Sedgefield is a little quiet town as part of South Africa‘s famous Garden Route that we passed driving from George (where we landed) to Knysna and Plettenberg Bay as part of our Garden Route tour.
Mostly known for their beaches stretching as long as 6km, their most common activities are water activities such as swimming, SUP as well as bird-watching. It is easy to overlook this idyllic, quiet town, but if there’s one reason we came here for, it’s to get some adrenaline in!
- What is paragliding?
- My experience paragliding in Sedgefield
- What to bring to paraglide in Cape Town, South Africa
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What is paragliding?
In case you’re still confused on the difference between paragliding, hang gliding and gliding (read my gliding experience in New Zealand here), here’s a brief description of what paragliding is.
Paragliding is the activity of gliding through the air, using only air currents i.e. thermals to propel.
They take off and descend from high altitudes like mountains and cliffs on foot.
Paragliders are attached to a parachute that resembles a canopy. Also known as a wing, glider or canopy, the lightweight material of the aerofoil is designed to capture the air currents and keeps you afloat in the air.
While paragliders use an air wing, hang gliders use an aluminium frame and fiberglass batons.
Hang gliders tend to also fly much faster than paragliders, which makes them more challenging to learn. As such, the equipment set up and break down is much easier for paragliders than it is for hang gliders.
Paragliders are equipped with a chair-like harness so that when you’re in the air, you’re actually sitting down and leaning back comfortably to enjoy the ride.
How paragliders control the flight is by pulling on the right and left brake line to steer and change directions.
My experience paragliding in Sedgefield
It would be my first time trying out paragliding ever, so I was really looking forward to trying it out way before my South Africa trip happened.
While our allocated flight time was at 11:30am, we were only able to get confirmation at 9am that morning due to the unpredictability of the wind conditions.
Our meeting point was on top of a hill in Sedgefield, a 30-minute drive from where we were staying at Turbine Boutique Hotel and Spa in Knysna. It is on this field where a few other paragliding operators also fly out from.
While we arrived a little earlier than the Wild2fly folks, it took them no time to set everything up in the time I was filling up my indemnity form. This 3-man team sure knows what they’re doing! Or should I say… 3-man-1-dog team?
He was the most excited pup jumping up and down as he watched his owner and I take off. It was later that I found out that he had also been paragliding before – that explains his ecstasy! Their little pet dog has so much potential to be the next Paragliding star.
After suiting me up in a chair-type harness and fastening me to Johan, my pilot, we did a little run forward to lift the parachutes up in the air to catch the wind. Soon after, we were running off the cliff, and suddenly, my legs were off the ground, floating in mid air! This was quite different to the experience I had paragliding in Cape Town where the parachute picked up on the winds and lifted me up instantly.
Catch the full action in this video:
I was lucky to have taken off at optimal wind conditions, for Johan, was able to ascend higher than our take off altitude at almost 300 m/ 1000 feet high.
Being in the air was so quiet and therapeutic, it’s as if Johan and I were in our own little world above everyone else. There was the view of Sedgefield Lagoon and the Indian Ocean right under our feet.
The 10 minutes in the air was exactly what I need to get in a good head space, forgetting all the worries in the world.
Because of the lucky wind conditions we had, we were able to land back in our same launch pad instead of at sea level. That is not usual, as paragliders usually descend from the moment they take off.
It costs ZAR 850/ USD58 to do a tandem paragliding flight and ZAR250 for photos and videos.
What to bring to paraglide in Cape Town, South Africa
- Closed shoes
- Warm clothing as it gets chilly in the air
If you’re looking to spend more time in small, local towns around here, I recommend checking out the neighbouring town of Wilderness. It’s another nature heaven, with lakes, beaches, bird estuaries, lagoons and mountains. Hikers would love the myriad of trails here, and it’s a scenic drive into and out of the town.
Read other useful Africa posts!
Special thanks to Adrenaline Hunter for this experience! All opinions remain my own.
25 October 2019, Fri