Driving up Signal Hill is always a treat, timeless views of the city and rich vegetation. This time of year all of the trees, flowers and other natural wonders are all lush in colour and not spoilt for eager sunshine. However, what I was to experience this time going up Signal Hill was something much more breath-taking. Paragliding, a fast and developing trend that so many of us wish to do at some point or another is now making an exciting and sought after activity all the more phenomenal.
The whole process of getting into the gear to take flight is very quick. The staff at Para – Taxi are very efficient. Passengers are advised to wear proper closed and comfortable shoes as for the take off and landing, a bit of running is involved – don’t get nervous, someone who has never ran in their lives can do this with the utmost ease. Also, a jacket is required as it can get a little chilly up in the air, especially hanging over the Atlantic Ocean. The take off was probably my favourite part. Running off one of the most beautiful places on earth straight towards the heart of the ocean was an experience in itself. Nothing but crystal blue waters, a splash of white as the waves crash against the rocks all the while being up in the air just you, the TFI ( tandem flight instructor) and the sail.
Up in the air you would think all you would notice are the buildings, big blue sea and the green landing strip of where you would soon be landing your feet but my instructor did not miss an opportunity to point out the tiniest flower growing on the side of the mountain or the seal swimming peacefully in the icy waters beneath us. These finer details and smaller pleasures really made for a memorable trip.
The view from the top is is nothing less than a bird’s – eye view. If you really tried as you fly over you can pinpoint your favourite café or recognize a popular street walk. Of course the bigger landmarks such as Green Point stadium, Robben Island and the V&A Waterfront all make a grand appearance as you soar over Sea Point promenade.
The landing is quite an excitement. After soaking in all of the wonders, being high up in the sky with only the wind swaying you between the ocean and the mountains, adrenaline kicks in. The instructor tells you to stand and in a matter of seconds you are on the ground with a few steps. Nothing more than what the normal average Joe can handle. It is completely controlled and exhilarating. By-standers look at you from down below smiling with great anticipation of what you have just accomplished.
Para -Taxi team members are there to help you remove the gear as soon as you land. Then, you are taken to a vehicle waiting to take you back up the mountain. Going up after making such a grand descent is such a game changer, you’ve just experienced Signal Hill in a much more different way and it’s so exciting! I was lucky enough to have done the flight with the owner of Para – Taxi. He also spent some time with me as we took the drive back up.
Para – Taxi is unique as they are affiliated to the fair trade and tourism label. This signifies their commitment to fair and responsible tourism. This ranges from fair and responsible wages paid to the staff as well as sustaining the environment to which we all enjoy as foreign or local tourists. After experiencing paragliding off of Signal Hill, your holiday to Cape Town can feel complete. It is not merely for foreign tourists, local people flock to share in this 360 view of their own city.