Tandem Paragliding Frequently asked questions FAQ

Frequently asked questions:

 

Is paragliding safe?

Tandem paragliding with an experienced instructor is very safe. The equipment we use is tested and certified according to the European norm after passing stringent tests for the material and flight behavior to ensure maximum peace of mind.  Paragliding started in the 1980s as a basic form of gliding down a mountain. Today the equipment has developed to be very safe. Paragliding manufacturers have invested a lot of time and money into the technologies and designs of paragliders. It is a legal requirement for all paraglider pilots to have a CAA pilot's license to ensure a high level of expertise. Tandem paragliding instructors need to have a special tandem flight instructor license, it takes many years of experience and a very high level of skill to obtain this license.

Paraglide Africa's instructors are highly skilled paraglider pilots. Within our team of pilots who fly for us, we have accumulated more than 20 000 paragliding flights. Our pilots are experts at assessing the weather and will only fly in safe conditions and wind. Ultimately you will not fly alone as we will be attached to you all the time and easy communication is possible during the whole experience. 

You can fly! It is safe and fun for the whole family!

 

Can you paraglide with no wind?

A paraglider does not need wind to fly, it flies because of the airfoil shape it has and the weight of the pilot hanging on the lines that are connected to the wing. When there is no wind a paraglider will just glide straight down to the bottom of the mountain and the pilot will steer it to the landing area. For a paraglider to maintain flight or gain height we do need to have either wind blowing up the slope of the mountain or thermals which is warm air rising against the mountain that also feels like wind. By making use of either thermals or wind a paraglider can maintain flight.

When booking your tandem flight, we will recommend the best time of the day to fly, a time that we know there will be wind or thermals. We want to fly you as long as possible and ensure the optimal experience.

 

 

What happens when the wind just suddenly stops or changes?

As mentioned above no wind is still a perfect scenario as it allows for better thermals and sometimes even better thermic flights.  As far as variable weather during flight, it does not affect our flight that much as we will maintain constant airspeed regardless of the meteorological wind experienced.  There are however some cases where inclement weather could affect the pilot's decision about aborting his takeoff.  Typically, this includes gust fronts, wind squalls, increasing wind speed, or a change in wind direction. All of these have visible signs to experienced pilots and can be avoided altogether

In the worst case in no wind conditions, we will simply glide steadily until we land safely. 

 

How fast is a paraglider?

Paragliders have an average trim speed of 38kph, it can be accelerated with a speed system with an additional 10 to 15kph or reduced by pulling the brakes to around 15kph before flight stops.

Typical a paraglider's speed can be controlled by making use of the brake toggles that the pilots use to steer, by slowing down the side of the pulling action.

 

Is paragliding more dangerous than skydiving?

Paragliding is statistically speaking safer than driving!  Skydiving also has more speed associated with it than paragliding which entails more energy.  Paragliding relies on the equipment to function well before departure is even possible and any faults would prevent taking off.  With Skydiving, meticulous pacing of the equipment is crucial and relies on a successful deployment in midair.  Any faults in the packing could be catastrophic and could force an emergency chute to be deployed. 

In Paragliding having an emergency chute is mandatory but seldomly needs to be used. 

Differences also make the 2 sports different: In Paragliding the fabric is airtight and maintains its shape with an internal pressure that ensures a good airfoil to create a flying wing that enables gliding flights as with Skydiving the fabric is porous to deal with the shock loading of the opening and then the air passes through as you descent to the landing zone.

Skydiving also has a short plane ride up to the top, often in small and maintained aircraft which increases its risks drastically.

Ultimately it is not the activity that separates the safety levels between the sports, but the pilot in command, equipment, and knowledge.

 

Can you paraglide alone?

Yes, you can!  In South Africa, there are about 600 pilots of which only about 50 are tandem instructors, which means most pilots do fly on their own. You can also fly on your own by doing a paragliding course with a registered paragliding school.

Paraglide Africa is registered as a school with the South African Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association (SAHPA), we offer paragliding training courses and no experience is needed before attending a course.

Our courses range anything from a one-day discovery paragliding course, our basic pilot course of 7-11 days, and our competent pilot, skilled pilot, and advanced pilot courses can last anything up to 4 weeks. During a course, you will learn all the theory and practical skills necessary to fly on your own and to obtain your paragliding license. During the basic course, you will do a minimum of 35 flights on your own, while under radio instruction from an instructor as well as a syllabus.

We also offer a Discover Paragliding course where you can just try out paragliding and do 2 to 4 flights on your own.

