Paragliding Courses and Training in South Africa
We are very fortunate in South Africa to have quite a few highly qualifed instructors who are equal with the World's best standards. Our Courses like the Basic Licence course is quite comprehensive and includes no less than 35 flights and certain safety maneouvers. There are theory lessons and an open book exam that is quite detailed and gives new pilots a good idea on what is needed to be safe pilot. The training includes some thermal flying as well as ridge soaring and sometimes winching is used to train pilots.
Tourists and foreigners can rest assured they will have a good quality instruction that will meet most of the criteria of their home country. South African licences are recognised worldwide. There is usually some form of conversion needed to be done in some countries and it may involve practical flights or theory exams or even both, but normally it's not a big deal to convert ones licence. The main reason for these conversions is insurance and casevac benefits in certain countries like Germany and Austria. South Africa is a great place to train and in particular the Garden Route as we have ideal conditions and sites for training. All our training sites are accessable by car and some you can even top land after a few flights. This ensures we dont spend on average more than two weeks to complete a course, naturally weather depending. The cost can sometimes be cheaper to fly from Europe and complete your course in South Africa and have a small holiday as well rather than trying to complete the course with Europes weather condtions.
Locals would also find it beneficial to train in the Garden Route as there is minimum travelling besides the intial flight or drive. The sites are within a 30km radius and easy to find as they are just off the N2. There are packages with accommodation that make this an attractive option as one gets a holiday and a course for the same price. The main training sites are between Wilderness, Sedgefield and Knysna. They are all scenic and have easy grassy launch areas and landings are either the beach or grassy fields .
So to those aspiring paragliding pilots from Europe and even locally like Gauteng and Cape Town, come join the team this side and have some quality flying and teaching in some of the most beautiful training sites in the world.
Paragliding in Namibia
Paragliding Travelling and Tours in Namibia
Namibia is a vast and beautiful country with some of best scenery in the World. It is also known for its pure Wilderness areas where one can drive for a day without seeing a fellow travller. For paragliding it is a country with massive potential for the very serious big XC flights in Summer where one can foot launch or winch to the fun dune flying on the vast and arid coastline dunes. There is also the adventure flying where one just hikes up remote mountains, hills and dunes and flies off them.
The challenge when flying in remote areas is being so far away from the nearest hospitals and even for Air Casevac that one can't push the envelope too much with regards to risk. Risk must be managed properly and strictly and if one is attempting any serous flights it would be wise to have the following:
Full medical kit with backboard, doctor or nurse on standby or with crew, numbers of relevant authorities, sattelite phone, GPS and a clear reaction plan.
If flying even a short XC flight, pilots should carry a whistle and torch to aid rescuers if they get lost or land in remote areas. The other challenge that can be present is the wildlife. Lions, elephants and rhinos are roaming free and one must keep this in mind when landing or walking out in an area where these animals abide; they generally pose a small risk overall but one must not be caught unaware.
The Dunes from Walvis Bay and Swakopmund are very well known Dunes. One can fly most days in Summer or Winter with the sea breeze. There are some big mountains like Brandberg which is flyable most wind directions if you have 4x4 and are willing to hike. This mountain is a thermal monster in summer and it will be wild. I flew in an area known as Puros and it;s part inland dune with mountain and was easy ridge soaring with some thermals. We flew in late August and it was suitable for young pilots as well. The Summer inland in general can be exciting and if you are looking to just have fun adventure flying then avoid Summer and go between April and August. The days are mostly blue skies with the odd cumulus now and again but very little or no rain. There are many campsites throughout the wilderness areas and one also camp in river beds. Beware of driving or walking near Desert elephants especially in canyons as they will charge if they feel threatened.
