So many delegates at the Hydropower Conference end up staying a bit longer in South Africa to explore the country and visit the major cities and tourist destinations. Why not mix business with pleasure – it makes sense to me…after a couple of days sitting in on seminars about hydroelectric power-plants and their benefits, I think anybody deserves a break.
From time to time we get report back or emails from a few of the hydropower conference guests that have taken the opportunity to do some traveling. If we find anything worth mentioning we post it up on the website for others to consider. Jaap Marais recently wrote in to congratulate us on another successful hydropower conference and also share some of his post conference experiences in Cape Town. Jaap found himself sitting in the Cape Town CBD drinking a morning coffee when the sight of people paragliding over Cape Town caught his eye. If overcoming your fear of heights is on your Bucket List then there are few more exhilarating or safer ways to do it than with a tandem paragliding experience. Experts suggest that it’s best to tackle your fears in a fun and relaxing way, preferably outdoors in a beautiful, natural and inspiring setting. Like everything worthwhile doing, conquering a fear and having an amazing life experience is best achieved at a pace comfortable to you. The relaxing hike up Signal Hill or Lions Head to the paragliding launch pad allows you to take deep breaths and get comfortable slowly rising above the tree line while still having your feet firmly on the ground. As you leave the noisy hustle and bustle of the city behind you, you catch a glimpse of the pure beauty and calm of being away from it all.
Another tip on dealing with fear is to concentrate on how different this experience is to other fearful moments like being stuck in a tree or on a rooftop. In a tandem paragliding situation, you are surrounded by highly skilled, experienced and supportive people as you prepare to launch and are in no way “stuck” in a scary moment but actively taking one brave step at a time.
The attention to detail given to safety while paragliding and preparing to paraglide appeals to the logical side of our brains, helping us rationalize our fear and therefore making us feel braver and more secure. Pay careful attention to your safety briefing and ask as many questions as you need to about the equipment, harnesses and hooks, and about each part of the flight experience. Part of the enjoyment of the experience is the weight of the equipment in your hand, the satisfying snap and rattle as things clink firmly and snugly into place, and the extra hard tug making doubly sure everything is as it should be.
Added to your advantage is the fact that you are not facing your fear alone but have a highly experienced tandem paraglider attached to you who is essentially doing all the work while you have a fantastic view and magical experience to enjoy. Your pilot’s prime concern is your safety and that you have a positive experience so you only have to concentrate on keeping yourself calm and in the moment, feeling more alive than you ever have before.
So if you do find yourself taking a bit of time off after the next Hydro Power Conference and you’re looking for something exciting to do, maybe take Jaap’s advice and take the plunge. Although not for everyone, it is guaranteed to be a personal experience to remember, an amazing gift to give a friend or loved one or just for something different to do. Contact Skywings Paragliding Cape Town and enjoy a lifetime of bragging rights and personal accomplishment.