Best Skydiving in Belgium - SkydiveSpa - Review

This article first appeared in My Travelogue by Bhushavali 
 
MY FIRST TANDEM SKYDIVING EXPERIENCE 
AT SKYDIVESPA, BELGIUM

Skydiving is something I've been wanting to do since forever! I considered doing it when I was in London but somehow never got through with it, but I think the delay was for the best because I wouldn't have had the amazing view of Belgian Ardennes on my first ever Tandem Skydive! After visiting Spa a couple years ago for hiking Belgian Ardennes, I was back again here for one of the best things to do in Spa - Skydiving!!!

SkydiveSpa Best Skydiving in Belgium


SkydiveSpa Best skydiving in Belgium

SkydiveSpa Best skydiving in Belgium

SkydiveSpa Best skydiving in Belgium

SkydiveSpa Best skydiving in Belgium

WHY IS SKYDIVESPA THE BEST BEST PLACE FOR SKYDIVING IN BELGIUM
So, why did I choose Skydivespa for my first ever tandem skydiving?
1. Location. Location. Location. Spa is one of the most picturesque places in Belgian Ardennes. The beauty of nature is so impeccable here. It looks so beautiful in all seasons. The ability to see the Belgian Ardennes view from atop was the most important reason why I chose it here. If I had done it in London, it would have only been a city view compared to natural beauty here.
On a clear day with no clouds, it is not only possible to see the F1 track at Spa Francorchamps but also as far as Stavelot Abbey, Barrage de Robertville, meandering Amblève river and of course the humongous greenery of Fagne de Malchamps in the midst of which, Skydivespa is located!
2. Compared to other places for Skydiving in Belgium, Skydive Spa has the highest dropzone at 14500ft above sea level because Spa itself is at 1650ft! The drop is from 4000m above ground level and the free-fall lasts for a solid 45 seconds before the parachute opens which is longer than most other places for skydiving in Belgium! 

SKYDIVING EXPERIENCE AT SKYDIVESPA
I had originally booked my first tandem skydiving experience last year, but then, this happened and my booking got postponed indefinitely. But the delay proved fruitful because if I had done it then, I would have had to wear my mask while jumping. Luckily now, with the relaxation of restrictions, since the last month, it is now being allowed to jump without a mask! So yeah, the photos & video show my face!!!
But then, the day before my jump, it started raining and I got really really upset! I was almost sure that it would be postponed again and started to think of my backup plan for the day. However, somehow, luckily, the weather turned around and the sun started shining and I got to jump as I had planned. 
It is necessary to call at 8:30AM of your jump day, & confirm if the jump would happen. They would decide on a daily basis after checking the weather. After I was given a go-ahead, I started and I was there much before my planned time. After I put away our belongings in the lockers, we just sat in the grass outside being spectators of the people diving before us. About an hour later, we were called. I wore my suit. I could continue taking photographs and videos till it was time to board the aircraft. This is the time I was given the briefing on what to do. Everything was super streamlined and all the tasks were clearly handled by the assigned staff.

Skydive Spa first tandem skydiving experience

Skydive Spa Davio D'Orazio

Skydive Spa first tandem skydiving experience

Skydive Spa first tandem skydiving experience

Skydive Spa Davio D'Orazio Lucian Tapaszto

Here's the thing about tandem skydiving - it is easy! All the controls are in the hands of the Tandem Master and you don't have to do anything except holding the right posture! Soon we boarded the aircraft and it took off before I know, it was time to dive. If it was up to me to decide when to dive, I might have taken a few moments to gather courage but being a tandem skydive, it was Davio D'Orazio, my tandem master who decides when to jump and all I had to do was to enjoy it!
My jaw dropped open. I did not scream. I wasn't scared. I totally trusted Davio. But my jaw dropped open. I actually forgot to close my mouth in the positive sensory overload! Only when Lucian Tapaszto, the photographer cum skydiver, came in front of me, I realized that my mouth was open and I shut it and smiled at the camera! Lucian was laughing, making funny faces, and literally dancing in front of me, I kid you not. If you don't believe me, here's the Insta Reels of SkydiveSpa team striking poses, being funny & dancing at 14000ft! 
The feeling of the wind blowing against the face, the noise of the wind as we tore through it, the impeccable view of Belgian Ardennes from atop, the smell of the freshest air (literally a positive sensory overload), the adrenaline rush of the free-fall, a crazy mix of awe, shock, and joy - I'm really really trying to put my feeling in words, but let me tell you, I'm failing miserably! It was a solid 45 seconds of free-fall, thanks to the 14000ft height from which you jump. That moment when your parachute opens, it is a completely jolting experience. You suddenly go up and then everything falls silent because you're not tearing through the atmosphere anymore.
Those minutes after the parachute opened, it was such a serene, peaceful experience. It was absolutely silent in the solitude high up in the air. There was no sound. It was something I've never felt before. I mean, I've been in absolute silence on the ground, but that would include the sounds of the clock or some car on the street in the city or the sounds of leaves & insects in the forests or countryside. But this was different. It was the purest form of silence, except for the mild blowing of the wind. It was a kind of peace that I've never experienced before. Total peace!
Then the fun began, when Davio started twirling and swaying the parachute to show me Belgian Ardennes with all its glory, from all the directions. That was the only part that was a bit scary for me. It was like taking a turn when you're riding a motorbike fast, but much unlike it as well! I was allowed to navigate the parachute as well, but of course, Davio was in full control. I was able to appreciate the view much better now. The F1 circuit at Spa Francorchamps is the neighbour of SkydiveSpa, so yeah I could see that from atop! There was a bit of cloud cover that day, but it was quite a feeling to fall down through the clouds!!! The parachute ride goes on for a few minutes before hitting the ground. In that silence when parachuting down, you can chat with your tandem master as well.  
There are 3 major moments in the whole experience - diving safely out of the aircraft with no contact, the opening of the parachute and safe landing - it was time for my 3rd moment. Davio is fabulous in the way we landed as well. I had to hold my legs up and there are special harnesses to hold your legs up in the suit given and Davio told me when to hold that. We landed on tall grass and glided down and there was absolutely no impact!
I've tried explaining my feelings in words, but....... watch the video!

