Did you know?
South African Microlight flight training involves just 25 hours of flying − 10 dual, the rest solo.
It's just gone dawn and the De Kaap Valley running past Barberton comes alive with colour and mist. You're doing the famous Imax Run with Brian Young of Pyramid Flight School − you're microlighting in South Africa.
Brian Young makes your world go speedily sideways on a wonderful flight up the Noordkaap River, over nature reserves and game farms and astounding riverbank scenery. You overfly herds of game, workers who wave from the fields, and the traffic between Barberton and Nelspruit.
Young takes his customers all over the Barberton Paddock, this marvellous 35 by 40km crater in a ring of mountains. You twist and turn in mid-air over the winding river, following its course down the valley, seeing every ripple, every rock.
Pyramid Flight School has its counterparts all over the country, because there's a boom in South African microlight aviation. You can learn to fly a microlight or you can just request some serious sightseeing on an early morning flight over your favourite part of South Africa.
Although this is a form of flight in its relative infancy, microlighting already has its legends. A number of local pilots love flying to far-off destinations, stopping for fuel along the way, sleeping in exotic places overnight, roughing it in the sky and on the ground. And often, there's an extra berth available for the visitor with a serious adventurous streak.
Photographically speaking, South African microlighting has no equal. Since there's nothing between you and the ground, your lens-vision is unimpaired. Also, microlights have come a very long way from their initial guise as flying lawnmowers that shook and rattled in the air. The new, sleek, hi-tech beasts purr in the sky − and provide you with a novel way of seeing South Africa.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Pyramid Flight School
Tel: +27 (0)82 337 8206 or +27 (0)82 932 9397
How to get here
Microlighting is offered along South Africa's coastlines and inland. Find a suitable flight school in your chosen region by contacting the relevant organisations.
Best time to visit
Microlighting is best suited to calm weather conditions which can be found at any time of the year. Best to avoid mid summer which can be characterised by thunderstorm activity along the coast and mid winter which is often too cold.
Tours to do
Some organisations offer microlight training combined with a wildlife experience. Consult the Microlight and Light Sport Aeroplane Association of South Africa for their Microlight Pilot Licence Packages (MPLs).
What will it cost
The cost of learning to fly a microlight is around R40 000, which includes 25-30 hours of flight.
What to pack
Accredited microlight flight schools will advise you on suitable gear.
Where to stay
Microlight flights are offered at many premier tourist attractions and are a particular favourite along the country's long coastline and over certain game reserves.