The most complex of the Peninsula sites, Table Mountain, is made difficult by tricky cliff launches and swirling unpredictable wind. While this site has a Sport-rating, it introduces a number of additional risks to challenge even the most experienced pilot.
This is a difficult, treacherous and ecologically-sensitive site which requires expert local knowledge and skills. Guidance by an experienced local pilot is mandatory. Not recommended for casual flights.
- Sport Licence (IPPI 5) with a minimum of 200 flights + comprehensive briefing by local instructor
- SANParks Activity Permit
- All foreign pilots wishing to fly Table Mountain must be in possession of a SAHPA Foreign Membership, and MUST contact the Glen Paragliding Club for expert guidance.
- Excellent ground-handling skills and good judgment are critical.
Table Mountain National Park
Table Mountain is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is home to many critically-endangered species of plants and trees and is thus considered to be the most sensitive paragliding site in South Africa. Please do not trample on or destroy plants. The area is well-patrolled by humorless park rangers, and you will be asked to present your pilot license and SANParks Activity Permit. Please comply with their request without being argumentative. If you become confrontational, you may find yourself arrested, with gear confiscated.
The Glen Paragliding Club has a working relationship with SANParks to monitor site usage, ecological deterioration, safety, and compliance. Any pilot concerns should be directed to the Site Liaison Officer at the Glen Paragliding Club.
- Lower Cable Station
- GPS 33°57’43.0″S 18°24’42.0″E (The Runway on the North face)
- GPS 33°57’36.5″S 18°24’21.3″E (The Gully on the West face)
Directions: Drive up Kloof Nek road. Follow the signs to the Cable Car.
Table Mountain offers several opportunities to launch, depending on the wind direction. There is often a high wind gradient, and while the weather may seem mild at sea level, Table Mountain will have strong venturi and wild, unpredictable rotor.
Lion’s Head offers safer launch options than Table Mountain in a South-West wind. You will then be able to cross over to Table Mountain and onto the Apostles without the risks of a turbulent, strong-wind launch on Table Mountain.
Signal Hill offers safer launch options in a West, or North-West wind, and you will occasionally be able to cross to Lion’s Head and Table Mountain. Signal Hill also provides a lee-side wind shadow when the wind is mild South-East (up to 15km/h).
- iWeathar Station on Lion’s Head (live)
- Glen Club Landing Field Wind Talker: Weather Underground (live)
- Click the gear icon top right to switch to centigrade.
- Glen Club Landing Field Wind Talker: PWS Weather (live)
- Click the Metric button on the second row to switch from Imperial.
- For wind gust data on desktop scroll to the Observation History section.
- On mobile switch from Latest Observations to Historical > Hourly > Tabular.
(View video demonstration).
- iWeathar Station on Signal Hill (live)
- iWeathar Station 2 on Signal Hill (live)
- The Runway launch is on the North face, looking out over the City of Cape Town, 200m South-East of Platteklip Gorge. The layout area is near the edge of the cliff, on flat rock and low vegetation. As you launch over the cliff, be prepared for the violent lip-rotor and turbulence that causes sudden sink or collapses. It is essential that you are committed, leaning forward in the harness and ready to run, as you cannot afford to go off the edge with a partially-collapsed glider.
- The Gully launch faces South-South-West and is behind the cable car station. You have to walk South, away from the station, along the top of the mountain, across the Platteklip Gorge, and for another 10 minutes to reach the launch site. Lay your wing out over the low bushes and rocks, taking care not to damage any vegetation. Take-off is difficult, as you need to skip across uneven rocks. Be prepared for violent lip-rotor and turbulence in the last few meters before you step off the cliff. Fly out of the gully and onto the main rock face, which forms the Twelve Apostles.
- Maclear’s Beacon launch faces East-South-East, located 100m East of Maclear’s Beacon, just below a rocky ridge. It is a 30-minute hike from the Upper Cablecar Station in an Easterly direction. There is no clearly demarcated launch area; you will need to lay your wing out over the bushes gently. Please take care not to damage any vegetation. This is a tricky site to launch from, as the airspace in this vicinity is prone to violent rotor.
- The Glen Country Club in Camps Bay
- The rugby field in Upper Orange Road
- Camps Bay Beach
- Sea Point Promenade
- The University of Cape Town sports fields
- Be prepared for extreme weather changes. Cape Town is known for having four seasons in one day, and this is especially true on Table Mountain, where a hot summer day can suddenly be interrupted by a freezing wind.
- It is seldom suitable to launch on Table Mountain; it is much easier to launch at Lion’s Head and cross over to Table Mountain to soar the Apostles.
- Table Mountain launch sites are technical and extremely unforgiving. Pilots must have excellent forward- and reverse-launching skills.
- Local micro-met knowledge is invaluable, please contact The Glen Paragliding Club for assistance by local pilots who have experience in interpreting and predicting micro-meteorological conditions.
- Instructional tandem flights are forbidden.
- The consequence of a bad decision at this launch can be catastrophic and will require multi-disciplinary rescue teams to be deployed, often under very difficult conditions. A typical rescue take 12-18 hours to complete, and will be followed up with an investigation by SACAA Accident and Incident Investigation Department (AIID)
- Very few HG pilots have flown here due to the radical cliff launch.
- Table Mountain is also popular with speedflyers and BASE jumpers; however, please take note of SACAA General Notice GAD#001-2021, which requires speedwing pilots to have a paragliding license and be members of SAHPA.
- Do not hike or fly alone. Several people disappear on Table Mountain every year.
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.
- SANParks (Owner)