Skydive Spa first tandem skydiving experience

Skydive Spa Davio D'Orazio
Davio making funny faces at Lucian!

Skydive Spa first tandem skydiving in Belgium

Top things to do in Spa Skydiving SkydiveSpa

I'm hooked now and I already want to do an AFF i.e, solo skydiving... Will I get to do it? I don't know... Let's see!!! 

QUESTIONS I HAD IN MIND & TIPS FOR FIRST TANDEM SKYDIVING
How much time does it take? Effectively, the prep, wait, flight, jump and parachuting take only about 30-45 mins. But you may not get the flight exactly at the moment you booked for because skydiving depends on the weather. Even if the weather is clear when you arrive, there may be people who booked before you who couldn't dive due to bad weather; there may be people who have been called-in earlier because the forecast says bad weather later - who are all being fitted in various timeslots! So practically set aside about 3 hours for the experience. 
Can I take Atyudarini along? Where will she be when I jump? Technically, yes, you can take your child along with you. You can actually take up to 3 spectators! There's also a bouncy castle to keep them occupied, but it is not a supervised area. If your child is probably 12+ years and knows to behave, sit down in one place and be safe without supervision for those 30-45 mins of the actual take-off to landing, then no issues, you can take them. If I had another adult accompanying me who's not jumping or taking the next time slot, then yeah I could have taken Atyudarini. But for now, she's too young to be left unsupervised, so I left her at home with our babysitter!
Can Atyudarini jump already? Well, no! But how old should one be for tandem skydiving? There is no age restriction for tandem skydiving at Skydivespa. She can do it as soon as she is 120cm tall! If we are still in Belgium when she gets to 120cm, I think she'll do it. She's already interested in it, looking at our videos! She says 'Mummy jump out of aeroplane'! So... Let's wait and watch about that! 
What is that tiny white parachute? Is it really free-falling with that tiny white parachute that opens almost immediately after jumping out of the aircraft? Well, that tiny parachute doesn't exist in solo skydiving, but in tandem skydiving, the combined weight of 2 people will cause a very fast descent. The tiny parachute is to control the velocity. It is effectively a free-fall in a tandem skydive. 
How different is the take-off when compared to passenger airlines? The aircraft is tiny, a Cessna Caravan. At a time, only about 10-12 people can go on this tiny aeroplane. The take-off is completely different and it doesn't feel weird at all, unlike passenger airlines. The main difference is the pressurized cabin of passenger flights which is absent here (because this doesn't have to reach that height. For reference, a Boeing flies at about 35000ft+) and your own jitteriness/excitation about the dive that makes you not even think about take-off!
What about my last year's broken wrist surgery? Well, in a tandem skydive, I don't operate anything at all! Everything is taken care of by my Tandem Master and I just have to 'sit back' and enjoy! So now that it is almost 9 months after my surgery and my surgeon has also given a go-ahead, I had no issues at all. But this is different if you had spinal or hip fractures, which needs to be at least 1 year old. If you have ever dislocated your shoulder inform the staff for special attention. If you have a history of epilepsy or are pregnant, it isn't possible to skydive.
What about the worst-case scenario? The legal/medical document that everyone has to sign before the jump also includes a clause about insurance. Every diver is automatically insured against injury and death!

