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Helicopter Rides Cape Town: the Most Epic Way to Experience ...

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Helicopter Rides Cape Town: the Most Epic Way to Experience the City

Here’s why a ride with the city’s #1 voted helicopter operator ranks in the top 3 unique things to do in Cape Town

Epic is daily flights to 25 routes in the latest Airbus helicopters, with 270-degree views of Cape Town and experiences like clay pigeon shooting, a Harley Davidson ride or shark cage diving combos with your flight. The best part? It’s accessible: flights start from little more than the price of two dinners at a trendy Cape Town restaurant.

Even better, CapeTownMagazine.com readers get the Hopper flight for only R988/p (that's a 24% discount) when using booking code 'CapeTownMagazineHopper' on this secret link. Or get a 10% discount on ALL other flights with Cape Town Helicopters. Claim yours by using our unique booking code: FlyAirbus.

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience!” says Heiko K from Köln, Germany, in his review of the scenic Two Oceans flight in one of Cape Town Helicopters’ new state-of-the-art Airbus H 120s. “We had unbeatable views of the city, Table Mountain, both oceans and the surrounds. We can highly recommend flying with Cape Town Helicopters.”

And countless others echo his views – tourists and locals alike. “It’s a must-do for anyone visiting Cape Town,” says Graham H from Cardigan in the UK. “Stunning views of Cape Town. Professional and friendly pilots. And great importance is given to safety,” comments Sunetra B of Singapore. “Had such a great experience seeing my city from this new perspective,” says Keith L, a Cape Town local.

At the time of writing, close to a thousand people have given Cape Town Helicopters an “excellent” rating on TripAdvisor alone. So, it’s no wonder that on this platform a flight with them ranks second in the top three experiences and tours in the Mother City. And they’re voted the city’s number-one helicopter operator. Which is no easy feat, considering they share the V&A Waterfront helipad (the busiest helipad in Africa) with a number of other operators.

So what sets Cape Town Helicopters apart? Cape Town Magazine went down to the V&A Helipad at 220 East Pier in Breakwater Edge to find out.

 

SOME DAILY CAPE TOWN HELICOPTERS FLIGHTS

Scenic flights

Duration

Price

Hopper – hop-on flight taking in all the city’s sights

15–20 mins

R1300/p*

Atlantico – along the Atlantic coast taking in all the major sights

20 mins

R1800/p**

Robben Island – for a unique new perspective on this heritage site

20 mins

R1900/p**

Two Oceans – from city the down Atlantic coast through to False Bay

25 mins

R2450/p**

Full Peninsula – spectacular V&A to Cape Point flight

50 mins

R4800/p**

Winelands tours – choose from Durbanville and Stellenbosch to Franschhoek and Paarl

Approx. 3 hours

R3500–R11800/p** (depending on destination)

Adventure flights – West Coast, shark-cage diving combos and safari flights

Approx
3–6 hours

R9000–R21500/p** (depending on destination)

VIP flights – Langebaan to Arabella golf estates and Winelands lunches  

Approx
4–6 hours

R11000–R15000/p** (depending on destination)

Experiences – flights including clay pigeon shooting and a Harley Davidson ride

Approx. 3 hours

R6600–R17600/p** (depending on experience)

     
* Get it for only R988 with our exclusive code: CapeTownMagazineHopper on this secret link.
** Or get 10% off by using our unique booking code: FlyAirbus

 

ALL ABOUT THE VIEWS

“We all love Cape Town,” says Cape Town Helicopters commercial manager Herman Geldenhuys, “and we want people to experience the city the way we see it.” That’s why, when the long-time pilot and aviation enthusiast Neil Warren took over operations here three years ago, he completely reimagined the Cape Town Helicopters experience, from the ground up.

Neil brought in the latest new tech. Our Airbus H 120s and 130s are newer and costlier to buy and maintain than the Bell ones our competitors use, but they’re what the very top helicopter operators use worldwide, from Hawaii to Mauritius. They’re more stable in high-speed winds, safer because of their design and the use of more advanced technology and much quieter (for a more eco-friendly tourism experience) thanks to enclosed fenestron tail rotors.

