A pale, azure-painted sky stretches endlessly overhead. The dominant mountain lies below, dotted by patches of green. There’s a large fabric canopy bent from the pressure of enduring suspension lines. And in the middle, on a faithful harness, is you – suspended hundreds of metres above the most scenic of landscapes with nothing but the sound of your breath and the obliging air currents: Paragliding Paradise.
Any adventure specialist will know that when it comes to taking to the skies, there is simply no better destination than Cape Town. Now, let’s take a closer look at its Top 5 Paragliding Sites.
At number five, we have Sir Lowry’s Pass, the infamous N2 mountain pass, spanning the great Hottentots-Holland mountain range. Its 420 metre summit has serious potential for some excellent sloping and strong thermal paragliding and is known for lifting paragliders to record heights. The landing zone, nestled in a clear patch between beautiful indigenous fynbos, is the perfect place to find your feet again.
Hermanus is at position number four, with its paragliding launch spot on Rotary Way, just off the R43 leading into town. With an ideal wind speed of 15-20 kilometres, paragliders can expect smooth ridge soaring and calming views of the majestic Olifantsberg. Paragliding in Hermanus during spring proves to be the highlight of the year for many paragliders, with the optimum chance of seeing Southern Right Whales as they migrate northwards.
Number three is none other than Lion’s Head in Central Cape Town, boasting panoramic views of the white, sandy beaches of Camps Bay and the towering Twelve Apostles mountain range. Its top site is reachable on foot and although the loose rock and steep climb can be challenging, it is well worth the effort. The strong, upslope thermic wind provides for a breathtaking and riveting flight.
Table Mountain takes number two but only experienced paragliders are permitted to make this treacherous cliff launch – its steady southwesterly winds make it the most complex of paragliding launching sites. Needless to say, with a top launch site of 1000m, this Cape Town paragliding hotspot is guaranteed to make you break a sweat..
And at the number one paragliding hotspot, is a quaint town, 140 kilometres from Cape Town. If you’re keen on cross-country flying, then Porterville is where you want to be. The view is of vast dry fields, browned by the heat of Cape Town’s summer temperatures, and in winter, plains and flatlands offer unlimited landing space. With a staggering airspace ceiling of 2900 metres it is practically the paragliding capital of the Western Cape!
Cape Town and the Western Cape are summer flying regions, which mean that if you’re a paraglider, you’ve got to take to the skies between October and March. However, a surprising number of Cape Town paragliding is done during the moderately cool winter months, when the skies are less crowded by canopies. Either way, when it comes to paragliding, Cape Town’s landscapes offer some of the most magnificent launch sites in the world. And if you feel like you were born to fly, then Cape Town is the place to be!
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