Sabie, Gods Window, Densa ...

When leaving a main road to get to any of the sites, switch on your GPS with track log enabled.
The forest roads to get to the various take-offs are very confusing.
Coming back can be a big problem for the recovery driver.
Make sure your recovery got a GPS with a track log to get them out of the maze.
Mist can close up a site and also make it difficult to return to a decent road.

Rule of thumb, the minimum teperature of Nelspruit and the max temperature for Nelspruit forecast must be at least 10 degree or more to have a clear takeoff and not in cloud.
( Or, more precise, the dew point must be 10 degrees lower or less in the low veld than the expected max temperature.
The air gets lifted by 1000 m on the escarpment, cools down by 10 degrees in that process. If it reaches dew point your take off is in cloud. Bummer)

Flying Sites

 Coming down Long Tom Pass


  Tweefontein Nursery

Very dusty road. Not much landing on the bottom.
Easy grass take off.


 About 30km from tar road turnoff near Mac Mac falls.
 Via  a maze of forest roads.
Open landing areas next to main road can be in rotor and not suitable.
Check with local pilots first.

 Gods Window

Very tiny, small takeoff. One has to stear between trees while taking off.
Not big enough to layout a tandem glider fully.

 Top Landing behind takeoff into the bush is the recommended way of finishing a nice flight.
 Maybe on the public parking. But this is a busy popular parking spot. Avoid it.
 Do not go further back than the main road to avoid rotor area.

 Top landing option finishes after 14.30 when the shadow of the escarpment closes down thermal activity.
And without the lift and one sinks out into the tree plantations below.
 Recovery can take 3 hours or more to locate the pilot in the maze of forest roads.
 And then one has to find its way out in the dark.

Old Densa, New Densa

  Confusing , muddy, worn out track to the easy takeoff. Best to top land
  Landing can be a problem.  Fresh cut down tree plantations are the only suitable spots.
  Partially cleared, cut forest area with left over tree stumps.

Alernative Sites

 Mt Carmel, Ngodwana, Bambi, Barberton

Where to stay

  Merry Pebbles, very clean, tidy camp , caravan, chalet.
  Waterslide pools, hot pool,  tubing, lots of  free wood for braai

 Where to eat and drink

   Wimpy to meet.
   Wood xxx pub after flying

  What else to do

   Mac Mac pools, waterfalls, Gods Window

Weekends Flying in Sabie - "Are you nuts "

Created on 25 Aug 2003 09:59:55

Posted By Ulf

Saturday morning, Wimpy in Sabie.
11.00 we ( Rob Sterling and me) follow a local to show us the road up to the 800m high site. We turn off at Mac Mac falls, and zig zag through the forests.
Our guide manages to get himself a bit lost.
2 hours later we are on top of the world.
Mouchberg, 2100m high, and 800m down to turkey. And the wind is straight up the N-NE takeoff.
Slight problem, all the other Pilots decided to go to another flying site which was about 2km further down the ridge facing more NE-E.
Driving up we were making all sorts of plans of who will fly and who will bring down the vehicle.
Without getting lost in the maze of forestry roads.

Lesson 1 - Mistake 1 ... when you go to a new site, your recovery needs a GPS more than you to get back to civilization and tar roads. Make a track log while you drive up the site.
We did not. Question was who will have more fun and excitement.
The one who will fly or the one who will try to find his way back down.

Solution 1 - The local pilot has brought along 3 drivers, to bring down 2 vehicles.
Very organized I must say.

So , here we are on an easy takeoff, high up, .... gosh there are lots of trees down there.
Not exactly much of a big easy landing space anywhere.
And that takeoff is not easy for top landing.

Advice from the local pilot... land on a dusty dirt road in a cleared area.

By the way, we got 3 gliders in the car and 2 pilots. One pilot opted to get a lift with another vehicle which followed the other group, which was the majority of pilots, to the other site, while his glider is in our car.

Lesson 2 - Mistake 2 ... Never separate from your glider.
Solution 2 - none ...

While we get ready, we toss around some ideas where to fly to , where to land, if we sink out...
My plan. Not to end up in a tree. Stay up, maybe fly back to Sabie and land next to the Wimpy.
Wind straight up, not bad, the local pilot launches. And starts ridge soaring.
We launch, and take off more or less into the inversion layer.
When one sinks out a few 100 meters one can get good thermals which take you back to takeoff height.

Work my way along the ridge towards Sabie, then decide to aim for a clearing in the trees halfway to Sabie that I can make on glide.
Get a thermal over the clearing and the outskirts of Sabie is feasible.
Get another thermal before Sabie and easy make it over the center of Sabie.
And bingo, there is a sports field 200m from the Wimpy.
People are in the field, means one can get out of it.
Smooth landing in the sports field.
Perfect flight, I reckon. Good takeoff, nice short XC, good landing.
"Are you nuts ???"
An 8? year girl asks while I bunch up.
.. What a damper, here I just had a nice flight, and with no doubt a pub in close walking distance and a beer waiting for me, ... and then this.
"Probably" I respond,

Lesson 3 - one does not argue with females and I am keen to have my beer.

Sabie flying sites

Mouchberg site, 2100 meters, 800m to turkey, good dusty road to the top,
drive from turkey to takeoff and back = 104 km
Facing N-NE, the takeoff area we used can handle 3 gliders to layout and one to take off at a time.
More space further on to layout, takeoff more gliders.
Turkey.. in the sticks and brambles.

The Tweefontein Nursery site, about 20? minutes on a good 4x4 very dusty road to a big clear takeoff area, facing NE to E.
Zig-zag, maze roads through forest, which are not too good.
Ordinary cars will maybe take 40 minutes on the small rough road.
Decent landing, none.
Next best landing, On the dusty dirt road in a cleared area close to the nursery. With a chance of rotor, wind shadow.

Where to stay
Sabie Camp Site - Merry Pebbles, very clean facilities,
hot pool, cold water pool with water slides,
playground, shop, restaurant... . Not cheap, R55 ppn for camping .

The best watering hole , with 3 different types of draft beer ...The Wood log whatever is was called  in town at a road crossing SE entrance of town