 

How High can a paraglider go?

Paragliders can fly up to altitudes of over 6000m above sea level, the world record for the highest paragliding flight is 8157m by French adventurer Antoine Girard in Pakistan.

 

How far can a paraglider fly?

The world record for the longest paragliding flight was set by Marcelo Prieto, Rafael Saladini, and Rafael de Moraes Barros in Brazil on 10 October 2019, with a massive flight of 588.27km.

The world distance record was held for many years by South Africa pilot Nevil Hulett, in 2008 he flew 507km from Copperton towards Lesotho.

The Garden Route distance record is held by Paraglide Africa's Chief Flight Instructor, Theunis de Bruin, when he flew 176km from Wilderness to Heidelberg on 30 October 2020.

 

What is the weight limit for tandem paragliding?

The paragliding equipment has to be operated within the manufacturer's specification, most commonly the passenger's weight can range from 20 to 125kg, depending on your pilot weight and flying conditions. Also, the minimum age to partake in these flights range from 3 years old and above, with parental consent. Kids however are must less fearful than adults and love the experience, please look through our Instagram on @Paraglideafrica to see videos of children flying with us regularly.

 

Where can I paraglide?

Paraglide Africa offers tandem paraglide flights in the Garden Route and Cape Town. We fly in Wilderness from the Map of Africa, Wilderness beach hotel, Paradise Ridge, Serpentine, and Kleinkrantz. And from Sedgefield, we fly from Cloud 9 next to the Swartvlei lagoon.

In Cape Town, we fly from Signal Hill, Lions Head, Sir Lowrie's pass, Du Toit's Kloof pass, Franschoek pass, and Paarl rock.

 

Can I go with someone?

All tandem flights are conducted with one of our experienced pilots at the back doing all of the hard and technical work, allowing you to have a front-row seat to the best adventure ever. Sit back, relax enjoy the view!

 

I am afraid of heights

The fear of heights is usually absent while paragliding as most people refer to vertigo.  Vertigo is the fear one experience while standing on the edge of a tall building. The fear of height and Vertigo are not the same and most passengers enjoy the flight despite having immense vertigo. (Even some pilots suffer from vertigo)

 

When is the best time to book my tandem experience?

Don't leave paragliding till your last day as it is weather dependent. There is always the risk that we might have to postponed due to safety reasons and you miss the opportunity of a lifetime, thus book it early in your holiday.

Paragliding is a weather dependent activity and even looking at the best weather forecast we can still get it wrong as many factors are influencing the optimal flying environment. By making a booking we will help you to schedule the best time based on previous experience as well as your available timeframe to complete the activity.

Generally speaking between 10 am and 2 pm the thermic winds allow us to have the optimal conditions for height gain although many other possibilities exist and some of the most magical flights can be done anywhere from sunrise to sunset.

Can I pay after my flight?

You could consider it an insurance policy and only pay upon safe return. You can pay your experience with cash on the day, EFT/credit card, or redeem a voucher.

To secure your booking simply complete the checkout procedure online and select COD(Cash on delivery) as your payment method to complete your booking. This also allows us to schedule you into our schedule and keep you update with any weather changes.

I didn't purchase the photos and videos option with my flight but I want to have it.

Our pilots will always record your inflight photo- and videography and even when you have not purchased it beforehand it will be available for purchase after the flight. Besides, it's not every day you get to do one of the coolest activities on the planet and get to share those memorable moments with the world. A picture is worth 1000 words and you have videos!

 

Our group consists of 4 or more members can we get a discount?

We love groups, besides experiences need to be shared. If you have 4 or more people please get in touch with us to arrange a better rate for you.

 

I am a tour operator and my tour want to book paragliding

Tour guides and operators please contact us to make a booking for your group.  The earlier the better as we can then better accommodate you by ensuring we have enough recourses to ensure every member of your tour gets the best flight possible.

 

I don't want to go very high or don't want to perform any radical tricks in the air, is this possible?

Height and tricks are not for everyone – Simply tell your pilot about your expectations and he will happily guide you to a comfortable experience to suit your needs.  You can also tell him in the air about any uncomfortable situations as you would be able to easily talk with each other.

 

Can I keep my glasses/ sunglasses on during the flight?

Absolutely- Our pilots have been flying for over 20 years and have never lost a pair whilst flying, besides they make you look cool and keep the wind out of your eyes thus preventing them to tear up.

 

I have a medical condition; can I still fly?

