Paragliding in Cape Town: A Fun Family Activity

Paragliding in Cape Town: A Fun Family Activity

What’s the most adrenaline-pumping thing you’ve done with your kids? For Ling Tan, it was paragliding over Cape Town, South Africa.

What’s the most adrenaline-pumping thing you’ve done with your kids? For Ling Tan, it was paragliding over Cape Town. This activity brought especially fond memories for this mummy, as her younger child had to overcome a fear of heights to join the family on this adventure. Join their flight as they go paragliding in Cape Town. 

This story was first published on, a travel community site for parents, by parents. 

One of the best things we’ve ever done together, as a family

paragliding in cape town

We wanted to do something memorable in Cape Town, the Mother City. It was our first trip to Africa, and we wanted something we couldn’t or wouldn’t normally do back home in Singapore. Sand boarding would have been fun, but the nearest sand dune is an hour away from the Cape Town city centre. We wanted to go kayaking in the Atlantic Ocean, with the whales or dolphins frolicking in the waters near us, but it was a little too early in the season for the whales.

Then we found it.


Flying above Cape Town. A view of the Mother City from high up in the sky. Paragliding in Cape Town sounds really cool, yeah?

It looked fun. The more I read about it, the more it seems do-able. Paragliding is considered an extreme sport, but really, you are supposed to “just” walk off a cliff, with “wings” attached and a pilot in tandem – and there you go, gliding into the skies. So long as the wind conditions are right.

Son1 YX was game. The boy is an adrenaline junkie, and the thought of jumping off a cliff and flying into the skies appealed to him. YY though, was a tad apprehensive. He’s always been scared of heights. We told him he could wait till that day to decide if he would join us for the flight.

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Looking for the perfect operator

I took quite a while to decide on an operator we would fly with. Do a search, and you will find quite a few operators, offering tandem flights off Signal Hill or Lion Heads in Cape Town. I emailed a few, and in the end, decided to go with Stephan Kruger, the owner and founder of Fly Cape Town.

A screenshot from his website. Biographies of his team of pilots are posted on the site, and are all pretty impressive – they’ve competed and placed, individually, in competitions around the world, and are ranked amongst the best in South Africa. But truth be told, our decision came down to this – Stephan was the promptest in his replies. If I am going to leap off any cliff, I want it to be with someone who is responsive and alert!

The day

The actual launch site (where you will jump from) will depend on the weather condition and winds direction on the day itself. Once you’ve booked your date and time with Stephan, he will send you a message on the day before your flight with confirmation on where to meet. Should there be any changes at all, he will message again. So it is important to leave a number where you could be contacted easily.

The day of our flight was a clear, beautiful day. Our appointment was at 1pm in the afternoon, and we were to meet the team at Signal Hills (near the Table Mountain cable car station). We made our way over after visiting the Table Mountain – the view was spectacular.

It was a busy afternoon up in the hill, with at least 5 operators there. Tourists were soaking up the views, and the locals were on their lunch breaks enjoying the sun and scenery.

And how did it go?

We loved the experience.

As we had communicated with Stephan, that we were two adults and two kids, he arranged for himself and a colleague to fly with us, so that I could first fly with YX, while Hubby stayed with YY up on the hill, before we switch over for the second flight.

Stephan and team met us promptly at 1pm. He sat us down, and briefed us – we were to suit up, his team will arrange the paraglide, the pilot will be right behind us. When the conditions were right and he says, ”run”, we were to run along the slopes till the wind lifts us up. All this while, YY sat by, listening solemnly. He was, we know, trying to decide.

Next, we have to get over the formality – signing that indemnity form. I had to sign for YX, since he is a junior. Yes, this is not a risk free sport.

With that out of the way YX and I suited up, and waited our turns. YX was to fly with Stephen and he went first…

…and I was next! The moment of lift-off – that feeling was totally amazing! One moment you were running, and the next, the winds had carried you up. So there I went, up in the air, soaring away! It’s not a drop, but a gentle lift off – nothing really scary about it!

Up in the air, the view of the city is awesome. The winds caressing you as you float along. It’s kind of surreal and really lovely. My pilot pointed out to the landmarks of Cape Town as we flew along.

The landing was YX’s and Hubby’s favourite bits of the ride. A couple of acrobatic manoeuvres – you would feel like you’re flipping and turning in the air. Nothing too drastic, but enough to push the adrenaline buttons – YX was laughing away! We landed at the grass patch in front of Winchester Hotel, along Camps Bay. The first thing my son said to me as we land, “Mum! Could we do it again please?!”

A proud moment

Back up on the hills, YY had announced to hubby he’d do it too, after watching us.

Yeah! We were all so proud of the little one – he had to garner up his courage for this, we knew. He was the youngest to fly that day and the crowd cheered the little fellow on as he ran off the cliff with Stephan behind him.

Also read: I Cycled from England to South Africa and Came Home With a Story to Tell

His expression says it all. That’s YY, with Stephan. (By the way, I have to say, the pilots are all selfie masters! They really know their angles!)

Stephan had explained that pilots in Cape Town are not allowed by regulators to fly kids younger than 10 years old for a fee, or commercially. YY was only 8 years old, so Stephan offered (via email) a complimentary flight for the kid in case he does decide to fly – which he did!

Just to add too – the youngest kid the Fly Cape Town team had ever flown with is a 10-month old toddler – one of the pilot’s kids. Again, if I am going to entrust my kids with anyone, it would best be with folks who has done it, and who is confident enough to have flown with their own!

We would do it again in a heartbeat! I could only wish that the flight was a little longer – those minutes in the air went by so fast!

Moments like these, memories of a lifetime.

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