‘Run, and don’t stop until I say so,’ says my pilot, Manu. ‘If you stop too soon, we might end up in a heap in those bushes, with me on top of you.’
I pump my legs, and one instant I’m on terra firma, the next I’m soaring high over Cape Town – cars and people are tiny specks far below. A cool breeze washes over me, along with an intense sense of serenity. To the west the Atlantic Ocean’s deep cobalt draws us magnetically closer, until Manu makes the slightest adjustment to our glider, and we hitch a fleeting ride on fresh thermals and bank back towards Signal Hill. 360° views swoop past: the city’s magnificent coastline, Sea Point’s buildings and homes, Signal Hill, Lion’s Head, and then the immense presence of Table Mountain in the background.
The sense of freedom that comes with paragliding from Signal Hill or Lion’s Head is unparalleled – it’s the physical manifestation of a lifelong flying dream, with the added bonus of drifting silently over South Africa’s most picturesque city.
Started by Manu in 2005, Cape Town Tandem Paragliding are the guys to do it with. They’re a professional outfit with a great safety record, and you’re certain to come away with indelible memories from your flight over Cape Town’s Western seaboard. In addition to Lion’s Head and Signal Hill, they also operate from Hermanus, Sir Lowry’s Pass, Franschhoek and Macassar – but if and when they fly is weather dependant.
We end our sky-time with a few pulse-racing banking manoeuvres a few hundred metres over the Sea Point promenade, which makes my landing a little more jelly-legged than anticipated. But what an epic rush!
Pretty much anyone can go paragliding – young, old, able and less-able. Just arrive with a keen sense of adventure (and closed shoes and long pants).
Who Cape Town Tandem Paragliding
Where Signal Hill or Lion’s Head
Contact +27 76 892 2283, www.paragliding.co.za
Photography and videography Cape Town Tandem Paragliding