Helicopter sightseeing tours are amazing experiences wherever you are in the world, but there's something about seeing the Mother City from the air that leaves people with a memory like no other. Even on the cloudiest days (as it was when we took our helicopter flight over Cape Town), there's something ethereal and majestic about the Tablecloth flowing down the mountainside and blanketing the city in a dense fog.
Cape Town Helicopters have recently launched their 12 minute buzz flight right here in the V&A Waterfront, and at only R1550 per person it's a purse-friendly way of experience helicopter flight for the first time. Of course we had to check it out for ourselves, so we headed to the helipad on East Pier Road one cloudy afternoon for what would turn out to be an unforgettable aerial adventure.
After signing in and watching a safety video, we headed out to the landing area where the helicopter and pilot were waiting. Ground crew placed steps in front of the aircraft and helped us get strapped in, adjusted our headsets so we could hear each other, then we were good to go! Because I was in the front seat I had a clear view of the controls and joystick, so I can now fully appreciate why it takes so long to qualify as a helicopter pilot!
The pilot gave a brief overview of the flight path we'd be taking, then started the engine and got the rotors up to speed. Take-off was so strange, nothing at all like an aeroplane. We hovered a few feet in the air, wobbling left and right, dipping up and down, before finding the perfect balance and zooming forward over the Waterfront. Because the glass of the helicopter goes right down to the floor, I could see the ocean glittering beneath my feet, Cape Town Stadium in all its glory to the left, and the slopes of Signal Hill disappearing into the mist.
The route took us along the coastline past Green Point, Sea Point, Clifton and down to Camps Bay, before circling back to the Waterfront so we could see the view from another angle. Flying over the shipping port with all its containers, cranes, and enormous ships was truly a sight to behold - and not one I shall forget in a hurry. Our pilot gave commentary as we flew, but to be honest we were probably too awestruck to respond or ask any questions; prompting him to mention we were one of the quietest groups he'd ever had!
The landing was as smooth as the take-off, and although we'd only been in the air for twelve minutes, it felt like a whole lot longer. Ground crew once again helped us out of the safety belts and headsets (you don't appreciate how noise-cancelling those headsets are until you take them off!), and that was that, we were safely back on land. I can't begin to tell you how amazing this experience was, and can't wait to book more helicopter tours in other corners of the world!
Huge thanks to Cape Town Helicopters for an exciting and professional experience, the best first-time helicopter flight I could have asked for. At this price a sightseeing tour would make a fantastic gift for celebrating a special occasion or for a birthday treat, sure to provide memories that will last a lifetime.