves this little pleasure during their stay.
Where to book a hot air balloon tour in Marrakech?
To book your ballooning trip at the best price, I recommend you to use this website. The payment is done in euros, with your credit card, or via Paypal. You will not pay any exchange fees. Moreover, in case of cancellation, you will be refunded directly to your credit card. Without having to travel or pay bank commissions.
I won’t dwell on the subject because it has already been mentioned previously.
When is the best time to fly over?
Concerning the day to choose for the hot air balloon flight in Marrakech, I recommend you book it for your first day on site. If you arrive on a Friday at noon, for example, I recommend you book for the next day. Why would I do this?
Simply because in case of cancellation, you will have more room to reschedule your flight for the next day. Or the day after that. If you are unable to reschedule, you will be refunded. But it’s always a shame not to be able to enjoy this magical experience!
If you are staying for a week, then you have more room to reschedule the activity. On the other hand, for a 3 or 4-day stay, it may be more complicated to find a new date where there is availability. Don’t forget that in case of cancellation (due to the weather), you won’t be the only one to want to re-plan a departure for the next day or the day after…
What happens if the flight is canceled?
Due to weather conditions, it may happen that the flight is canceled. If your flight is canceled, you have 2 possibilities:
- Reschedule a balloon flight for the next day or another day.
- Ask for a full refund if you are not able to schedule a new take-off.
Many travelers only stay 2 or 3 days before continuing their visit to Morocco. That’s why it’s really preferable to book your flight online and for the first day of your stay. This leaves more room for unforeseen weather conditions.
Moreover, having booked online, the refund (if you cannot reschedule the flight) will be much smoother as it is done directly on your credit card. If you go through a small local agency, you will have to go to the agency, …
The course of the balloon flight in Marrakech:
I am not going to dwell too much on the course of the flight as it is important to leave some surprise in what you will see during the flight.
I will therefore mainly talk about the organizational aspects. Similarly, I will not share too many photographs to avoid breaking the surprise effect. This effect is for me essential in this type of experience. Don’t try to consult too many photographs of the ballooning around Marrakech: keep the surprise effect 😉 I am sharing some of them here so you can make your choice but you will really get a good view of the activity.
Pick-up from your hotel in Marrakech:
The pick-up is included in the price of the tour. A mini-bus will pick you up at your accommodation to take you to the take-off site.
The pick-up time will not be indicated on the booking confirmation but on the day before the take-off (by email). The time of departure depends on the season as the company arranges for the take-off to take place a few minutes before sunrise.
Preparations and flight schedule:
Once you arrive at the site, you will have the opportunity to watch the preparation of the balloon: a phase I always appreciate during a balloon flight. All this while enjoying a coffee or mint tea!
The inflation of the balloon requires quite a lot of time. It takes about half an hour from the time the balloon is unpacked to the time it is erected and ready to take off.
These preparations consist of several stages, all of which are quite impressive:
- Unpacking the balloon, which is spread out on the ground.
- Inflation with large fans, at room temperature.
- Once the balloon is partially inflated, it remains on the ground.
- The air is then heated so that the balloon rises.
- When it is sufficiently hot, you can then climb into the basket to take off.
The take-off takes place a few minutes before sunrise. This allows you to be in the air when the sun is behind the Atlas Mountains and then have superb luminosity! From take-off to landing, the balloon is very stable and there is really no shaking. No reason to be afraid. And if you are prone to vertigo, this should not be the case as you do not touch the ground…
Hot air balloon route: magical landscapes!
During one hour, the balloon travels a few kilometers but above all the pilot varies the altitude. And it is certainly this last point that is the most impressive! Depending on the height, the landscape varies enormously. For example, at a low altitude, you can’t see Marrakech. And when the balloon rises, you can gradually see the city.
During the experience in the air, one can then enjoy:
- See the sunrise behind the Atlas Mountains.
- Fly over a small village typical of this region of Morocco.
- Passing over areas that are sometimes arid, sometimes deserted, but also over some cultivated plots.
- Navigation in the air, sometimes next to, sometimes above other hot air balloons.
- In the distance, we can see Marrakech and the Koutoubia seems very small.
- Gradually, with the sun rising in the sky, the panoramas on the Atlas are very changing.
Landing the balloon & the after flight
After about an hour in the sky, the basket will land. And this will be at a different location from the take-off. As mentioned above, the distance covered by the balloon can vary by several kilometers depending on the wind. During my balloon flight, it was about 6 to 7 kilometers.
After a 10 to 15-minute drive, you will reach the take-off point. You can then have a complete breakfast: Yoghurt, Msemen (a kind of pancake), jam, coffee or mint tea, orange juice, …
Once this breakfast is over, a quick trip to the toilets and it’s time to go back to town. About forty minutes drive, after crossing the palm grove, back to Marrakech. In total, the experience takes a little less than 4 hours. And then you can enjoy your day because the early departure means that the return is done in the early/mid-morning depending on the season.
My advice for flying over the surroundings of Marrakech in a hot air balloon:
To conclude this review on hot air ballooning in Marrakech, I will give you some advice to make the most of this experience not to be missed!
These tips concern the booking to find the best price but also the choice of the day of your flight or the course of the activity itself. Some of these tips have already been mentioned in this article. This last part is a kind of summary of the tips to take into account to make the most of it!
- Opt for an outing as soon as possible during your stay, ideally on the first day, especially if you are only staying in Marrakech for 2 or 3 days.
- Book online to get the best price and a guaranteed place on the day of your choice.
- If your outing is canceled, try to reschedule it as soon as possible in order to have a place the next day for example.
- When you get into the balloon, try to get a seat in the corner of the basket. This allows a wider angle of view (even if the balloon turns on itself during the flight, the corners are for me the best places onboard the gondola).
- To succeed in your photographs, do not forget that the movement of the balloon can make your photographs blurred! It is necessary to have a short exposure time: increase the ISO, use a bright lens.
- don’t forget to enjoy the balloon flight in Marrakech with your own eyes and not only through your viewfinder or through the screen of your smartphone.
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This is the end of this review and feedback. I hope it has answered any questions you may have before deciding whether or not to take a hot air balloon ride around the famous Marrakech.
If your budget allows it, I really recommend you do this activity. A balloon ride like this is always a treat for the eyes, especially at sunrise. Even if you don’t fly over the dunes of the desert because the trip is close to the red city, the landscapes are magnificent and you can see the peaks of the Atlas during the flight. Above all, book your balloon flight (here) early enough in your stay to be able to reschedule it if the weather conditions cause a cancellation of the first take-off…
As indicated at the beginning of this post on ballooning in Marrakech, feel free to comment on this post to pass on suggestions, personal opinions, or questions on the subject. I answer quickly the questions that are asked on the blog. These exchanges are often useful to other readers of the blog who plan to visit the city and take a balloon ride.