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Wondering what to do in Cape Town? Well, I've been here 42 years and this tandem paragliding flight ranks right up there with the most fun things I've been up to in the Mother City! Cape Town isn't the only spot to do paragliding in South Africa - e.g. the Garden Route is also pretty spectacular and cheaper.
The 2 main spots for tandem paragliding are from Signal Hill and Lions Head.
A flight from Lions Head takes you down onto Camps Bay Beach or nearby.
Setting up the paraglider for takeoff is a surprisingly quick exercise. It was a Sunday morning after a small break in the clouds, when Frikkie and I met up at the top of Signal Hill, for my first (tandem) paraglide jump. Frikkie did most of the set-up, not due to me not wanting to help, but more because of the fact that my knowledge of setting it up is dangerous (literally in this case!).
After strapping me in in front of him, Frikkie gave me my instructions - run as fast as you can! We ran, but unfortunately the paraglider got caught in a thorn bush. After swearing to come back next time with an axe to chop down said bush, we set up again, got running again and within a few steps I was on my tippietoes and then airborne - easy peasy!
We passed safely over an edge of the hill and lifted into the sky reaching a maximum hight of 300m above Signal Hill. I started fretting a bit then, wondering exactly how high we were going to go (I like my feet being on the ground). Here's the view of Seapoint, you can see the green grass of the promenade we were heading for, and in the foreground on Signal Hill are the old military emplacements.
Here's the view of Green Point Common, with the Cape Town Stadium on the right hand side.
It's an unnerving feeling to watch one's feet dangling so high above buildings and vehicles.
View of Lion's Head, and you can see the Sea Point Pavillion on the right.
An aerial view of the Sea Point Ritz Hotel.
And in to land we came on the Sea Point promenade. Paragliding in Cape Town is not without risk, but is so much fun that I'm looking forward to my next flight.
Dress warm and wear closed shoes. You may bring your own cameras, or choose to use the service to record the flight (this is recommended, although there is a small extra cost). Weather dependent, flights take place from 7am until 5pm. The more flexible you are with your time, place of flight (e.g. Lions Head, signal hill, inland) and type of flight (paragliding or paramotoring), the more likely you are to have a successful flight. No training is necessary, everything you need to know is told to you at the site.
Written by Rob Baker