Surrounded by spectacular mountains, this is a sensitive site with very few safe landing options. While this is a basic-rated site, pilots must have good spot-landing skills to avoid confrontation with land-owners.


Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve

Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve is not affiliated with SANParks or the WildCard Programme. Permits must be purchased at:

  • The entrance to the reserve 8am-5pm (cash or Masterpass app, no card facilities)
  • Online at WEBTICKETS 

Cost of Permits

  • R50 per person (daily)
  • R300 per person (annual)

Launch Site

Wind: NW-W-SW

The launch site is located inside the Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve. Using the launch area requires a permit that must be purchased at the entrance of the reserve, at the top of Franschhoek pass. An annual pass is also available for frequent visitors.

The launch is a short 150m hike along a well-maintained trail. Please remain on the demarcated trails when accessing the launch area. Site visitors are expected to adhere to the nature reserve’s rules and co-operate with Mont-Rochelle Reserve staff when using the site.

The launch area is directly to the east of a memorial consisting of a pile of stones, a plaque and a wind streamer. The area is covered in fynbos and care should be taken not to damage flora growing around the launch area. The area is only big enough for one glider to be fully laid out for launch. The launch is uneven and rocky and care should be taken to familiarise oneself with the obstacles and terrain before attempting to launch.

Top landing is possible but requires landing in the existing road or trails or on the upper (Eastern) end of the launch area. Landing in the undisturbed fynbos must be avoided.

The launch area is in a venturi and can get strong on warm sunny days towards mid-day. There are some large rocky outcrops south-west of the launch that cause turbulence in stronger conditions.

The launch surface is made up of vegetation and care should be taken to check lines before launching.

Landing Option 1: Fynbos landing zone

GPS Location: 33°54’26.9″S 19°07’52.5″E

The Fynbos landing zone is on the northern side of the street that leads up to the Fransche Hoek Agricultural Estate in an empty plot with some fynbos vegetation with several footpaths. The plot is due for development and might not be usable in the near future. The landing zone starts from the estate boundary wall on the eastern side and continues at a gentle slope approximately 220m to big blue gum trees and tennis courts on the western end. The area is approximately 50m wide at the narrowest end. It is bordered by residential buildings on either side and a few street lamps on the south western side of the street bordering the area.

An early decision to comfortably make the glide to the landing area is necessary to prevent emergency landings. The property bordering the area to the east and north-east, known as the Fransche Hoek Agricultural Estate, is a sensitive area described below.

The built-up area west of the Fynbos landing zone is a regular trigger for thermals. This combined with the high likelihood of wind shadow conditions should be prepared for when setting up for landing.

Landing Option 2: Chamonix Pasture landing zone

GPS Location: 33°54’20.1″S 19°07’59.0″E

Chamonix Pasture landing zone is on the southern boundary of Chamonix Estate approximately 200m north of the Fynbos landing zone. The area is approximately 300m long in a NNE to SSW orientation and 100m wide. The area is surrounded by tall trees on all four sides with a wooden fence running across the Western end of the field. There are two irrigation pipes sticking out the ground in the landing area.

The landing zone can only be accessed through the Chamonix Estate entrance on Uitkyk Street. Prior arrangements must be made with Chamonix Estate security for vehicles to access the estate. It is recommended that pilots walk the 1km in a north-westerly direction to the entrance gate for recovery.

An early decision to comfortably make the glide to the landing area is necessary to prevent emergency landings. The property bordering the area to the east and north-east, known as the Fransche Hoek Agricultural Estate, is a sensitive area, as described below.

Wind shadow and Katabatic wind often occurs in the landing field. A windsock is highly recommended.

Fransche Hoek Agricultural Estate

Residents of the Fransche Hoek Agricultural Estate have requested that pilots refrain from low-level flying over houses within the estate, and landing in the estate is expressly forbidden.

Residents have complained to the SACAA, who may decide to shut down this site if complaints persist.

Pilots are also requested to refrain from disturbing the peace by shouting or screaming.


See also

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IMPORTANT: The SAHPA Site Guide is not a substitute for a detailed site briefing from an instructor or experienced local pilot. While every effort is made to ensure the accuracy and relevance of information contained herein, pilots are reminded that the SAHPA Site Guide is based on a volunteer effort to make information freely available to the community and thus information may be out of date. Pilots are still required to use their discretion and common sense, and validate the information with each club.

Many of the sites described in the SAHPA Site Guide are privately owned. The landowner reserves the right to limit access to the site.