Cape Town has an intimate relationship with Table Mountain, Lion’s Head and the Twelve Apostles mountain range. Most people think Capetonians are a little obsessed with the mountains, and they are correct, we are. They dictate our weather, our traffic and our appreciation of beauty as well as serving as magnificent natural landmarks and a backdrop to our little place in the world.
It is only when you see these mountains from the air that you truly appreciate how much the mountains dominate and shape our city and our lives.
If you want to understand Cape Town, take a scenic helicopter flight with NAC Helicopters Cape Town, it will blow your mind.
5 standard tours are offered starting at under R1000 per person for the 15 minute Hopper Tour.
Longer flights cover a bigger area and include Robben Island and Cape Point.
Click here for detailed information on the tours on offer.
My Experience on the Hopper Scenic Flight.
Sadly my camera is in for repairs and my cell phone pics do not do justice to the views that await you.
I arrived at NAC as requested half an hour before my flight time, feeling a little disappointed as the weather was overcast and cloudy and I did not have high expectations of seeing much. Not that it would stop me, for the thrill of a flying in a helicopter I would have gone even if visibility was rated zero.
The excitement starts from the minute you walk through the doors and are ushered to seats on the deck overlooking the sea. Sipping coffee and watching the helicopters take off and land while you complete the paperwork and get weighed before the safety briefing is all part of the experience. The sounds of the helicopters starting up and the rhythmic tuk tuk of the rotors as the speed increases before they rise up and you watch as the helicopter becomes a small speck in the sky. Knowing it will soon be you heading for the clouds.
I flew in a Robinson 44, just big for 3 passengers and the pilot, Abri Le Roux. From the moment we hovered a centimetre off the ground until a few hours after we landed, I had a stupid grin plastered all over my face.
Head phones on, strapped in and off we go. The gods must have been smiling on me that day because the mist rolled away, the clouds moved and Cape Town was showing off in a big way.
Abri made me feel completely at ease, talking about the workings of the helicopter, the altitude we were at and pointing out landmarks along the way. He also reassured me that I would be able to get photos on the way back and should relax and enjoy the views.
Being eye level with Table Mountain, looking down and seeing how a city had to develop around all these mountains and observing the contrast of rugged, untamed nature right next to high density urban landscapes is incredible.
It felt like for the first time I could say “I see you, Cape Town, and you are even more spectacular than I imagined.”
After we landed I went back to the deck, had another coffee, and watched a few more take offs and landings while I mentally came back down to earth. Sitting there, the mist came back in and the clouds rolled over the mountains, and I said thanks to the weather gods .
I would rate this as the best experience I have ever had. Ever !
About NAC Helicopters Cape Town
NAC stands for the NATIONAL AIRWAYS CORPORATION, a company with a solid 70 years of experience in the aviation industry. Started in 1946, NAC has grown into the largest general aviation company in Africa and one of the largest of its kind in the world.
NAC Helicopters Cape Town are based at the V&A Waterfront and are considered market leaders for coastal sight-seeing helicopter tours.
The Feel Good Factor.
NAC Helicopters Cape Town supports the Forever Wild Elephant Conservation Initiative, a programme started by The Wilderness Foundation in 2011 to highlight and support the rhino poaching crisis. It has been expanded to include elephants, as well as other endangered species.
For every walk-in client, NAC Helicopters Cape Town donates R90 to the programme.
Take a camera, and if you have one add a polariser or ND filter to reduce the glare and reflections off the windows.
Take a jacket as the higher you go the cooler it gets.
Take your time. Enjoy the views without your camera, those scenes will be etched in your brain forever.
Ask the staff for advice if the weather conditions look overcast.
Sit on the deck after your flight, look for the Black Oyster Catchers, see the silly Hadedah birds sitting unperturbed in between 2 noisy helicopters, and ask Frankie to tell you about the seal who wanted to sleep on the helipad.
Nothing beats flying in a helicopter, and doing it over a city as spectacular as Cape Town is mind blowing.
Disclosure . Thank you to NAC HELICOPTERS CAPE TOWN for hosting me on the Hopper Scenic Flight. All opinions are my own.