Top things to do in Spa Skydiving SkydiveSpa

Top things to do in Spa Skydiving SkydiveSpa
That jolting moment when the parachute opened

Top things to do in Spa Skydiving SkydiveSpa

Top things to do in Spa Skydiving SkydiveSpa

Best viewpoint of Belgian Ardennes

WHICH TYPE OF SKYDIVE PHOTOGRAPHY / VIDEOGRAPHY TO CHOOSE? 
There are 3 types of videography available at Skydive Spa. One is with a 360° IMAX cam and another is with a GoPro, both of which your tandem master wears on his wrist. Another is when the cameraman skydiver jumps along with you and has a helmet fixed with both a GoPro and a DSLR (if you're curious, the DSLR's shutter release has an extension that the diver operates by biting with the teeth!)! All 3 have their own advantages & disadvantages!
The biggest advantage of Videographer is that you get those dreamy photos & video of you flying in the air in the middle of nowhere with the ground far beneath you! The videographer jumps a moment before you there-by shooting as you jump out and gets in front of you as you free-fall! Finally, the video and photos of you as you glide down with the parachute is shot from the ground. The disadvantage here is that the videographer and you are separated when it is time to open the parachute. So your expressions as you descend peacefully with the parachute, mesmerized by the view, aren't recorded.
With an IMAX & a GoPro every moment, every expression of your face is recorded because it is with your tandem master all the time. It is basically the Skydive Selfie! The biggest advantage of GoPro is that it is the most economical and of IMAX is the 360° recording, which enables you to relive those moments again & again wearing VR Headsets! With an IMAX recording, 2 videos are given - one for 360° viewing and another for regular screen. The disadvantage with both these is that you won't get those dreamy pictures of you flying mid-air with a perfect backdrop, shot from afar.
If you can really really afford it, go for Videographer + IMAX for the best of it all! Otherwise, it basically boils down to your budget! My suggestion - Videographer. 

HOW TO PREPARE FOR FIRST TANDEM SKYDIVING
1. Which skydiving timeslot to book? As I mentioned above, they confirm the dives of the day, every morning. Of course, SkydiveSpa is located in Spa! So if you're in Brussels and depending on public transport, book for the dive at 12:00 Noon or later. So you can take the 9:00AM or 10:00AM train from Brussels Central to Verviers Central after confirmation.
2. What to wear for Skydiving? Wear fitted, but not too tight clothes. The weather in the sky is slightly colder than the ground, but not much. My tandem master Davio, and many other instructors & solo divers dove wearing shorts! Just dress for the ground temperature and when you wear the diving suit over it, you're fine in the sky! Wear sports shoes or sneakers. Slip-ons would fly away and hiking boots that have hooks are risky for they might get tangled with the equipment.
3. What to eat before skydiving? I was worried about 2 things - if my stomach is empty I might feel dizzy and if I eat too much, I might vomit! So I ate a relatively heavy breakfast and no lunch for my 1:00PM timeslot. But technically, it boils down to what you can handle normally at any adventure things to do. Davio had his lunch while I was putting-on my suit, minutes before my dive. 

Parachute Paragliding in Spa Belgian Ardennes
Almost landing... The airstrip.

Parachute Paragliding in Spa Belgian Ardennes

Parachute Paragliding in Spa Belgian Ardennes

Parachute Paragliding in Spa Belgian Ardennes

HOW DOES IT COST FOR SKYDIVING AT SKYDIVESPA BELGIUM?
Tandem Skydiving on weekdays: €200
Tandem Skydiving in weekends: €230
Handycam (selfie video) - €70
Videographer (video + 100 photos) - €100
IMAX 360° Video (2 videos for VR & regular) - €120
Inspagram edit (30-sec edit of any of the above videos for Insta Reels / Tiktok) - €20
Everything has to be booked prior via the official website of SkydiveSpa.
If you do want to go all out and choose IMAX + Videographer, book the IMAX Tandem on the website and email them that you need a Videographer too with your reference number. 

WHERE TO EAT NEAR SKYDIVESPA?
Within the premises of Skydive Spa, close to the hangar, there's a tiny cafe called Jet A1 Last Fuel Club House that sells water, softdrinks, beer, cakes, a few packed sandwiches etc. But there is a proper sit-down restaurant at the end of the airfield called Le Sunset. The view of the airstrip from here is just stunning.

HOW TO REACH SKYDIVESPA?
Where is Skydivespa (on Google Maps) - Skydive Spa (Parachute Centre)
This is located inside Spa-La Sauvenière Airport (Aérodrome de Spa-La Sauvenière).

