Ballooning in the Karoo

Experience – the unique sensation of Hot Air Ballooning in the Klein Karoo. Drifting on a gentle breeze, you will enjoy a sense of peace and tranquility; Enjoying the panoramic view of Oudtshoorn and the majestic Swartberg Mountain range, which will stay with you forever…

Enjoyable by all. It requires no special effort other than rising a little earlier than usual. While you enjoy a cup of coffee – we prepare the Balloon for the flight. Shortly before sunrise, you will join the pilot in the basket for take-off. Your adventure begins when we gently float away in the crisp morning air! After landing the retrieve crew will meet us with champagne.

Rates & Booking Procedure

  • R 2 200.00 per person
  • The passenger’s name/s, weight/s, id or passport number/s
  • A contact phone number (preferably cell)
  • Details of requirements for special occasions
  • Flights in other regions by arrangement
  • Group bookings welcome

Go Green Guys take to the Air in Oudtshoorn

Being in the ballooning business, we get to meet all kinds of folks, locals and tourists alike. Once we are in the balloon and  up in the air over Oudtshoorn, relaxing sets in and we often getto have long conversations with our clients. Most often they have questions about the hot air balloon and it’s origins and how the heck we manage to keep it up in the air. But, there are also times when we get to meet some really interesting customers who share some of of their own knowledge with us. Recently we were fortunate to have the owners of Go Green Guys, a local business dedicated to reducing energy consumption and our carbon footprint.  These guys sell everything from an induction geyser in Cape Town to pool covers and LED bulbs.

Air Conditioning is a welcome relief in our summer time, but a luxury many people do not have. The costs being one of the main reasons many people don’t consider installing one. So if you are one of the lucky ones that keep cool with an air conditioner, here are a few tips on how to save energy and cut the cooling costs.
1.    Using your air conditioner at night
Make sure to lower your air conditioner temperature or to use the sleep mode option that can be found on most systems. Turning the air conditioner on only for a short while to cool the area and then switching it off for the rest of the night.

2.    Natural ventilation and ideas
Install window coverings, shades or tint the windows, this helps prevent heat from coming into the building and ultimately will save you on cooling costs. This will keep the room cooler throughout the day and then you can use the air conditioner less at night. Open windows at night if it is cooler rather than turning on the air conditioner. A fan can also help to cool a room down and costs less to use. Planting some nice trees in your yards if possible can also make things cooler in the long run.
3.    Regular maintenance
A basic maintenance plan to keep your air conditioner running smoothly can help to reduce costs. Clean or change the filters regularly as dirty filters can make your air conditioner work harder and therefore increasing your costs.
4.    Think about a portable unit
You can save up to 50% of your energy costs by using a smaller portable unit, which can cool a specific area down instead of the whole house.
5.    Think about new things
An old air conditioning unit might not be working properly and costing you more than it should, maybe it’s time to think of upgrading. In the long run a new system will definitely be saving you more. Your old house could also be causing some problems. Air could be seeping out the windows and other poorly insulated areas. Finding and fixing these problems can make your home more energy efficient. Fortunately most of the older houses in Oudtshoorn have thick walls which keep them cool in the day and warm at night.
6.    Getting a Thermostat
Getting a thermostat will help you to regulate your temperature better. Placing your thermostat in the correct place will also be helpful. Putting it next to somewhere that is hot, like next to a window where the sun comes in will make the air conditioner start up more often than required. It is therefore very important to pick the right wall for your thermostat.
Try not to place a TV set or lamp next to your thermostat as this also gives off a fair amount of heat. Set your thermostat as high as comfortably possible, the less of a temperature difference from outside to inside will help to lower overall cooling expenses.

After spending an hour or so up in the air looking down at the gorgeous Oudsthoorn landscape (I never get tired of it), I was pretty much sold on the idea of buying one their Cape Town solar geysers. It seems absolutely ludicrous for anybody living in Oudtshoorn not to be using one !

