Given a few days bumming around in Cape Town, South Africa, there were several different tours of the Cape on the itinerary. One of the trips was a bit more special than the others, mostly because it was run at 2500 feet above ground in a helicopter. Yes, the tour was a bit pricey (~$320/person for the hour-long flight), but it was an awesome way to see the area and a ton of fun.
We started off at the Helicopters Cape Town offices adjacent to the V&A Waterfront. This is the main tourist area downtown and offers up the infrastructure to support the tour operations. The crew working there were friendly and fun and quite accommodating of our rather ridiculous behavior. After watching the safety video and signing away our lives on the waiver form it was time to head out to the helicopter and go for a ride.
Taking off over the harbor we flew down the western coast of the Cape, past Table Mountain, Lion’s Head and the other peaks dotting the coast line.
As we approached Hout Bay we crossed over a bit of land and then made our run at the tip of the continent. The beaches and coast line in this area is mostly national park lands and rather well managed. This leaves them in a pristine state. Gaining access on the ground to many of them is quite difficult but they are stunning from above.
We also passed by a beach with some folks riding horses along the shore and a beach with a shipwreck right in the middle. Apparently the captain thought that he was pulling into False Bay and missed. The outline of the wreck in the sand is pretty cool.
The next stop on the tour was the Cape itself. The chunk of rock jutting out into the ocean is rather impressive. Seeing it from above is awesome.
After circling around there for a bit we headed up the eastern side of the Cape back towards town. Once again, amazing views along the coast line. The inside of the Cape is more populated and that created a rather different set of scenery as we flew along. At one point we crossed near a military base. Apparently they are known for running training missions from time to time firing shells out into the sea. Or our pilot was just having some fun with us. Either way, an entertaining story.
Finally, we made our approach to land. Being the aerogeeks that we are, and because we were given the option, we chose to have the flight end at our hotel rather than back up at the waterfront. Mostly because it is cool but also to save the 30 minute drive back after the flight. Needless to say, the folks playing golf on the course adjacent to where we landed were a bit annoyed. But it sure was nice landing about 100 feet from the room.
Overall, a fantastic experience and one that I’m quite happy I let myself be talked into.
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