Our department at work doesn’t get to go on outings too often, but when we do, the rest of the company is left in a jealous rage when they find out what we got up to. This time, I suggested and got tasked with organizing the team outing – tandem paragliding. I knew we could jump off Lion’s Head in Cape Town, and our landing site had to be in close proximity to alcohol – La Med in Clifton fitted that bill perfectly. So I knew the start and end points, and just needed to find someone to make the flight happen. After a few calls, we went with booking agents Cape Xtreme Adventure Tours.
We got to the Lion’s Head parking lot a little earlier than expected (thanks Rikki Taxis), so I calmed the mood by smoking several fags whilst waiting for the tandem paragliding pilots to rock up. They arrived on time, and we proceeded to walk up the mountain to the jump point. I’m not the healthiest dude around – let’s just say I won’t go to a gym if there isn’t an escalator to the entrance – so the trek was as pleasant as finding cat vomit in your shoe.
At the jump point, we got assigned to our pilots – I got the uber-cool Stephan, owner of Cape Town Tandem Paragliding, who explained the procedure to me and harnessed me up. Luckily I had a harness that didn’t squish my sugar lumps, so that was all good. We laid out the paraglider wing, and before I knew it, I was fastened in front of Stephan, the paraglider was airborne, and my feet had left solid ground.
I’m terrible at describing things and emotions, but the flight was absolutely phenomenal – Stephan piloted us up and around the mountainside, then zipped back towards the sea, and at places the paraglider just floated there, giving me a fantastic view of the surrounding mountains, city suburbs, and the vast sea and gathering clouds ahead.
It was so quiet and peaceful up there that I didn’t want to come down. But we had to descend, and after a few spiral drives, we touched down softly on the grassy pitch next to the bar. Even though we had been up for a while, it seemed so short, and the moment we landed, I wanted to do it again. And I will…soon.
[Photos by D. Campbell]