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Skydiving & parachuting

© SA Tourism© SA TourismThere are numerous skydiving clubs and schools in South and southern Africa, so there’s no excuse not to take that leap of faith and …. jump! It’s as easy as falling off a log – although getting yourself to that point is not so easy. If you only want to do one jump just to see what it’s like, you can do either a static line jump or a tandem skydive. A static line jump is usually from about 2,500 ft (feet, not metres – aviation has not metricated). You go through a training programme, learning how to exit the plane, how to land, and what to do in an emergency. A tandem jump is just what it sounds like. You’re securely tied to an instructor who makes all the decisions and you just go along for the ride. The best part about a tandem jump is you get to experience freefall the first time. There are some dedicated tandem skydiving operations, that offer you just that one jump of a lifetime. Usually, you’d choose to do that in some pretty spot where the background of your photo and video will impress your friends as much as the jump. If you’re sure you want to get seriously involved in skydiving as a sport, you may choose to do an accelerated freefall course.
It’s important to note the difference between parachuting and skydiving. Parachuting is using a parachute to get to the ground safely from a plane. Skydiving is playing in the sky – it’s that all-too-brief period between exiting the plane and opening the parachute. Once you can control your descent, you can do all kinds of fun things like linking up with other people to make pretty pictures in the sky – it’s an art form that’s so ephemeral it makes building sandcastles seem like sculpting in marble.

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