References

The purpose of this page is to give you the chance to talk independently to people who have stayed with us. All the people below have offered to be references and are happy for you to contact them.  All contact with them will be independent of us.

 

Name:  Matt Church
Date of Birth:  27/8/68
Resident:  Scotland
E-mail Address: fly_matt@tiscali.co.uk
Telephone: Never at home!

Comments:
"I learnt to paraglide with Jan back in 1998 and have been hooked on flying since. I tend to visit South Africa each winter ( in the northern hemisphere) and stay with Jan and Khobi where the friendliness and excellent guiding provide a very relaxed holiday. Jan is the one everyone calls for weather info, including other instructors / guides, but he always uses the safe option, even at the expense of flying. This philosophy is carried over to the Smile While You Scream tour of the Alps in August. A relaxed atmosphere combined with plenty of flying keeps me rejoining Jan each year.
And anyone who has been to Silvia's in Italy will try to make a good excuse to go back for the food if not the flying. I may not be there in 2004 due to competition commitments but I'm trying to find time to get out there, and I recommend anyone to do the same .
"

 

 

Name: Brigitte Mayr
Resident:  Siegenburgerstrasse 31 ,81373 München
E-mail Address:  igitte@gmx.net
Telephone:  +49 171 40 50 336

Comments:
"Excellent guiding to the local Sites, with a profung weather forecasst and a "familiary" accomodation and tips for the Surrounding Area.

Professionelle Flugbetreuung in der näheren Umgebung (Ich war in 2001 und 2002 jeweils für 3 Wochen in SA). Die Auswahl erfolgte aufgrund bester Wetterkenntnis angepasst an den Wissens- und Könnenssstand der Piloten. Ausserdem ist die Unterbringung sehr familiär und man erhält gute Tips für die Umgebung (die man nicht unbedingt braucht - da es fast immer fliegbar ist). Ich durfte Jan und Khobis Gastfreundschaft bereits zweimal geniesen und ich bin in keinem Urlaub vorher so viel geflogen (an 20 von 21 Tagen!). Ich werde auf jedenfall nächste Jahr wieder hinfahren :-) "

 

 

Name: John Vollands
Date of Birth:  7/11/65
Resident:  London England
E-mail Address:  johnv@heymoscow.com
Telephone:  +44 (0) 20 7229 9960 evening, +44 (0)79 7620 4376 day

Comments:
" I went over to SA to train for my licence after checking out lots of other places around the world. I wanted a beautiful place, good weather, lots of sites, training by somebody that truly cared and was very safety conscious, a lot of one-on-one, quality equipment, with a very friendly paragliding community, plus somewhere that had lots of things to do if the weather was not good for a day did a great white shark cage dive among other things. I qualified for my licence within two weeks.

I found all this and more with Jan and Khobi, I stayed with them and felt like part of the family. I have since been on one of the tours...one word...WOW.

I am more than happy to discuss my adventures with Cloudbase, I can't say a bad thing about them, give me a call. "

 

 

Name: Mark Dunne
Date Of Birth: 24/5/79
Resident: Co. Louth, Ireland
E-Mail Address: mark_dunne@o2.ie
Telephone: 00 353 868116633

Comments:
I went to South Africa for some air-time. I left South Africa with much, much more. It started with a warm welcome at Wilderness Airport. Soon, Jan & Khobi’s home had become our home. In the mornings we rose early to stock up with a tasty, healthy breakfast. Khobi’s pack lunch catered for every nutritional need. Dinner cooked on the brie was always varied and always delicious. With stomachs full, we'd trade happy tales of the days' adventures.
Our first launch at the Map of Africa was breathtaking and it just kept getting better. The hill at Sedgeview gave me my first real thermal experience; Wow! But nothing could compare to the aptly named Paradise Ridge! No words could do justice to the calm tranquillity found 10km up the ridge, soaring high, observing your shadow on the deep blue sea as it seemed to toy with playful dolphins and daunting sharks. Yet it was the dunes that stole my soul. With Jan’s instruction, I learned to dance above the dunes, swooping low, almost caressing every rise and fall of the golden, sandy slopes. 
I flew 10 of 11 days in Wilderness. Almost 20 hours of air-time on 48 flights. The memories, I couldn’t count. If you’re considering visiting Cloudbase, call me – but be warned, I might want to join you!

 

 

Name: Olivier Dethier
Date Of Birth: 12/12/75
Resident : Belgium
E-Mail Address: olivier.dethier1@telenet.be

Comments:
Got to know Jan in 2000 during my first trip in Wilderness. I’ve paid a visit to Cloudbase every year since then and joined both the alpine summer and winter tour twice. It’s always been a pleasure to fly with Jan. He’s very safety minded and I wouldn’t recommend someone else for the license course. To me, flying with such an instructor makes paragliding more enjoyable as there is no such thing as taking a chance with the conditions. And last but not least Khobi is always there to add that extra bit of comfort and friendliness that makes you come for more.

