A Guide to Helicopter Tours Over Cape Town’s Iconic Landmarks

Exploring Cape Town from the ground offers a vivid tapestry of culture, history, and natural beauty. However, seeing this majestic city from the air via a helicopter tour adds an entirely new dimension to the experience. Helicopter tours in Cape Town provide breathtaking aerial views of the city’s most iconic landmarks, from the imposing Table Mountain to the historic Robben Island. Let’s delve into what you need to know about helicopter tours in Cape Town, including tour options, prices, and what you can expect to see.

helicopter tour in Cape Town

Choosing Your Helicopter Tour

There are several companies in Cape Town offering helicopter tours, each with its unique routes and packages. Prices vary depending on the length of the flight and the route chosen. Some popular operators include:

1. Cape Town Helicopters

  • Address: Road to East Pier, Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, Cape Town
  • Price Range: Approximately R1,700 to R6,500 (Prices are subject to change and should be confirmed with the operator)
  • Tour Options: Scenic flights range from a short city tour to extended flights that cover the Cape Peninsula. Specialized tours like wine tours or shark cage diving transfers are also available.
helicopter tour in cape town

2. NAC Helicopters

  • Address: 220 East Pier, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town
  • Price Range: Approximately R1,900 to R8,000
  • Tour Options: Offers a variety of scenic flights including the popular Two Oceans tour, Cape Peninsula tour, and a customizable charter service.
helicopter tour in cape town

3. Sport Helicopters

  • Address: V&A Waterfront, Cape Town
  • Price Range: Approximately R1,800 to R7,000 (Prices vary depending on the tour length and specific route; confirm current prices with the operator.)
  • Tour Options: Sport Helicopters offers a variety of tours, including the “Hopper Tour” which gives a quick glimpse of the city’s main attractions and the “Full Peninsula Tour” which covers the entire Cape Peninsula. They also offer romantic sunset flights and custom charters for special occasions.
  • Unique Feature: They have a diverse fleet of helicopters, allowing them to cater to different group sizes and requirements.
helicopter tour in cape town

4. Cape Town Helicopter Tours

  • Address: V&A Waterfront Helipad, Cape Town
  • Price Range: R2,000 to R8,500 (Check with the operator for the most current pricing and special offers.)
  • Tour Options: Cape Town Helicopter Tours specializes in scenic flights over the city, Table Mountain, Cape Point, and the Winelands. They also offer tailor-made flights for special events or specific sightseeing requests.
  • Highlights: Known for their experienced pilots who provide informative commentary during flights, making the experience both thrilling and educational.
helicopter tour in cape town

5. Atlantico Helicopters

  • Address: V&A Waterfront, Cape Town
  • Price Range: R1,900 to R6,500 (Prices are subject to change, so it’s best to contact them directly for the latest information.)
  • Tour Options: Atlantico offers a range of tours including a quick city flip, a longer flight to Cape Point, and a flight over the famous Winelands. They also provide custom charters for unique experiences.
  • Special Feature: They are known for their commitment to safety and providing personalized experiences for their guests.
helicopter tour in cape town

6. Silvercross Helicopters

  • Address: Cape Town International Airport and V&A Waterfront
  • Price Range: R2,200 to R9,000 (Prices depend on the tour and duration; confirm with the operator.)
  • Tour Options: Silvercross offers a range of options including urban city tours, Winelands tours, and whale-watching flights (seasonal). They also provide exclusive romantic flights for couples.
  • Notable Service: Their airport-based location allows for a diverse range of flight paths and experiences, catering to different interests and desires.
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What to Expect on the Tour

Iconic Landmarks from Above

  • Table Mountain: Enjoy a spectacular view of one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature. From above, you get a unique perspective of its flat top and the city sprawled below.
  • Robben Island: Gain a different perspective of this UNESCO World Heritage Site, known for its prison where Nelson Mandela was held.
  • Cape Peninsula: Aerial views of the Cape Peninsula reveal its stunning beaches, rugged coastline, and quaint towns like Hout Bay and Simon’s Town.
  • Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope: Witness the dramatic meeting point of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans.

Safety and Comfort

  • Safety stands as the paramount concern among all helicopter sightseeing service providers. Pilots are highly trained, and aircraft are regularly maintained and inspected.
  • Tours typically last between 15 minutes to an hour, with options to extend.
  • Most helicopters accommodate 4 to 6 passengers, ensuring a personal and comfortable experience.
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Tips for Booking a Helicopter Tour

  • Book in Advance: Tours can fill up quickly, especially during peak tourist seasons. It’s advisable to book in advance.
  • Check Weather Conditions: Cape Town’s weather can be unpredictable. Check the forecast and stay in touch with the tour operator for any changes.
  • Photography: Bring a camera! A helicopter tour offers unparalleled opportunities for stunning photographs.
  • Wear Appropriate Clothing: Wear comfortable clothing and avoid excessively loose items that could be problematic in the wind.