“Our helicopters are the only ones here that are legally allowed to fly into sensitive areas such as wildlife reserves. Which is why we also offer daily tours and safari flights to Sanbona Wildlife Reserve and Aquila Game Reserve, Herman adds. And, for incredible new perspectives of the bay and the city, consider booking one of their daily flyovers of Robben Island.

(Note that this flight doesn’t land at Robben Island – hence it’s affordability at only R1900/p. You can make special arrangements to land by phoning ahead, but note that this drives the cost up significantly.)

“But, at the end of the day, for us, it’s all about the views,” Herman beams. “Cape Town is such a beautiful city. And the only way to experience it properly is through our much wider and bigger cockpit windows.”

 

LARGER WINDOWS, BETTER VIEWS

And it’s true, Cape Town Helicopters’ crafts boast a 270-degree view of photogenic Cape Town from the air (much wider than the constrictive Bell chopper alternatives), which makes the world of difference when you’re recording video and photos to share your Instagrammable experience. What’s more, the new tech means your flight’s air-conditioned and allows for the use of soundproof headsets with voice-activated microphones that just add that little extra touch of comfort to the experience.

“We soon started doing in-flight video recordings, too. Because we found that people were so taken with the views and the new perspective, that they get carried away with taking pictures and often forget to take the time to relax and just enjoy the experience. Now, we can record the flight on four HD cameras – two inside the cab, two outside – and give you a packaged video of your epic Cape Town Helicopters experience,” Herman adds.

From this, it's clear that the secret to this operator’s success lies in their going the extra mile to ensure each passenger gets the absolute best from the experience.

 

 

THE DELIGHT’S IN THE (AWESOME) DETAILS

The Cape Town Helicopters experience starts long before you even board the craft. They offer a transport service from the malls and various districts of the V&A to the helipad if you phone ahead, so you don’t have to walk or drive to the pier. In fact, you can even have them pick you up straight from Cape Town International Airport, where you’ll do your awesome helicopter experience first and then land at the V&A, bypassing all of the city’s congestion and traffic. Or, do it the other way around and have your epic helicopter experience as a farewell to Cape Town before landing at the airport and being driven straight to the departures hall – recommended are the Full Peninsula or Two Oceans flights.

And, of course, walk-in customers are welcome too. They do around 35–50 flights daily, taking off on over 25 different routes, ranging from scenic city and Atlantic Seaboard flights; Cape Point tours; golf tours to Hermanus, Langebaan or Paarl; flights up the West Coast or to a game reserve; to adventure tours that combine your flight with lunch and an afternoon of clay pigeon shooting, shark cage diving or a Harley Davidson motorcycle ride. Then there are also the very popular VIP Winelands lunch experiences.

And the team is highly organised, able to schedule your flight with maximum precision and minimum waiting time.

The ground crew are incredibly experienced, most having worked this same helipad for the last six years at least, so you’re in excellent hands there. And the reception and ground host staff are so good at their jobs that they often get their own mentions in customers’ online reviews. But the most notable part about the Cape Town Helicopters experience is their pilots.

 

ALL PILOTS ARE QUALIFIED TOUR GUIDES

Cape Town Helicopters runs their own flight school, which allows them to choose only the best and brightest pilots. (Two of whom are women, and word around the helipad is that they have a lighter touch than the men, resulting in a remarkably smooth helicopter ride.) And, as a prerequisite, all pilots are also qualified tour guides, which means that you get so much more from your time in the air with them.

During a typical flight down the Atlantic Seaboard, your pilot will take off from the helipad and do a slow curl back for a money-shot of Table Mountain and the city, and then immediately start highlighting points of interest in the city, telling you about its history, places and people as you head down the coast. By the time you reach Camps Bay, you’ll be level with Lion’s Head at around 200 feet (669m), giving you the ideal vantage point from which to finally see how this famous peak got its name. (Hint: when seen from a certain angle alongside Signal Hill from up high, the whole thing starts to look a bit like a sphinx.)

You can get the full experience on Cape Town Helicopters' Atlantico and Hopper flights.

THE MAGIC OF A FLIGHT WITH CAPE TOWN HELICOPTERS

About a minute later, you reach the 12 Apostles and now draw level with Table Mountain at around 3000 feet (close to 1000m). 

