FLYING IN THE
a sneak preview extracted from the book
The Fresh Air Site Guide
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|Map of Africa||SE||Basic||120|
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FLYING IN THE WEST
For a good overview read PARAGLIDE SOUTH AFRICA
Map of Africa :: Garden Route BASIC
DESCRIPTION : A mellow site with a fantastic view, overlooking
the tranquil Indian Ocean and the holiday town of Wilderness. A favourite site
for flying schools.
WIND : S - SE GPS : S33º59΄31˝ E22º33΄36˝
LAUNCH : a gently-sloped grass field which becomes steeper - perfect!
ALTITUDE : 120m above the waves, airspace ceiling at 450m, George Airport to NW of the site who must be notified.
LANDING : Anywhere on the beach, well clear of sunbathers and beach-goers. In busy season, please land beyond (to the east) of the rocks which border the first section of beach, as that is the most popular area for bathers.
CAUTIONS : Avoid the sea at all costs, as the surf is powerful. If there are catspaws (streaks of wind) showing on the sea, beware of a dramatic increase in wind, which can blow you over the back (go and have a look over the back, you won't ever want to fly in strong wind!) Once the sea has white-caps on it, it is usually too strong for safe soaring. If you soar too far to the right, you'll end up in the sea. When the wind is SW, beware! for it curls up to takeoff, and appears flyable, varying between W and S at the top. As soon as you fly out, you encounter heavy sink and turbulence, which has put many pilots into the trees. When the wind is very E, it is similarly risky to launch. Beware of powerlines to the West.
DIRECTIONS : Take the N2 to Wilderness (just beyond George on the Cape south coast). As you enter town, turn left past the garage, and drive around the Wilderness Karos Hotel, turning left at the intersection beyond it. Bear right on this road which becomes very narrow and clim bs steeply, until it crests the hill and passes a little shop. "Map of Africa" signposts the turn to the left. Follow this road until you come to the signposted flying site.
If you're stuck without a retrieve vehicle, there is a path which leads through the forest, beginning from the carpark area.
RECORD : Tom Edwards, to Buffalo Bay
CARETAKER : Jan Minnaar (lessee). No site fees, sponsored by Cloudbase Paragliding School.
PERMISSION : Contact the local club and the George ATC (044 876 9210) before flying. Please obey the rules posted on the site board, as the land-owner is sensitive.
Paradise Ridge :: Garden Route BASIC
DESCRIPTION : Soaring heaven. 7km of virgin
vegetation draped over a continuously perfect ridge, with the
sparkling sea at its feet, and the sky overhead.
WIND : S - SW GPS : S34º00΄03˝ E22º40΄03˝
LAUNCH : Cliff-launch, with clean and level layout area behind the crest. Walk 500m from the carpark in a semi-circle east, then south until you are on the cliffs.
ALTITUDE : 100m, airspace 600m.
LANDING : If the wind drops off and you are soaring below the level of the top of the ridge, turn back and try to land on the beach below the launch site, where there is a path up to the top. Or head for the Kleinkrantz dunes, because a 7km walk in the soft sand can be murderous. Alternatively, land near the east end of the ridge and walk around to Swartvlei, where there is a carpark and easy retrieve.
CAUTIONS : If the wind is WSW, turn back towards Wilderness regularly to check your penetration as you progress east along the ridge. The venturi at the eastern end can become strong, pulling you around into the treacherous lee-side bay at Swartvlei. When launching, beware of the sudden impact of the wind - your pullup begins in wind-shadow. Step towards your wing, or use an assistant. No smoking.
DIRECTIONS : Fly across from the dunes at Kleinkrantz. Alternatively, pass the turning to Kleinkrantz on the N2, and continue for exactly 4km. You'll pass the Kleinkrantz Sand Quarry on your left. An unmarked turning at the 4km point to the right accesses a compacted sand road, which will soon pass a deep sand quarry. The signs will eventually guide you to the parking area. Do not attempt the 4x4 routes without one - the sand is very soft, and you want to fly, not dig. This is private land so contact the locals first for current status
CARETAKER : Skywings PERMISSION : Bruce Watney. You may be charged an access fee.
Graaff-Reinet :: Eastern Cape SPORT (Basic under guidance)
DESCRIPTION : A big site with butt-kicking
thermals in the Karoo semi-desert.
WIND : SW - NE GPS : S32º15΄00˝ E24º30΄00˝
LAUNCH : Rocks and scrub, with shade-cloth on the main S site (above the carpark, to the righ t of the top of the stairs). The N launch amongst the scrub below the carpark, E launch beyond the Toposcope.
ALTITUDE : 700m high (1400m asl), no airspace ceiling.
LANDING : The quarry on the north side of Spandau-kop (south-west edge of town) provides a good clear area with a windsock. Any of the school fields in town are fine if you have the height to reach them, though avoid sports practices.
CAUTIONS : Thermic activity can become severe on sunny days, even in winter. SW winds, which wrap around to b ecome a false S on launch, can be very turbulent if you attempt to round the Valley of Desolation peaks to the right. Spandaukop (in front of the S launchsite) produces rotor if the wind is strong. Strong wind launches are risky - it's easy to be blown over the spine into the pit.
DIRECTIONS : Take the N1 to Beaufort West, turn right to Aberdeen / Graaff-Reinet. When you arrive in town, visit Graham Botha at Botha's Garage on the east side of town, then drive out of the north-western side of town, past t he campsite to the site. After 3km turn left into the Nature Reserve, and bear left to follow the road up to the 'Toposcope' viewsite which faces east.
RECORD : Tristam Burrell, 132km, Jan 2000. CARETAKER : Graham Botha (0491) 23716 PERMISSION : permit for Nature Reserve obtainable from caretakers.
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