‘Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz’ does not represent snoring in this part of the Western Cape. From sunset to full moon, it is quite the opposite.
The sound you hear belongs to steel cables delivering a bunch of adventurous night owls from one platform to the next amidst the Hottentots Holland mountains in the Elgin Valley.
To me, slicing through the air, by parachute or bungee cord only seems like a good idea when you have run out of things to do. But when the opportunity to zipline under the glare of a full moon arose, I was intrigued.
The Cape Canopy Tour is one of seven ziplining experiences in Southern Africa and is also the youngest. Set in ‘the heart of the Cape Floral Kingdom’ this ziplining tour was destined to be an eco-adventurous activity.
Last Saturday, my brother Khwezi and I embarked on a 30-minute 4X4 drive up the mountain range with eight strangers and four guides. As we ascended, our surroundings were heavenly under the tones of the setting sun. One needed to soak up the views of the mountain flora as much as possible before night-time. The hike to the first elevated platform was a gentle cardiovascular warm-up compared to the speed at which my heart would be beating when I saw the first zipline.
We hadn’t even started and the intrigue I’d had earlier was turning into second thoughts.
‘Bravery’ made me decide to stand third in line, but also, three is my favourite number. Khwezi in front of me, coolly glided as if he did this kind of thing every other day. With no time to think, I sat on an invisible seat and zipped through the air. A nervous but excited scream echoed through the valley. I realised it was mine.
After the first turn, I was hooked. When we got to the third platform a.k.a. ‘The Last Chance Dance’, I did not even consider turning back. Waterfalls and indigenous plant life thrived below us. We even hoped to see fireflies or a Cape Leopard. As darkness began to cloak the mountainous landscape, it was time for the real party to begin.
Besides their hilarious jokes and acrobatic ziplining skills, the guides also had another party trick: Christmas lights. Yes, we wore Christmas lights while swooping over the forest canopies, but this was also to make us more visible to the guides who needed to catch us on the other side.
Before we knew it, the rave was over. The 30-second long and final zipline was my favourite. With 4.5 hours of the canopy tour behind us, it was time to head back on a beautiful evening hike. Waiting at the end were cups of hot chocolate and reminiscing with strangers who seemed more like friends.
Cape Canopy Tour is offering R100 off online bookings to readers. Use the promo code ‘GETAWAY’. The promotion is valid from now until 30 November 2018.
What you should know
- The Cape Canopy Tour costs R895 per person. Book online: canopytour.co.za/book-now/cape/
- The sunset-full moon zipline is a limited edition. The next one will be at the end of October or the beginning of November this year. Follow Cape Canopy Tour on Instagram for announcements or go to canopytour.co.za
- Daytime tours are between 08:00 and 15:00
- The tour is fully guided with 13 platforms, 11 slides and a swing bridge
- Cape Canopy provides guests with a full body harness and helmet. They recommend you wear comfortable clothes (no dresses or skirts) and sensible walking shoes
- You need to be reasonably fit for the one-kilometre hike out at the end of the zipline tour
- The guides are well-trained and your safety is the number one priority. A tip is welcome and shared evenly between them
- Don’t worry if you have never ziplined before. You will be briefed on the technique beforehand
- You can bring along your camera/ smartphone – just be sure you have pockets with zips or a small backpack
- Bring your own headlamp. You will be instructed when to turn it on and off (this is only for the nighttime ziplines, headlamps are not required for day trips)
- You will receive a light meal after the tour in the form of a farm-style pie and light salad
- If you’re coming from Cape Town on the N2, turn left into Elgin/Grabouw (opposite Peregrine farmstall). Turn onto the R321 towards Villiersdorp/Franschhoek. Go along the R321 for 11 kilometres until you reach the Cape Canopy Tour on your left
There are six other branches of Canopy Tour ziplines across Southern Africa. For location list and details: http://www.canopytour.co.za/locations/