More than 200 hot air balloons from around the world will be ascending from Longleat next week (13th-15th September) as part of Europe’s largest annual hot air balloon event.
Now in its fourth year, Sky Safari is one of the Wiltshire attraction’s most popular events; featuring spectacular mass launches, tethered daytime displays and dramatic night glows.
Pilots from as far afield as the USA, United Arab Emirates and Japan will be taking part in the event as part of more than 160 individual teams; some of which will be flying multiple hot air balloons.
The star of this year’s event is Adelaide, a giant koala, which will be taking to the skies to celebrate the opening of Longleat’s new Koala Creek which is home to a group of the iconic Australian marsupials.
Adelaide is part of an aerial ‘Safari Park’ which also features Simbaloo the lion, a cheetah called Duma, a panther, a wolf, a fox, a parrot an owl and a guinea pig.
There will be as many as 30 other special shaped balloons making an appearance over the weekend; either flying or taking part in tethered displays with everything from a flying recreation of the Brandenburg Gate, a giant emoji and a full-sized version of the famous animated balloon from Disney’s ‘Up’.
Night glows, where tethered balloons are choreographed to a specially selected soundtrack, lighting up the night sky as their burners fire up in time to the music, will be taking place on Friday and Saturday evenings.
“This year’s Sky Safari is set to be the biggest and most spectacular to date with more than 200 balloons due to take to the skies throughout the event,” said Longleat’s Steve Mytton.
“We are also very much looking forward to officially welcoming Adelaide the koala to Longleat along with a menagerie of other animal-shaped hot air balloons,” he added.
Longleat has partnered with Exclusive Ballooning to put on the event which has attracted current and former world champions in hot air ballooning from Japan, USA and the UK.
Hot air ballooning is weather dependent, and timings and launches may be subject to change. In particularly adverse conditions some launches and displays may have to be postponed or cancelled.
Sky Safari is included as part of a Day Ticket to Longleat however visitors are advised to book in advance of their trip.