A man waved his wife and friends goodbye as they took off from the V&A Helipad for a flip around the peninsula. When asked why he didn’t go with them he said, “I won’t go on a boat because I can’t swim, so I won’t get into that helicopter because I can’t fly!”
That kind of logic prevented him from taking one of Cape Town’s most fulfilling excursions. His wife on the other hand, experienced a touch of the ‘High Life’. She soon became no more than a spec at the window as the bubble-shaped helicopter rose and people on the ground faded to insect proportions. Even the biggest yachts moored outside Cape Grace started to resemble bath tub toys and city skyscrapers turned to Lego. Flying in a helicopter allows you to become a spectator on the busy world you have left and you start to feel removed from it and surprisingly superior.
The helicopter quickly veers south along the coastline, maintaining a discreet height over Llandudno and Sandy Bay – the pilot then makes straight for the rock face of Hout Bay’s Sentinel Mountain and he swoops down only for ou to be met with a strong whiff of guano. Thousands of Cape Fur Seals populate the island immediately below and provide plentiful food for Great White Sharks, who patrol this stretch of water inaccessible from the land.
Some experiences are the sole prerogative of the helicopter pilot and passengers, such as following the twists and turns of Chapman’s Peak Drive as if in a high speed car chase, then dropping over the edge to see a rusty mangled car that tragically missed the bend.
More sedately, the chopper tracks an inland course and climbs steadily through the hidden wooded gorge behind Table Mountain. It glides over the flat top whisking up any table cloth of cloud. If you are up for it, the pilot may give you a taste of vertigo as he drops sharply back into the City bowl, inciting gasps and even fully blown screams.
The pilot will adjust his flying to the disposition of the passengers, so let him know what kind of ride you want. “There are old pilots and bold pilots, but there are no old bold pilots,” so trust the man in the front seat and enjoy the High Life this summer.
Flight Details: Click here for more.
20 minute flight: Atlantic Seaboard and Table Mountain.
30 minute flight: Atlantic Seaboard to Hout Bay, across to Fish Hoek and False Bay, return over Table Mountain.
60 minute flight: all the way down the Atlantic coast to Cape Point, back along False Bay and return over Table Mountain.