How to reach Skydive Spa from Brussels by car: about 150km via Liege & Verviers.
How to reach Skydive Spa from Brussels by train: 
Direct train is available from Brussels (Nord/Central/Midi) to Verviers Central once every hour. Take another train from Verviers Central to Spa-Geronstère. Skydive Spa is located 3.5km from Spa-Geronstère railway station.
One option is to walk/bike from Spa-Geronstère to SkydiveSpa. Another option is to take a taxi from here. Yet another option is to take a taxi directly from Verviers Central which is located 23km from SkydiveSpa. Here's the phone number of the taxi service we used. We took it from Verviers Central on our onward journey and till Spa-Geronstère while returning. 
Taxi Jean-Yves : +32 (0)87 25 75 51. It costs about €30-40 from Verviers Central and about €15 from Spa-Geronstère. Sometimes Taxi drivers will not understand if you say SkydiveSpa. Instead, say Parachute Spa - that they get! Or you can also say Spa Airport (Spa Aérodrome de Spa La Sauvenière).

Best things to do in Spa Skydiving Spa Francorchamps Circuit
On the bottom right corner is the F1 racetrack - Circuit of Spa Francorchamps

SkydiveSpa Kids Playarea
Kids play area

SkydiveSpa Cafe
Little cafe near the hangar. 

PIN IT NOW & COME BACK LATER

Skydiving in Belgium SkydiveSpa Pinterest Skydiving in Belgium SkydiveSpa Pinterest

Skydiving in Belgium SkydiveSpa Pinterest Skydiving in Belgium SkydiveSpa Pinterest

Photo Credits: All the photos in this post except the ones taken on the ground (photos 2-5 and the last 2), were shot by the Skydive Spa team (Lucian Tapasztio & Davio D'Orazio).  
P.S: I was hosted by SkydiveSpa to experience it for review purposes, however, the opinions are my own and this post does not advertise the product/service

Bhushavali

An ardent traveler by passion. Being an ex - Art History Teacher, my area of interest especially lies in Nature and Heritage. Visited 78 UNESCO World Heritage sites as of Sept 2020. I've been listed among the Top 7 Women Travel Bloggers of India, Top 50 in UK. I have been interviewed in a couple of TV Shows, Radio Channels and Events as well. Read more about me and read the testimonials of different brands

13 comments:

  1. I will start by saying I have done more than 150 skydives. And I still get excited when I hear about people doing their first jumps. It certainly looks like a picturesque spot to see from above. Great that you went so high and had so much freewill time. I am so glad you enjoyed your first experience. A great guide for people wanting to try this. I love the big smile in the pics! Linda (LD Holland)

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  2. Thanks for sharing your experience. Enjoyed reading it and details given are very helpful to have an idea of what we cooild experience before going.

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  3. What an amazing experience! Skydiving looks very intimidating to me, but probably knowing you have a professional behind you is more reassuring. From what you are saying, this is something you've always dreamed of doing, so I'm glad you realized your dream. And what better place for a skydive than above the Belgian Ardennes?!

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  4. Wow, I love skydiving. The first time experience is always special. I have done it twice, one in Australia and the other in US. I did not know about this one in Belgium and if I had known I would have done it there for sure. I will remember this for the next time I visit Belgium. That is really cool experience and such adrenaline rush it gives.

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  5. This must have been a adrenalin-rushing experience. I have been to Belgium many times and have also worked there in the past, but never knew about this. Next time for sure.

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  6. I’ve actually been to Spa and went to, guess what, a spa! I had no idea they had skydiving. But it’s the perfect spot, as it’s so lush and forested there from what I can remember.

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  7. Skydiving must be an amazing adventure, but I'm not sure if I would dare to try it. The view of Belgian Ardennes from this perspective seems to be breathtaking. Skydivespa seems to be the perfect place to try this sport. For the sure location is ideal. It's also impressive that Skydive Spa has the highest dropzone at 14500ft above sea level because Spa itself is 1650ft. With professional instructors and support, it might be an amazing experience. Your photos are fabulous!

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  8. Skydiving has been on my bucket list but honestly, I don't have the courage to try it. Thank you for sharing your first tandem skydiving experience. You're an inspiration. I can just imagine the thrill and amazing experience you had.

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  9. You are equally adventurous and brave! I thought when you did tandem the experienced diver was on the bottom. As it was, you would have been his landing cushion if anything had gone wrong... teehee! It's also funny that the cameraman operated his DSLR with his teeth. Great adventure - thanks for sharing it with the world!

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  10. Omg! It was so so good to read about your skydiving experience. I have forever wanted to have the experience. Not yet done, but hopefully sometimes soon. The pictures really show how ecstatic you were! I guess I would be so excited when I do this, I will perhaps opt for all the types of videography and photography options!

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  11. Hi, you've made it. Need a whole lot of courage to dive in the sky, superb photos.

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  12. Hi Bhusha hope you are well

    Fantastic. Very well done Bhusha.
    One crazy woman. :))
    Kind regards.

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