Thursday, January 13, 2022

Is there light at the end of the tunnel?

Stanley - Thursday

Like everyone I know, I'm sick and tired of the pandemic, the trauma it's brought to so many families, and the idiocy it has encouraged to surface. So I decided to push back and show how life is going on near the source of the damned omicron variant - Cape Town. My blog for today was going to be about one iconic Cape Town tourist attraction, namely paragliding from Signal Hill over the houses and apartment buildings of Sea Point onto the beautiful Esplanade along Table Bay.

I was up at 0600, then, coffee cup in hand, headed to the launch point high above the Sea Point buildings.  A beautiful day: 20C (about 70F), barely a cloud in the sky, and a gorgeous drive below the striking Lion's Head mountain that soars over 650 metres (2100 feet) above the city. A perfect day for the adventure of a lifetime - not that I was going to parasail, rather I was going to watch others do it and relish the fact that life was returning to normal.

The drive from my flat to the launch point

Three of the Twelve Apostles, which line up behind Table Mountain

At the top of the Kloof Road forest, I popped into the sun with Table Mountain looming nearly 1100 metres (3600 feet) in front of me.

Table Mountain with Devil's Peak to the left.

I continued driving below Lion's Head until I reached the launch point. Spectacular views!

Lion's Head

Table Mountain National Park motto

I wandered over to the launching area, a specially-prepared permanent runway for paragliders.

The rather daunting view down. Gliders fly over these buildings and land on that thin strip of grass on the other side. Wet if you go too far; not good if you land short.

I was ready! 

However, I was surprised that there were only a few glider operators sitting under the trees, with a few anxious first-timers nervously chatting to each other. Then I looked up and saw the windsock.

The wind was from the wrong direction - southwest instead of west or northwest. That meant there was a tailwind, which makes it impossible to lift the wing before take-off. No wonder everyone was sitting down. Waiting for the wind to shift. 

After an hour and a half, I decided it was time to leave. So I did and went for a walk in the beautiful Greenpoint Park with its banks of blue agapanthus plants.

So, I will return to the launch point to chronicle the famous Cape Town paragliding when the wind is favourable. Meantime I'll enjoy seeing life slowly returning to some semblance of normality.


  1. Such a stunning country. As for the pandemic, “I’m short of words,” as people say in Ghana.

  2. Beautiful views! But hurling yourself off a perfectly good mountain top seems a bit unreasonable...

  3. Beautiful country, Stan. Every time I think of paragliders, I think of my late brother who, back in the early days of paragliding, worked for an aluminum company that stopped manufacturing light rods. No matter how many warnings they put on the rods that they were not fit for that use, glider manufacturers used them, and when a sudden twist of wind did the same to the frame...well, you get the idea.