Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Top-5 Paragliding sites in Cape Town

A pale, azure-painted sky stretches endlessly overhead. The dominant mountain lies below, dotted by patches of green. There’s a large fabric canopy bent from the pressure of enduring suspension lines. And in the middle, on a faithful harness, is you – suspended hundreds of metres above the most scenic of landscapes with nothing but the sound of your breath and the obliging air currents: Paragliding Paradise.

Any Cape adventure specialist will know that when it comes to taking to the skies, there is simply no better destination than Cape Town. Now, let’s take a closer look at its Top 5 Paragliding Sites.

5. At number five, we have Sir Lowry’s Pass, the infamous N2 mountain pass, spanning the great Hottentots-Holland mountain range. Its 420 metre summit has serious potential for some excellent sloping and strong thermal paragliding and is known for lifting paragliders to record heights. The landing zone, nestled in a clear patch between beautiful indigenous fynbos, is the perfect place to find your feet again.

4. Hermanus is at position number four, with its paragliding launch spot on Rotary Way, just off the R43 leading into town. With an ideal wind speed of 15-20 kilometres, paragliders can expect smooth ridge soaring and calming views of the majestic Olifantsberg. Paragliding in Hermanus during spring proves to be the highlight of the year for many paragliders, with the optimum chance of seeing Southern Right Whales as they migrate northwards.

3. Number three is none other than Lion’s Head in Central Cape Town, boasting panoramic views of the white, sandy beaches of Camps Bay and the towering Twelve Apostles mountain range. Its top site is reachable on foot and although the loose rock and steep climb can be challenging, it is well worth the effort. The strong, upslope thermic wind provides for a breathtaking and riveting flight.

2. Table Mountain takes number two but only experienced paragliders are permitted to make this treacherous cliff launch - its steady southwesterly winds make it the most complex of paragliding launching sites. Needless to say, with a top launch site of 1000m, this Cape Town paragliding hotspot is guaranteed to make you break a sweat..

1. And at the number one paragliding hotspot, is a quaint town, 140 kilometres from Cape Town. If you’re keen on cross-country flying, then Porterville is where you want to be. The view is of vast dry fields, browned by the heat of Cape Town’s summer temperatures, and in winter, plains and flatlands offer unlimited landing space. With a staggering airspace ceiling of 2900 metres it is practically the paragliding capital of the Western Cape!

Cape Town and the Western Cape are summer flying regions, which mean that if you’re a paraglider, you’ve got to take to the skies between October and March. However, a surprising number of Cape Town paragliding is done during the moderately cool winter months, when the skies are less crowded by canopies. Either way, when it comes to paragliding, Cape Town’s landscapes offer some of the most magnificent launch sites in the world. And if you feel like you were born to fly, then Cape Town is the place to be!

Friday, December 10, 2010

The FeverX Games December 2010

The biggest extreme sporting event on South African shores

The FeverX Games 2010 has arrived, and from the 11th to the 19th of December, The South Coast in KwaZulu Natal, is going to experience the most earth-trembling, jaw-dropping, teeth-clenching action of the year. Adrenaline-junkies, extreme sports enthusiasts and random spectators who love capturing cataclysmic accidents on camera (Aww come on, just admit it, you love it!), have waited all year, for what has become the biggest

extreme sports in South Africa.

This year the FeverX Games will be kick-started with the ultimate crowd-puller: The Endurocross. The Margate Sports School is set to be transformed into a super indoor arena, with tricky obstacles for even the most experienced bikers. There is nothing like the furious roaring of motorbike engines and the billowing of monstrous dirt clouds as they negotiate the course. Rocks, tire piles, bulky machinery and crazy jumps are going to ensure that the Endurocross is as extreme as it can possibly be.

Watersports are going to be under strict scrutiny this year, as the judges promise to award only those who push the limits and bring their best performance in the water. The FeverX Games have lined up 14 of South Africa’s biggest names in Wakeboarding to take on the, “Little bro cable system,” which is the first of its kind in the country. A new rail has been built as well as a new kicker, compliments of DC Shoes and Red Bull, so come prepared for some wild water stunts. Bodyboarders, Surfers and Wakeboarders will be displaying their most extreme maneuvers – air roll spins, inverts and backflips, anything goes, as long as it’s extreme.

