Gliding in Worcester offers aerial adventurers some of South Africa’s most exciting flying conditions. Here, geographical and meteorological anomalies converge, over some of the Western Cape’s most spectacular scenery, to allow pilots to travel vast distances without the aid of an engine, and only the wind beneath their wings.

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Worcester’s good light and scenic landscapes have made it a favorite location for film shoots.

In Worcester, gliding is possible all year round, owing to the fact that it’s one of the few places in the world where thermic, ridge and wave soaring conditions can be experienced at one site.

In summer, arid, hot and windy conditions in Worcester induce thermals providing some of the best conditions for soaring in the Cape. Once air-borne, either by winch or tug aircraft, and at the correct altitude, pilots seek out the core of the thermal, circling higher and higher until they experience uninterrupted vistas of the vine-covered valleys below.

Around Worcester the juxtaposition of the mountain ranges has the effect of creating variable wave lift conditions. In winter, a cold front, bringing north-westerly winds, precipitates high mountain lee-waves, allowing pilots, despite the lack of thermic lift, to go ridge riding and wave soaring.

The alternating up and down draughts, produced along the mountain ranges, generate wave patterns consistent enough for pilots to travel hundreds of kilometres without any loss of altitude. A spectacular example is the run from the Brandvlei Dam, over Villiersdorp and Elgin, all the way to Hangklip, near Kleinmond in the Overberg.

Here, subject to ATC clearance, aircraft achieve uncommonly high altitudes, allowing pilots to fly out over the Atlantic Ocean, enjoy panoramic views of the entire Cape Peninsula, and re-enter the wave to gain height for the return trip back to Worcester.

Gliding in the Western Cape is not only for qualified pilots. The Cape Gliding Club, based at Worcester airfield, offers air flight experiences (AFEs). An AFE lasts about 30 minutes and the scenery is so incredible you won’t want to come down. It’s the ultimate airborne escape; an out-of-this-world adventure that’ll make your adrenalin soar.

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