Cape Town Magazine was fortunate enough to experience the Cape Point tour, which, if you’re already a fan of the natural beauty that is Africa’s most south-westerly point, is an absolute must. The climax comes when your pilot flies you out, far beyond the lighthouses, over the ocean, and then curls the craft back so that you get that one-of-a-kind view of the point and the Cape of Good Hope from the air.

But then you look at all of this and you think that this all sounds great but can I actually afford a helicopter flight? And here’s where things get really interesting. The short answer is yes. Considering that it’s an epic, perception-changing, once-in-a-lifetime bucket list kind of experience, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the wide range of options on offer at Cape Town Helicopters and how inclusive this experience actually is.

 

FOR THE PRICE OF ABOUT TWO MEALS OUT, YOU GET THE EXPERIENCE OF A LIFETIME

“One thing we pride ourselves on is that we offer a wide range of packages that are inclusive and accessible to everyone,” Herman beams as he discusses the topic of price. “Yes, of course we fly Sheiks from the Middle East and international celebrities from the airport to their private yachts waiting in the bay. Just like we offer custom charter routes, VIP flights and adventure experiences for tourists, businesses and those affluent enough to want and afford those kinds of tours. But we’re so in love with our city and offering people a chance to change and renew their perspective of Cape Town that we scale it to levels that basically everyone and anyone can afford.”

And he’s not kidding. A glorious 15-minute “flip” on the Hopper flight across the skies of Cape Town (including shots of the mountain that’ll light up your Instagram like it’s New Year’s Eve) comes in at a very doable R1300 per person (R988 if you use the booking code: CapeTownMagazineHopper). Which, if you think about it, is little more than you’d spend on about two meals at a trendy restaurant or a night or two out with friends in any given month.

Or, if a couple of friends get together and each pitch in between R100 and R200, you could buy a buddy the birthday gift they’ll treasure forever. Or a family could get grandma the experience of a lifetime.

Beyond that, Cape Town Helicopters’ Atlantico flight, which takes you from the Waterfront down the city’s entire Atlantic Seaboard to Hout Bay, Chapman’s Peak and then back again for an awe-inspiring double-take from the other side, puts you back only R1800 per person. Which, again, if it’s your 10th anniversary or you’re looking to propose, is awesome, all things considered.

 

 

EPIC, PERSPECTIVE-CHANGING EXPERIENCES

And, speaking of proposals, Cape Town Helicopters do about 26 plus “engagement flights” each year. They know how to handle this kind of thing by now – there’s a fair bit of collusion beforehand, where they’ll ensure you get a private flight and the pilot will signal the absolute perfect time for you to pop the question mid-air (with the perfect backdrop for the best pics and video, of course). What’s more, they have a 100% “yes” ratio, so, take note, this is where you go to turn up the romance.

The adventure experience flights, such as the clay pigeon tour where you fly up the False Bay coast to the Lourensford Estate on the Helderberg Wine Route and do 25 shots with four different shotguns, is popular for special occasions and big birthdays (30, 40 and 50 etc.). While the VIP lunch experiences and safari flights are ideal for corporates and exceptional business meetings.

In summation, Cape Town Helicopters offers one of the most epic, perspective-changing ways to experience the Mother City. And they do so in an inclusive range offering that makes it accessible to everyone, from tourists to locals, businesses to individuals. Which, on its own, is already more than enough reason to make a helicopter flight part of your ultimate Cape Town experience.

FLY FOR UNDER A THOUSAND BUCKS

Only CapeTownMagazine.com readers get the Hopper flight for a mere R988/p. Use the promo code 'CapeTownMagazineHopper' on this secret link.

OR CLAIM YOUR 10% READER'S DISCOUNT

All CapeTownMagazine.com readers qualify for a 10% discount on flights with Cape Town Helicopters. Claim yours by mentioning CapeTownMagazine.com and using the promo code FlyAirbus when booking your flight.

Tip: Make it a family affair – one child under 12 flies half price if flying two full paying adults.

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Looking for exciting and unique things to do in and around Cape Town? Check our ultimate bucket list and top summer activities.

We also have a comprehensive look at top day tours as well as team building and end-of-year function ideas.

In terms of gifts, check out our guide to Mother’s Day in the city. And, if it’s the romantic experiences you’re after, see our ideas for Valentine’s Day offers and things to do on 14 February.

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