Zip-lining in South Africa - AWESOME STUFF

In February 2013 we returned to South Africa to visit family and friends. While in a coffee shop we saw a flyer advertising the Karkloof Canopy Tours, which turned out to be a zip-line over one of the largest remaining indigenous forests in South Africa. Queenie and I have long wanted to do the flight of the Gibbon in Thailand, but to date haven't had the chance. This was the perfect opportunity to try zip-lining AND IT WAS AWESOME!!!!!

Getting Ready to Fly

The Video

We were fortunate enough to take an awesome video of our flight over the canopy. Along with my dad and his wife Yvonne, we were joined by two other couples: Robert & Jessica as well as Manny & Melissa. As you can see from the video everyone had an awesome and amazing time.

Getting Ready to Fly

Dad and Yvonne all Kitted Out

When we arrived at the base camp for the Canopy Tour we were given a proper introduction to the company, zip-lining and were properly kitted out with the right gear to make sure that we didn't fall off the zip-lines. All-in-all it was a very professional setup and very well done.

In the Four Wheel Drive

Once we were all ready to go we were driven to the first platform in a four wheel drive. It was a nice bumpy ride through the forest but it was definitely better than having to walk up the mountain.

The Zip-Lines

On the Zip Line

Zooming down the zip lines was awesome! On some of the lines we were told we were reaching speeds of 80 km/h. It was a lot of fun. Some where more difficult than others because we needed to break or dodge trees (always a good thing), but the whole experience was amazing and well worth the cost and the effort. You can see Queenie dodging a tree below.

Queenie Posing on the Line

It should be noted that I was doing this barely a month after knee reconstruction surgery and I was still in a brace. Also, my dad was 70 years old at the time of doing it so I think it is possible to do this irrespective of age or disability.

My Dad (Ken Sharpe) Looking Serious

Yvonne (my step mom) also had a great time on the zip lines. She was completely up for it and possibly one of the more enthusiastic participants on the day. She got completely into the whole experience and really enjoyed all the fun that was to be had.

Yvonne Having a Great Time

My dad had a problem keeping his helmet on some of the time. He was very nonchalant about the whole experience. Having been a builder in his youth and having worked on high-rise buildings, heights present no problem for him at all. He just seemed to think this was all in a days work. At the end though he did admit he had a good time. We were pleased to hear that!

Dad Losing His Helmet

For me the most challenging part were the take offs and the landings. Having a semi-functional knee that was still in some pain, I had to be especially careful protecting it. With a little common sense (yes I know, doing this with a reconstructed knee seems to show a lack of common sense) and careful positioning of the body, I managed to get through the entire experience with no problems whatsoever.

Careful Launches Were Neccessary

And I am Off

Some of the zip lines had real height to them. The girl in the picture below, Jessica, had also done zip-lining in Costa Rica but felt that this one was far more exciting. We have also recently gone zip-lining in Laos and felt that this one was faster and higher.

Jessica Above the Canopy

I think the "scariest" part of the whole course was the vertical drop. It was about a 10 m drop straight down on a rope. Almost like free falling. It actually wasn't that scary and a whole lot of fun.

Jessica Getting Ready to Free Fall

The Views

Spectacular Views

We all agreed that one of the best parts about the whole experience were the amazing views of Karkloof and the mountains in the distance. The views (as you can see from above and below) were stunning. The best views were on the second and third platforms. When we came out from under the trees from the second platform we were pleasantly surprised by these amazing views and most of us were quite happy to sit there and enjoy the view before taking off again.

Just Stunning

The third platform was a rocky outcrop that was quite large and had a waterfall flowing through it. It was the perfect spot for a group picture.

Dad by the Waterfall

Group Picture by the Waterfall

The End

End of the Zip Lines

After zipping down the lines for a fair few hours we finally made it to the last platform. After that we had to take a pleasant walk through the rain forest back to the base camp for some refreshments. The walk through the forest was beautiful as it is still indigenous and largely untouched by many (except for the trail that we were walking on). It was a nice way to end the ride.

Back to Base Camp

Once out of the rain forest we were back on the carefully manicured lawns of the base camp, which of course was the perfect place for the "hero" shot because after all, as you heard Queenie say in the video: "We had conquered the whole world!"

Queenie is is happy she made it down

I was relieved the knee was still in tact

Sandwiches and Drinks at the Base Camp

Brilliant Experience

At the top of Platform 2

Everyone agreed it was an amazing experience and one well worth the effort. No one regretted it and it was quite easy to manage (even with an injured leg). The company is very well organized, they have strict safety standards, careful safety instructions and provide a wonderful experience for everyone who dares. Admittedly I am afraid of heights but this was really easy to do and at no point was anyone really afraid or did anyone think it was dangerous.

A top rated experience so, if you are in the area, go do it!

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