Signal Hill

Signal Hill (or previously known as Lion’s Rump), is a landmark flat-topped hill located in Cape Town, next to Lion’s Head and Table Mountain. Together with Lion’s Head, Signal Hill resembles a lion sphinx. It forms a smoothly-sloped ridge against the north-westerly wind. The lift band is usually wide but not too high, peppered with the odd thermal.

Signal Hill is a Sport-rated (IPPI 5) site, the ideal Sunday afternoon flying site for experienced pilots. It is not suitable for low-airtime pilots.


Site Rules

The Glen Paragliding Club has refined and published the Site Rules for Signal Hill in September 2021 which are summarised here. These site rules apply to all pilots:

  • Only Sport-rated (IPPI 5) or higher may launch from Signal Hill Carpark Launch, The Bench or Beacon. Foreign pilots may only fly under supervision from a Sport-rated pilot or Instructor.
  • All pilots must be in possession of a SAN Parks Activity Permit.
  • All pilots must be SAHPA members and be in possession of a valid SACAA National Pilot Licence. Unlicensed pilots will be reported to SAHPA and SACAA.
  • The maximum wind speed on take-off and landing will be 35km/h (for paraglider pilots)
  • All first-time pilots must report to an instructor at Signal Hill for a site briefing.
  • Tandem Flight Instructors (TFI) are forbidden from top-landing at Signal Hill.
  • Recreational Solo Pilots are permitted to top-land, provided it is safe to do so, and only on the designated area.
  • No novice training is permitted.
  • No Paragliding Basic-license pilots are permitted, not even under supervision.
  • Slope landings are forbidden and must be reported to SAHPA as an incident (Report an Incident)
  • No smoking on the launch area.
  • Pilots must get ready and clip in before walking onto the mat launch area.

NB: This site is situated in a National Park, and it is a privilege for pilots to access this facility. Should the site be abused, it may be temporarily or permanently closed without prior notice.

Tandem Flight Operations

All Tandem Flight Instructor (TFI) pilots must be:

The 3-Level Method

The TFI pilots use a coded method to express concerns about the impact of deteriorating conditions on flying operations. This is a stand-up meeting that is invoked when a registered TFI pilot calls for a vote.

All TFI pilots present will be asked to attend the meeting and vote based on the 3-levels. The majority vote will stand, and the decision will be communicated to all relevant TFI Whatsapp groups. If conditions change, another vote may be held to challenge the previous vote. Should pilots vote on a Level 3, the launch site will close immediately.

Any pilot who disregards the democratic vote may face suspension from flying from Signal Hill.

The three levels are as follows:

  1. No adverse conditions
  2. Some adverse conditions, pilots to show caution
  3. Dangerous conditions, launch, and landing closed

The Glen Paragliding Club committee has the right to close any site it is the custodian of if it deems it to be unsafe to launch or land from.

Every TFI pilot operating from any Glen Paragliding Club site must be a fully paid-up member of the Glen Paragliding Club. Failure to pay yearly fees could lead to suspension of flying privileges from any Glen Paragliding site till the fees are paid in full.


  • GPS: +- S33o55.07’ E18o24.15’


  • North West (The Carpark)
  • Light West (The Carpark)
  • Strong West (The Bench)
  • Expect strong wind-gradient during North-West conditions; the wind also increases rapidly. If you get caught out in strong wind, you have run out of options, and you will get blown over.
  • Avoid flying in hot, gusty Berg wind (North-East) conditions or soon after the wind has swung from North-East to North-West (be wary of gusty North-West winds). The Berg air does not dissipate immediately.

Weather Resources

The Carpark Launch Site

The Carpark is suited for NW winds, drive all the way to the end of the road, and park there in the public parking. The launch is from the green mat just to the south of the carpark.

Signal Hill is also used extensively by a group of Tandem Flight Instructors who will be around the carpark on any flyable day.

The Bench Launch Site

The Bench launch is 500m South along the ridge, and is more suited to Westerly winds. Go up from the tar road via a little gravel turnoff. The layout area is behind the scenic bench.

Crossing to Lions Head

When the wind is strong (PG: 20kph+, HG: 30 – 40kph), NW to WNW on launch with a non-existent or high cloud base above the Apostles, it is a good day. Crossing to Lion’s Head requires 150m above take-off at the Kramat in a NW in order to reach the biggest bald rock patches above the trees.

These rocks require a little patience in order to get up in light conditions, but work most of the time. You should be able to climb easily above the top of Lion’s Head (100m). The Apostles can be tricky when flying in unstable, moist Westerlies.

The flying can be great but requires dodging big patches or rain & cloudsuck. Avoid the strong venturi effect in the gullies between each Apostle. If you don’t get up don’t bother trying to come back, rather just go to Clifton Beach or land on the fields at The Glen.

Landing at Seapoint Promenade

Fly out over Sea Point and land on the grassy promenade in front of the Winchester Mansions hotel. If you are caught in a Southerly, you may land on the fields near the stadium, however, be aware of strong rotor.

Headed directly towards the landing area: the strip of grass on the promenade between buildings and sea. Take note of the lack of safe landing areas within the built-up area.

Cautionary Advice

  • Signal Hill is part of the Table Mountain National Park and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It consists of the last surviving patch of critically-endangered Peninsula Shale Renosterveld vegetation. Please do not damage or destroy vegetation.
  • Many experienced pilots have been caught out at this site. It looks deceptively safe, do not be fooled into flying here if you do not have the required experience.
  • Slope landing is more difficult the lower you get. The best place is on the North spur, where your groundspeed will be less. Gliding out too low or against an unexpected headwind to land at the Sea Point Promenade can mean a forced landing amongst buildings.
  • There is sometimes a strong, turbulent South blowing below 100m, creating shear turbulence. Wind from the left at the Bench (SW) will be very turbulent and not much fun.
  • Hang-gliders take advantage of Signal Hill when the wind is really strong, soaring high in the laminar flow. Reconsider your decision to fly PG if you see hang-gliders flying.


SAN Parks Activity Permit

All pilots flying in Table Mountain National Park must hold an active TMNP My Activity Permit (Level 2 – Hang-gliding and Paragliding). The TMNP My Activity Permit must be renewed annually.

Activity permits are available for purchase from the South African National Parks offices in Tokai. Day permits are available from the Tandem Flight Instructors at the Signal Hill launch when present and time permitting.

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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.