Original content sourced from Greg Hamerton’s ‘Fresh Air Site Guide’, 5th edition, 2006.
Hermanus is a thermic and soaring site, with a long wave-like ridge which offers consistent flying conditions for both Hang Glider and Paraglider pilots. Ridge-lift with a sprinkling of thermals makes for some interesting flying. It is a relaxing place to fly, although sometimes the thermals and wind-shear can be quite strong. In spring-time you may see the whales in the Hermanus bay.
Hang Gliding: smooth glides out to sea interspersed with regular thermals, beach landings and elevator launches.
S-SE, (SW only beyond mast, dodgy).
The launch is a clearly defined area on the right of the scenic road with a windsock, and benches for spectators. Please confine your launch to the area demarcated by the yellow rocks (this private land forms part of Meerlust Estate). Do not launch west of the radio tower.
235m ASL, with airspace ceiling at 2300m.
The landing is out and to the right, on the left-most of the school fields, avoiding the cricket pitches (strip of hard grass in the centre of the field). The rugby fields closer to the ridge are okay, though beware of wind-shear as you approach the protected lower layers. An emergency landing field is slightly to the left below takeoff, a long, open plot between the houses. It is possible to slope-land at the base of the ridge, but be careful of the low power-lines. The field beside the graveyard is easy to negotiate. Top land behind the fence, behind the launch-site.
Please do not land anywhere in front of the road, as this sensitive area is easily eroded and should have as little traffic as possible on it.
Please do not land on the golf-course.
HG landing at the school is often difficult. Top land or land on Grotto Beach.
- Beware of the E wind, it wraps deceptively up the takeoff site, but is in fact side-on to the ridge and extremely turbulent if moderate to strong. You will find strange ‘holes’ in the lift, caused by rotor from the big mountains to the east.
- Beware of SW, which is very turbulent as well.
- At the end of the first section of ridge to the left of takeoff is a white trig beacon. This point produces some heavy turbulence if you fly above and behind it – be careful, stay clear and in front.
- When top-landing, be careful of crossing the ridge low, as the cliff edge produces rotor turbulence near the front of the ridge to the left of takeoff.
- Flying to the right of takeoff and crossing the first big gap in the ridge, high-tension powerlines run down the mountain. They are difficult to see in the afternoon.
- HG: if there is a strong wind on the sea (white horses), don’t top land – go for the beach, or the school.
Directions to Hermanus
Take the N2 towards Caledon. After Sir Lowry’s Pass, and Houwhoek, you will descend the Houwhoek pass and see the rolling hills before Caledon. Turn left off the N2 on the R43, signposted Hermanus. After some distance you enter the outskirts of Hermanus, an area of cheap labourer’s cottages on the left behind a row of trees. Turn left at the white pillars which are marked ‘Rotary Way, scenic route’. Follow this tar road until it becomes gravel, and continue for about 1km. You will see a signboard beside the road saying ‘Paragliding’ and an obvious launch site overlooking the town of Hermanus and the sea.
- PG: 50km E (Abraham Meyer), 25km N to Caledon (Phil Bristow)
- HG: 100km route – Stanford to the East, Hawston to West, back to the launch site.
- Meerlust Estate (Owner)
- The Glen Paragliding Club (Safety)