The oven, dryer and dishwasher, all electrical appliances give off heat. Try to use most of these in the evening when it is cooler and the demand for cooling is lower. Switch off any unnecessary lights in the house as this will save on electric costs and reduce the amount of heat given off.
In the summer months it is also a great idea to cook outside on the gas braai or other methods of cooking to save on electricity and lessen the heat produced inside the house.
Apparently choosing the correct air conditioner for you can also help to keep costs down.

•    Check the energy consumption of the different models available and choose one with the least energy consumption.
•    Choosing the correct size for your business or house is important to prevent higher costs.
Control options: Looking for adjustable thermostats and variable speed models, this can help to control the air conditioner for maximum output and help to minimize energy consumption.

Ballooning or Paragliding ?

Having spent countless hours in air in hot air balloons, I obviously am interested in several other aerial sports and activities. I have been asked this question many times ‘what is the difference between parasailing and paragliding?’ and I can never answer it. I have therefore decided to look up the subject and see for myself what the answer is and maybe even go out and try this activity and have some great fun.Fortunately I recently met with Kai Duran of Skywings Paragliding, which specializes in paragliding Cape Town.

Let us start off with parasailing; now I assume it’s something to do with water, parasailing is basically paragliding, but behind a boat on the water. Parasailing also known as parascending or par kiting is done by towing a person in a parachute usually behind a motorboat which helps to lift the rider who is attached by a harness into the air. Parasailing is fun and easy and can be a great family activity. South Africa has beautiful coastlines and plenty of opportunity to enjoy some parasailing. Places from Cape Town to Knysna and Plettenberg bay; even places like the Hartbeespoort Dam offer adrenaline junkies the opportunity to enjoy themselves and the view from a different perspective. There are usually plenty of safety guidelines in place for you to enjoy your experience.

I have seen many people paragliding from signal hill and have always wanted to try it out. Paragliding is basically being harnessed into a parachute and jumping from a height and gliding down to the ground. Tandem jumps are popular and the instructors are all highly experienced in what they do and can accommodate all ages (usually kids over 5 years of age) and abilities. Disabled, no worries, you can experience this wonderful activity as well. The duration of each flight is dependent on weather and safety conditions and can last from 5-30 minutes in duration. Paragliding usually does not use an engine, but there is a new activity that utilizes this method and has a motor attached, for this type of paragliding you can take off from beaches or large fields and enjoy a longer flight time.

I think Cape Town is the best destination to enjoy paragliding as it offers one of the world’s best views and the two most well know places to paraglide from are Lion’s Head and Signal Hill.

A few other Cape Town paragliding companies include:

  • Cape Parasail: Offering parasailing, easy and fun family experience : Contact: 071 998 1703
  • Cape Town tandem paragliding: Fully certified and highly experienced instructors : Contact: 076 892 2283
  • Fly Cape Town Paragliding: 5 star reviews and they offer in-flight photography and video : Contact: 082 851 7119
  • Para-Pax: Tandem flights and tandem para-motoring available : Contact:  082 881 4724

Many of these companies offer equipment and courses for you to complete. If you enjoyed the exhilaration and absolute freedom of tandem paragliding then you may wish to take this activity to a more serious level and complete a basic license course that you require to fly on your own or start a career and learn to become an instructor and do this awesome activity every single day. If you love what you do, it’s not work.

I would enjoy participating in both parasailing and paragliding, each offering a slightly different way to experience the world around you. Nothing beats the outdoors, fresh air and beautiful views of our country and paragliding/parasailing offers a unique way to explore South Africa. Just make sure to approach the correct and licenced companies if you do wish to go ahead and enjoy this awesome activity.

This was just a brief introduction and explanation into Paragliding and parasailing especially in South Africa, so if you ever wish to experience the exhilaration of flight then this activity is definitely something you should put on a to do list. I would recommend heading over to the Skywings website.