Today, Travel

285 lbs and Paragliding in Cape Town

Few years ago, my wife and I visited South Africa for the first time. We were in Cape Town and we fell in love with the city. We were in the city for about 5 days and had chalked out things to do each day.  Our visit to Cape Town came over New Years, so we also celebrated New Years Day in Cape Town that year.

We have some friends living in Cape Town. They were very helpful and showed us around quite a bit. We drove down to the Cape of Good Hope one day, and then one day we drove to Simon’s Town to see the Penguins. One day we rode the cable car up to Table Mountain and had a beach picnic in Camp’s Bay.

I have always wanted to sky dive, but I was never able to because I was overweight. Not just overweight, but so overweight that I was out of limit for a sky dive. The heaviest they permitted was 220 lbs and I was sitting at 285 lbs. While we were in Cape Town, we saw an ad for Paragliding. In fact, on the drive to Cape Town from George, we had seen people Para Gliding over the mountains, but we did not know Cape Town had Paragliding as well. We called the company and they had slots available for a flight next day. Yes, that’s what they call it- Flight!  We were to meet them at a check-in place at the foot of Lion’s Head. Lion’s head is a mountain that sits between Table Mountain and Signal Hill.  Lion’s Head peaks at 669 metres above sea level. The peak forms part of a dramatic backdrop to the city of Cape Town and is part of the Table Mountain National Park.

Next morning, we got ready and drove to Lion’s Head. Upon check-in, we were given two bottles of water. We were told to follow the ‘pilot’ who was our tandem instructor for the flight.  It was 7 in the morning and the sun was already very bright.  We started following the pilot. We were walking behind him for about 15 minutes, before we realized we had started hiking up the Lion’s Head Mountain. I was 285 lbs. I had not walked for 10 minutes for over 10 years. The last time I went to the gym must have been at least 12 years ago. In that 15-minute walk, I was already sweating bullets, huffing and puffing.  My wife was hiking up behind the pilot like she was a pro. Looking back at me and laughing occasionally. I finished both those bottles of water faster than ever. I kept making my way up the mountain, slowly and steadily. After about 45 minutes, I had to ask the pilot, how much more do we have to climb. He was like, we are almost there. We kept going and going. 2 hours later, we were on top of Lion Head. I could barely move but the cool breeze compensated for all the exhaustion caused by the 2-hour hike.

Lions Head Hike
Lions Head Hike

After reaching the top, we were sitting down signing waivers and then being suited in harnesses and helmets. We were given a quick instruction on what was going to take place during take off, a few pictures and then we were in flight as you can see in the video below. You can see how heavy I look. All in all, the experience was fantastic. We landed 4 minutes later in Camp’s Bay, where our friends were parked. They picked us up and we drove back to our hotel.

Now, that I am well below the 220 lbs mark, sky diving is next on my list. It will be one of the stories on this blog very soon.


Ostrich Farm
Today, Travel

My Visit to an Ostrich Farm

The first time my wife and I visited South Africa, we fell in love with the country. During our visit, we drove to a small town called Oudtshoorn, which is about five hours east of Cape Town. The town is world famous for its Ostrich Farms. We stayed at a B&B and ate at some of the local restaurants. This is the first time, I had an Ostrich Steak.
South Africa Entry Stamp

Next day, we drove the Cango Ostrich Farm, which is by far the largest and most popular of all Ostrich Farms in the area. We signed up for The Ostrich Tour. The tour goes in small groups with a professional guide and is an easy walk through the farm. During the tour, we saw Ostrich eggs, Incubators where the eggs hatch and we were also to see some chicks hatch out as we were at the farm during the right season. Next, we walked to an area, where they gave us a bucket of feed and we could feed the Ostrich Birds. While you are feeding the birds, you also get a neck massage. As you can see in the picture below, I am holding the bucket of feed and three birds are rubbing their necks against my shoulder, giving me a massage and at the same time eating feed out of the bucket.

After the feeding and massage session, we were taken to another area, where there were about 30 birds running around in an enclosure. This is where you can ride a bird, provided you are below 80 kgs (176 lbs). At the time, I was 282 lbs, so they did not allow me to ride the bird. However, as you can see in the picture above, my wife has no problem. She also rubbed it in, that because I am overweight, I would not ride the Ostrich.

After the bird ride, we were walking back to where the tour started. The tour guide came up to me and pointed at a small hut. He took me there.  Under the hut, there were a few real ostrich eggs. He told me to go stand on them. At first, I was a little reluctant; I mean, what if those eggs cracked?  Well, he said, given I was not allowed to ride an Ostrich, I can go and stand on the eggs for a picture. He assured me that they will not break. I went and stood on them as you can see in the picture above. Apparently, Ostrich eggs can withstand weights up to 300 lbs.

It was overall a great experience visiting an Ostrich Farm. However, I do want to go back and ride the Ostrich, now that I fit the weight limit criteria