Up We Go: NAC Cape Peninsula Helicopter Tour

As a Cape Town local, I’ve enjoyed the luxury of marvelling at our glorious mountain from both land and sea. And while these are both fine places from which to appreciate its many wonders, nothing can compare to the jaw-dropping awe of experiencing it from the air! I was fortunate enough to have been invited to do just that by NAC Helicopters and what an incredible time it was.


The helipad is situated around the back of the V&A Waterfront– a less frequented spot that offers views of the outstretched harbour and breakers below. While there are a couple of companies to choose from, we recommend NAC, not only for their outstanding service but also because they boast an impeccable safety record.

I parked right outside the NAC quarters where they’ve quite literally rolled out the red carpet to welcome in visitors. There was a buzz of excitement in the welcome area, where passengers are either about to embark on a flight, or (distinguishable by their rumpled hair) have just returned from one.

After a quick check-in and briefing, our party of five was invited to watch the short safety video, before getting the opportunity to show off our best James Bond impression and glide across the tarmac to the waiting bright blue chopper – its blurred propellers slicing the air as we approached. Once safely buckled up by the friendly ground staff, I was handed my headset which, when clapped over the ears, deadens the roar of the engine and allows one to communicate directly with the pilot – in this case, the lovely Lisa.

In a moment, we rose straight into the cornflower blue sky, the V&A Waterfront harbour below growing ever further away until we reached just over two thousand feet – a point high enough to see the entirety of the breath-taking coastline of Cape Town’s Atlantic Seaboard peninsula, but close enough to make out the details below (including the odd shark or Southern Right Whale if you’re lucky).


With the endless ocean on the one side and the ever-changing views of the city, Table Mountain and seaboard on the other, one barely knows where to look or point the camera- such is the astounding geography of Cape Town. Luckily, Lisa directed our gaze and highlighted historic and contemporary landmarks, like the Green Point stadium and Mouille Point Lighthouse, that border each unique area we flew past. We swept over the crouching hulk of Lion’s Head joined by the spine to Signal Hill, and watched as the waves seemed to move in slow-motion towards the shores of the famous Clifton and Camps Bay beaches below, their inviting turquoise coves flanked by some of Cape Town’s most desired homes.

The 20-minute Hopper Tour ended just around the edges of the Table Mountain’s compatriot Twelve Apostles range – a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its superb hiking – before we turned back and began our swift decent, lonely Robben Island clearly visible on the left.

Landing is a come down in more ways than one. While it’s over all too quickly, the ground staff welcomed us back with a glass of bubbly that we were invited to enjoy on the lookout deck – a wonderful touch that cements the luxury of the whole experience. I asked Frankie, NAC’s superb manager, about their longer routes, and was excited to hear about their Winelands tours, in which they fly passengers to and from Stellenbosch or Franschhoek for a day of wine tasting and feasting. Should you want a slightly longer tour around the Peninsula, they also recommend the Atlantico option that includes a route over Hout Bay and Constantia.

Before I left, I was gifted a DVD about Cape Town and its attractions – a sweet parting token given to each passenger. A heli tour is one for the bucket list, and with Cape Town being one of the most affordable cities in which to fly, there is no excuse not to book yours.

Book Your NAC Helicopter Tour

  • Visit their website or call +27 (0)21 425 3868.
  • NAC flies 364 days of the year, from around 9am to 4pm.
  • Prices vary per route but begin at R1080 pp for the Hopper Tour.

Blog post by: Tarah Darge

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