"Yes, hi... I'd like you to help me to book a helicopter tour."
I had just downed a glass of Sauvigon Blanc with my lunch - my first since finishing my Shamanic Dieta - and I was feeling bold. Bold enough to request help from the concierge in booking an excursion for cage diving (more on that some other time) and a private tour of Cape Town in a helicopter.
"You want to go by yourself? Just you?" the concierge asked.
I sighed. I had been getting this a lot. People are always surprised when a woman travels by herself at places like these.
"Yes," I said. "Just me. I know it will be expensive. But I don't want to be put on a wait list to see if another group minds if I tag a long with them."
The concierge picked up my "don't mess with me" attitude, and got me booked for that afternoon. Later on, I was picked up and whisked to the heliport on the Waterfront. After a safety demonstration and signing a waiver, I got into this guy...
My pilot was a woman named Elle. She and the ground crew got me squared away into my co-pilot seat. I put my headphones and mic on over my face, buckled in... And we took off!
This was the view from behind the controls as we were lifting off over the water.
It was later afternoon, and the Sun had a gorgeous reflection off of the ocean...
Because I was in the front, next to the pilot, I got terrific views of everything she was seeing. It was my first chance to see from high up exactly how big the area of Cape Town is, given I could only see so far on the ferris wheel ride the day before.
Here's an initial view of the stadium during our ascension...
And here is a view from up higher...
Then we started to fly down to the peninsula, over the water. The views of the coastline and mountains were spectacular. I captured over 100 shots on my camera. I couldn't get enough of the sights!
All of the beaches and the bays. And then there were shots of the wine valley...
But the waves crashing along the coast produced some of the most spectacular shots. The water was a beautiful blue-green...
A few minutes into our flight, and we were already approaching Cape of Good Hope, the tip of the peninsula.
The layers of rock forming the cliffs were breathtaking.
And Cape Point, the tip, was stunning. See the little lighthouse on it?
We rounded the tip and started back up the opposite side of the peninsula. The flight on this side was much smoother. We had experienced quite a few turbulence as we made our way down to the tip.
After coming up the opposite side, we circled back across the mountain range and lowered to land back on the Waterfront. I got to see quite a bit of action with the ships in the water.
I had never ridden in a helicopter before this. But I loved every minute of it. Being so high up, and having such a great view... Worth every penny.
Typically, these tours aren't too expensive because you go with a few people. Usually friends. But because I am traveling solo, I had to front the full cost. It was worth it though.
Very much worth it.