For the record, did some kitesurfing in Wilderness, mountain biking in the nature reserve, wakeboarding in Sedgefield, surfski in Plet and oysters tasting in Knysna. Shark diving is still on the to-do list?

 

 

Name: Graham Souch
Date Of Birth: 6/11/64
Resident: Kent, England
E-Mail Address: souch@tiscali.co.uk

Comment:
"I have been paragliding for three years. For the last couple of years, whenever I have visited Cape Town (due to the fact that I am a commercial pilot), I have had two days in Wilderness staying with Jan and Khobi. I have had some great flying thanks to Jan's local knowledge, and the accommodation, food and company are all excellent. I went on the Smile while you scream tour this summer (2004),and the flying in Italy and Switzerland was stunning."
 

 

Name: Lt Col Nick Luck

Comment:

I am writing this letter to describe a recent paragliding holiday experience in South Africa.

My background will seem fairly familiar to most student pilots, in that I had completed my Elementary Pilots (EP) Course in Wertach, Bavaria in early 2004 and had also managed to do an EP Winch course later that year.  Having taken a break from paragliding for a number of months due to work commitments I really wanted to get back flying and looked for a location for a paragliding holiday during the UK winter that would give me good instruction, good flying (good weather in a good location) and have an enjoyable social time to boot!

I had heard from various publications and chatting to other BHPA members that South Africa in Jan/Feb was a good option and started looking in detail at what was available.  Following some really excellent advice from various UK clubs and individuals, I found the web site for Cloudbase Paragliding, located in Wilderness which is in the Eastern Cape Garden Route area of South Africa.  Cloudbase is run by Jan and Khobi Minnaar, both experienced and qualified instructors.  Jan has been a sitting member of the SAHPA executive committee for a number of years and Cloudbase offered exactly what I was looking for.

I started up an email dialogue with Jan and Khobi over a few months (I am based in Sierra Leone) and they were extremely helpful!  Cloudbase are the sole agent for Wings of Change gliders in South Africa and Cloudbase have a shop at their site with stacks of equipment.  They have a super house which can accommodate both individuals and groups and are within 20 mins of most of the major flying sites.  They cater for all levels of experience, from the absolute beginner to very experienced pilots and the house is very much a meeting place for morning updates and met checks for all sorts of pilots. 

When I arrived, I had already given Jan and Khobi copies of my log books and I was asked to demonstrate some basic skills on the local sand dunes to confirm that I was ready to proceed (excellent for beginners).  Following that, we moved to the Map of Africa site (150m) which has spectacular views over the Wilderness coastline.  The site is excellent for soaring with a beach landing.  Later during my time with Cloudbase we moved to the Sedgefield site which offers a longer ridgeline and fairly strong thermic conditions.  This was fabulous flying for the student and I was delighted to have an opportunity to practice my skills in a safe but challenging environment (reverse launches, 360's, big ears, climbing in a combination of dynamic and thermic conditions, top landings, etc).

I spent 16 days in Wilderness and managed to pass my license (which I will transfer to a BHPA qualification when I come back to UK in July).  The most enjoyable aspect of my time was that the training was professionally delivered, very conscious of safety (we did not fly in "marginal" conditions) and above all, great fun!  Jan and Khobi have a really relaxed approach which makes both the flying and hospitality really enjoyable.  I had gone to South Africa to increase my paragliding experience, get a license and chill out - and did exactly that!  The scenery, surroundings and people were all superb and I could not have been made to feel more welcome.

On the admin side, I got a return flight from London Heathrow to George (through Johannesburg) for £701 through lastminute.com with South African Airlines (who were great).  I pre-ordered some kit through Jan before I arrived so that I could train on my own wing and harness (although Cloudbase have all their own excellent kit which you can use).  I was flying a Wings of Change Nemesis (DHV 1-2) and a Supair Profeel harness which I have found really responsive and stable for a pilot of my experience.  Note also that the cost of living is extremely cheap (beers are between 8-10 Rand (70-90p) and you can eat out really well for £5!!

The best advice that I can offer is to make contact with Jan and jus let him know what you require.  Jan and Khobi run two annual trips to Europe and also act as a hub for a whole host of ex-Cloudbase pilots to keep in touch and organise trips all over the place.  The bottom line is that if you are looking for quality instruction in a fabulous location during the UK winter months, then drop Jan and Khobi an email.