Exhilarating, phenomenal, and surreal – these are the words I would use to describe my past few days in Cape Town. Recently, someone asked me to choose the best thing I’ve done abroad thus far. To be honest, I didn’t have an answer. While Cape Town has definitely been treating me well, I couldn’t pinpoint one moment and confidently say, “blank changed my life!”
That is, I didn’t have an answer until Friday when I went paragliding off of Lion’s Head.
You may recall Lion’s Head is one of the nearby mountains in Cape Town I recently hiked. You may also recall I told myself I’d never hike it again. Well, this all changed a few days ago when I found out that in order to paraglide off of Lion’s Head, I had to hike up Lion’s Head. In retrospect, this seems obvious, but that never clicked in my head before I signed up.
My mom often tells me not much has changed since I was two; if I am hungry and tired, I’m not the most pleasant person to be around. On this morning I was operating on a few hours of sleep and only a banana in my stomach, so I certainly wasn’t stoked to set out on an unexpected early morning hike. But, after much debate, I agreed to bite the bullet and complete what I had set out to do.
So, after another hike up Lion’s Head, I finally made it to the take off point and was ready to go. I put on my helmet, got the parachute attached to my harness, and literally jumped off the cliff. Luckily I was all strapped in, so instead of plummeting to my downfall, I was instantly lifted into the air and got a bird’s eye view of Cape Town. The scenery was breathtaking and it was incredible to see the city from that perspective.
Little did I know, the best part was yet to come. While in the air, the pilot I was tandem to told me it was “rollercoaster time.” Granted, I didn’t know what that meant, but I didn’t have many options at that point. Lo and behold, the following few minutes would be the most fun I’ve had in Cape Town up until this point.
I can’t quite describe the feeling, so I’ve included a clip to help explain what it was like to be in the air. Fair warning: you’re about to get a good laugh at my expense. Let me also preface this video by saying I was hysterically laughing the entire time. I have a theory that too many endorphins were released in my brain at this moment, leading to the maniacal reaction. That being said, this made me realize that all of my hard work was worth it.
This will be my last blog post for the next couple of weeks, as I will soon be departing for a 10-day camping trip in Botswana and Zimbabwe. While I’m there, I will be going on game drives, white water rafting, and will finally get to do the thing I have most wanted to do in Africa: bungee jump off of Victoria Falls! I’m sure I’ll have many stories to tell and pictures to share upon my return and I can’t wait to experience the other activities southern Africa has to offer. Farewell for now!