Not just a floating balloon of hot air – Interesting facts about hot air ballooning

Not just a floating balloon of hot air – Interesting facts about hot air ballooning

  • The first passengers to go on a hot air balloon flight in 1783 were a rooster, duck and a sheep. All three passengers made it back to the ground unharmed.
  • The real reason for the champagne toast celebration after going on a hot air balloon flight. We might tell you it is to celebrate your safe flight and amazing experience but there is more to this tradition. In France the farmers were not too happy with hot air balloons landing on their farms, therefore, pilots started to take champagne with them on the flight to give to the farmer’s whose farms they landed on as a peace offering.
  • The Pilots cant steer the balloon they can move it up and down but as far as steering goes the direction the balloon goes depends on mother nature.
  • A hot air balloon consists of three parts: an envelope, basket (made from woven wicker or rattan) and burner system which creates an open flame by burning a mix of liquid propane and air.
  • The envelope of most balloons is made from nylon. Due to the fact that the melting point of nylon is approximately 230 degrees Celsius. The temperature inside the balloon usually stays below 120 degrees Celsius.
Things you may not know about Lions

Things you may not know about Lions

There is so much to be said about these magnificent big cats. Here are just a few facts we would like to share with you.

Lions are the largest cats in Africa and second largest in the world (Tigers being first).

They are also the only truly social cats living in prides. Females within a pride are usually related and will often stay with their pride for life. Males are however chased out of the pride at around the age of three. At this point, they will often lead a nomadic lifestyle or live in a coalition with other males, often their brothers.

The females in a pride do most of the hunting however the males do offer help, especially to take down bigger prey such as buffalo and giraffe. Male lions will eat first at a kill, while the females and cubs wait their turn. The females put up with this behavior because the males offer protection for the pride. The beautiful big mane of a male not only shows status but also protects the male’s neck during a fight. When other males want to try and take over the pride they will fight the existing male or coalition of males.  If they win the new victorious males will often kill any cubs that are still dependent on their mothers (this is known as infanticide). It may seem cruel but by doing this the new pride males are making sure that they spend their time and energy raising and protecting their own cubs.

When hunting lions make use of their protractile claws. The claws are kept sharp by being retracted into a protective sheath when the lion doesn’t need to use them. When the lion is hunting or fighting they contract their muscles and the claws push out.

The large canine teeth are used to catch and kill prey but are useless when it comes to eating. The molar and premolar teeth, however, are very well designed for this task. Being carnivores lions have what is known as a carnassial shear, this consists of the fourth upper premolar and first lower molar. These teeth articulate against each other cutting through meat and sinew. That is why when watching lions on a kill you will see them tilting their heads to the side while trying to chew. If you have ever had a domestic cat lick you, you will know how rough their tongues can be, lions are no different. They have very rough barbs on their tongues which they use not only for grooming purposes but also to remove meat and fur from their prey.

As most of us know lions spend a large amount of their time laying around, even more so during the heat of the day. They also spend time grooming each other and resting close together, all of which is a way of bonding and socializing as a pride.

Lions are apex predators and are at the top of the food chain, however they will give way when confronted by bigger animals.

Every now and then we get breathtaking sightings of these big cats and we love sharing special moments like this with our guests. Last year while on one of our morning safaris we got to share an amazing sighting of lions on a hunt. It is not often that we get to witness a hunt from start to finish. Below is a video of the sighting.

Did you know?

The Red-billed oxpecker may help keep animals such as giraffe clean by removing parasites, but they can cause harm too. When an animal has an open wound very often the Oxpeckers will constantly peck at the wound which can make the wound bigger and take much longer to heal.

The name hippopotamus comes from the Greek word “hippos,” which means horse. Hippos were once called “river horses” However the hippo is more closely related to the pig than the horse.

Chacma Baboons are highly social animals living in troops ranging from 20 – 100 individuals. A female gives birth after a gestation period of around 6 months.

Did you know?

Zebras always look fat and healthy due to the large quantities of grass that they eat. This is because they are hindgut fermenters and with all the digestion happening they are full of gas. This not only gives them their round stomachs but is also the cause of their flatulence.

Wild dogs live in packs that consist of an Alpha male and female who are the only pair in the pack to breed. The whole pack is responsible for the raising of the pups which increases their chances of survival.

An elephants trunk consists of thousands of muscles. It takes an elephant calf up to three months to start realizing how its’ trunk works.

Did you know?

Did you know that kudus have a very large liver in order to handle the toxins (Tannins) in the plants that they eat?

Did you know that the gestation period of an elephant is 22 months? This is the longest gestation period of all mammals.

Did you know that the collective noun (name) for a group of Zebras is a dazzle?

Did you know?

Did you know that an elephant bull can weigh up to 6 tons and live for over 60 years?

Did you know that during confrontations a brown hyena will raise its fur (piloerection) in order to look larger and more intimidating?

Did you know that Impala have excellent senses? Their large ears and eyes help them to look out for predators. Their eyes are positioned on the sides of the head giving them excellent peripheral vision.

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