This is it! We’re going paragliding today! I have been waiting for this moment for years… We are taking off from Lion’s Head beside Table Mountain, which is also where we meet Stef, who has prepared all the equipment. As there is a good wind we can use the lower take-off point, a gentle downward slope covered by a green net.
After some fussing about with the equipment, I am all set: helmet on my head, a harness on my back. Stef is right behind me and the ocean lies at our feet. “Just remember, keep on running until I say ‘ok’, then you can sit back and relax.” We get some help to lift the wing off the ground and before I know it we are running downhill; after just two or three steps I am peddling in the air, not running – we have lift-off! Amazing!
The wing gently pulls us upward as Stef seeks out good thermal currents to take us higher: 548 metres, 549 metres, yes, 550 metres! “Want to go up to 600?” What a question! Of course I do: the wind is perfect and the view is beautiful, overlooking the 12 Apostles on one side, Table Mountain on the other and the ocean ahead of us. A strong gust pulls us upward and within a few seconds we shoot up over 600 metres. Stef lets go of the wing and we are simply gliding on the wind. Awesome!
Stef suggests we make a spiral – if I am up to it… Of course I am, bring it on! I fold my left leg over my right and lean to the right with all my weight.
There we go! Oh help! It’s going pretty fast, we’re spinning like crazy. The ocean, the beach, Table Mountain, all the 24 Apostles flash by in an instant. Hold on, weren’t there 12 Apostles? Whoa…
We sit up straight again and everything falls back into place. Phew… that was unbelievably cool and exciting! After our little acrobatic stunt it is time to land. Touch down in three, two, one… The wing falls into the sand behind us and here we are, landed at Camps Bay. “So, when do I get to go up again?”
Anouk Pappers – Author ‘Around the World in 80 Brands’