Exploring the Winelands from Above

In addition to the city’s natural and historical landmarks, some helicopter tours offer the unique experience of flying over the famous Cape Winelands.

  • Vineyard Visits: Tours may include a flight over the lush vineyards of Stellenbosch and Franschhoek, providing a stunning view of neatly arranged vines and beautiful estates.
  • Wine Tasting from the Sky: Some operators offer packages that combine aerial sightseeing with wine-tasting experiences, where you can land at a vineyard, enjoy a wine-tasting session, and perhaps a gourmet lunch, before flying back to Cape Town.

Custom and Private Tours

For those looking for a more personalized experience, custom and private helicopter tours are available. These tours allow you to tailor your route, perhaps focusing on specific areas of interest or spending more time hovering over particular landmarks.

  • Personalized Experience: Perfect for special occasions like anniversaries, proposals, or birthdays.
  • Flexible Itineraries: Work with the operator to design a route that suits your interests, whether it’s nature, architecture, or photography.
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Understanding the Environmental Impact

While helicopter tours offer an unmatched perspective of the city, it’s important to be aware of their environmental impact. Responsible tour operators are conscious of this and strive to minimize their ecological footprint by following sustainable practices.

  • Eco-Friendly Operations: Look for operators who use modern, fuel-efficient helicopters and adhere to environmentally responsible flying practices.

Preparing for Your Flight

  • Health Considerations: If you’re prone to motion sickness, take precautions as helicopter rides can be bumpy, especially on windy days.
  • Listening to Safety Briefings: Pay attention to pre-flight safety briefings. Understanding safety procedures ensures a smooth and enjoyable experience.
  • Communicating with Your Pilot: Don’t hesitate to communicate with your pilot, especially if you have particular sights you want to see or photograph.

Capturing the Moment

  • Photography Tips: Use a fast shutter speed to avoid blurring. If possible, use polarized lenses to reduce glare from windows.
  • Video: If you’re filming, try to keep the camera steady and focus on smooth pans to capture the sprawling landscapes.

The Cost vs. Experience Value

While helicopter tours can be a splurge, they offer a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The unique aerial views and the thrill of flying make it a worthwhile investment, especially for special occasions or as a highlight of your trip to Cape Town.

Sunset Flights for a Magical Experience

One of the most magical times to experience a helicopter tour is during sunset. These special flights offer a chance to see Cape Town bathed in the golden hues of the setting sun.

  • Sunset Views: Watch as the sun dips below the horizon, casting a warm glow over landmarks like the Twelve Apostles, Lion’s Head, and the Atlantic coastline.
  • Romantic Flights: Sunset helicopter flights are particularly popular for couples seeking a romantic experience, offering breathtaking views and a memorable way to end the day.
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Helicopter Tour Safety and Regulations

Safety is paramount in helicopter tours. It’s essential to choose a reputable operator who adheres to all safety regulations and maintenance protocols.

  • Certified Pilots: Ensure that your pilot is experienced and certified. Reputable companies employ pilots who are not only skilled in flying but also knowledgeable about the area.
  • Compliance with Regulations: Check that the tour company complies with all aviation and safety regulations, ensuring the highest standards of operation.

A Unique View of Cape Town’s Marine Life

Some helicopter tours offer a unique opportunity to view marine life from above. This is particularly exciting during whale season when Southern Right Whales migrate to the warmer waters.

  • Marine Sightings: Keep an eye out for whales, dolphins, and even sharks in the ocean waters below. The aerial view provides a unique vantage point for spotting these magnificent creatures.

Booking and Cancellation Policies

Understand the booking and cancellation policies of the helicopter tour operator before you make a reservation.

  • Weather Dependencies: Flights are often dependent on weather conditions. It’s crucial to know the company’s policy on cancellations and rescheduling due to weather.
  • Advance Bookings: Due to limited availability and high demand, especially during peak seasons, it’s advisable to book your tour well in advance.

Ecological Consideration and Community Impact

While helicopter tours offer spectacular views of the city, it’s important to consider their environmental and community impact.

  • Noise Pollution: Be aware of the noise impact, especially in sensitive wildlife areas.
  • Supporting Local Businesses: Consider choosing tour operators who engage with and support local communities.

The Thrill of Adventure

For adventure seekers, a helicopter tour over Cape Town offers an unrivaled adrenaline rush. The exhilarating feeling of lifting off, combined with the stunning landscapes, makes for an unforgettable adventure.


A helicopter tour over Cape Town is an unforgettable experience, offering a bird’s-eye view of the city’s most famous landmarks. It’s an adventure that provides a unique perspective on Cape Town’s natural beauty and an exhilarating way to appreciate the city’s diverse landscapes. While it comes at a price, the experience and the views are truly priceless.

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