In this part I will discuss how to paraglide in the Southerly wind, please feel free to post any comments or questions.

The Southerly wind

The picture below shows the Southerly airflow from Hout bay.

The “wraparound” southerly can clearly be seen with the change in wind direction as the air flows around Karbonkelberg and into Campsbay towards Lions Head.

The  Southerly wind now presents itself as SSW at the landing field in Campsbay.

The first thing I would do is to check all the relevant Iweathar stations to see if the predicted Southerly wind is indeed South.

1) Clifton Glen Country Club  – S to SSW not stronger than 20km/h

2) Signal Hill – S to SSW not gusting stronger than 40km/h (this is in the lee-side, wind always stronger here)

3) Lions Head – S to SSW not stronger than 40km/h (this is in the venturi of the mountain)

If the wind is stronger : DO NOT PARAGLIDE !

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Southerly airflow from Houtbay

“Wrap-around” Southerly

In the picture below the Southerly wind can be seen as a SSW flowing towards the landing field

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Southerly wind presenting itself as SSW

Light winds

This picture shows the general Southerly airflow in light winds.

If the wind on the top take off is not stronger than 20km/h you can paraglide in all areas on the mountain.

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Light Southerly airflow on Lions Head

Stronger Southerly wind

The picture below shows the Southerly airflow on Lions Head when the wind is too strong to take off from

the Top take off – 30km/h +

The yellow circles are the areas that generally work well to get to the top of mountain.

The purple areas now become areas of danger and should be avoided at all cost.

Due the the shape of Lions Head, the wind accelerates on the sides of the mountain creating a dangerous “venturi” effect.

If you find yourself stuck in the strong wind just below the top take off, try to use the ridge to climb as much as possible, if you can climb then make a wide right turn away from the ridge and run  for the Sea Point promenade.


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Stronger Southerly airflow on Lions Head

The small yellow circle on the picture below is the Bottom take off.

If you are standing on the Bottom take off facing the ocean, you will see that there is a spine running down the mountain towards the Camps Bay High School sports field.

If you are unable to get up, follow the route marked with the yellow arrows. This is the windward side of the spine. The lee side of the spine is often a little turbulent and chances are good that you will get flushed here.

The  yellow arrows indicates the best line to take when flying out towards landing.

The wind is often stronger on the landing field, always approach from the upwind side and then drift back to land in the field.


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Best line to take when flying out towards landing

Southerly convergence

We often experience some strange convergence that sets up just above the Camps Bay High School field.

The yellow area is where you would find this convergence line, dont be frightened by this.

Try to avoid the blue area just above Clifton 4th beach as this area is often very turbulent.

The convergence usually sets up just before it blows out, so keep your eyes on the ocean for signs of increasing wind.

If you see white horses / whitecaps it is time to go land.

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Convergence line


In the next part I will discuss flying Lions Head in a South Westerly wind.



Stephan Kruger

Stephan Kruger

Owner & Founder of Fly Cape Town Paragliding at Fly Cape Town Paragliding
Stephan is the owner of Fly Cape Town Paragliding. He is an avid tandem, competition and aerobatics paragliding pilot He loves to share the joy of paragliding flight with anyone who is keen...He is also a qualified paragliding instructor and a paragliding endurance athlete.
Stephan Kruger