Whilst we were in Cape Town, we were lucky enough to be given a free helicopter ride around Table Mountain and the Cape Peninsular. We arrived at NAC Helicopters near the V&A Waterfront where we met our pilot and had a short brief on what to expect. We had to keep weight to a minimum so dropped off our bags keeping only our cameras.
Out on the heli-pad, we were introduced to our helicopter – a small Robinson 44. I had only been in a helicopter once before – a big Sea King – and this was tiny in comparison. However, the glass canopy meant that the views in every direction were great. With our headphones on and seat-belt fastened – we were soon up in the air and over Table Bay.
The helicopter reached about 3000 feet pretty quickly which is about the height of Table mountain. So we had great views of the whole city and across the bays. We headed down the coast flying next to the Twelve Apostle mountain range and over our hotel towards Hout Bay.
From Hout Bay where we could see the seal colony of Dekker island – we followed Chapman’s Peak drive down the Cape Peninsular to Long Beach. From there we could see the rest of the peninsular stretched before us where we had been on foot only the day before.
Cutting across the bottom, we had a bird’s eye view of Simon’s town and the Brass Bell restaurant where we had had lunch before we headed up over False Bay. I was trying to spot sharks from above in the clear blue waters but no luck!
As we left False Bay, we headed in land back into the suburbs of Cape Town. We could clearly see the wealthy suburbs of Constantia on the left with huge homes interspersed amongst the golf courses and wine vineyards; and the vast townships on the right – both areas separated by what seemed only a couple of miles.
Our pilot flew us back up towards Table Mountain where we headed over the shoulder of Devil’s peak. Two other helicopters were below us helping to put out one of the regular bush fires that was smoking on the side of the mountain. We headed on and swooped in for a smooth landing back at NAC headquarters.
A quick debrief, a glass of champagne and soon we were heading back across town (at ground level this time!) recapping our favourite moments! A wonderful experience.