Lion’s Head (LH) is a stunning place to fly, but due to complicated, changing, local weather conditions, it can soon get very dangerous (and yes, experienced pilots have sadly passed away here). Treat it with respect.
Along with the other sites in the City of Cape Town (and those that form part of the Table Mountain National Park), there is a lot of eyes (and cameras) on us. Bad publicity from incidents, accidents, or damage to the fragile ecosystem is bad for the city, who has the right to take launches and flying privileges from us. Do proper research and get a proper briefing. I’ve only launched from Lion’s Head around 20 times, so most of what is written here is by other more experienced pilots.
Make sure you have all the red tape out of the way, such as your SAHPA license (as a visitor or South African), TMNP permit, briefing, and more:
Stephan Kruger wrote a good four-piece blog on flying Lion’s Head.
Part one: Flying Lion’s Head in a SE wind shadow (advanced; not recommended for your first flight) – https://flycapetown.co.za/blog/paragliding-lions-head-how-when-part1
Part two: Flying LH in a S wind (advanced; not recommended for your first flight) – https://flycapetown.co.za/blog/paragliding-lions-head-how-and-when-part2
Part three: Flying LH in a SW wind (this is the wind that most solo and tandem pilots fly LH) – https://flycapetown.co.za/blog/paragliding-lions-head-how-and-when-part3
Part four: Flying LH on thermic days – https://flycapetown.co.za/blog/paragliding-lions-head-how-and-when-part4
No BS Stef did a video briefing from takeoff: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PYZU21DC3t4
There isn’t a unified map with all the weather stations. It’s important to get an overall view of what the wind is actually doing, not just what you’re feeling on takeoff.
I use winds.mobi and/or iWeathar to see what the wind meters scattered around Table Mountain are showing, especially the Lion’s Head and Signal Hill ones. The Glen Club landing talker and the Sea Point landing talkers aren’t on those maps, you’ll have to save the links separately to view them from the sky:
- iWeathar (download the app for map view)
- Glen Club landing wind talker: https://www.wunderground.com/dashboard/pws/ICAPET73 (Tandems stop flying when it hits 24 km/h)
- Sea Pont wind talker: https://www.wunderground.com/dashboard/pws/ICAPET74
- Lion’s Head wind talker: https://iweathar.co.za/display?s_id=252