The 10 Best Hot Air Balloon Rides in Morocco

Adam G
By Adam G Destination: Marrakech
19 Min Read

Morocco offers a wealth of experiences for tourist visitors; the imperial cities, desert adventures, mountains, and forests, but for something different more and more travellers are combining some of these by enjoying a hot air balloon ride over the Sahara desert for the ultimate thrill. It is one of the best experiences anyone can enjoy in Morocco. Hot air balloon rides in Morocco also make ideal surprise gifts for your partner or family. 

Just imagine drifting under the azure sky with no engine or contact with the land far below. A frightening thought for some, an alluring proposition for others, and an unforgettable memory for all. The sense of freedom you feel when aloft is amazing. This can be a high point in anyone’s holiday to Morocco. And hot-air ballooning is actually the safest form of travel, fifty times safer than travelling by car! 

In this featured article, we take a look at what we believe to be the ten best hot air balloon rides in Morocco. 

N.B. With all these hot-air balloon rides if a flight is cancelled due to inclement weather you will be offered an alternative date or a full refund. 

1. Ciel D’Afrique. 

Ciel D’Afrique (African Sky) has been operating from Marrakech since 1990 and is thus the longest-established and best-known of the many companies offering hot-air balloon trips in Morocco. 

Your adventure starts at 4 am when you should awaken and prepare for the exciting day ahead. You will be picked up at 5 am by your English-speaking driver and whisked away in a 4×4 to the take-off point, a forty-minute drive outside of the city. Here, you will meet up with your experienced international pilot and watch the hot-air balloons being inflated while you sip tea or coffee. This is quite noisy, but very interesting and hypnotic. After the balloons are fully inflated, you climb aboard the basket which will have a maximum of sixteen passengers.

After takeoff, you will enjoy the beautiful sight of the sun rising over the distant Atlas Mountains. Sometimes, the mornings are a little cloudy, but as your balloon slowly rises higher and the sun burns brighter, the clouds will magically disappear. The pilot will rotate the balloon to give you 360* panoramic views as multiple colours spread across the sky. Drifting on over tiny Berber villages in the pink, brown, and orange landscape, after about an hour, your balloon will slowly descend for a slightly bumpy, a little frightening, but very safe landing, as the Ciel D’Afrique pilots are all very experienced veterans.

Watch as your pretty, hot-air balloon is slowly deflated, and then board the 4×4 for the drive back to basecamp and a Berber desert nomad tent made by women from a local village in the traditional manner. Here you will enjoy a hearty Moroccan breakfast of pastries, bread, and fruit and receive your certificate for the flight as a souvenir. The basic hot-air ballooning package ends here, with the 4×4 returning you to your accommodation in Marrakech by about 9 am.

But Ciel D’Afrique also offers an extended full-day adventure. Quad-biking and horseriding are additional extras available on request to add to your Marrakech experience. Also available as extras are hammams and massages, please ask when booking for these. You spend the day playing games and chatting before experiencing the breathtaking sunset with the sparkling lights of Marrakech in the distance. After the sun has gone down, wonder at the millions of stars and enjoy a Berber meal by the cracking campfire. 

Ciel D’Afrique makes your unforgettable hot-air balloon ride, just the beginning of a full day’s unique experience. 

2. Marrakech By Air.

Marrakech by Air’s Atlas Mountains Hot Air Balloon Ride from Marrakech with Berber Breakfast and Desert Camel experience adds those little extra touches to make the adventure unique. You will be picked up at your hotel and driven out of the city to begin this memorable experience watching your balloon inflate while enjoying free tea, coffee, and tasty pastries. Then, after you are secure in the sturdy basket, the flight goes high over the foothills of the Atlas Mountains at dawn, giving you the chance to watch the desert sunrise over the rocky valleys and mountains.

Then your balloon drifts serenely over the golden sands of the Sahara Desert. When you land, you get to enjoy a traditional Berber breakfast of fresh fruit, pancakes, flatbread, and refreshing mint tea at a desert nomad camp. Afterward, your camel awaits for a gentle trek sound the date palmeries outside Marrakech. Then your 4X4 will return you to your hotel in Marrakech.  

Marrakech by air caters to passengers aged three and upwards with a maximum of sixteen people per group. The hot air balloon ride lasts between forty minutes to an hour depending on the weather conditions. The whole experience lasts for about five hours in total. They offer a lowest price guarantee and will give you a full refund if you cancel more than twenty-four hours before the flight. You will receive a certificate as a souvenir of your adventure. 