We fly with many abnormalities - medical conditions ranging from paraplegics, double bypass heart patients, spinal fusions, hearing and vision impaired, downs syndrome, and many more.  Simply tell your pilot before flying about your medical condition or situation and we will happily accommodate you!  In some cases, we might have to wait a fraction longer for a slightly more ideal wind to assist us, but we love sharing the sky with everyone.

 

What do I need to do?

Simply walk a few steps on takeoff and enjoy the flight- the more you enjoy it the more your pilot will share with you! And on the landing just be ready for a few steps of walking again. Very little physical input is required as your pilot will be doing most of the hard work.

 

Where do I sit?

Front row seat- best enjoyed with unhindered 360-degree views from above.  Don't worry your pilot is right behind you if you need to ask anything.

 

I enjoyed my experience and now want to learn how to fly.

Tandem flying is a great first step towards learning to fly- Simply ask your instructor for more info about the next course dates, or get in touch online.

The great news is that your tandem price will be deducted from your course fee.

 

How can I leave a review?

You can find all our electronic review links at the bottom of our homepage under the "Enjoyed the experience - tell us" link. Simply choose your preferred channel or even copy your review to all of them.

Alternatively, write and share something cool about your experience on social media by tagging us @Paraglideafrica

A review also helps us to give you a better experience in the future, as well as helping others to come and share it with us as well.  

 

I want to book a special request

Special occasions call for special celebrations- we have many special flight packages available ranging from marriage proposals, unique flight packages for that special person, or even some extraordinary once-off events! Simply get in touch to discuss what is possible.

 

The weather was bad on my booking day, can I reschedule?

We will be in contact regardless and the office would happily assist you to schedule you in for the next good flying day.

 

I don't understand English- Puedo volar?

Laufen, Pǎobù(跑步), corriendo - language barrier cannot stop the excitement, very simple gestures are all that is need to convey a few basic briefing instructions- the rest is very self-explanatory.

 

Where is our meeting point?

Your meeting point will be discussed with the booking office the night before your flight, just after 7 pm (as we then get the latest weather reports). The office will also advise on what to expect for the day.

 

Covid protocol

We follow the regulations laid out by the world health organization and ask you to please adhere to them by signing into our electronic COVID screening before arrival. During the flight however, you are allowed to remove your mask if you choose to.

 

What is the cost of a paragliding flight in tandem?

The cost for a flight in the garden route is R850 (10-20 minutes) and R1100 (7 -15 minutes).  There is also an optional extra cost of R250 for inflight video and photography.

If your flight is shorter than expected due to safety reasons then we will issue you with a discount voucher on your next flight with us.

 

Where can I stay on the Garden Route?

There are multiple options around.  If you are staying for the duration of your paragliding course, please get in touch as we can assist you with finding the best option for you.

 

Our partnered accommodation:

Mountain Magic(https://www.hoekwilaccommodation.co.za/)

 

Airbnb: multiple options.

 

Hotels:

The Views hotel(https://www.viewshotel.co.za/),

Wilderness Hotel(https://thewildernesshotel.co.za/),

Fairy knowe hotel(http://www.fairyknowehotel.co.za/)

 

Backpackers:

Fairy Knowe backpackers(https://www.wildernessbackpackers.com/),

Beach house backpackers(https://www.wildernessbeachhouse.com),

Wildfarm backpackers(https://wildfarmbackpackers.co.za/),

PiliPili beach restaurant and accommodation(https://www.pilipili.co.za/)

 

National parks:

Ebb and flow rest camp,

Island lake holiday resort,

Swartvlei campgrounds

 

Other options include:

Flyers lodge wilderness(https://flyerslodgewilderness.co.za/), Starry nights glamping, Wilderness Dunes share block, Pirates creek, Hilltop getaway and many more.

 

 

Do you have any promotions?

Besides our already great group discount for 4 or more people on tandem flying, we also have a fantastic combination package for learning to fly.  Upon purchase of your very own paragliding equipment, you will receive a free training course to the value of R18500 where we will teach you how to fly and become comfortable on your equipment from Flow paragliders.

 

Other reputable tandem companies in the garden route?

If for any reason we are unable to accommodate your flying request due to our schedule constraints, feel welcome to consider Let fly Paragliding, Dolphin Paragliding or Cloudbase Paragliding

 

Other reputable tandem companies in Cape Town?

If for any reason we are unable to accommodate your flying request due to our schedule constraints, feel welcome to consider High 5 Paragliding, Parapax and Fly Cape town