For the Mountain Biking junkies, an Extreme Mountain Bike Classic promises to be a hit, with a grueling 25km and 45km classic race to be endured by the brave. Then of course, R100 gets you into MMA Fight Night on Friday 17 December. See the kickboxing and martial art champs in 12 full contact fights that display extreme sports at is finest. And of course, one cannot forget to mention that Friday will also see the FeverX Games hosting a good ol’ game of Touch Rugby – we wouldn’t be South African without it.

As always, Media24, Castle Lager, DC Shoes and Red Bull are all on the bandwagon and have custom-made a nine day extreme sports extravaganza that is going to rock your world! Apart from the excellent range of extreme sports, the entertainment line up is looking great, with performances by Prime Circle, John Ellis, City Bowl Mizers and a session of Extreme Comedy, to mention a few. Nine days of reckless abandonment and unbridled extreme sports action? Count me in.


Monday, December 6, 2010

Zulu Surf Riders

The re-emergence of black surfer-dudes in South Africa

The sun-basked coastline of South Africa boasts a large number of surfing hotspots, from the untamed waters of Kwa-Zulu Natal, to the picturesque beach havens of the Western Cape. And yes, surfing has been misconstrued as a, “white” sport for decades, in South Africa particularly. However, as the popular book, Swells, Spots and Surf African Culture, by Steve Pike, illustrates (amongst countless other pearls of wisdom on South African surf Culture), this misconception is simply that; a misconception.

Swells, Spots and Surf African Culture is an awesome book on the history of surfing in South Africa, the “Surfrikan,” culture and how a “lifetime of being stoked,” is highly possible. It outlines how South Africa’s grim (and utterly clich├ęd, if I may say so) history of discrimination, prevented black surfers from taking to the waves as well as their re-emergence after liberation. However slow this process of re-emergence has been, it is happening; an example of which is illustrated by the documentary, Zulu Surf Riders.

First aired on, ETV, on Sunday 21 November, the documentary, Zulu Surf Riders, has done nothing but cause waves (excuse the well-intentioned pun). Directed by Andre Cronje and Carlos Francisco, whose names have become synonymous with the, “Umzumbe Surfriders Club,” the film documents the lives of two Zulu twins who have made a name for themselves in the Zulu surfing community.

Zulu Surf Riders, is captured in Zulu, with English subtitles (“Nooit bru!”), so unfortunately this movie entails “lank,” reading for most of the “china’s,” but is certainly worth watching. The black youngsters in this film, attack the waves of the South Coast with the same kind of athleticism and agility as can be seen in your average extreme surfing video clip. However, the documentary has made a very clear statement that appeals not only to the South African surfing community but to society as a whole.

Surfing is just as much a sport as cricket or rugby, yet projects (like the Umzumbe Surfriders Club) receive no support or financial aid from the government (surprise, surprise). And so a new kind of discrimination has come to the fore, where in sport, it is no longer about black or white, but about which sport is the most lucrative. The appeal therefore goes out to the corporates of South Africa, in an attempt to raise funds and acquire resources to expand the sport of surfing, especially in poor communities such as Umzumbe, Kwazulu Natal – where Zulu Riders, is set.

Look, the days when black surfers had to, “kick a path open,” in order to get to the beach to surf, are long gone – we know this; and surfer dudes like the Zulu Surf Riders continue to show the “groms,” how to “ride the Zulu wave.” Big ups to them. Let’s face it, Summer in South Africa just wouldn’t be Summer without all those Cape Town surfing missions to the beach and the sunburn to prove it. You gotta dig it.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Rock Climbing at Table Mountain

Cape Town offers some of the best rock climbing in South Africa. Cape Town is filled with high quality rock routes ranging from the easy classics to the extreme. Table Mountain is found in Cape Town and is one the most popular rock climbing destinations in the world, its beauty will find its way into your heart and remain there for a lifetime.

Table Mountain is famous because it is shaped like a kitchen table. In cloudy weather, the clouds roll over the mountain and this will remind you of a table cloth covering a table. It is unique and provides a truly amazing view. Table Mountain stands 1086m above Cape Town and all life revolves around this majestic mountain. Suburbs surround the 80km long mountain, stretching from Signal Hill above Table Bay to Cape Point in the South.

