Explore the Cape Floral Kingdom from new heights

Posted by Claire Allison on 8 January 2015

I’m a big fan of heights. Whether I’m standing on top of a building looking at the cars in the streets below or admiring natural beauty from a mountain top, I like being high above the world. It’s no wonder then why I jumped at the opportunity to spend the day out in Elgin to indulge in some heights and sights with the new Cape Canopy Tour.

Located about an hour’s drive from Cape Town and nestled in the folds of a World Heritage Site within the Hottentots Holland Nature Reserve, Cape Canopy Tour takes visitors on an adventure consisting of 11 slides, some over 300 metres long, each ending on a platform constructed on the cliffs and fynbos-covered mountain slopes high above the Riviersonderend Gorge. Flying across a gorge to see a waterfall tumbling down about a hundred-odd metres below is nothing short of breathtaking and is an incredible way to enjoy the Cape’s mountains.


Cape Canopy Tour

Photo courtesy of Cape Canopy Tour.

It all starts at base camp with a safety briefing before being kitted out to look somewhat like a tree feller and heading off on a 20-minute 4×4 drive to the start of the tour about 1000 metres up. You have the option to bail out after two slides but after that you’re fully committed and the only way down is via the remaining nine slides, which all vary in length and speed.

My guides Jerry and Piet, who hail from the local community, were a laugh a minute and it was loads of fun exploring the mountains with the two of them. When they weren’t showing off on the slides, they entertained us with stories of wildlife encounters, gave us brief geology and fynbos lessons and recounted tales of how they helped construct the impressive slides and platforms. It was pretty fascinating.


Cape Canopy Tour - Jerry and Piet

Jerry and Piet.

Halfway through the tour we stopped for tea. Clipped onto a safety cable by two carabiners with our feet dangling over the edge of a wooden platform, the iced tea and chocolate biscuits were a welcome treat as we watched raptors soar above, soaked up the pristine scenery and welcomed the sound of silence in one of the most well-preserved areas of South Africa.


Jackal Buzzard

Jackal Buzzard.

Cape Town is known for having four seasons in one day so every trip into the mountains has a different feel, depending on the light, wind strength and cloud cover. It’s best to pack a few layers of clothing as the weather can change drastically in the mountains, as well as a small backpack for sunblock, cameras and anything else you may want to hang onto.

Cape Canopy Tour - landing

This activity can be enjoyed in all weather conditions and one can only imagine the beauty of zip-lining across a gorge on a sunny winter’s day, snow-capped peaks glowing white in the background. But while Cape Town is enjoying beautiful summer weather, I suggest you check it out if you haven’t already. It’s the perfect way to spend a day in the mountains this holiday.

Cape Canopy Tour is open seven days a week and current tour departure times are on the hour from 08:00 to 14:00. Each tour lasts approximately 4 hours and includes a 4×4 drive as well as a complimentary lunch upon return to base camp. Group bookings are available as well.

Check out www.capecanopytour.co.za or call 021 300 0501 to book a tour.

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