Want to ride a hot air balloon in Marrakech? If you’re looking for a special way to experience the city, this day tour from Marrakech will give you the chance to soar with the birds. We’ll help you decide if hot air ballooning in Marrakech is the right tour for you.
Want to know more about Morocco? Don’t miss:
When I was a kid, I was obsessed with Around the World in 80 Days. I marvelled that a person could navigate the globe in something as low-tech as a hot air balloon.
The town I grew up in hosted a yearly hot air balloon festival, where we kids could run through the field of balloons, watching the colourful bags inflate and soundlessly rise from the earth. Of course, this stoked my already blazing balloon adventure fantasies.
And yet, even after 20 years of travel, I’d never been up in a hot air balloon!
So when we were invited to join Marrakech by Air for a hot air balloon ride in Marrakech, of course we said yes!
Our balloon flight was everything a ballooning novice could hope for: thrilling but safe, astonishingly beautiful but also lots of fun. When it was all over, I knew my first balloon ride would not be my last.
Make Your Heart Soar on a Hot Air Balloon Ride in Marrakech
What we Loved About Flying in a Hot Air Balloon in Marrakech
A new perspective
Why do people love hot air balloon rides so much? Is it the allure of soaring without the aid of heavy machinery and mysterious technology? Is it the closest we’ll ever get to understanding what it’s like to be a bird?
For me, flying in a hot air balloon was a chance to see familiar scenes in a novel way, giving me a new perspective on life.
As we soared across the open fields outside of Marrakech, it was as though I could see the earth turning under us. It made me feel connected to everyone around the planet, knowing that no matter where you are, the sun rises and sets each day. But it also drove home how different life is for each of us, depending on our own unique perspectives.
While a hot air balloon ride in Marrakech may not be an existential journey for everyone, it’s certainly an opportunity to get out of your comfort zone and try something completely different!
Welcoming, enthusiastic pilot
Hamid, who was Morocco’s first-ever licensed hot air balloon pilot, started Marrakech By Air more than 10 years ago. His steady stream of cheesy banter helped erase the nervous fluttering I felt as we lifted off the ground. His obvious love for the job made the trip a little more enjoyable for all of us.
Capable & friendly staff
From being bang on time to pick us up in the morning, to delivering everything exactly as promised, the ground crew were enthusiastic and capable. They did their jobs with an air of good humour, but took it seriously enough that we always felt safe.
Plus, as soon as we landed, they each grabbed a camera and took a few shots of us inside the balloon. One of these became our favourite picture from the trip!
Meeting other travellers over breakfast
After the flight, we were served a big Berber breakfast. Airy pancakes, flat breads, fresh jam, honey and mounds of fresh olives were arrayed over a huge silver tray. Eating and meeting people are two of the chief pleasures of travel and it was fun to learn about each others’ lives for a while before we all went our separate ways.
What Surprised us About the Hot Air Balloon Tour
I was so excited!
Usually, I am remarkably even-keeled. Even before many of my greatest adventures, I drop into an eerie state of calm. If it’s a REALLY big adventure, I might start to feel sweaty and sick.
So imagine my surprise when, just before dawn, I was running around the field like a little kid, thrilled and excited to be finally going up in a balloon! I was tremendously (and unexpectedly) excited!
As we descended towards the ground near the end of the trip, Hamid said to me:
Hey Jane, watch this, I’m going to land right on the trailer. I learned how to do it on YouTube last night.
Thinking he was joking, I laughed and said, “Well, as long as you learned on YouTube, it’s gonna be great!” Then, I saw the truck and trailer sitting about 100m away, right in our path.
Turns out Hamid hadn’t been joking (well, except for the YouTube thing). It was a bit freaky when I realized we were going to come down right on the trailer. But, by some miracle (or with a lot of skill), he plunked the huge basket right onto the trailer with only inches to spare. Very impressive.
What we Didn’t Love About our Hot Air Balloon Ride in Marrakech
If you know anything about us, you’ll know that we don’t participate in animal tourism unless it involves rescued animals or wild animals living in the wild.
We have ridden camels in the past and never want to it again, not only because we don’t feel animals should be used for entertainment but because riding a camel is bloody uncomfortable! Luckily, three other people on the tour felt the same way and we were able to easily skip the camels and head straight back to Marrakech.
If you’re not interested in camel rides, it’s a good idea to tell the Marrakech By Air team ahead of time so they can make alternative arrangements.
Practical Details for a Hot Air Balloon Tour with Marrakech by Air
When: Every morning at sunrise. Flights regularly sell out, so book ahead.
Where: Pick up from your hotel, or the nearest open street to your riad.
Length: 4-5 hours.
Transportation: Hot air balloon!! And comfortable SUV.
Food & drinks: Pre-flight croissants, coffee & tea. Post-flight big Berber breakfast.
Additional expenses: None. No tips required.
Facilities: There are clean toilets at the launch / breakfast site.
What to bring: Camera, warm clothes if it’s winter, sunglasses.
Other Tours in and Around Marrakesh
Full-day tour from Marrakech. Spend a full day touring the Ouzoud Waterfalls outside of Marrakech and visit Berber villages. You might even get to see wild monkeys!
Day trip to Essaouira from Marrakech. The seaside town of Essaouira is a great place to go for a taste of medieval Morocco. You’ll get to visit the fishing port, the city walls, and the expansive Moulay El Hassan square on this tour. You can also pick up souvenirs in the souk, which is a little less overwhelming than the Marrakech medina.
3-Day Desert Safari. Though we aren’t huge fans of camel rides (or any animal rides), the Merzouga desert safari is almost a rite of passage when you visit Morocco. Though riding a camel is mostly boring and very uncomfortable, spending the night in a Bedouin desert camp and playing on the Merzouga sand dunes was a highlight of our 2006 trip to Morocco.
If you have any questions about riding a hot air balloon in Marrakech, feel free to post them below or contact us!
♥ Happy mindful adventures, Jane & Stephen
*We were guests on this Marrakech by Air tour but as always, we only participate in and recommend trips that we think you’ll truly enjoy! Some of the links in this post are our personal affiliate links, which means, if you use them to book something we get a small fee. It helps keep this blog afloat so thanks in advance!