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.