I spent my first morning in Africa parachuting off a mountain over Cape Town. It was my first time paragliding and it was great!
I went with the company recommended at the hostel: Fly Cape Town
It was optional to have them pick me up and it cost a little extra, but it seemed the easier choice. They drove me to Signal Hill, where we launched.
If you have never done it before, paragliding is not as scary as it seems. I kept having visions of running and jumping off the side of a cliff, but it isn’t like that at all. They tell you that at some point you will have to run, but I didn’t. It was super painless. One second I was standing there and the next second I was floating in the air. It all happened so quickly that I didn’t have much time to be scared.
As you can see in this video of the takeoff, I anticipated screaming, but it wasn’t so bad.
Another thing that is nice about going tandem is that you do not really feel like you are dangling above ground or anything because there is a person behind you. There is some nervous laughter, but most of the trip is pretty smooth. You are just sort of floating with an amazing view.
My pilot, Tom, was also really great at making me feel reassured that everything was fine. You can see in the video that he talks to me throughout the journey and I found this to be comforting. He’s done this thousands of times, so I felt I was in good hands.
The main thing I actually felt was cold. Since I went in winter, my hands were absolutely freezing up there, so you might want to wear gloves.
The whole jump takes about 10-15 minutes and then you land, which was also pretty easy. I ended up just plopping down on my butt (I am including the video of the last half below).
The landing place is at Sea Point, so you get to float a bit over the water before you land.
The whole thing with the hostel pick up and the extra SD card with the video and pictures cost R1500, about $95USD.
Tip: After you land, you can stroll down to the V&A Waterfront along the coast and visit Robben Island in the afternoon. It is a popular jogging route.
Now I am ready for skydiving! 🙂 All in all, I highly recommend this company and this experience.