3. Atlas Montgolfiere Marrakech.

Named after the pioneering French brother balloonists, Atlas Montgolfier Marrakech offers a truly memorable hot-air ballooning experience. You will be picked up from your hotel or riad at 4.30 am by an air-conditioned 4X4 vehicle for a drive to the balloon launch site where you will enjoy a Berber breakfast in an ancient kasbah. The balloon flies between the mighty Atlas Mountains and the Red City of Marrakech at dawn and lasts approximately one hour.

The views are simply breathtaking. After the adventure, you will receive a flight certificate. The total duration of the trip is about four hours. Unlike many of the other hot-air balloon rides in Morocco, Atlas Montgolfoere Marrakech’s balloons are wheelchair and stroller accessible. Infant seats are available. The maximum group size is twenty. 

Atlas Montgolfiere Marrakech offers a full refund if you cancel at least twenty-four hours before the flight. The reviews for this company’s flights are almost exclusively excellent. 

4. Morocco Ballooning.

Morocco Ballooning is unusual in that it offers not only hot-air balloon rides from Marrakech but also from Agadir, Dakhla, and Merzouga. 

The Marrakech flight actually goes over the Red City, providing a unique view of the ancient medina, the new town, and the city walls. The adventure continues out of Marrakech to showcase panoramas of the Atlas Mountains, a breathtaking experience. 

In Agadir, a one-hour hot-air balloon ride heads over the beautiful city and along the beach and provides a fantastic look at the sunrise.

Further south, Dakhla is a less populated area but Morocco Ballooning provides flights over this pretty little city and along its unbelievably long and beautiful beaches. The air here is so fresh that you can’t help but breathe deep of it while gasping at the sands of the Sahara spread out right to the horizon. 

And speaking of the Sahara, the hot-air ballooning from Merzouga flies over the Erg Chebbi, some of the highest dunes in Morocco and the adventure includes a camel trek, hiking on the dunes, and a night in a Berber encampment under the myriad of bright stars, Sit around a blazing campfire, sharing stories with your Berber hosts and sipping sweet mint tea. This is surely what dreams are made of.

5. Marrakech By Sky.

Operating out of Marrakech since 1996, Marrakech By Sky is another company with a good reputation. They promise, weather permitting, stunning views of the desert, oases, mountains, gorges, and Berber villages. The company offers VIP, exclusive and standard packages. It’s one of the larger outfits with seven hot-air balloons in service and twenty-four highly qualified, experienced pilots. 

The standard “Classic Balloon Flight” takes 16 or 20 passengers and flies over the landscapes around Marrakech. It begins with a pick up from your hotel or riad by a 4×4 van or minibus, tea and coffee as you watch the balloons being inflated, a forty-five minute to one hour flight in the hot-air balloon followed by a traditional Berber breakfast in a desert nomad tent, a flight certificate with your name inscribed in Arabic calligraphy and a drop off back at your accommodation. 

 The VIP Flight offers much the same, but in a private compartment with your own steward serving you and your group beverages of choice. There will be no other passengers in the balloon. The flight passes the impressive Douars at the gates of Marrakech, the Jbilet Desert north of the city, and the beautiful Oued Tensift Valley. Weather permitting, you will head further towards the Atlas mountains as well. 

The exclusive “Royal Balloon Flight” is a private trip that also provides an inflight breakfast freshly prepared that morning by the famous Bacha Coffee. This consists of a poached egg wrapped in smoked salmon laid in the centre of a bed of lentils with mini-baguettes, pastries, butter, and jam, a fresh fruit salad, yoghurt, freshly squeezed orange juice and a choice of four Bacha coffees.  You and your partner, family, or friends have the balloon to yourselves and the pilot to describe all the sights to you in as much detail as you require and alter the flight as per your wishes. 

Marrakech By Sky also offers a Combined Flight Marrakech which includes the standard “Classic Balloon Flight” with the addition of an hour of quad-biking around the date palmeries, and another hour’s camel trek. 

6. Maroc Montgolfier.

Also named after the famous French brothers who were the first people to fly, Maroc Montgolfier has thirty-three years of experience and provides an unforgettable, quality service to its customers. As well as a flight that encompasses Marrakech, the palmeries, Berber villages, and the sunrise over the Atlas Mountains, Maroc Montgolfier prides itself on supporting the local economy and the development of communities in the area with such specialties as the breakfast they provide you being entirely sourced locally. 

