PARAGLIDING SITES AROUND CAPE TOWN

Lions Head Paragliding Site

Lions Head

Lions Head

Lions Head is a mountain in Cape Town, South Africa, between Table Mountain and Signal Hill. Lions Head peaks at 669 metres above sea level. The peak forms part of a dramatic backdrop to the city of Cape Town and is part of the Table Mountain National Park.

A little bit of history
In the 17th century the peak was known as Leeuwen Kop (Lion’s Head) by the Dutch, and Signal Hill was known as Leeuwen Staart (Lion’s Tail), as the shape resembles a crouching lion or a sphinx.

These days …
Lions Head is known for spectacular views over the city and beaches, and the hour-long walk to the top is extremely popular during full moon. Its slopes are also a popular launching point for paragliders.

Paragliding high above Lions Head

Paragliding high above Lions Head

Paragliding from Lions Head
We call Lions Head our office as this is where you will find us most days. Our pilots meet passengers at the Lions Head car park before walking 10 – 20 minutes to the take off sites. There are two take off sites on Lions Head, the first after the steep sand road as you go around the corner with Camps Bay Beach in view on the left, the second further along as you turn the corner and can see Robben Island, higher to the right. The take off site you will fly from depends on the wind conditions that day. You will paraglide over Camps Bay and Clifton, either landing on Camps Bay beach but more often landing on the grass in front of The Bungalow (the old La Med). After your flight you can enjoy a cocktail or a meal at The Bungalow.

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Signal Hill Paragliding Site

Signal Hill aka Lion’s Rump, is a landmark flat-topped hill located in Cape Town, next to Lions Head and Table Mountain. The hill is also known as “The Lion’s Flank”. Together with Lions Head and Signal Hill look like a lion sphinx.

Signal Hill launch pad

Signal Hill launch pad

A little bit of history
Signal flags were used to communicate weather warnings as well as anchoring instructions to visiting ships in order to ensure that they prepared adequately for stormy weather while in the bay. Similarly, ships could use flags to signal for assistance if, for example, an anchor line parted during a storm.

It is known for the Noon Gun that is operated  by the South African Navy and South African Astronomical Observatory. In 1836, a time ball was set up at the Cape Town observatory, however it was not visible to ships in the harbour, so a second time ball was erected on Signal Hill in order to relay the precise moment of 1pm Cape Mean Time. In this way ships in the bay were able to check their marine chronometers. The daily practice of dropping of the ball continued until 1934, when it was made redundant by radio signals.

The guns on Signal Hill were used to notify the public when a ship was in trouble and there was a possibility of casualties on the coast near Cape Town. Three guns would be fired from Chavonnes Battery, followed by a single gun in answer from Imhoff Battery.

These days …
There is a road to the summit and that vantage point provides spectacular views over Cape Town and surroundings, especially at dawn or sunset. Along Signal Hill Road one can also find the Appleton Scout Campsite owned and operated by the South African Scout Association.

Just lifted from Signal Hill

Paragliding over Signal Hill

Paragliding from Signal Hill
Our pilots meet passengers in the car park before taking off on the slope to the  left of the car park. When flying from Signal Hill there are many spectators who are enjoying the views across Sea Point and Green Point having picnics or a quick photo shoot. You will paraglide over Sea Point and Green Point with a great view of the famous stadium. Landings are either top landings, back on Signal Hill or on the famous Sea Point promenade. After your flight you can enjoy a cocktail or a meal at The Winchester Mansions.

 

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Hermanus Paragliding Site

Hermanus is  130kms from Cape Town, depending on traffic an hour and a half’s drive.

Paragliding over Hermanus

Paragliding over Hermanus

A little bit of history
In the early 1800’s Hermanus Pieters, who was a shepherd and teacher, followed an elephant trail leading through the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley to the sea where he came upon a spring just to the west of the Mossel River farm. He found this to be an ideal spot to graze his sheep during the summer. He also spread the word to the farmers of the district. The spring came to be known as Hermanuspietersfontein but was shortened to Hermanus when municipal status was given to the town in 1904.

These days …
Hermanus has the status of being the best land-based whale watching destination in the world. Southern right whales visit Walker Bay from June through to December and can be viewed from the air whilst paragliding. Hermanus is home to the world’s only Whale Crier who blows his kelp horn when whales are spotted along the central sea route.

Paragliding over Hermanus at sunset

Paragliding over Hermanus at sunset

Paragliding in Hermanus
The take off is on Rotary Way. You will paraglide over the town of Hermanus, the views are breath taking, and a treat whale spotting from the air. You will top land on Rotary Way or land on one of the school fields below. There are many fantastic restaurants to enjoy a meal after your flight in the village.

 

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Sir Lowry’s Pass Paragliding Site

Sir Lowry’s Pass is a mountain pass on the N2 national road in the Western Cape, South Africa. It crosses the Hottentots-Holland mountain range between Somerset West and Grabouw on the main national road between Cape Town and the Garden Route. A railway line also crosses the mountain range at this point.

Sir Lowry's Pass Sky

Paragliding over Sir Lowry’s Pass

A little bit of history
The mountain crossing in that region was known by the indigenous Khoi people as the Gantouw or Eland’s Pass, and was used as a stock route. The Dutch and British settlers at the Cape built a rough pass called the Hottentots Holland Kloof Pass following the Gantouw route. The first recorded crossing was in 1664, and by 1821 the pass was seeing 4500 ox-wagons per year crossing into the interior, but the route was so severe that more than 20% of them were damaged. The ruts left by these wagons being dragged over the mountains can still be seen, and were declared a National Monument in 1958.

These days …
The summit of the pass is at 420m. There is a viewpoint at the summit and this point is also used as a paragliding launch point. Baboons are often seen in this area.