Hottentots-Holland Nature Reserve, Groenlandberg MTB Trail, Theewaterskloof Ward 9, Theewaterskloof Local Municipality, Overberg District Municipality, Western Cape, South Africa
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Based in the Hottentots Holland Nature Reserve, just outside of Elgin, the Cape Canopy zipline tour comprises of 13 platforms, 11 lines, and a suspension bridge. This simple description doesn’t even begin to cover the reality of this amazing adventure.
Before you get to the first line, there is a bumpy 11km, 20-minute drive in a 4x4 up to almost the very peak of the mountain range – about a 1000 metres high - followed by a short walk. Before that, you will have been extensively briefed at base camp as to what to expect, what to do, and how all the harnesses and safety equipment works. The two guides accompanying you will explain it all again before your first flight and answer any questions or concerns during the trip. They are also trained to educate you about the flora and fauna you will see along the way.
With a guide at each end of the line, to which you are attached in three places, emergency brakes for when you’re coming in too fast, and safety lines on each platform, you are never in a moment’s danger.
Whooping with joy is encouraged, and you should definitely not close your eyes. This form of zip lining requires the use of one leather-gloved hand on the cable to control your speed so if you want to take it slowly and enjoy the view, that’s your choice. It really is incredibly beautiful. The other option is to let it rip and whizz along at top speed. Either way, it is exhilarating.
Although the tour takes four to five hours – depending on the size of your group and how long you spend on the midway ice tea and biscuit break – somehow it’s all over far too soon. The lines are satisfyingly long, the suspension bridge is way cool (unless you have a joker in your pack who thinks it’s funny to make it sway while you’re crossing), and there are so many varying weather conditions that each time will be different. Apparently sometimes you get to zip through a rainbow.
There’s another hike back to the pick-up vehicle, which is fairly strenuous for the less fit. Depending on the time of day you do your trip, a light lunch of a baguette with chips is offered at the Sunbird Café headquarters before or afterwards, and you’re welcome to linger over a nice cold beverage.
Couple of personal tips: wear layers of clothing. The weather conditions can and do change drastically during the time you’re up there. Rain gear is supplied by Cape Canopy Tour. Also wear a small backpack. In it, put sun block, unwanted bits of clothing, and your cell phone or camera. A cap under your helmet is also a good idea. Sunglasses…well, if they fall of your face you’re never going to get them back.
Contact Cape Canopy Tour on 021 300 0501, or go to www.capecanopytour.co.za for more information.