The package includes pick up and drop off at your hotel or riad, tea, coffee, and croissants while you watch your balloon being inflated, two additional flights if you want more from this wonderful experience, a basket with private compartments for two to four people, as well as that locally produced breakfast. Private flights, VIP flights, and even marriage proposal trips are available upon request as are group flights for more than five people. 

7. Adventure Balloon Marrakech.

Adventure Balloom Marrakech is one of the newer companies offering hot-air balloon flights in Morocco, having been established in 2018 in the country but has already built up a good reputation and has experience in other countries, such as the Kenyan National Parks, Egypt, and Turkey. The company promises a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

They provide a pick-up and drop-off service from/ to your accommodation, an hour-long hot-air balloon ride, a traditional Moroccan breakfast in the desert, and a certificate awarding ceremony to memorialise your adventure for all time. They have a fleet of nine balloons and ten experienced pilots.

Adventure Balloon Marrakech also provides a VIP service with private compartments, a Top VIP service with private balloons, and hot-air balloon flights in Agadir. 

8. Ballooning.

A simple name but Ballooning offers an excellent service. It’s also simple in that they have one price and one way to book for your flight. They guarantee satisfaction, pride themselves on a quick response to queries, and have a wealth of experience. 

A private 4×4 will pick you up from your accommodation in Marrakech ninety minutes before sunrise and take you to the launch site. The journey takes about fifty minutes and you can enjoy a tea or coffee whilst you watch the balloons being inflated. Your group will have a private section on the balloon. The flight passes the Jbilet Mountains and drifts tranquilly along the Tensift river valley with great views also of Marrakech and the Atlas Mountains, wind direction permitting. Booking is via their website and is simple and quick. 

9. Sunrise Balloon.

Sunrise Balloon is a company that offers hot-air balloon rides in Agadir. 

Your trip will fly over some of the most stunning scenery in all of Morocco. The rides are always early morning starts so you get to see a breathtaking sunrise. VIP flights include a continental breakfast in a Berber tent and a camel trek where you get to don traditional Tuareg dress. Pick-up and drop-off from your accommodation in an air-conditioned 4×4 vehicle are also included. The balloon flight lasts about an hour, and the whole experience takes about five hours. You will receive a flight certificate and refreshments upon landing. Bottled water is also provided. 

Sunrise Balloon has a full refund policy if cancellation is made at least 24 hours before the flight, accepts passengers aged five years old and upwards, 

10. Marrakech Dream Ballooning.

Marrakech Dream Ballooning provides flights with a small number of passengers but has a large fleet available so they will take bookings for groups of up to 132 people! Door-to-door transfers are included as is a traditional Berber breakfast in a desert nomad tent. You will get to see a sensational sunrise over the Atlas Mountains 

The total duration of the adventure will be from four to five hours with the balloon flight lasting approximately one hour at the end of which you will receive snacks and drinks and a flight certificate. Full insurance cover for the passengers and their belongings is also included in the price and there are no additional taxes or booking fees. Service animals are allowed on the balloon flight. Children are welcome but must be accompanied by a responsible adult. 

SUMMARY

In conclusion, a hot-air balloon flight in Morocco is an excellent addition to the usual holiday experiences and is becoming increasingly popular with tourists to the point that a large number of companies now operate flights, particularly in the beautiful area around the Red City of Marrakech. They are not cheap but work out much cheaper than comparable operations in the USA or Western Europe, so a flight in Morocco is a great way to have this wonderful experience. 

Our handy guide offers you a choice of what we consider to be ten trustworthy and excellent operators who provide the top ten Best Hot-Air Balloon Rides in Morocco.  

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Adam G
By Adam G
Hello, world, here is a little relevant biography about yours truly.I am a Welsh/ English scientist who retired at 39 to come and live in Morocco with wifey. That was back in 2005 and we haven’t looked back since. We rescued a baby tortoise, Tidgy, in 2011 who is our little girl, as we don’t have children. She is the third member of our happy family. We live in the ancient medina of Fes, the largest pedestrianised, urban area in the world and consider it to be a magical place. We love Morocco and think of it as our spiritual home. I spend my time reading, relaxing, exploring this wonderful country whenever possible, sharing coffee and conversation with our Moroccan friends and neighbours, blog-writing(!) and studying palaeontology and evolution. I have visited over fifty countries and previously lived in the UK, Poland, Saudi Arabia, and Thailand, enjoyed them all, but Morocco is the best. My motto is, “Life’s Good!”, as this includes the fossil record, our wonderful world as it is today, and my own life, which has been fantastic. I hope to be able to chat with some of you, gentle readers, and maybe even have the pleasure of meeting some of you when you come to visit our incredible adopted country.
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