Table Mountain is a renowned World Heritage Site and a world famous National Park containing remarkable local beauty. Rock climbing Table Mountain has a variety of traditional routes, mostly on high quality Sandstone which provides excellent friction. There are several abseil points at strategic places; some includes bolts and chains to assist with descents. If you decide to share the amazing view with your children, a cable car is available to take you to the top mountain.

Before you decide to start climbing, remember your rack of cams and nuts. Long slings are also useful to avoid rope drag and 60m double ropes are recommended. Table Mountain has three main climbing areas that can be accessed from the local lower cable station. The first two areas can be seen from the lower station and the two buttresses that are visible. The main climbing area that is home to the popular routes is situated on the final 100m of rock cliffs that support the upper cable way station on the north-east side (Africa Ledge) and the climbs are situated on 80m high cliffs below the cable car station that over-looks the city. The other starts at Fountain ledge which faces West over the Atlantic Ocean and the breathtaking Camps Bay, boasting spectacular views and sunsets.

The beauty of Table Mountain will remain vivid in your memory and will follow you throughout the remainder of your life.

Skydiving in the Rain

Skydiving in the pouring rain is truly one of the most exciting things that I have ever done. If you have never been skydiving before or you have never skydived in the rain, you have never lived...It is a unique experience that makes typical skydiving seem rather tame. However, I must stress that this is strictly for the brave and I do not recommend this to everybody.
I was warned that morning that the weather was going to be rough, but my need to feel alive took over and I boarded the plane with butterflies floating around my stomach. I felt nervous for the first time in years and it felt good to actually feel something.
I felt the brute force of the powerful wind push me from side as the plane doors opened. High in the sky, above the rest of society, I felt connected to nature. I remember thinking that this was going to be a jump that I will never forget. I jumped and immediately felt the raindrops hit me. If you are on the ground, raindrops are harmless, but flying through the air at a terrifying speed, those innocent raindrops transformed into weapons. It felt as if there was somebody in the clouds shooting me with a paintball gun. My blood was pumping, my heart was beating and my soul was smiling. I was skydiving in Cape Town, this is life and it's beautiful.
It was all worth it, the visibility was terrible, the raindrops were painful and I was freezing, but it was an experience that I will never forget.
If you ever decide to skydive in the rain here are some tips:
Remember to dress warmly. Jumpsuit manufacturers specifically make thermal suits to wear under underneath your normal jumpsuit to keep your body warm. I suggest silk inners inside your gloves or even surgeon gloves to keep your fingers warm. It is very important to keep your fingers warm, as losing sensation will cause you trouble when the time comes to pull your parachute. Full face helmets are also warmer than open helmets. Neck warmers made from fleece material are essential. Try to warm up and stretch before you jump. This will help to improve your arch, reduce the risk of pulling a muscle in free fall manoeuvres and more importantly warm up your body.
These are some skydiving rules regarding poor weather: With regards to cloud limits, parachutists may not leave the aircraft if, at the point of exit, the ground between the opening point and the intending landing area is not visible. The minimum flight visibility must be at least 5km. When it is raining, the visibility is poor, therefore skydiving is not recommended.
I suggest you stick to these rules for your safety. However, skydiving in the rain remains on my list of the top five things for everyone to do before they die.

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Beginning...

After many tedious hours, days and months and a whole lot of unnecessary arm-waving, the Cape Adventure Zone website is finally up and running. There is obviously still much to be done and a bit of tweaking here and there, but we are extremely proud of the end result and we hope you agree. You can visit us at www.capeadventurezone.com. Please feel free to send us any constructive criticism.
 
Of course, in designing our adventures, it was absolutely essential to do the necessary research and so a lot of time was spent on the road in the last few months, exploring this awesome country. Having lived in South Africa my whole life, I must say I was (once again) blown away by my experiences. For anyone wanting to explore beyond the ordinary, this is an adventure travellers paradise.

This month we have started offering free guided hikes up Lions Head every Wednesday evening, weather permitting. This is an absolute-must-do hike whilst visiting Cape Town so please feel free to join us. Finally, check out some of our highlighted tours and activities below that are guaranteed to explore your limits!