One can find plenty of take off sites in the North of Namibia as there are many mountains that are easy to drive to and then hike up and launch. Some look inviting and grassy but can be quite rocky and rough. I climbed a few we could not get a safe area to launch from. If you can, take a ground sheet to throw over the rocks and gnarly bushes if present. In the very arid regions don't drive over pristine areas as the tracks will remain there for years to come. Remember you are a guest in a wonderful land with interesting tribes and cultures. Respect and immerse yourself in this enviroment. Don't litter, take your cigarette butts, beer cans and other rubbish with and take it back to a town to dispose of. Overall I love Namibia. It's a land of contrast and nature where one have an adventure game drive while flying now and again.
Paragliding guides and training in South Africa
South Africa is one of the best paragliding areas in the World. The most suitable area for training and finding guides is the Western Cape. The best time to travel the typical paragliding route of Cape Town, Porterville and the Garden Route is from October - April. For foreign pilots with low airtime or wanting to maximise there stay by getting sound advice on where and when to fly South Africa, there are many highly qualified guides in South Africa. Typically you will find a guide is either an Instructor or a Tandem Pilot who will take you with him when he goes to fly daily. Many foreign pilots go on Tours with schools with their schools or join one of the Tour companies. It is also possible to travel on your own and use local guides to ensure you have fun safe flying. The Garden Route is tailor made for such flying as we have over 20 very easy accessable sites and one will not get bored even if you stay here for a Month. Dolphin Paraglidng offers free basic guiding for those that stay at the Flyers Lodge in Wilderness. In summer you should fly on average around three hours a day with Top landing on most sites being quite easy. We provide weather and site reports and have weather stations to monitor changes and all the sites are accessable by sedan vehicle.
If pilots who are busy with training courses want to continue flying while travelling in South Africa and get some hours and flights in, then the Garden Route area (especially Wilderness and Sedgefield) is the best area to travel to. We complete on average a Basic course with 35 flights within 2 weeks. Overseas pilots or students will in be good hands as the standard of training is quite high and most schools have good equipment. The average cost for traning is around €800 and you can do a conversion course when you get back to your home country if needed for insurance purposes. The South African licence is recognised World Wide. The World distance record is held by a South African and we have had winners in World Champions and World Cup competitions.
South Africa is the place to travel to and fly with freedom as we have a world class sites, infrastructure and medical faciltities. We love tourists and we need you guys to support our economy so that we can create employment and enrich the many in poverty .Welcome to South Africa and if you need advice on travels contact Dolphin Paragliding.
AXIS Pluto II Review
The Axis Pluto II is an ideal wing for the beginner pilot fresh from finishing their training course. The Pluto II is a great allrounder and the performance like glide and speed is good, with very high passive factor and is very predictable and assuring in turbulence. The wing is easy to ground handle making launches simple. It turns and thermals very well and you don't get left behind when flying with wings with higher aspect ratio. What I like in particular with this glider is its longer break travel before it stalls, making it difficult to accidentally stall the wing or spin it as many beginners do when approaching a tight landing area. I have found particularly with top landing approach many students who move up from a student wing with there EN A B (DHV 1) ratings and then buy a glider with EN B C D (high end DHV 1-2) rating apply too much brake on landing and either spin the wing or stall their wings low to the ground. This is a forgiving wing and is a low end (DHV 1-2) but is far from a bus to fly and steering is medium and precise. This is the Wing for beginners and it's one that they will not grow out of too soon; if ever. I recommend this wing to any school as it is the ideal wing for the transition from Student to Basic Pilot .
Long Soaring Flights
Warning long soaring flights are the order of the day. One can soar for 5-6 hours and will need sunscreen, water and food to survive these lekker flights. Yesterday we ridge soared Kleinkrantz to Gerrickes in great conditions with guys crossing to and fro between Kleinkrantz and Beach Hotel side. This week coming looks like serious ridge soaring and I hope the Skywings pilots are going to rack up some points for the League. Summer sea breezes have arrived, Ayoba!
I was disappointed not to see the grandpa brigade out in full force but I guess they were taking their afternoon nap and resting their falsies in a glass or something.
Summer is here even though yesterday I froze my butt off. The sun remains high in the sky and is now setting over the sea for a change. Time for those sundowners of rum and coke and such like to roll out!
Have fun now.