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Photo: Kenya's Masai Mara
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We rose with the sun, literally. Our dawn hot-air balloon trip high above Kenya's Masai Mara National Reserve allowed me to witness the morning rituals of Africa's great beasts. Water buffalo roamed, giraffe ran gracefully throughout the embankment, and elephants momentarily glanced up at our rainbow-colored balloon. The intermittent hiss of hot air was a welcome respite from the screeching sounds of our late-model Land Rover's tires while on safari.

Laura Marcove, 24
Freelance administrator
New York City

DIY: The Mara is Kenya's most famous game-viewing reserve. Spotting the big five (lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard, and rhinoceros) is virtually guaranteed. For an added bit of luxury to your safari, stay at the Governor's II Moran Camp ( The camp is composed of ten tents along the banks of the Mara River. A balloon trip, along with a private flight to Lake Victoria or a full-day excursion to a local Masai manyatta (village) are among the many optional excursions offered to guests during their stay.

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